I sit here writing this on the evening of April 17th. I'm reflecting on the events that have happened throughout 2013 so far. We're already a third of the way through the year! (cue people saying "It'll be Christmas soon!"). The more I think about it the more I realise I've had a busy and rather successful 2013 so far.
I've been making a far more concerted effort here on the blog to release new posts each and every Friday, and I've been able to do that so far, even when I was on holiday earlier on in the year. I've also been working on my social media presence in general - ensuring that things are neat and tidy on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ too. But in terms of actual numbers & measurable success I've been doing well too:
2014 is shaping up nicely
Before I even begin to talk about the things I have coming this year in 2013, I've already had a flurry of bookings for 2014 with 4 out of 5 brides who contacted me in March all confirming their dates and booking me as their photographer for next year! Whilst this should be seen as good news it did mean that I had to unfortunately turn a client down (the 5th of the 5 brides who contacted me) as I was double booked for the date in 2014 already! Add to that the lovely young lady who I had to break the bad news to is perhaps one of the most interesting and kindest people I've had the pleasure of meeting at any wedding I've photographed yet. I bumped into this particular person during Dave and Shaleen's wedding back in November and we got into some excellent conversation. It turns out she is marrying her fiancée next year.
So, seeing as its only March and I've not done my good deed for the year yet I offered this couple a complimentary engagement shoot. It's the least I could do seeing as I'm not available on their big date! Besides, it's a great opportunity to meet with a lovely couple and chat over a coffee - the way I start all my engagement shoots (and the drinks are on me!)
I don't usually have such a high booking rate - many people would say that a high booking rate means your prices are too low but I really don't think that it's time to up my prices just because I've had a few good bookings. So, for now they're staying the same.
Inspiring an entire Podcast theme for Martin Bailey
I Idly joined in on a conversation with Martin Bailey over on Google+ and quite casually mentioned that I hadn't realised that he'd 'turned pro' as recently as 2010. Martin himself weighed in quickly to say that he'd spent the best part of a decade laying the foundations for his business so that going pro wasn't a struggle. It was sage advice. I said to Martin that I'd love to hear some of his story and a little about his plans and methods when making the leap. Well, Martin Bailey did just that. He released a full podcast and gave me a little nod in the episode and mentioned me on a post to say that i'd 'inspired' the episode. Check out Podcast 363 over on Martin Bailey's site.
Now, this may seem like one of those moments where everyone shrugs their shoulders and the person left in awe (me) is the only person impressed, but I'm just really pleased to know that a wedding photographer from the South East of England is having some sort of influence / effect in an extremely diluted market. It's also nice to know that I've had some sort of impact on an amazing photographer on the other side of the world and been the catalyst for a podcast listened too by thousands of people. The Podcast itself was of course brilliant. Martin bought in David DuChemin to give his thoughts and it's an episode full of extremely helpful advice. Thanks Martin and David for taking the time in your hectic schedules to sit down and discuss the minefield topic for the rest of us to listen to!
I won a Drobo
In other news I entered my website into a competition that was being run by the guys on 'The Digital Photography Experience' podcast with the first prize being a Drobo 5n. All I had to do was be a listener of the show and have a website built on the brilliant SquareSpace platform and I was eligible. So, I posted a link to my site on the DPE Google+ community page, told them why I thought Squarespace was the best platform for hosting a website and I only went and bloody won it!
The most simple way I can describe a Drobo is: A device that can house a number of Hard Disks and run them using resilience meaning that if one disc (or two discs if I've filled all five bays) fail, the data is still safe and secure on the other disc. This means that I'm now able to backup all my clients data to another location - I've not lost any photographs yet due to a failed disc and I certainly don't intend to either - Drobo should help with that!
This is great news for me as it meant that the money I'd just saved up to buy a Drobo could now be invested in something else.
I was pretty pleased to have won a Drobo 5n, especially seeing as they retail at around £450. But then I got another bonus! When I got in touch with the guys at Drobo to claim my prize and give them my address for shipping they offered me a choice of model - I could choose from the 5N, the Drobo Mini or the Drobo 5D. Suffice to say I've gone for the 5D. The 5D means I'll have it connected up to my iMac via Thunderbolt cable and will be transferring data between my iMac and the Drobo in seconds. The 5D is also more expensive that the 5N so, I've just saved myself a whole load of cash by winning this price.
So, I have a Drobo 5D on the way. That and my exisiting Western Digital Network Storage means client photographs are even more safe and secure as they'll now be backed up to 4 locations. Bonus!
Another score for March was that Neil Graham and I have arranged ourselves a little interview time with Stephen Cotterell on the Photography 121 podcast. We'll be heading up to meet Stephen in June and spend the day chewing the fat. I must admit I'm not a nervous person, I'm really not, but the idea of spending a prolonged period of time just talking about myself and my world of photography quite worries me! I've never had to do that before and I'm prone to turning the conversation around to the other person and asking the questions.
I want to enjoy it and I do hope I come across as myself. I'm taking notes of all the things that pop into my head in the build up to meeting Stephen - all the things that I think define and describe me. I'm not going to read from my new notebook, but I'm trying to make sure I don't say silly things in the interview.
Then again, as Jared Polin (AKA FroKnowsPhoto.com) says: "it's no good trying to please everyone or you'll please no one". For me that means be yourself. Some may like, some may dislike. That's how it has to be. (By the way, that was something in write down in my new black book!)
As I say we're going to be interviewed in June so I can only imagine Stephen will release the audio interviews in July / August / September time.
Other news & Quick roundup
- I also did a quick trip on a snowy day to Richmond Park with Neil Graham to blow the cobwebs away. That was great fun and I've still not had a chance to go through the photographs from that trip yet
- I shot my first wedding event for the year on April 1st - I shot a beautiful Nikah ceremony with lots of colour, dancing and great music.
- I've got a Jam-Packed May with 4 Engagement shoots & 2 weddings
- In June I have 1 Engagement shoot and 2 weddings to look forward too before that interview with Stephen Cotterell, then I'm off the watch / photograph the Le Man 24 Hours.
So, a busy start to 2013 and it looks set to continue too. Very much looking forward to everything coming up.