Images By Anna Interview: A Successful Family and Child Photographer. How to build a photography business.
Company: Images By Anna
What inspired you to become self-employed?
I have always wanted to work for myself and to run my own little business. Once I had graduated with a BA Hons in Photography at the University of Westminster, London, I started to further develop myself as a photographer and gradually grow my business step by step. After my child was born, I discovered a passion for family photography and in particular children, therefore, I focused all of my attention to learning the applicable skills in that industry area and still to this date, I continue to join some world-famous workshops specifically for family & children photography. This was also great for me being a new mother as I could practice on her which have now been featured in numerous publications.
How did you come up with your idea or concept for the business?
Being a full-time mum and still be able to do what I absolutely love it is the best thing I have ever achieved. My Child makes me work very hard; keeps me focused, updating my skills, networking and gets me through the up’s and down’s I have experienced throughout my career. As any parent would, I want to provide her with the best life possible and this business allows me not only to achieve that but continue to spend a lot of time with her.
What was your mission on the outset?
I am still on my amazing journey to achieve my plans and goals. I would love to have my little cosy studio shop one day but one step at a time.
What services do you offer?
I offer Family photography, Life & Style shoots and also studio Maternity. I really enjoy wedding photography which I offer around the UK also, however my favourites are natural light Child photography and storytelling photography.
How do you advertise your business?
I advertise my photography a lot on Facebook and Instagram, plus simple flyers around my area. Word of mouth is also key to a business and I am thankful I have really great feedback from my clients who recommend me to others.
To what do you owe your success?
I work on my own, I have met lots of amazing photographers on social media through photographer groups based only for UK photographers and we do help each other a lot. Plus I have my very good friend who is a photographer and we work together sometimes, we second shoot for each other at the weddings or big events if needed.
What do you love most about your business?
I love the fact it allows me the freedom of choice to either book a client in or not depending on my schedule. I really enjoy the process and being a photographer; working with different people is really great for me socially and fills me with joy when they adore the pictures. I love to create beautiful memories for people and capture people at their very best; these pictures last forever and warm the hearts of all these families for years. My clients become friends and some use me often at holidays and or special events. It makes you feel apart of their family too which they tell me often.
What has been your biggest lesson in business thus far?
The biggest lesson I have learnt so far is that I used to do sessions with no contract form signed before the shoot which is a big mistake as people then used my photographs for commercial use and sale and I am unable to stop them without a legal contract. The second lesson I learned was that I did too many free or very discounted shoots in the past to people who never appreciated it, especially when I first graduated and have also recommended that you never buy cheap props or hire cheap staff that do not have experience as it often turns out to be a waste of money.
What made you chose this industry?
When I finished art School back home in Riga, Latvia, my brother got me new canon camera from the USA, it was like a dream come true for a schooler and I have not let my camera out of my hands for 2 years. This new found passion encouraged me to move to London and complete a BA in Photography.
Are you and your business involved with any charities?
I do few fundraisers a year for schools and nurseries, I might be a part of one community project very soon which I will update you on. I did some Charity benefits recently and always happy to offer my services to people who ask.
Have you ever turned down or cancelled on a client?
I have only had to make one cancellation in the last 6 years because I had to take my 1-year-old to A&E but I rescheduled with the family who was very understanding. Even when I broke my toe I still did a full day wedding! It is important not to let people down. I have met so many incredible people throughout my career and trust is important.
Can you offer any advice for those wishing to start a business within this industry?
Do not buy cheap staff for work, just save and hire qualified, experienced people for the job. Do not be by yourself on shoots; find a friend or someone to go with you. Find someone you trust so you can talk to them about your business, or you will go nuts; it can be stressful sometimes. Never give up! Every time you fall, pick yourself up again, learn from it and keep going. I get the winter blues every year, but I always try something new and different to get my inspiration back which I think is key.
Are there any other particular skills you have acquired that has helped your business?
Workshops with other photographers are the best thing I have ever done outside of University and I will keep doing them for as long as I am in this industry. It’s not just an amazing way to learn amazing skills but it is also a great environment to meet other people who have the same passion.
Are there any free sources of information you would recommend?
Yes, I highly recommend YouTube; there are fantastic videos and How To vlogs out there, so watch and learn as much as you can.
Do you have a favourite quote that has helped you with your business?
“Do not compare yourself to any other photographer. Compare yourself to the photographer you were before “