In a previous blog post I spoke about the work of Marie Anson Photography, After posting this I emailed her and arranged an interview with her to find out more about the runnings of her business. She was more than happy to help and her response was so helpful! Here is the interview below..
1. How many years have you been a freelance photographer?
For approximately 10 years but initially, it was something that I did in conjunction with working Part time. I would work some weekends as a photographer whilst working my regular job in the week.
2. How did you get into the job? (university, work experience, family etc..)
I purchased my first camera soon after having one of my children as I wanted to capture some image of them growing up. I also attended a few courses to get myself started.
3. When starting out, did you assist many other photographers? Or do any second shooting?
I was asked to capture the wedding of a colleague’s Daughter. I ‘reluctantly’ agreed, but upon reflection realised I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. I went on to capture a few odd weddings of close family and friends in order to gain a little more hands on experience. I then researched other photographers whos work I aspired to and decided to write to one with the hope of some mentoring/second shooting experience and was delighted when they agreed for me to assist them.
4. Do you run the business on your own? Do you have any employees?
Yes, I now run my own photography business alone. I have no employees.
5. What lenses is essential to you when photographing weddings?
The choice of lenses used for a wedding is quite often decided by the specific shooting style of the photographer. When I started I used telephoto lenses. As a Canon shooter I used the Canon 24-70mm f2.8L, a 70-200mm f2.8 IS II and a Tokina 11-16mm f2.8. These three lenses granted me the reach and range I needed for most wedding situations. I have since amended my shooting style and use prime lenses as I love shooting with such a shallow depth of field, but I still use the telephoto 70-200mm lens for the reach when I can’t get in close.
6. What is the best way of marketing your business? What has been most successful? What has been unsuccessful?
I don’t spend a great deal on marketing. The most valuable investment are happy clients. They go on to become my ‘evangelists’ telling their friends and family about me and that is how I started and continue to get a great deal of my work. I do have a very active social media presence, specifically on facebook and this also achieves a great deal of interest and enquiries. I am also connected to a few wedding venues who will recommend my services to their clients and I stand at their wedding fairs.
7. Do you use an assistant when photographing weddings?
I don’t have a specific ‘assistant’, but I do have a few second photographers who I can rely on to second shoot with me. I use one very regularly, but if he isn’t available I do call on some of the others.
8. Do you offer any work experience places?
No, as I am too busy.
9. How many weddings do you have booked in advance this year?
54 for 2017, 25 currently for 2018, 2 currently for 2019
10. What’s the most important thing when starting your own business?
Establishing a routine and streamlining your workflow. Shooting is the easy part, but the editing, and admin can really slow you down and chain you to your computer. In order to be as efficient with your time as possible it is vital to get on top of this and streamline the process.
11. Do you work from home or have an office/studio space?
I work from home in a designated work space/office
12. At the beginning of your business what were your expectations? Did they differ much from the reality? If so what were they?
When I began I wanted to simply earn a bit of extra money from photography in addition to my graphic design job, but soon the demand for my photography was too great and I let my design job in 2014 and set up my own wedding business in the September. I wanted to shoot about 10 wedding a year just to make enough money. I never imagined that I would be shooting so many weddings and being able to cherry pick the ones I wanted within 2 year. I also never dreamed I would be able to get enough work at my chosen price point, but I did and still do.
13. How did you begin to receive regular bookings for weddings?
As soon as I had a website and social media presence, alongside an extensive portolio, the work just came in and kept on coming. I kept posting images on social media and then they got shared and the enquiries came rolling in.
14. What editing software do you use?
I use Illustrator and occasionally Photoshop.
15. How long do you normally spend editing your weddings?
Too long, It is all dependant on the quantity of images I return from a wedding with, sometimes it can exceed 5000 if there are two of us shooting and it has been a 12 hour+ wedding. The time spent editing, does include the culling process and it can take 3 – 4 days per wedding.
16. Any advice for someone wanting to run their own successful photography business?
Always try to get some second shooting experience. A wedding photographer’s job is not simply to photograph the day, it is far far more. Get the right clients and set your prices to reflect your work. If you don’t charge enough you will find you are getting the cheaper end weddings at venues that won’t help you with your ‘wow’ portfolio. Put out what you wish to attract and if you are showing high end weddings at fantastic venues, with gorgeous couples, that is what you will attract.
17.If you could go back in time to the beginning of your career and give yourself some advice, what would it be?
Buy a camera sooner and find a great external editor (I am in the process of finding an external editor)
I would like to take Marie again for taking the time to answer my questions!