Tuesday, 30 June 2015

[Blogging Challenge] How did I get here?

Have you ever had a job where you've felt stifled, that you aren't achieving your full potential and are losing love for the job you are doing? What did you do in the situation? Stick with it - or move on?

I never set out on my journey in life to be self-employed, to be running my own business or to be a photographer, and now? I cannot imagine anything else.

It all started back in 2007 - a cancelled Mediterranean cruise and a dad who'd just had a heart attack. And now, 8 years on? I've still not been on the Mediterranean cruise - and my dad is fine.

Within a few months, I was working with someone else as a photographer / assistant / trainee / dogsbody whatever you want to call it. But June 2008 I had left my full-time assistant manager position to focus more on the photography and work part time. Come October 2009 - I was on my own in the big scary world of photography.

I felt stifled like I couldn't grow and develop. And I had friends who were wanting me to photograph their Wedding, not the person I was working for.

I remember discussing it with Mum and Grandad, whether or not I should go on my own. At the time I was living at home with my parents, working part-time, had a car - I didn't have as much risk. I loved my job taking photos, creating memories and sharing special days. It really was now or never. It had not even been a year since we had lost my Nan, and she would have told me to go for it without even thinking about it - and so I did.

One of the things I found setting up at the age of 25, is that there is little time. Every spare minute when you are trying to grow a business is put back into the business. Even now, almost 6 years on, if I have a spare minute I sometimes wonder what I can do to fill it rather than relaxing - because who really relaxes in business?

The saying "you get out of it what you put into it" is so very true. If you don't have the time to invest in your business, or you would rather be doing something else - then it's not always the right time. When you run a business, you have to force yourself to prioritise and do things. You have contingency plans and know that things can wait if there is family or friend emergencies - but in the beginning you eat sleep and breathe setting up your business.
And this brings me onto something that most people don't tell you - you lose friends.

I don't mean the loyal friends - I mean the fake-flakey friends - the takers, not the givers - the ones that you would jump for if they need you, but then wouldn't return the same way. 

Because, unfortunately, not everyone is supportive. You just have to decide, do I want a successful business - or do I want friends who drag me down. 
Number one rule for a positive mind - get rid of the negative influences.

Its not quite so simple, and its taken me 6 years to get to the point that I am now. And I cried many tears over the friends I lost, who left me out of things, and who didn't support my journey.

But here I am.

When I set up on my own, I knew that I couldn't work from home. I needed a space. I needed to go to work. I had an office I shared with a friend who also had her own business! (Hello Nikki!) before moving into my own office when Nikki moved on. I then opened Studio Number 1 which I was at for 2 years. Moved then to studio number 2 where I was for 18 months before I moved and got the keys for Studio Number 3. 

My studio now is amazing. Shop front, and exactly how I wanted it. I've been shooting here almost a year, and I blooming love it. I have a 5-year lease, and I don't plan on looking anywhere else - unless I was to buy - and that isn't anything that is in the forefront of my mind.

Don't be scared to grow your business. Make decisions and take side steps, back steps and leaps of faith forward. If it seems like a good idea, on paper it works money wise as a good idea, and your gut feeling says go for it.

Then go for it. What is stopping you if only yourself?

[News] Why ASDA weren't in the wrong.

Last week you may have seen the article that was doing the rounds about how Asda refused to give photographs they were printing to the parents for being "too professional".

Whilst this story went around, there was uproar from a lot of people saying that the copyright is the right of the parents as it is their child (this is not true in the UK) and that no-one should withhold photographs of your child.

The photographers, on the other hand, were celebrating that Asda were doing something right. That they had refused the images to the customers as they couldn't prove that they had the printing rights. Something their photographer (friend or otherwise) should have given to them.

In my Barnsley based Studio, customers who purchase the USB have an additional "picture" on there which is the USB Print License, which is easily accessible to staff members where-ever people are getting their items printed.

People were aghast that surely if people have them on a USB then surely they have purchased them. However, this isn't always the case. Some people screengrab, crop out watermarks and "steal" the photographs from the photographer. Asda really were doing their job correctly.

And, by UK Law the copyright always stays with the photographer. If we assigned over copyright that means you could go on to sell the images and use them for promotions etc - things that you don't really want to do with the images. What you want to do is print and share with family and friends - hence why a lot of photographers call this a "Print License" as copyright - is the wrong word to use. But it really is all about education.

The news story also issued that they had no problems getting them printed in Boots. Which is just wrong. Boots should have challenged the customer the same way that Asda staff did. No-one is being a jobsworth they're actually just trying to keep their job.

I liken it to this scenario.

When someone works in a shop that sells alcohol - they can challenge you to prove that you are old enough to purchase it. That you have a "license to purchase" alcohol based on your age. If you cannot prove it - they can refuse to serve you. This is because the fines for their job and the store they work in - aren't worth losing their job.

This is how it works, and should work. If you do not have "proof" that you have permission to print the images, they can challenge and ask you for it.

The best thing I can advise is always make sure that your photographer puts a print license either on the disc or USB - or gives you a printed copy to take with you.

Hope that helps!

Monday, 29 June 2015

[Blogging Challenge] Who I am, Who I'm not....

I've been feeling a little bit of writers block lately, so I decided what would be best was to sign up for the 7 Day Blogging Challenge by the fabulous Alex Beadon.

If you are a photographer (or business owner) and reading this - then head over to her website and sign up next time. She has her own you-tube channel and uses periscope on a regular basis so even better really!

So this blog is brought to you from the challenge.

Who am I?

For those of you who read my posts regularly you know who I am, for those of you whom are my clients you tend to know me even better having met me in person and know how I work.

For those of you who are new here - this is for you.

I'm Adele. I am a Photographer and Studio Owner and the main types of business I have in my diary are Weddings, Newborns and Cake Smash Sessions.

I love my job. If someone asks me to ask which part of my job I prefer, whether it is Weddings or Babies, I cannot answer just one. I LOVE Weddings, I love meeting my couples, seeing their journey to their Wedding Day and then witness them becoming husband and wife (and even those that go off to have babies!).

But I love photographing babies. I get them in when they are super duper squishy and tiny, and when they give the best cuddles EVER (ok, this is sometimes a lie, twin cuddles are awesome from the older kids too!) but - I do occasionally get wee'd and poo'd on regularly. Luckily not at Weddings.

Who am I not?

I'm not the cheap photographer. Don't get me wrong I'm not the most expensive but I'm not the cheapest photographer. I'm not the person people are looking for when they say "Can anyone recommend a cheap photographer who does Weddings / Babies etc" whilst I love people putting my name out to these type of enquiries in the hope people will realise that cheap isn't always great - but sometimes people either don't have the budget - or - don't treasure and cherish photographs as much as some other people do.

I try to look after my clients, and I feel a lot of my clients become friends and bring their children back time and time again - if I was a "cheap" photographer, it would mean that I wouldn't be able to give you the time that I do or the products I offer.

I do believe that time and experience is better than things being cheap. I'm not knocking the cheap photographers - there is enough work out there for everyone.

Who are my clients?

My clients are AWESOME. I have clients from all different walks of life. Single Parents, 2.4 "traditional" families, only children, or an entire tribe. Children with more than one mummy, parents who work in the forces, parents who are doctors and nurses, and parents who unfortunately, aren't working. But my clients love my work, how I am with their children and are happy to pay my prices.

My prices are transparent too - they are available online for anyone who is already enquiring! How easy is that for you?

Any questions - get asking!

Saturday, 27 June 2015

[#WOW] Meet Nina from Kanshi Jewellery

Today is all about Nina from Kanshi Jewellery, a wife and mum of three who has a love of sparkles (who doesn't!) and the bling caught the eye to make her a WOW Winner! Here Nina tells us more.

Can you tell us a little about yourself as a person?
I'm a wife and a mum to three wonderful children, who all keep me grounded. 
They are all actively involved with Kanshi Jewellery in one way or another and are always on hand to give advice. I love gardening and all things sparkly, of course!

How did you first set up the business?
I have always had a passion for jewellery and was always on the look out for something different and unique without being over the top. I love all things Swarovski, in fact, my first piece of jewellery as a child was a Swarovski Crystal pendant which I still have to this day! The two passions came together and so started Kanshi Jewellery!

Did you ever think you’d be running your own business?
No, not at all, this has been a real learning curve for me. 

Where are you based? Do you have a shop or are you just online?
Based in Scotland. We are online.

What is the most popular product sales wise?
At the moment, it's our Rose Gold Wrap Bracelet each one unique and full of Swarovski sparkle!

Everyone has a favourite product - what is yours? 
The Swarovski Kisses is my favourite. It was chosen by Vogue for a jewellery feature and has been featured in a book by Giftwrapping guru Jane Means. 

What is your newest item / product?
I've just updated the Swarovski New Mummy Bracelets which are available in Pink & Blue. 

What is the one thing people must know about your business?
That our jewellery is affordable and each piece is lovingly handmade.

What is your proudest business achievement?
For me, it would have to be winning the #WOW award from Jacqueline Gold. 

What do you do when you aren’t working on the business?
Fun family time including girly days with my wee girl and my mum. 

What five words describe your business?
Handmade, Unique, Stunning, Timeless and Affordable

How can we find out more about you:

If you are looking for something for a gift, then really look no further! Nina offers completely affordable items - and I love the Frozen Inspired child's bracelet too! 

Friday, 26 June 2015

[Cake Smash] Scarlette has a smashing time!

I’ve had a run of girly Cake Smashes lately, and girls always make me giggle in how they attack the cake. Some are super girly and dainty with the cake - whereas some just attack it with some gusto.

Lovely little Scarlette thought it was so excited. 

However, not all children like getting their hands dirty - so the wooden spoon comes out and we start to bash the cake! 

And then children tend to eat the cake off the spoon! We cannot have children always eating with their hands! Ha! 

The great thing about our cakes being made my Nic at The Sweetest Things is that they have lots of squishy butter cream, and a little bit of butter cream goes a LONG way at making a messy cake smash! 

Working regularly with children means I can tell when they’ve had enough of the cake, or the mess, so out comes out tub to have a splash about in - and makes for some additionally cute pictures.

I'm sure you will agree that Scarlette is just a super little cutie pie!

Sunday, 21 June 2015

[Newborn] Freya Four Weeks Old

When gorgeous little Freya came in to see me she was four weeks old. I always advise parents that we do try to get babies in within the first 14 days, however I will personally photograph older as I know some newborn photographers who won’t.

This is why I wanted to share Freya’s pictures with you.

Freya’s mummy contacted me after Freya was born to see if she could book in. Freya’s mummy had been poorly, so wasn’t booked in before. 

Sometimes things like this happen, and I am flexible. I just warn parents that babies may not fully sleep - or - can take a little bit longer.

As you can see, Freya really was as good as gold. She was well behaved and mummy chilled out whilst Daddy popped to work, and then came back towards the end of the session.

Freya slept just as well as some of my younger babies do, but it is always touch and go with older babies, but it is still always possible.

Newborn sessions are booked pre-booked due to myself only booking one newborn per day into the studio. If however you do have a newborn who has already been born, please get in touch and we will inform you of our availability.

Saturday, 20 June 2015

[#WOW] Meet Michelle from Boujies London

Today we have Michelle here to tell us all about Boujies London. Michelle is the founder of Boujies London which is an Independent British Perfumer! She won a WOW and has any people choose her items for their Wedding Fragrances. Here she is to tell us more.

Can you tell us a little about yourself as a person? 
I am married with two children and the founder of Independent British Perfumer Boujies London. I live just outside Guildford.

How did you first set up the business?
I've always been interested in fragrance and a few years ago when we moved out of London, I spent a blissful summer enjoying our new garden with my first daughter who was  a toddler. Inspired by the fragrances around me I started experimenting with perfume blends and mixing up concoctions on the kitchen table. After testing them out on friends and family, the feedback was so amazing I decided to incorporate these fragrances into a range of natural wax candles and take the leap into founding my own perfume house.
Encouraged by my lovely husband, we created a vision to take raw materials and inspiration from the scents around us to create a range of fine fragrances, inspired by nature and use these to create handmade products of the highest quality.
After months locked away discovering the fragrances which would define our vision, Boujies was finally ready to launch. I started trading our candles at Spitalfields Market in London and was completely overwhelmed to sell out on our first day. During our trade launch, we took over 50 trade orders at our first show alone and had people queuing to order. We featured on national radio for product innovation and the phone did not stop ringing.
Fast-forward an amazing 5 years and we now have a range of natural wax candles, aromatic diffusers and gift sets which are sold all over the world.
How old is the business?
Boujies was founded in 2010.

Did you ever think you'd be running your own business?
I'd always dreamed of working with fragrance, but never dreamed that I would one day have my own perfume house.
Where are you based? Do you have a shop or are you just online?
We work from our offices in Surrey and have a factory on the Isle of Wight where all of our products are poured by hand by our amazing team. We have a busy schedule of events throughout the year where we sell our products directly to customers.

We also sell online via www.boujies.com and into luxury boutique retailers across the world. A booming area of our business is in supplying luxury members clubs and hotels with our products and also in supplying wedding gifts and fragrances for weddings.

What is the most popular product sales wise?
The seasons have an amazing effect on the fragrances people choose. In the summer, our lighter fragrances, Indian Vetiver and Earl Grey are always the most popular.
In the colder months, we can't make Black Ginger and Black Dahlia products fast enough. Both fragrances are dark, heavy and warming and suited to cosy days in tucked up by the fire.
Black Ginger is our signature fragrance and the most popular all year round.

Everyone has a favourite product - what is yours?
When we first started, our fragrances were showcased in candles. Everybody kept telling me to launch a range of diffusers. I wasn't convinced but when we tried our two most popular fragrances in diffuser format we sold out of both of them.

We now sell as many diffusers as candles and I love them both equally. The fragrance intensity and atmosphere you achieve from a glowing candle can't be beaten but there is also something amazing about walking into a room and being  hit with fragrance which is always there. I use different fragrances in every room so the senses are stimulated in different ways in each area in the house and each room is decorated with a different fragrance.

What is your newest item / product?
We are currently working on the launch of our eighth fragrance which is an SS15 fragrance called Pink Pomelo. It's a sparkling and uplifting citrus fragrance with top notes of yuzu, grapefruit, sweet lemon and effervescent pink pomelo - perfect for the upcoming spring/summer.
What is the one thing people must know about your business?
We pour each of our candles and diffusers by hand so can guarantee that the quality is there in each and every product. As the business has grown, I remain obsessive about retaining the same personal, handmade quality and superior performance of all of our products and fragrance blends.
What is your proudest business achievement?
The greatest pleasure I take is when customers come back and tell us that our candles and diffusers are the best they have ever had. There is nothing better than a happy customer who comes back for more.
What do you do when you aren't working on the business?
I have two beautiful children who are 5 and 7 who take up most of my time away from Boujies. I love the fact that having my own business means that I am able to pick them up from school (most days!) and do something that I truly love whilst they are busy at school.
What five words describe your business?
Independent boutique British perfumer.
Any big plans for 2015 you can share?
Behind the scenes we are working on plans for our first perfumery which will allow our customers to explore our fragrance blends in our very own shop. We are also working on our first perfume, which is not only very exciting but also something I would never have dreamed of in those early days mixing up fragrance on my kitchen table!
My long-term aim is to build a sustainable, profitable business that is proud to be British and continues to build on the reputation for excellence we have already established. I hope one day, to see Boujies products in homes everywhere, proud in the knowledge that our little luxuries are bringing a touch of my first magical summer with my daughter to homes everywhere.
How can we find out more about you:
Facebook: www.facebook.com/boujies
Twitter: @boujies
Pinterest: Boujies London
Website: www.boujies.com
Telephone: 01483 282 918

Oh I love pretty smelling things! What fragrance from the website is your favourites? I learnt so much reading this blog - thank you Michelle!

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

[Cake Smash] Pink and Purples for Ava's Cake Smash

I will be honest. Not all children who come into the studio like Cake Smash sessions. However, Ava was VERY excited as you can see from the photographs.

Our cakes are all made fresh by Nic from The Sweetest Things, and have lots of yummy cake and squishy buttercream. But it is normally the buttercream that kids either love or hate. If your child LOVES being clean and hates being messy - then even though we can use our spoon - chances are your child will much prefer a normal session or splash time session than a cake smash!

I absolutely LOVE photographing Cake Smashes as you capture the child's different reactions and the ability to watch them explore new textures and new play. They tend to "paint" with the buttercream on their hands even if they've eaten it too. We all like to have fun and play!

The different facial expressions from your children are awesome during a cake smash session. If you think that you will have less images from a cake smash session than from a standard or newborn session, a lot of the time unfortunately you are wrong.

As with Cake Smash Sessions, I try where possible to split it into three. "Clean - Cake - Tub". A few clean / family shots. Then Cake Shots and then when the little one gets bored, we get the tub out and have a splash and clean!

As you can see from these images from gorgeous Ava's Cake Smash Session, they do not have to smash all the cake for it to look like a great cake smash session as a little bit of buttercream goes EVERYWHERE!

Ava loved splashing about too! She is such a little cutie, I cannot believe how big she has gotten since I first photographed her when she was only 4 months old - and now look at her! Gorgeous little girl!

Please note I do not use bubbles in the tub - unless you provide your own.

Thank you for bringing Ava back for her Photographs!

I love returning customers and seeing them grow!

Saturday, 13 June 2015

[#WOW] Meet Katie from Katie Vale Designs

Today we met Katie from Katie Vale Designs who's mum taught her to sew but it was her willingness to want to know how to make a hat that led her to become a milliner after doing a course. Here Katie tells us more.

Can you tell us a little about yourself as a person?
I'm a 30-something, outgoing girl, I love to laugh & smile.  I have 2 fabulous nephews and I love cats.  This year I am lucky enough to be bridesmaid for the 7th time!  I love shoes!  I have a serious shoe addiction!

How did you first set up the business? 
My mum taught me to sew as a young child; I know how clothes and soft furnishings are put together.  It was driving me crazy that I couldn't figure out how you would make a hat.  So I asked for a weeks millinery course for a Christmas gift about 10 years ago.....I gave up my job and trained fully in the traditional art of millinery.

How old is the business? 
About 8 years old now!

Did you ever think you’d be running your own business? 
Erm.....no!  But I'm so very glad that I am!

Where are you based? Do you have a shop or are you just online? 
I have a studio in Barleylands Craft Village, Billericay, Essex.  My studio is open to the public 6 days a week.  So you are all welcome to come and see me at work, making a hat or fascinator.  I ship my designs all over the world.

What is the most popular product sales wise? 
The Navy Sinamay Flower attached is my most popular fascinator.  I have made this in so many different colours and sizes.  Everyone loves it.

Everyone has a favourite product - what is yours?
Ohhh that's such a tough one, as it really depends what mood I'm in.....but I would probably have to say the black polka dot inverted hat. This hat was an idea in my head....and it came out exactly just as I imagined.  I love the polka spiral and think that this hat is really quite opulent too!  It's an eye catcher & I think it's very unusual in shape too.

What is your newest item / product?
That's a really difficult one to answer, as I am always tweaking designs & changing things slightly in the studio.  I also have the issue that often, people come in and see pieces they like before I've had a chance to photograph them!  But I am working a lot on my bridal designs at present.  I'd neglected the bridal market for too long & have gone back to where I started.  You'll see lots of tiaras / combs / clips on my website soon.  But for now you can see some of my pretty bridal fascinators here already.

What is the one thing people must know about your business?
Everything I do is completely hand made from scratch by me :-)  The most common question I get asked is if I make things myself.  I think people don't expect to see milliners in everyday life....but we do exist!

What is your proudest business achievement?
I have 2 I'd say...Am I allowed 2?  :-) I was voted Most Popular Accessories Designer in the UK in the Wedding Industry Experts 2014.  That was super exciting!  And then last week one of my fascinators...in fact, a copy of the navy flower fascinator, was worn at The Cheltenham Festival.  It was in the Daily Mail & the caption said it was a contender for "Best Hat of the Day".  That made me smile a lot!

What do you do when you aren’t working on the business? I love reading & watching films!  I'm a bit of a movie buff!  But also I really enjoy going to live music events, whether it's a concert in a big arena or a small gig in a pub.  I've seen some of the best and biggest music artist perform throughout the world.

What five words describe your business?Millinery.  Couture.  Individual.  Colourful.  Craft.

Any big plans for 2015 you can share? 
Erm.....watch this space :-)

How can we find out more about you:
Twitter: @katiejaynevale
Pinterest: @katievaledesigns
Telephone: 07939 216792

I absolutely LOVE Katie's pieces - and I am totally falling in love with the Bridal Pieces too! I cannot wait to see more!

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

[Help] Using Favourites Online

One of the best ways when trying to figure out what are your favourite images to use - especially when you are choosing images for an album for portraits or a Wedding Album. When yu are logged into your gallery this is what you should see (or similar).

When you hover over an image, it will bring up a heart. If you click this heart it will change colour to red - this will put it straight into your favourites.
When you have started adding images you can see on the top left hand of the screen there is a "Favourites" and Gallery Name and then a number in brackets. This number is a quick reference to how many images you have in your favourite selection.

The other option, if there is a few on the page and you don't want to do them individually, is to click "select photos" at the top right hand side, and then click on images and these will get a "tick". Then you can click to "add to favouites" a quicker and easier way to do it!

When you click on the favourites listing it will then list the images that you have chosen into your favourites. You can add and remove from this screen. And then when you are finished - then you can send to me for design.

Just simply type in your details, and a message and hit send, and it will come straight through to myself for me to get designing!

Hope this helps! 
Any questions - just ask!
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