I get a lot of emails from young folk asking me if they can do work experience with me or can they be my apprentice.
This is something that I offer as I am just one person and really they would be better in a larger studio, where there is a lot going on constantly as I often think that if they realised what a day in the life of a sole trader photographer was like they may change their minds ;-) although maybe not :-)
As a Professional Photographer I will plan my whole week when I look at my diary, so that when somebody calls me up and wants to book in their wedding/commercial shoot/ family or equestrian photo shoot etc I will look at the week as a whole - for instance if I have a wedding to shoot on a Friday followed by another on the Saturday I take the Thursday off - well apart from answering the phone and emails of course. The last thing you want to do is a full days' commercial shoot if you have two days of weddings - you need to feel rested and ready for the long days ahead. If I have a wedding booked in on a Saturday I still make sure I at least have Friday afternoon off - I visit friends or family, take my dogs with me and have some time out, to feel fresh and rested for their wedding day.
I see this as a responsible thing to do, I have to feel relaxed and refreshed to get the best shots for the couple on their wedding day.
If I have a week with no weddings, it will generally play out with Sunday is my day off - so Monday first thing I check my emails and reply as needed. I may write a few blogs for the week - or if I have a commercial shoot booked in, I'm straight off to the studio or location - once I've walked the boys of course :-)
when I get back from the shoot I download the photos straight away to my hard drive. If it's a half day shoot and I don't have an afternoon shoot or client appointment booked in I will start the edit and get the images uploaded for the client as soon as possible.
Evenings can also be spent editing, or writing blogs and answering emails if I have a busy week - or I use them to meet wedding couples who want to meet me and get their date booked into my diary. This makes for a late finish, so I try not to do more than one evening a week, although during December, January and February this can often turn into two or three evenings a week......these are popular months for wedding bookings.
Other jobs to get done during the day, keeping your accounts up to date, replying to emails, commercial client enquiries, shooting for libraries - I shoot for several image libraries including Getty, Alamy and Shutterstock, this provides another stream of income from my photography, but you also need to keep shooting fresh material for libraries. I also work for a couple of agencies in London and they need to be supplied with fresh images too, they will send out want lists and so when I get a spare half day I will shoot images specifically for them.
Every couple of weeks I usually have horses to photograph, working dogs to photograph, I have been photographing on a pheasant shoot for the season just gone, so their shoot days have to be worked into the diary also.
Not forgetting of course, the editing and print ordering that goes along with all of the photo shoots. A lot of people think that being a photographer is getting to go out and take photographs everyday and they don't realise that you then have to invoice clients and do your books and get prints ordered and plan your working week/Month and year.
I also put my holidays and weekends off into my diary, as taking breaks throughout the year is really important to keep you fresh and rested, otherwise you will burn out.
I am not complaining, far from it, I am a busy photographer which is great, I work for myself and I love what I do and I appreciate that without all of my clients that would not be possible, but it is not luck that has got me where I am, it is hard work and long hours and an absolute love for what I do and if you don't have the love, passion and live, eat and breath wanting to be a photographer then I would say don't do it, as there are so many photographers that are all consumed by what they do that you will not compete with them. It is not really a 9 to5 job when you work for yourself.
Life is never dull though and I get to meet some amazing people and some wonderful animals and I have traveled to some really fabulous places, the hard work is worth it for the rewards of loving what I do and doing what I love - plus when I work form home I have my dogs with me and I have a husband who understands that his wife can't seem to live without her camera - or her mac. If you have any questions about being a full time photographer or anything else please feel free to email and ask. I hope you all love what you do as much as I do. Life really is too short to live any other way.x