Workshop Wednesdays Vol.XI
Workshop Wednesdays vol. XI
Hannah Photography turns 6 years young this month and we feel like celebrating! Many of you will know our story, but for any new readers, we have written a little bit about the evolution of HP as the story of the week. Inspired by this reflection, we wanted to share tips and tricks for starting up your own business if this is a direction you wish to take with your photography (or anything at all really!). Just some inspiration, motivation and things we have learnt along the way…
Don’t have a back-up plan! I was very fortunate from the beginning in that there was only one thing I wanted to do: photography. Having only one focus is a huge benefit and it’s very motivating not having an alternative!
“The majority of startups who has at least two or more founders are more likely to succeed than those with one founder. Having a dedicated team of qualified employees also makes a difference when starting your own business, and startups who stick to this structure tend to do better as well.” Thanks to Olivia Pratt for being with HP for 5 of the 6 years… it wouldn’t be the same without you!
In The News
“A bride poses for photograph during a total lunar eclipse”
Photograph: Ueslei Marcelino/Reuters Brazil
This photograph in the news is an incredible example of working with your environment and going the extra mile to capture that remarkable shot – WOW!
Photo For Thought
“Boredom can be a powerful incentive. In 1997, Philippe Kahn was stuck in a Northern California maternity ward with nothing to do. The software entrepreneur had been shooed away by his wife while she birthed their daughter, Sophie. So Kahn, who had been tinkering with technologies that share images instantly, jerry-built a device that could send a photo of his newborn to friends and family—in real time. Like any invention, the setup was crude: a digital camera connected to his flip-top cell phone, synched by a few lines of code he’d written on his laptop in the hospital. But the effect has transformed the world: Kahn’s device captured his daughter’s first moments and transmitted them instantly to more than 2,000 people. Kahn soon refined his ad hoc prototype, and in 2000 Sharp used his technology to release the first commercially available integrated camera phone, in Japan. The phones were introduced to the U.S. market a few years later and soon became ubiquitous. Kahn’s invention forever altered how we communicate, perceive and experience the world and laid the groundwork for smartphones and photo-sharing applications like Instagram and Snapchat. Phones are now used to send hundreds of millions of images around the world every day—including a fair number of baby pictures.”
Personal Note: Anne is renowned for her elaborate baby photographs with intricate props. Sometimes getting a bad rap for an “over the top” approach and one which now may seem dated. Anne was the first photographer I admired and I used to love the beautiful calendars growing up. Maybe this planted the seed for my future career? Anne’s work has evolved with time and she is still an inspiration for me and an innovator for the industry.
“One of the world’s most respected photographers, Anne creates images that are iconic, award winning and beloved. Like no photographer before her, her imagery singularly captures the beauty, purity and vulnerability of children embodying her deeply held belief that each and every child must be “protected, nurtured and loved”.
Anne’s work has been published in over 84 countries and translated to 24 languages, with over 19 million books and 13 million calendars sold. A multiple New York Times bestselling author, Anne’s photography has been treasured and enjoyed by many generations. Anne has also been inducted into the International Photography Hall of Fame.
Anne also lives this message as a Global Advocate for children, working alongside the United Nation’s Foundation, the March of Dimes and campaigning for awareness of meningococcol disease.
Anne is based New York.”
How many props are too many props when photographing your beautiful creation? While I respect this style, I’ve always loved to focus solely on features, expression and relationships in a portrait more so than props. Having said that, we love a good wrap, blanket and vintage bucket! X
Ok, here we go: US! I hope this isn’t too self indulgent and I’m sorry if it’s a bit long winded (once I started writing, I couldn’t stop!)…
Growing up, I used to love looking through photo albums with my family and often there would be a collective groan throughout the house when I insisted (yet again) to look at the stacks of slip-in photo albums from the past. This (and maybe Anne Geddes) was the beginnings of my love affair with photography.
The lightbulb moment was in grade 10 at a careers day when a presenter was describing their photography business, and I thought to myself – YES, this is what I want to do with my life. So, with the help of Mum and Dad, I bought a Pentax 35mm film camera and took a few after school courses to learn how to use it.
Brisbane College of Photography and Art helped me compile a portfolio that gained me acceptance into a bachelor of photography at JCU in Townsville. Only just 17, it was a pretty big move to live on campus, a long way from home, but it couldn’t have been a more rewarding experience. Three years later, still only 19, I graduated and was ready to travel the world.
My first job as a photographer was on the Wind Surf – a small cruise ship in the Mediterranean and Caribbean. (Not quite as glamorous as it sounds I assure you – however, I was able to capture some beautiful portraits of characters like the fellow in the main photo above, standing in a shop front in Nice, France. Morocco was another favourite location for interesting faces). A year or so in Ireland working in pubs, then a very big gig with Venture Studios in Edinburgh for two years seemed like the perfect amount of time in the UK…
So this brings us to May, 2012. I arrived home ready and motivated to finally set up my business: Hannah Photography. Having not lived in the country for nearly 7 years and no job or savings, it was a miracle that I was granted a business loan to get things off the ground. There was a crossroads at the beginning where I needed to decide if I was going to work in pubs while trying to save and fund my business. Or dive straight in, get a loan and hope that I float! I can thank Mum for that gentle push and I’ve never looked back.
August 2012 is when we opened the doors of our little blue house on Riding Road, Bulimba, for the first time with just an A-Frame on the road to indicate there was a family portrait studio inside. I hit the streets and met as many businesses, locals, schools, community groups, you name it, just to get my name out there and generate some business. Finally, in September, we had some bookings! Thanks to a few key people that helped us off the ground (you know who you are!)… word of mouth referrals slowly started and is still the main factor for meeting new clients.
January 2013 we moved into our “little shop on the corner” in Norman Park and this helped put us on the map. Charlie (the cat) arrived in tiny scruffy kitten form early in the year. Then, the amazingly talented Olivia joined HP in November. We have been working hard ever since to expand our skills, refine our systems and procedures and do our best to provide the best experience possible.
Our new studio space in Annerley has allowed us to grow and fine-tune our studio portraiture. We have some exciting plans for the year/s ahead and hope you continue on this journey with us.
A sincere and heartfelt thank you to everyone who has helped us along the way. I should mention that It certainly hasn’t been an easy road with many ups and downs and moments of despair and frustration. We wouldn’t have survived this far without a massive amount of family (and husband! X) support and the faithfulness of our beautiful clients. Thank you, thank you, thank you xxx
One thing we have learnt along the way is that everything evolves, especially in the photography and business world – styles change, trends come and go. It’s important to keep up to date but also to remain true to yourself and your style.
Get a mentor! One thing I regret not doing from the outset is finding someone that has “been there and done that”. The AIPP have amazing resources for photographers at every level. Check them out here:
Also, learn online! Sue Bryce and Kelly Brown have amazing tutorials that you can watch in your own time:
And if you are wanting a business coach, we definitely recommend:
Or if you just want to learn a bit of everything, check out:
Want to do an actual, real-life course? Here are a few universities and colleges that offer great tuition:
Thank you for getting this far! We hope it’s been a worthwhile read for you and we’ll look forward to checking in next week.
Please call or email anytime if we can help.
The Hannah Photography Team:
Hannah, Olivia, Nic (and Charlie the Cat)