Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Afternoon Coffee Guests - with Lyndsey James Photography

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Time for an afternoon cuppa and a biccie - so sit back and have a little read of this inspiring interview; the 3rd part in the Afternoon Coffee Guest series (here's part I and part II if you missed them), to fire up your inspiration and give you some top tips to getting started in your creative career.

Today I've pulled aside Lyndsey James of Photocraft and Lyndsey James Photography to share with us how she started as a photographer and her unique business concept teaching designers, makers and sellers how to take awesome shots of their products.

Over to you Lyndsey!

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Lyndsey James Photography

1. How old were you when you first started to take photography seriously and consider it as a career option?

I left school at 16 to study photography at college, I couldn’t wait to get away I really didn’t like school at all. My dad wasn’t too happy at first, I remember him saying ‘Photography? How are you going to make a living out of that?’ Sadly my dad passed away before my career really took off.

These days I am a commercial photographer, which means I shoot products, people and places for businesses to make their brand stand out in a crowd. I choose to only work with independent businesses and love to photograph both food, and makers in their studios.

2. What made you take the leap from 9 to 5 to self employment?

There wasn’t really a leap for me, self employment was always the plan. I come from a family of entrepreneurs and grew up above a village shop. After I graduated I would sell my photos in an art gallery and used a rather dull 9-5 to pay for the gallery space rental.

I would spend my weekdays in the office job and my weekends at the gallery. Despite diving into the unknown and giving up a regular salary I have loved every second of the freedom I gained.

3. What one piece of advice would you give anyone who's sitting at their office job feeling like a drone who wants to make a go of working for themselves?

Being self employed isn’t for everyone. If you think 9-5 is full time (it isn’t) or if you like security, then stay put, no one pays you when you are sick or need a holiday so there is nothing wrong with pursuing a new project and making some extra cash alongside a secure job.

That was my sensible answer. If however like me you LOVE an adventure, run! run and don’t look back. Life is too short to hate Mondays.

4. What has been your favourite project that you've worked on with your business so far?

I’m not just a commercial photographer I have always had at least one other project on the go at the same time.

I owned a city centre coffee shop which was a lot of fun for a year before we sold it on. I also owned a lovely little gift shop once which was a lot of fun buying for, we sold photo albums, journals and all paper products, but the most exciting project is my Photocraft® brand.

In the past 6 months http://www.photocraft.org has grown so rapidly and we now have a team of 5 us working on it. We sell product photography courses online and have designers & makers from all around the world signing up to learn with Photocraft®. I get to work with some amazing small business owners and it is very rewarding seeing them go from being scared of a camera to taking product photos that I would be proud of.

I also speak at various craft/business events on the subject of how great product photography will boost your brand and have made guest appearances around Europe at events for Etsy, Folksy, Triumph and Enterprise Nation.

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Photocraft® - A Photography School for designers, makers and sellers

5. How old were you when you first took a photograph that you thought was better than alright? And what was it of? 

My first commercial shot as a student was pretty good, we had to replicate an advertising shot from a magazine and I chose Pears soap because the lighting was a challenge. It was all film back then and I was shooting on a 5x4” field camera so had no idea what the outcome would be, I remember I could only afford 5 sheets of film too!

I think with photography you are always learning though, too many people take a lucky shot and think they are a pro, but while digital editing has allowed some really bad photographers to become pros it is now going the other way. On high end shoots my images will now be wirelessly transmitted to my client as I shoot and have to all be perfect. I love that kind of pressure because I know not many
people would!

Even in my role as a photography ‘expert’ though I still don’t consider myself top of my game and still look up to those who are more experienced, despite having over a decade of experience myself. My expert knowledge lies in the power of commercial photography and my ability to explain a technical subject to technophobes, while making it fun and creative.

6. Who's your inspiration (who do you think is like, totally cool)?

I absolutely love the author Seth Godin, I read his books on marketing and other business rifts and rants over and over. I think he is super cool and is on the same wavelength, and so I adopt a lot of his ideas. Here come the noisemakers!

7. Do you have any favourite blogs or websites you regularly read?

Seth’s blog and Sweet Paul which is just full of scrummy crafts and food and lots of lovely photography...and this lovely lady who designed my engagement ring, I love her blog...


Thanks Lydnsey for giving us a super awesome insight into how you grew your photography business - as always, these Afternoon Coffee Guest interviews fill me with renewed inspiration.

{Psssst! Lyndsey has offered a great discount coupon code for readers to get 10% off her online courses > use 'angieb' (thoughtout july, august and september) and start taking those amazing photos you've always wanted - great for bloggers too!! }

Further info::
Lyndsey James is a freelance commercial photographer and the founder of the Photocraft®  photography school for designers, makers & sellers.

Her popular Product Photography 5 week online course has students from around the world signing up to learn new skills for their creative businesses. They also host shorter 1 day online workshops, free photography webinars and live classes around the UK.

Check her out - she's social!  Website // Twitter // Facebook
For more information on Photocraft courses visit :: http://www.photocraft.org