What is a compass point?
We've been building Phillip Ingham Photography from scratch over the last few months using some shots that we've taken during the year-mainly as personal projects. Before it "went live" I wanted to describe the direction and focus of what we want from it, but just couldn't find a way that I liked.
That was until I watched this Lynda.com course by Strobist. In it he describes having a compass-point, a direction that can be followed. That was my lightbulb moment and the description really connected with me.
I'm a chartered electrical engineer by profession-writing industrial automation software. I've always taken photographs and at one point in my educational path I was on track to follow that to some degree. I think its the perfect balance as I have the creative passion for making the art and a technical background to be able to master the details to refine the images in camera and post-production.
After watching the video mentioned above, it really made me think about the specifics and detail of the direction I wanted to head in and I realised that I'd been far too broad with my initial scope-wanting to have a crack at everything. This is something that has been backed up in many other posts and also in the Zach & Jody Gray course at creativeLIVE.
On reflection I want this venture to be something that brings fulfilment & happiness to the people that us. Those services need to be produced and delivered with passion, great care and attention.
Personally, what makes this an enjoyable hobby, must also make it an enjoyable business. So what makes it an enjoyable hobby? Capturing memories with family and friends, emotion, making art that has a personal meaning. This is what adds value, so the business must also have the family and friends vibe at its heart-by allowing us to capture family memories for our clients, whether that's weddings, new borns, birthdays, graduations...
It was extremely exciting to take on our first wedding (and the second soon followed), but also very daunting. The responsibility of capturing such an important day in people's lives could be quite overwhelming. We had to commit to shooting a few weddings, just to get the required experience to be able to move forward at all and we thank Craig, Tim, Sean & Kerry for trusting us.
It was also clear that we needed to make some decisions on what we would deliver as a business.
- I want to keep it as simple as possible, eliminating choices. Straightforward, uncomplicated honest and upfront packages that are easy to understand, with no hidden costs and deliver what clients want.
- I want to keep the focus quite narrow on families, without diverging into other areas and losing direction and enthusiasm. Spreading ourselves thinly is not what we want, we want a big thick chunk! We would only market weddings to start and see if any other follow on business came.
- Finally, it needs to stay as enjoyable as it was when it was a hobby (otherwise what's the point)?
Whilst its fabulous that we had found a focus, I still think that it is important to have an output for experimentation, development and investigation. That will come in the form of personal and community projects. We work closely with a few local charities and community projects and photograph their events. This will go along side all of the things we did when it was "just a hobby", that we enjoyed so much and hope that you do to.