Saturday, 26 February 2011

Costa Coffee or Starbucks?

This is a quick blog post..... I know have been pretty quiet recently since the chaos and excitement of Photo Camp and planning for my studio opening.

I have a lovely friend and her name is Andrea....go and have a look at her website Andrea Ellison Photography. I met Andrea via Facebook and have always loved her work, she has a way of making you feel really involved in her photography and the stories that she tells of the people she is photographing, she remembers little details about the couples whose Weddings she captures, she is loud, funny and amazingly creative.....but.....and its a big But (not her butt....thats just the right size...!) she suffers with the occasional confidence crisis and doubts her ability, I know that we all do at times and it is usually what pushes us to improve and build on what we have. recently Andrea mentioned that another Wedding Photographer has started in business near her and she was concerned, I am betting that she started to question her own pricing, style packages....... again I know a lot of photographers who have experienced the same thing, we all worry about the other photographers in our area, are they better than us, will we be able to compete? 

Well I was in Liverpool today and walked along the road near the lovey bombed out Church in the city centre, Mike and I went for coffee in Costa and while I was sat there I noticed that Starbucks was directly opposite and  Nero was a few doors away.... it made me think of Andrea, all of these shops serve coffee, and food, and they were all busy, they are aware that the other shops are competition but they work on their own style and brand....they are not panicking and cutting their prices.... they realise that there is a coffee shop for everyone....I like Costa, Craig loves Starbucks....and we are loyal to each of them.

So Andrea, your customers love you... you are your unique selling point, there is a photographer for everyone, some will love you and some will love someone else......but that's ok, I know how hard you work to constantly improve your skills and I have seen how your hard work has paid off, you are just getting better and better with every shoot you do and if Mike ever has a crazy moment and pops the question and I have a crazier moment and say yes then you are the only person I would think of to take my photographs xxxxxxxx

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Photo Camp 2011..... I cannot believe its over!

Wow, where did the time go! This time last week I had butterflies constantly and now, looking back its all a little bit of a blur....not just because of the alcohol I might add!
So... Photo Camp, it started as an idea from a previous workshop I did where a bunch of Photographers just enjoyed being together, sharing ideas and techniques.... the Walkabouts then just grew and grew and when I listened to the feedback from the days there seemed to be a need for something more and so the idea of a residential weekend ended up being just for the girls and I am not even starting to justify the reasons why but I did enjoy reading the comments from my male photography friends.... they seemed far too keen to wear a dress just so that they could come along, Chris, John, Warren and Paul.... I am concerned about all of you!

I wanted the weekend to be aimed at women who were starting out in business, to come along and get inspired, learn from others and gain confidence, this was not a teaching workshop- I certainly do not count myself as a Photography tutor but I think I have got the hang of organising and facilitating.
I was lucky enough to be able to use waterside Lodge Scout headquartes, a great location by the Marine lake, right by the sea, usually its Cubs and Scouts that have sleepovers there , not a bunch of slighly excitable photographers all trying to get the top bunk! I was even luckier to have Mike and Craig do the catering for me, but they did more than that..... they managed to keep me calm in the run up to the weekend and regular hugs from Mike through the weekend were very welcome! I also had tons of help from Lindsay who has a background in events management and came up with fantastic ideas to make the weekend extra special - she was also resposible for the gorgous cupcakes and Claires suprise birthday cake - thank you Lindsay for all your help - pop along to her lovely Blog all about her scrummy baking Totally Baked.

So on a rather grey Saturday morning 16 photographers came along to Southport, many of them knew each other as 'virtual friends' on Facebook and Flickr and it was lovely to put names to faces and get to know everyone. The morning was spent discussing business and marketing and I was so very lucky to have Sarah Thomas who travelled from South Wales to be with us. She showed the most amazing generosity, sharing so much with the group, discussing how she started her business and also looking at branding and marketing. I have admired Sarah for a long time, her skills both as a photographer and as a businesswoman blow me away and I and want to say a Huge Thank you to her.

In the afternoon we had 3 amazing models, Kayleigh Jo, Holly Roberts and Gwenaelle Sanchez and Sian Faulkner was the fantastic Make up artist. The girls split into small groups and did a studio lighting workshop with Andy Schofield and a natural light shoot whilst dodging the raindrops! The evening soon came round and we headed off for 10 pin bowling - I never did hear who won- and plenty of Chinese food. The rest of the evening seemed to get more and more blurry so I will let the others fill in any gaps!

Sunday morning started with  a gorgous full English breakfast and then it was straight into shooting, Kayleigh Jo came back and was joined by Casey Allum and Jamie Spencer. Make up was provided by Angharad Trenear and Kelly Fairfield worked her usual hairstyling magic. The girls worked with all the models in the sand dunes, around Waterside Lodge and also indoors, trying some off camera flash techniques

 So now its over....... I loved it, I loved organising it and seeing lots of little ideas forming, I loved the fact that the models have said that they want to come back as its the best fun that they have had on photo shoots, I loved meeting people that I have only known on Facebook and Flickr and feeling that I have just made a new bunch of friends, I loved how much everyone was willing to share, I loved how all our sponsers were amazingly generous.... are you getting the idea that I had a good time???? Will I do it again.....thats a big fat yes!

 Ditzy Doll

 Florabella Collection 

Tiny Box Company    

Kristen Caldwell 

Pixel Lounge

Kori and Kate

MCP actions

Little Castle Designs

Isabelle lafrance

Melissa Davis


The Album Cafe

Photographers Wall Display Guides

Face Media Group

Easy as Pie

On the Spot Studio

Pop along to these fantastic sites...oh and would you mention that I sent you along????

My final thank you is to Claire Penn who managed to put this amazing list of sponsors together -thank you Claire - you are a wonderful friend xx

Thursday, 3 February 2011

My new office!

Jo Rutherford Photography officially has a home now! Those of you who came on the Walkabouts at the Farm last year will recognise it of today I have  summer lease of the building that was the gift shop and I will get to see Farmer Brian every day.... what more could I ask for... actually hunky men with gifts of cupcakes again would be good... maybe I can book Dan for the opening day!

The location is stunning, fields behind me and a duck pond in front, the ruins of the old manor house in the woods and St Catherines Abbey ruins just a short walk away and cake is always available in the cafe! There is plenty of work to do to get it ready for customers...... I am hoping to eventually have a small studio in there and it will mainly act as a working base and gallery for me. You will all be very very welcome to pop in and say hello and the first few Walkabouts are going to be held here.

View from my front door

And so the hard work begins....... watch this space xxx
© Jo Rutherford Photography
CoffeeShop Designs