Jumping into photography online

Okay so lets first establish that although I love photography, at the start of this year I was and still am as far away from a professional as you could get. Most of the photographs I have taken have usually been the ones taken at the write place at the write time. I wanted to try and move away from that, and instead move more towards being able to take a planed photo.

I had a photo blog and a flicker account that I had used in previous months, but it had been a while since I posted anything to it. After going to the photography show I started using the blog more adding new photos nearly on a weekly basis. But I also used my Instagram page and added my photos there too. I followed a number of different photographers on Instagram, who I am constantly inspired by. I then found a site called ViewBug which I had made an account on it a few years ago but had not posted any photos to it. ViewBug is more of a contest website, where there are a number of challenges and contests posted by other photographers.

I liked using the ViewBug site because it encourages people to pick out their best photographs and sometimes if I don’t have a photo for a particular contest I will go out and take it instead, this has lead me to plan out some of my photos. There a number of badges and a point system to encourage people to use the site and build up contacts. People can vote on your photos and like/ award your photos, they get points for this, these then encourage people to build up a supportive community.

I have attempted to build up more contacts throughout these websites, using Twitter to collaborate and direct people to view them. In the past I have shared the posts and photos to my Facebook profile, but I have found that due to the simple fact that I have a larger following on Twitter more people are likely to see the posts and follow them through to the sites. While for the most part this promotes these particular sites to potential customers it does also allow me to show off my work. Over the past couple of weeks I have noticed an increase in the number of impressions and engagement in my Twitter posts.

March 1,170 Impressions

April 3,927 Impressions

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I also took part in this years annual Photo Club exhibition ‘Within these walls’ in which I wanted to take photos that explored the inner and external anxieties that people feel, and how this can sometime prevent people from achieving their potential.

So far I have improved my photography, I have been using Adobe Lightroom more to edited my photos, which has become easier due to shooting primarily in RAW.

Photo Blog

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Going to the Photography Show 2017

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There are moments when you meet people who just inspire you. This year I went to the photography show feeling a little lacking in ideas and inspiration. But after listening to some world renowned photographers and their experiences and seeing some of their work it makes you want to get up and go.

I didn’t come with a plan, I hadn’t looked into who was going to be there and like last year I thought that I would end up going from stall to stall looking at all the beautiful equipment that frankly I couldn’t dream of affording. But I instead I ended up going to some of the free talks being put on around the venue. One that I found interesting was a talk given by Lara Jade, who talked about fashion photography and her experience of getting into photography. She has fast become one of my favorite photographers. One thing that I found interesting is her experimentations with light and placing objects in front of the camera lens, often using the things around her to create her photography.

Lara Jade was one of many different speaker I saw that day. After, it left me wanting to hear more. I was a little sad when it came to leave. But I left with a spark of ideas and lots of inspiration.

Guest Speaker, Jonny Fewings

The third speaker was Jonny Fewings working in Media Consultancy. While the basis of the talk was more to do with final information and making films, I did find it informative and interesting. I can not see myself making films anytime soon but never the less there was useful advise for planning and budgeting, which could be useful in a number of media profession. One thing that I hadn’t realized before was that films can be brought at both ends of the spectrum, from already being filmed and edited to a simple script. The different films along this spectrum carry different risks. For example a company could buy a film in the early stages (script) it would cost less to buy, but a lot more money is needed for the production. However on the other hand you could buy a already made film, which is more expensive and then the film isn’t successful in the cinema. There are a number of thinks that he mentioned to consider, such as budget control, Effects, Location, Music, Technology and Funding. While much of this is to do with producing films I think I could use it in conjunction with Photography and social media management. For example, in order to produce a cost effective social media campaign I have to take into consideration how am I going to create this content. Which might lead into budgeting for a photo shoot, or using specific software to create images and posts.

Jonny Fewings also went into potential funding, and how to gain access to that funding in order to make a film. Although it would take a lot of planning it made me understand that even I could potentially make a very low budget film to a high quality. It makes these massive Hollywood successes feel a little less out of reach to achieve.

Guest Speaker, Natalie Cheary

Natalie Cheary was the second guest speaker we had talk to us, she explained to us her background in the PR industry and her career progression. As she stated in her talk she ‘started off by annoying the spice girls’ but then she started to work with them on their merchandise deals. Once she moved into freelance work it gave her access to a wide range of projects. This idea of freelance work dose sound more and more appealing, it would allow me to work across a wide range of companies and platforms. However as suggested with freelance, half the battle is building up contacts and being able to use those contacts successfully. Other wise no one will know about you and so they wont want to work with you. One of the main bits of advice I took away from this talk was the idea of making yourself indispensible, by learning a wide verity of skills. Also if you have skills such as photo editing and film production/ direction then this makes you invaluable to the company, as they don’t need to out source for that and instead have an in house production staff. PR itself is based on relationships and connections as a PM manager you have to be the connection between the media and your client. That being said while building up a rapport with your client, you also need to build up contacts and a rapport with the press. This way you can have better access to the stories that might run. Telling a Journalist ‘No comment’ or ‘you can’t run that’ is ill advised, as it hurts the relationship you might have with that journalist and also they will run the story anyway. Having an honest relationship with the press will allow you to be able to talk off the record when needed. There is a high turn over in the PR industry. In the PR industry you need to market yourself through networking and building up contacts, as being able to get your client to the right paper or on the right program can be made easier if you build up more contacts.

Applying for too many things at once. One bad experience.

While on the one hand, applying for everything and anything will indeed get you a response from some companies, it will also make your time available to companies that aren’t quite what your looking for.

This is one experience I had recently, where I applied for a dozen or so companies and got responses from three in particular, all being marketing positions and all of them using the method of ‘direct marketing’. At first I was very excited, I rushed at the opportunity to go for an interview and quickly arranged an one with each of the three companies. I went online to further research each of these companies, and their managers. This was in order to prep myself for the usual questions ‘What do you know about our company so far?’ ‘What made you choose this company?’ ‘Why are you interested in marketing?’, those are the questions I would of expected to be asked.

But as I went online I found that two out of the three companies had been located in the same building, I thought maybe it was an office building, shared by a number of different companies, it didn’t seem odd at first. Then I went a little deeper and discovered that one of those companies had recently moved to the new location and had in fact shared the same office space as the third company. In all they all new each other, this might not be uncommon, but when doing my research all this started to ring alarm bells. I soon discovered a site that allowed you to look at a companies declared finical statues and information about the company. All three were on this site, with one having a declared net worth of £2 and thousands of pounds lost from the previous years. Leading to the suggestion that it was a company on the decline, perhaps the very reason for the relocation.

This dose not include the number of employee reviews I found of each of the companies, going into detail how three step interview process was made in order to entice people into the role with the promise of managerial positions after a short period of four to eight months of team work and training. But in reality very few people make it to that managerial role at all. There were many people who felt that they had been cheated out of their time, as the position was not as advertised in the description and often people would be asked back for an ‘observation day’ in which they would do a full day of work with out being paid, only to find that they were expected to go door to door attempting to sell to home owners. This is what the term ‘direct marketing’ is usually associated with, researching potential customers and where they live so that people can go to their homes, their places of work and in their retail environments (shopping centre’s) in order to gain sales. It goes without saying that potentially vulnerable could be taken advantage of with this type of campaign, which in itself is morally questionable.

There was one more thing that I found while doing my research about the companies, press articles had been released by each of the companies had been released on the same site. This in itself is not odd and completely normal especially for a publication to do with marketing and business. However it was the similarity in syntax that looked oddly familiar in all three articles.

Company 1 ‘long-lasting business relationships between brand and consumer which often leads to increased customer acquisition, brand awareness and brand loyalty for their clients.’

Company 2 ‘long-lasting and personal relationships between brand and consumer which often leads to increased lead generation, brand awareness and quality sales for their clients.’

Company 3 ‘This drives long-lasting and personal business relationships between brand and consumer which, in turn, often leads to increased customer acquisition, brand awareness and brand loyalty for their clients’

Finally after all of that and a little part of me saying it’s a waist of my time, I went to the first two interviews I had organized them on the same day, because they were in the same building. I went into a small waiting room with a desk and lots of couches with people sitting on them. I was told to fill out the information sheets to both companies and then wait my turn. While waiting the two receptionists phone numerous people telling them they had been selected for an interview, all the while people where flowing into the waiting room and asked to fill in a sheet for what I gathered to be four separate companies.

The interviews where very brief, lasting what only felt like ten minutes and mostly going into work the company did and the progression path to a managerially role, as I have said before these are to entice people into thinking they can earn lots of money. But what is not made clear is that the employees are classed as contractors and therefore self employed, meaning there is no safety net in place, if you get sick and can’t work its not the company’s responsibility to give you sick pay. This leads to the final observation when going to these interviews, it is purely commission, meaning there is no minimum wage in these positions.

After all that I had released that these companies where not the type of place I wanted to work for or with. And so I had decided not to go to the third interview.

This might be a long winded post but the main point of it was to show the importance of doing research before you go to a interview. You might not like what you find out.

Website design for a restaurant.

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I offered my services to the restaurant that I work at to create a website for them to use temporarily. I used Jimdo an online template website and re designed the layout to better fit the restaurant. The main purpose of the website was to put information such as menus online making it more easily available and accessible to customers.

I used a mixture of photos taken by my manager of some of the food along with some photos I took of the interior of the restaurant in order to reflect the atmosphere of the restaurant and the quality of its food.

The website can be found at the link below.

The Windmill Inn

Writing a Cover letter.

Each time I applied for a position I would go over the outline of the internship and focus on the tasks in the description, tailoring my cover letter to show the aspects of my self that would best suit that position. This would often mean that I would be sat for hours going over the Cover letter, it would often take me a day to really write something that I thought the employers wanted.

I thought that the cover letter was as important as the CV. Often the CV is a very important part but it is the Cover letter that really gets companies to know you. During one phone conversation about a internship, I was told ‘we don’t really look at the CV, we focus more on the personal statement’ This is more than likely due to the fact that it gives a better understanding of you as a person, and your writing skills. With ‘Professional oral and written communication skills’ often being one of the top requirements in any job descriptions, a well written cover letter will help tick off that first requirement.

Third times the charm

As I have put in a previous post; updating your CV when looking for work seams to be a constant thing and some times you need to change the layout completely to get the results that you wanted. When I first started this year I was told that because I was on a creative course my CV had to look creative too. Because it would give employers an idea of my style and if I used a design tool like Indesign it would also show my knowledge of different software. But the issue I found was when ever I would send a professional company that CV, I wouldn’t get a reply. They would probably take one look at it and thinking to them selfs she doesn’t take herself seriously so why should we?

This led me to change my CV to a more traditional format, but containing information more tailored  to a media position, playing to my strengths in Photography, customer relations, team work and my knowledge of different software.

Previously I had zero offers for interviews, with some companies simply not replying at all. This was probably out of nine jobs and internships.

In the space of a week, I have had phone calls and emails from five companies to talk about a potential job or placement. And I have had two interviews so far. I would be the first to admit that those are out of twelve applications submitted the grievous week. But that being said five out of twelve is a whole lot better than nothing at all.

One thing that I have discovered from this writing and re writing of CV’s and cover letters is this, be creative in your portfolio, show examples of your work, make it look as beautiful or stylish as you like. But when it comes down to the CV, people want to know you can take yourself seriously and that you can be professional not just creative.


Emma Lawson’s CV

Guest Speaker, Lauren Bromley.

The first speaker to come and talk to us was Lauren Bromley She explained her progression into the position that she is currently in, as a social media manager. Her main advise was make sure that it is right for you, as she had found that the hours were not a typical 9 to 5 job and so if its not something which interests you in the long run it might not be for you. She suggested also to do your research not only into a professional job but also at a internship level, this can be done by asking the right questions online, going to career talks and events. Some key skills, which she associated with the position, are Communication skills, Hardworking, Adaptability (in order to keep up with the latest information) and being prepared for anything. It could be suggested that thee skills are ones shard by a number of different industries in the media sector and the marketing sector.

Moving back to the idea of asking the right questions, She used as example of her own experience where she didn’t ask the right questions about a position, leaving that position relatively early on due to feeling that it was not the right position for her. There were a few questions, which might be useful to remember from her talk. What did you expect from me? And what am I expected to do on a day-to-day job? These questions I think would be very helpful in multiple interview situations. Would this be the type of career that I want? I do like the idea of being able to be creative and having a level of flexibility to my work, as she said that one day she could be writing a social media post and then the next be on a photo shoot for a client’s campaign. The dedication to the job and the hours, are one thing that I think might make me hesitant for going for such a position, that being said once graduated from university the commitments on my time would be reduced.