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About joefoxphoto

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    06 Apr 2009
  1. Is it a proper built motorhome (i.e. conversion from new with motorhome on the logbook) or a self conversion. If the latter then you probably wont get insurance, if the former I dont see why you are having the difficulty. Most normal insurances wont insure equipment in a locked vehicle after 9pm unless you are present or on a job (as full time pro). I have a motorhome and have strong boxes built in but generally wouldnt leave equipment in there regardless unless I really had to. Certain things like dye sub printers for events, its impossible to carry around and need left in the vehicle but again if they are there Im generally on a multi day job so its covered. I see a lot of new photographers with liveried vans which in most cases will invalidate your insurance on a break in but again you have to ask the questions and talk to a real person. It really depends on the type of motorhome and how you have it fitted out. Most pro insurers will underwrite you, just the cost is the issue.
  2. As others in this thread have said (and I notice a few I have emailed/phoned/skyped and vice versa) we do share tips and a lot of information, but primarily between people we regard as our peers. Like any other industry its useful to keep in touch with your 'competitors' as a small piece of information that is useless to them might be the key for you and vice versa. I was in Nashville a couple of years ago having dinner with a few music industry professionals (I was there to photograph an album creation). They mentioned a lot the 10,000 hours rule. Its a sort of unwritted rule that for anyone to start to master their craft or to truly start to earn a living at what they do, they would have to have roughly completed 10,000 hours in the role. Roughly about 5 or so years full time, something which translates in most professions. I started off doing this part time as well but after a week realised I was never going to be full time if I continued part time and went to work for a photographer a month or two in. I got more business from him in the first 2 years than I did myself. Thats the key, he knew I was serious (had given up a very well paid job, company pension the whole nine yards) and he needed someone with a lot of experience going cheap so it worked out well. I have a very good working relationship with what a lot of people would consider a main local competitor. Why? Well sometimes (as with next week) I need another photographer for a large job or simply to cover my contracts when I am away or busy. Someone who I know can do the job at least as well as I can. I often get people emailing wanting to start in the business asking me to pass on jobs and whilst its an easy email or throw away comment they dont understand the realities of what they are asking. Going back to the 10,000 hour rule. If one of my major clients (a large multinational) needs a job doing tomorrow night and Im already booked am I going to ask my colleage with about 50,000 hours experience or someone with perhaps 20 hours and none of it for anywhere near this level of client with nowhere near the level of equipment required for the job. Nobody in their right mind would do it, in any profession, so when people call us closed and grumpy they should ask what they would do in their own day jobs if someone asked them the same thing. At the minute Im helping out three students with work experience, Im just back from Liverpool talking with mixed media students on a joint project where Im the business side of things. All of that is for my benefit, our mutual benefit. Thats where you have to be, you have to be able to reciprocate on a level that other business people require and then they will take you seriously. Going to the website side of things, as Mike says for a social business it really is crucial. For pure stock photography its probably pointless as most of your output will go to agencies. I have a couple of websites and to be honest I get the vast majority of my assignment work from word of mouth. I used to work for Getty editorial and that got a lot of contacts who know a lot of contacts and so on. I have also worked for all the major companies in one particular industry here in Northern Ireland because they all get each others PR releases and company magazines, so when they see my name they google me. I really have lost count of the number of people who have called me and asked for examples of work which one or two clicks on my website would have shown them. The vast majority of my website use is backend and the front end is just a sort of online porfolio, which is woefully out of date and Ive had a new one since March but havent got round to updating it yet. Its not worth the couple of days downtime to get it sorted, which shows where I place the relevance of having a website.... ...saying that though, having a poor website (and there were a lot of cheapo couple of pages quick online ready made for photographers packages going a while ago) and obviously being a part timer from the style, content and technical aspects of the photos will kill you not just now but also in the future. I remember one person here who had a landscape of the north coast where the sunset looked like a small nuclear accident 10 miles off the coast. Im sure I wasnt the only one who saw it and now the domain has lapsed, which says a lot. The biggest advert you have in this business is yourself but noone is really going to take you seriously or hire you (except maybe the cheaper end of the wedding scale) if you arent obviously full time. When people ring up and ask if you are available they expect a quick answer, not if your boss allows it or if you can swing a working from home day or throw a sickie because if the time slips or the participants cant make it and reschedule etc etc etc... Its like running any other small business, its not exactly rocket science but it is long hard work and above all else you have to put the hours in. People here will quote you need x thousand stock images but thats more or less rubbish. I know people with portfolios 1/10 the size of mine who are earning the same or more money. I only started stock in 2004/5 as I was laid up for a while and I was working for local papers, stock was seen as a bit of a waste of time as a lot of my colleagues had tried and didnt get the returns, but as incamerastock mentions they werent shooting for the market. How do you shoot for the market, well look at whats around you and your sales. What if you dont have any sales, well see whats selling to your clients... what if you dont have any clients... Well you are probably shit out of luck at that point and stop shooting thousands until you start doing more about the market. We've all been through it and we've all learned our lessons but our lessons may not apply to you and we all continue to make different mistakes. I was sitting in a media cafe at the World Cup in Japan in 2002. Day 2 and three US journos were giving one of their local facilitators a right earful, listing all the glitches they were coming across. One of them said 'We told you about all this yesterday and you have done nothing' and the local guy with a lot of calm and dignity said 'No sir, with respect, we fixed all yesterdays problems, these are new ones.'
  3. Coming to this late but you need to look at your contract of employment Paul. Some contracts exclude working in a secondary business or at the very least you have to run them past your HR department (or whatever they are called these days) first. Secondly some contracts of employment include your lunch times and your holidays etc as paid time. This is particularly important in some weekly hours and agreed annual leave contracts (or most). If they pay you for your lunch time or allow you time off within your contracted hours, or pay you annual leave you are still effectively on their time. I know a few cases where people have come a cropper over this one. Particularly if they are involved in legal proceedings. I know one person who worked for a mulitnational and the press coverage of legal proceedings quoted their name, salary and who they worked for. Always read the small print, they could be quite legitmately entitled to use the photos. Imagine what would happen if any photos of your work place or area were used in a derogatory fashion in the press with your name against them. Thats the problem with a lot of people pretending to be/wanting to be a pro, there are so many issues beyond the just taking of the photos and thats the professional in the pro, anyone can take the photos, its the rest thats the business side of things
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