I’m a professional photographer based in Hythe, Kent. I primarily photograph weddings in the UK and France. I am also commissioned for other types of photography such as family shoots and commercial work. I work with my partner and we are both passionate about photography since sharing a darkroom in the good old days of monochrome and celluloid.
We’ve been fortunate enough to be able to extend our photography abroad, and destinations have included the South of France and Las Vegas. Commercial photography is another aspect to the business that I really enjoy.
I love working with businesses, from start-ups to corporations, helping them to develop their brand through professional imagery. This can involve shooting a new menu for a Michelin starred chef, interior images for a hotel, product photography or head shots of individuals within a company.
Location – Hythe
We’ve lived in and around the Hythe area for some years now. It seemed a great place to build a business, especially with the regeneration of Folkestone that has been going on for a while and now it really seems to be paying off.
This area offers such a diverse range of locations for photography on our doorstop, beautiful villages, dramatic coastal scenes as well as great urban back drops with places like Canterbury. Plus it’s very easy as well to get to London in just over 50 minutes on the high speed train.
For us, accessibility to France is another important factor in living and working in the area, with the Channel Tunnel and Eurostar being right or our doorstep. We spend a lot of time of time in France for both business and pleasure and it means we have the convenience of the best of both worlds.
Advantages of Hythe
We had a photography studio in the heart of Hythe for a while, and this was a fantastic experience, both personally and professionally. Clients now prefer more organic shoots either outdoors or in their own homes, which fits with our own style and preference.
I’ve got to know a lot of local businesses over the years and built up many lasting relationships that have been a huge asset to me personally as well as the business. I’ve found Hythe and Folkestone to be a really friendly and supportive place to run a business.
Funding and Support
I’ve not received or accessed any funding as yet. I have funded the business myself to date. This year has been exceptionally busy, needing on occasions to use additional photographers, and so a future requirement may be to look into options such as the government’s apprenticeship scheme.
Support and networking has been an integral part of developing my business. Business mentoring was very useful in the beginning in helping me develop skills such as marketing and encouraging me to try new things for the business. I have got to know many colleagues in the wedding industry locally, from attending local networking and business meetings, as well as wedding fayres.
It can be quite lonely and stressful at times running your own business, working from home with no colleagues to chat to or share the work with! So being able to share experiences with others has been really useful, as well as opening up opportunities for working with other businesses.
There are a few photographers in the area who I refer couples to if I am already booked, and vice versa. The online community has been particularly useful too, with social media providing an excellent platform for marketing my business as well as making new friends and contacts across the world!
The most important advice I would offer is the ability to network across as many different platforms as possible. Chat to everyone, be open-minded – you never know who you might meet, who you can help, and who can help you. It works both ways.
I love collaborative working and in my industry I enjoy planning styled shoots with other like-minded professionals when I get the time, to create something a bit different. I believe social media is the key to a successful business these days – find which one suits your personality and your business. Get support in the areas that you don’t have time to develop or have no interest/skills in. I have a fantastic accountant, and am just about to revamp my website.