I was lucky enough to be contacted by Photographer Monthly magazine who wanted to interview me about ‘Turning Pro’ for their article. Below is a copy of it featuring a couple of my gorgeous babies and the interview.
5 MINUTES WITH…
In each issue, we speak to established professionals within the photographic industry to bring you insider knowledge. This month newborn specialist photographer SARAH WILKES reveals the lessons she has learnt after being in business for just 10 months
SUM UP YOUR BUSINESS IN A SENTENCE.
I offer custom portrait photography specialising in newborns.
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN IN BUSINESS?
I have been portfolio building for the past three years but only decided to ‘bite the bullet’ in March this year.
WHAT WERE THE MILESTONES TO OVERCOME?
I knew nothing about the business side of things, so I approached a business adviser and they put me in touch with courses which have helped me and I am still learning. It was what put me off starting the business for so long.
DID YOU UNDERTAKE ANY BUSINESS TRAINING OR WORKSHOPS?
Yes I have done four courses with Business Link: The Basics, Running a Successful Business, Managing Money, and Finding Customers and Keeping Them. I have also attended the Tax Return workshop with my local Tax Office. I found them really informative and helpful, especially the Business Link ones as it really made me analyse things and think about stuff that would never have entered my head otherwise. Although there was so much information, my head was ready to explode.
WHAT IS YOUR UNIQUE SELLINGPOINT?
I think my photographs are my unique selling point; I enjoy working with my clients with positioning and props, and I especially enjoy using natural light. I get positive feedback from photographers and the public when they see the photographs on my blog. They often message me saying “wow”, as they haven’t seen this kind of style before. The work I do is new to the UK and I am very meticulous with editing, making sure every shot is the best it can be. My friends often say I am way too much of a perfectionist and can be my own worst enemy as it takes a lot of time.
WHO ARE YOUR COMPETITORS?
In the Doncaster area I don’t really have any competitors who do the kind of newborn photography I do. I have interpreted the work seen on US sites and synthesised it with my own style. My clients have come from far and wide and have not seen my style in their area.
TELL US ABOUT HOW YOU CREATED YOUR BRAND IDENTITY.
My brand is me, my maiden name is my business name. My logo has my favourite colours in it (cerise and turquoise) and is very bold. Someone once asked me, “what’s the deal with all the butterflies?” I hadn’t realised until I sat down afterwards and thought about it that I have them in my logo. I have them on the back of my car and all my books, diaries and boxes have them on; they are even dotted around my three-year-old’s bedroom. Guess I just love butterflies.
HOW DID YOU FUND YOUR BUSINESS WHEN YOU FIRST STARTED?
My credit card and I am still funding it. I wasn’t in a position to get a loan. When I started, it was just a hobby that rapidly grew into portfolio building. I bashed the plastic and am still paying it off to this day. Now that I have more regular sittings and my work is being seen more widely, I am in a position to smile sweetly at my bank manager and ask for a small business loan.
IN HINDSIGHT, IS THERE ANYTHING YOU WISH YOU HAD KNOWN OR DONE?
Yes, I would have gone to see a business adviser sooner. She was amazing and I think I would have been walking around in a daze if it hadn’t been for her.
WHO OR WHAT IS YOUR INSPIRATION?
My inspiration comes from photographers in the USA. Their style of photography is the norm there and very popular. I love the work of Kelley Ryden and Brittany Woodall from Baby as Art. Then during the sitting, the baby and family inspire me.
IF YOUR BUSINESS WERE A BISCUIT, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
I think it would be a Snickerdoodle: crisp, sweet and whimsical with an American twist.
WHAT IS THE BEST ADVICE ANYONE HAS GIVEN YOU?
“Really Sarah, you should be charging for this.”
DETAILS OF WORKSHOPS:
I offer one-to-one newborn mentoring sessions and all the details can be found on my website.