what IS Robbie up to?

November 21, 2010 § Leave a comment

Now some of you might have a vague idea what I do for a living, if you need any portable displays, exhibition equipment or graphics I’m your man.

Stylish portable displays for Cadogan Estate Event at Saatchi Gallery

However I don’t want Dimensions to be the only thing I do in my life,  but when I read scary stuff like this you realise that a photography career is probably not going to pay all the bills in the short term.  Which got me thinking about how do I make some money from photography, be creative and juggle the day job which pays the mortgage.

First thing to work out is what do you want to take pictures of, as most photographers specialise.  I’m not any different.  I like taking pictures of people and I’ve got to the level where I’m starting to take good pictures consistently. Subject sorted…lots of options with people photography – formal portraits, children, events, editorial, corporate shots etc. I can also do still life and more commercial type shots and then there is potential print sales of scenic images I’ve taken, but that’s for a future blog.

Next stage if I was 20 years younger would be get an assistant job and learn on the job, someone else takes the flak if it goes wrong on a shoot. Obviously that’s not going to happen with the day job, so I’m learning the hard way, by diving in the deep end and trying to get clients from my contacts and by building a portfolio. Which means I need to get my skill level up to pretty damn good from its current good but could be a bit quicker. At the moment it sometimes take me about 15 -20mins before I nail the shot which isn’t quick enough in the editorial world, need to nail them in 5 -10 mins. I’m also doing this in a age where anyone who picks up a digital SLR thinks they can be a photographer so there is a lot of competition out there and I need to stand out.

Which leads on to the meat of this post,  I need to build up my portfolio and also get quicker at finding the best image in the shortest period of time. Best way to do this is practice. It struck that me that my wide and varied group of friends (and friends of friends) with interesting careers, hobbies, children would make excellent subjects. Now combine this with everyone’s increasing online presence –  their own websites, blogs, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, dating sites etc etc  – all of which need populating with decent pictures in my opinion if you want to impress your audience.

That’s where I come in, for the next 12 months or so I want to take lots of portraits, both studio and environmental ones to build up my portfolio. This is going to free of charge to friends, unless its for an actual business where I think its only fair that I charge a little bit. The kind of shots I want to take are best illustrated by the shoot I did with my friend Peter. He’s a keen gardener and has an allotment where he grows fruit and veg. I’d scouted the location and spotted some great sheds that would make excellent back drops for environmental portraits. I wanted to take a profile portrait that could be used to illustrate a newspaper article on people and their allotments.

We spent a couple of hours creating the shots below and enjoying what turned out to be the last of the warm autumn sun. Now that you all know what I’m trying to achieve, please get in touch if you have any ideas for photoshoots over the coming year. I’ve also got few of my own ideas and will be approaching some of you… you’ve been warned.

All the best…Robbie


Male portrait sitting in garden shedMan sittting down in vegetable garden


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