Back to Business

Following the government’s announcement that hotels, B&Bs and campsites can reopen from the 4th of July this week I have been very busy planning my workshops for the autumn. I also gave my first ever camera club talk. Perhaps things are starting to look up.

Lake District Landscape Photographer Chris Sale on the summit of Beda Fell

Monday 29th June 2020

Now that the government has announced that hotels, B&Bs and campsites can reopen from the 4th of July it is time for me to start planning my autumn workshops.

I have put together a schedule that runs from the beginning of September to the end of November. Only time will tell if I can sell all of them.

Tuesday 30th

The weather has been pretty poor for the last few weeks. Over the weekend we had a lot of wind and rain. As a result I have no video to post tonight.

Determined to get out this morning to film something I set off this morning at 02:30 to climb Cat Bells. As I loaded the car I noticed that it was pretty windy still. Not my favourite conditions for filming.

As I drove in the direction of Penrith it started to rain, getting heavier and heavier the further away from home I got.

I got about halfway between Penrith and Keswick before I made the decision to turn back. I was back in bed by 04:00.

Without a video to post this evening I have little choice but to release one of the interviews that I filmed with Mrs Sale during lockdown.

Wednesday 1st July

Finally a break in the weather! The wind and rain of the past week has been replaced by almost perfectly still conditions.

I took the opportunity to explore Beda Fell close to Ullswater. What a place!

The short climb has to be one of the best that I have encountered in the far eastern Lake District. And the views all around are a photographer’s dream.

All the time I was up there I could not stop thinking ‘this would be the perfect place to bring clients’.

Lake District Landscape Photographer Chris Sale on the summit of Beda Fell
On the summit of Beda Fell – a wonderful location that I hope to be able to bring clients to at some point in the future.

Thursday 2nd

Today has been a long time in coming. My first ever talk to a camera club.

My friend Nick Ellam, who joined me for my final 1-2-1 before lockdown, is a member of the Holmes Chapel Photographic Society and invited me to speak to them.

I am no stranger to public speaking having presented at many conferences during my time with Sky.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic the talk was conducted over Zoom. As a result there was little if any feedback from the audience which at times I found difficult.

I think the talk was well received. I certainly look forward to doing more in the future.

Living the Dream - my journey from novice to professional landscape photographer
The title slide for my first ever talk to a camera club which uses 100 of my favourite images to illustrate my journey from novice to professional landscape photographer.

Friday 3rd

Views on my YouTube channel have been very low recently and so I notice even the smallest up tick.

I was therefore pleased to see a jump in the views on my video on How Including Foreground Interest Can Add Depth to Your Landscape Photographs. I noticed in the YouTube analytics that a large amount of traffic had been coming from the Fstoppers website.

My videos have been featured a few times now, often by Alex Cooke their editor in chief.

It is wonderful when a website as widely respected as Fstoppers features one of your videos. I always see a little boost in views and this one could not have come at a better time for me.

My video on Fstoppers
My video on using foreground to add depth to a landscape photograph featured on the Fstoppers website. Editor in Chief Alex Cooke has been extremely supportive and I always appreciate it when he features one of my videos.

Saturday 4th

Normally you will find me moaning about the negative comments that I get on YouTube. This week however my experiences have been completely the opposite.

I have to admit to being a little disappointed by my images from Beda Fell. Conditions weren’t idea and it was very overcast with very little direct light.

I very nearly didn’t release the video. That would have been a mistake. Since I released it yesterday it has been my best performing video for more than a month.

But it wasn’t the number of views that surprised me. It was the comments.

Everyone has been so kind about the images that I captured that I have started to see them in a different light. If so many other people like them I must be missing something.

It is a good feeling to received unexpectedly positive feedback. A moment I shall savour.

The small pool at the top of Beda Fell
My favourite shot from the summit of Beda Fell – the feedback that I have had has been unexpectedly positive.

Sunday 5th

Today I made a start on marketing my new talk to camera clubs.

I started by checking out the website the Photographic Alliance of Great Britain. In there I found a list of the member federations including Chilterns Association of Camera Clubs.

Their website rather conveniently lists all of their members. As I have ties with the area (I was born in Aylesbury and educated in Tring) I have decided to start here.

It seemed as good as place as any.

26 thoughts on “Back to Business”

  1. Hello Chris. A much more encouraging week than of late, and I really hope that it is the upward slope to success that you so richly deserve. On the subject of camera clubs, I’ve had a lot of success by just reaching out to them directly as most have websites. I used the same resources, so started at the PAGB, and then got the region federation names, and from there the actual list of clubs. One thing I did find though was that – at this time of year – most clubs have their programmes filled for the next season already. One of the best times to do the approach is from about March onwards when clubs then look to start booking up their next season slots. I also took up competition judging for camera clubs, and chose a style that was not necessarily the traditional, again as a way of getting onto clubs programmes and in front of interested people. In my judging commentary I always try to mention a workshop event, or a funny comment said by a participant just to quietly get the message across that “I run workshops”. I also always take flyers for the workshops, although whilst we are virtual that will not work at the moment. One other thing I started to do a few years ago was to host camera club days out, i.e. a group workshop for a fixed fee. The margin on them is not so great, but again, I’ve then gained 121 bookings off the back of those group events because I’ve been able to show where a participant can gain. Camera clubs are an excellent opportunity because you are already speaking to an interested audience. I’ve also been invited by a couple of natural history groups too, but they have been few and far between. Hope this recount of my experience is of help. All the best.

    1. Hi Huw – thanks for this, invaluable insight as always. I looks like I am going to have to contact each club individually via the contact form on their website. Not particularly efficient. Do you know of a better way? Thanks for the tip about March – I will make sure that I am on the ball when the time comes next year.

      1. No worries chap. More than happy to share experience. With regard to contact, I’ve always found that the individual approach is far more likely to result in a response as opposed to the “mail shot”. Adding a personal spin to an approach is more likely to be read in the first instance. So you can add bits about where you used to live and the places you visited when you contact clubs around the Aylesbury area for example. Also, if a club is a distance from you then you can also be up front about expense costs, and about accommodation options too. Far better for these items to be pointed out early rather than found out just as you are about to confirm a date. I notice that Melvin had a snippet from a virtual presentation he did on Facebook – might be worth grabbing something similar for yourself so that you can point clubs at it so that they get an idea as to how you’d come across. I know that individual approaches is a ball-ache, but if you have a standard para that you can just add a personalisation to, and a tailored expenses summary depending on distance then it isn’t too bad. I do all this up front in an Excel spreadsheet, and then just spend an evening churning them out. On the sheet, I also mark how many responses so I can track progress. One last thing is that I always contact all clubs regardless of whether they respond or not. Some clubs go through entire committee shakeups that completely changes their approach and attitude, so it is always worth trying just in case.

        95% of my club bookings are now virtual up to December this year, although there are one or two that have still asked whether I’d be prepared to attend a socially distanced hall evening.

        Hope this is helpful fella. Have a good week. All the best.

  2. The clouds are lifting (figuratively & literally) Chris! Welcome news after such a challenging Spring for you. Autumn seems such a long time away given the slow drudge of Summer at the moment. Here in NY, we’ve been having hot humid weather, along with no rain, which really does sap the energy & creativity. But I still try to get out a few evenings a week. A bit of news – I broke down and bought a drone (Mavic Air 2)! It’s been fun learning to fly, but I’m focused on using it more for the Autumn colors. Cheers to new beginnings! Stay safe out there.

      1. I really do like it Chris. More than I thought I would! I certainly have a lot to learn about flying, but it is very intuitive. The Air 2 is a perfect size and provides just about everything I’d ever want in a drone (good/very good RAW images and occasional videos). I’ve packed it with my smaller camera kit so it’s easy to bring along. For photography, I think it will provide more opportunity to capture unreachable locations or unique perspectives. Let’s hope! I’ve taken a bit of a break from IG lately but will be back later in the Summer – certainly for Autumn. I see you’re back at it! : )

        1. I’m pleased to hear that you are enjoying it. I look forward to seeing the shots on Instagram. Yes, I am back on IG now. I need to invest a bit more time in it. It’s one of those things that we ‘have’ to do in this game. 🙂

  3. Great to hear all the good news. Your hard work is paying off. I was watching one of your latest videos and I was wondering if you have done any night photography at those sites. Seeing those cairns, those open spaces, and probably very little light it would seem like a great opportunity for some unique photos. Take care.

    1. I commented about the possibility of night photography on the video. The outlook is even in the right direction

      1. I watched the video on TV using a Roku so I didn’t see any of the comments. It seems the cairns and the stone house from a previous video would be great opportunities for the night photography and light painting. I am in the US and doubt I’ll ever make it to that area but it looks like a great place to make photos.

    2. Hi Marvin – I haven’t ever attempted night photography. It is something that is on my list but I have so much else going on at the moment that it is difficult to find the time.

  4. Yeah, teaching/talking using something like Zoom is … different. It’s mostly like having discussion with a plant except that a plant is more talkative 🙂 I need to figure out a good way to do this in the autumn.

    1. It was a similar experience when I did my webinar last month Jan. You have absolutely no idea if people are hanging off your every word or if they have popped off to put the kettle on.

      1. 😁 What I’ve done when I’ve been teaching is to send them to “breakout rooms” to discuss stuff … but each student have to OK that they are transferred to a breakout rooms and it’s pretty revealing who doesn’t click the OK button 🤣

        1. Really Jan! Just had another booking with a camera club and they are using some software that allows people to give feedback during the presentation. I’ll be interested to see how that works out.

  5. After 2 live presentations last year, Zoom felt awkward to me as well. Lots of positive feedback afterward so I suppose it went well nonetheless. So glad you can get going again!

  6. Hi Chris , good to see things are on the up for you , i think you have captured some excellent shots recently but i have to say the highlight for me this week was the brilliant interview by Mrs Sale ! I think she could give Jeremy Paxman a run for his money.
    Hope you both keep up the good work for a long time to come.

    1. Hi Stuart – so pleased that you enjoyed the interview with Mrs Sale. I wanted to do a Questions and Answers video but didn’t just want to approach it in the same way that everyone else did. We might make it a series for the future and get her to interview other photographers when they are here with us.

    1. I do hope so Daniel – if we have another lockdown in the autumn I could be in all sorts of trouble! I hope you make it to the Lakes next time you are in the UK, it would be great to meet you.

      1. For your sake I hope you don’t have another lockdown.

        Unfortunately in Melbourne we have just gone back to our stage 3 restrictions as the second wave hits. All the cafes and bars that had been open for 3 weeks are now closed again, except for takeaway, and each day brings a new record level of infections. Still nowhere near as bad as the UK but a sad turn of events nonetheless.

        1. We are starting to see a similar pattern here in the UK too Daniel. I fear that a second lockdown is inevitable. I just don’t think enough people are following the government’s guidelines. It is all very frustrating.

  7. Brilliant news Chris and well deserved too. I always watch your videos I find them brilliant, love the content. I think the people who are negative towards your channel or work are probably jealous. I know i find your work and channel educational.

    1. Thanks Karl, I am so pleased to hear that you like my videos. I am trying to focus more and more on those that like what I do and pay less attention to those that don’t.

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