Chief, Cook and Bottle Washer

My current learning curve continues to be steep. The reality of what it means to run your own business is starting to set in.

Bricks at Force Crag Mine

Monday 13th January 2020

A day spent editing my next video and replying to comments on my last one.

It might not be particularly exciting but it is important nevertheless. YouTube remains the primary means of marketing my fledgling business.

And as I am hoping to announce my spring workshops this week it has never been more important.

Tuesday 14th

Finally completed the work to arrange my spring workshops.

It has taken a lot of organising and to’ing and fro’ing to pull it all together but I am proud of what I have come up with.

Some are going to be harder to sell than others. The real work starts now!

Wednesday 15th

Today I headed to Force Crag Mine in near Keswick in the northern Lake District.

My plan was to film a video about photographing an industrial landscape.

It was too windy to film so I just spent my time exploring the site looking for compositions.

I will return later in the week.

Force Crag Mine in the Coledale Valley
Force Crag Mine will be the location for a future video on photographing an industrial landscape.

Thursday 16th

Spent the day in the office filming and editing a video all about how I edit video.

I do not expect that it will do very well in terms of views, after all it is a little off topic. But I do want to encourage as many people to have a go a vlogging as possible.

I hope by sharing what I have learned over the past two and a half years will make it a bit easier for some people to get started.

I also sent my first marketing email about my spring workshops to everyone who registered an interest. I do have a nagging feeling that I am not going to sell a single place.

I am trying to ignore it.

Friday 17th

I made it back to Force Crag Mine this morning.

Filming went like a breeze, the pay off for the time that I spent scouting the location earlier in the week.

When I got home I was pleased to find that I had already sold a few workshop places.

What a relief.

The mining complex at Force Crag
I think my video about photographing Force Crag Mine could be one of my best yet.

Saturday 18th

One of the frustrating inevitabilities of being a photographer that runs workshops is that people will drop out. This happened to me this week.

Having sold the last place on my winter workshops I was feeling pretty smug. Pride cometh before a fall.

So I now have a place to sell for my Ullswater and Brothers Water workshop.

To cut a long story short I decided to head to Ullswater to get a shot that I could use to promote the remaining place on my workshop on social media.

All of the shots that I got were awful.

If it is true that I learn more from my failures than my successes then today I must have learned a lot! 🙂

A reasonably productive week but the realism of what it means to be a full-time landscape photographer is starting to sink in.

It is now time to find out if I have what it takes to sell myself.

11 thoughts on “Chief, Cook and Bottle Washer”

  1. Keep at it, Chris! I am finding that I too learn from my failures, and they have been plenty, lately. It shows that spending full time in photography your video production has improved and your photos look more polished. Although it is far fetched, i have it in my future plans to visit the lake district one day. And when that happens, it would be in a Chris Sale workshop

  2. For the amount of time that you’ve been doing this, I reckon you are doing just fine. In my experience it takes a long time to sell workshops, especially in this economic climate where people are hanging onto their cash more tightly. I too have had the experience of people dropping out, but hey that’s just a chance to pop out another marketing email about the workshop, i.e. turn it into a positive. One thought with your exhibition – have a suite of workshops with plenty of dates ready to promote through the event and perhaps have a looping video of your previous workshops to help draw people in. There are a lot of people rooting for you Chris. Keep smiling 🙂

    1. That is an excellent idea about marketing my workshops at my exhibition. I hadn’t thought of that. Thanks mate, I really appreciate it.

      1. No worries fella. I’m going to be doing something similar in Dorset Art Weeks in May/June. I’ll have a display of mounted and framed images (mostly of Dorset locations), greetings cards of the images on the wall (handy if someone is debating a larger image purchase because they can take the card home and hold it at arms length against the wall 😉 ), and 2021 calendars (buy early for Christmas 🙂 ) but centre stage will be a TV with a looping video showing clips of previous workshop footage, and some of my own YouTube footage where I talk about composition or a certain challenge. The purpose is to tease people with the idea of spending some time with me to learn how to do what they are seeing on the wall. My aim is to have a suite of dates for the latter half of 2020 and the majority of 2021 all ready and available to be booked. I’ve invested in one of those PayPal debit/credit card readers so that people can conveniently sign up and pay a deposit there and then, and I’ll have some information flyers to take away too. In my experience from the previous art weeks, people taking information away rarely results in a booking, hence making it easier to nail it there and then. Hope this is useful for you.

  3. I feel you on the “selling yourself” comment. When I started my site I thought I was a photographer that sold camera straps (and I started the site because I didn’t have the self-belief that anyone would pay me to take photos), over time I’ve come to realise that I’d be better to think of myself as a marketer that occasionally takes photographs.

    1. That is certainly how it feels at the moment Andrew. I think my success hinges not on my ability to take photos but on my ability to sell workshops.

      1. It does, but your images are your shop window. People need to look at your images and thing “I want to learn how to create that”, or “I want to be taken there and taught how to do what he did” etc etc. This is where you need to find a balance between your Hand of Man project, and creating images that will appeal to a mass market for the purposes of selling workshops. Its a game Chris 🙂

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