Friday, 28 January 2011

*The Look of Love*

My plan for blog postings has gone amok this month as I've just been too busy, in a good way.  Marketing is taking up a lot more of my time and I continue to refine work on my website and my portfolio.  I've also recently attended the SWPP convention in London and been to some interesting masterclasses, made some good contacts and been thinking about new ways in which to market my business.

In the meanwhile work has also been done towards the launch of East Nofolk WiRE and my presentation for the South Norfolk WiRE Meeting about 'marketing in photography'... I must stop coming up with excuses and just BLOG MORE  :)

Just as Valentine's Day is round the corner I must tell you about my photoshoot for lovers, coming up on the 6th of February.  Just as Valentine's is a celebration of love and happy bliss, this photoshoot will capture the moments of love in a quirky, emotional and personal way, inspired by the love the couples bring with them on the day :)

We will be strolling on the banks of the River Wensum creating a fun atmosphere for couples to enjoy, so that moments of intensity and happiness are captured.  My good friend and fab MUA Helen Dickenson will be doing a makeover for the ladies and the couples will be greeted with a complementary drink, followed by a 30 minute photoshoot.  You will get 5 high res images on disc, and all images will be on a password protected online portfolio for you to view and share with friends and family... all this for £45

Contact me if you are interested as soon as you can, on 07748 197522, to avoid disappointment, as places are filling in quick! :)

Speak soon!


Monday, 10 January 2011

A reply to Lord Alan Sugar...

Earlier last week, Lord Sugar wrote an article in The Telegraph highlighting "home truths about how to succeed in business".

As the owner of a small business myself I read the article with a lot of interest, particularly at that time of year where everybody is doing their resolutions and the rest of us are coming up with a strategy for the year ahead.

The master entrepreneur laudably criticises business for their massive over dependence on the banking system.  As I come from a country where people rely on the banks on the absolute minimum, I completely agree with this argument, having never relied on the banks for anything unless the situation couldn't be tackled in any other way.  I feel playing around with credit is basically playing around with money that isn't one's own and if your budgets are tight and you want to be successful, do you really want to, or actually need to, tie yourself down?

I often hear of people who want to start a photography business with a loan, as if it is the amount of kit or how big your studio is will affect how successful your business is!!  I think we've all been on courses where people's first question is, what kit do you use? Are people confusing priorities here?  Carefully select your kit (and don't compromise on quality) and use your precious budget to improve your skills and get out of the mire of samey work we see published every day by the masses of generalist togs...  Does that piece of plastic seem so important now?

Time is the most important investment in your business.... period.  Time to think and time to plan a way forward is precious....

I'm also very much in agreeance with Lord Sugar where he talks about the fact that a business is "all about you".  The strength of a business is often dependant on the individual approach an enterprise takes.  If everybody took the same approach, copied the same style and packages, developed in quite a similar way and invested a similar amount of money (remember we are SMALL businesses) then clients wouldn't know what to choose.  The client will look at what stands out for them, be it pricing tier, creativity, versatility, location, approach etc etc...  How are you going to impinge your individuality on your business, why are people choosing you?  Is it because you appear on the first page on the Google search or is it really because people have fallen in love with your photography and are they impressed with your approach when you actually get to speak...  Be different, we're all different.  Competitors have a look at my work all the time, they copy my approaches, my packages... they can't copy what goes on in my head though and how I choose to move forward, how I take my creativity forward, there is only one of me! :)

Where I really struggle to follow Lord Sugar's argument is where he slags off networks for being the sort of thing make for people who need to be told what to do.  Of course there are different types of networks who deal for specific target businesses, and some are a lot more high powered and testosterone loaded than others.... however...

...as a photographer I feel the strength of business networks is not only about training or making business contacts (most people know about ten other photographers anyway), but it's about gaining confidence, knowing that it isn't just you that hits a brick wall sometimes and then after a while, looking back and seeing how much you and the other networkers have moved on, with each others support.  You get to meet some lovely people, some of which actually become friends, people who appreciate you as a person first and foremost, before all your skills and business expertise....

Finally, Lord Sugar, just remember, we're not all there to take, some of us are there to give!  :)

Antonella :)

PS look forward to your comments!!!



Sunday, 9 January 2011

Quick posting... important update... :)

Just a quick post to let you know that the link from the previous post to my new website was'nt working.
It's all fixed now!! :)
So just click on to this text, to view my new website! :)

Many thanks to Paul for spotting this! :)


Sunday, 2 January 2011

New Year, New Website!!!

Dear all, I hope your 2011 has started on a good note! I view it as a brand new year full of opportunities for me, to which I bring all the learning from experiences from 2010, good and bad, an ongoing enthusiasm, a clear direction for my future and the support of friends old and new!  I hope things will go well, but as always, good things are mostly the result of hard work, and I'm here ready with my sleeves rolled up ready for action.

I launch 2011 with my business website, finally, as my blog has been a valid showcase for my work for the last eighteen months, and flickr before that.... Many have thought I was new to websites and I've had a good number of professionals network with me trying to sell me the benefits of a website. ;)  

The reality is that my experience with websites goes back to the year 2000, when I convinced a friend of mine to build a personal site for me that centered around my passion for motorsport.  The site was an advanced one for the time, with a flash intro, and music from one of my favourite Maltese bands Beangrowers, and aptly named Antonella's World, to cover my many interests...
Photography was featured, as I've always been into this, but, being the self critical person I am, it took me a long time and some convincing from people around me that I had talent so it took me around 25years to start calling myself a photographer. Anyway, website one brought me into contact with many petrolheads around the world and opened my world a great deal, and gave me my first experiences into design and elemenatary SEO skills.  

At the time I was also public relations officer for the Island Car Club (the Maltese Hillclimb and Sprint Club) and we launched the ICC website, which I helped to design, to a very impressed crowd at the ICC annual awards dinner in December 2000.

My website designer became very busy as his business took off with the motorsport links he got set up with and Antonellasworld became an abandoned site, as I had no control over the site and had no working knowledge of HTML.

Around 2005 I decided to go my own way and launch a functional version of my website on Moonfruit.com, which allowed me to use ready made templates, offered few features but allowed me to upload and change things at will.  I still recommend Moonfruit to small businesses and individuals with a limited budget as it provides a step into the web without major expense and allows people to slowly learn their way though the basics of managing a website.  I used Moonfruit up to early 2008 when it became clear to me that my life needed a change of direction and that the content no longer reflected that and I closed site two down.

Since I've started to run my photography business, people have asked me for my website address, and I've directed them to this blog all the while.  The blog has served me very well in allowing me to showcase some of my work and also letting people have some insight into what sort of person and photographer I am.  I must say I am impressed by how much I have continued to have business and continued interest in my work via this blog.

I have delayed the website by a long time as I wanted to make sure I was ready.. I wanted a site that was better than what I had before, and the bar was already set high...  I spent many months thinking, and weighing out options before I sat down at my desk last week and worked out flat for nearly 48 hours... coming up with what I think is a site that best reflects me and my style of work at this time.

As with all that I do, it is a site in development, and I have been doing lots of tweaking over the last few days.  

I hope you like it, and look forward to your feedback....


Note that if you are using an iPhone or android phone to view the site you will see the  fast loading mobile version with less features.

Meanwhile I will continue to blog regularly and look forward to your suggestions for new blog postings, if there is anything that you would specifically like me to cover.

Hope 2011 brings you peace, happiness and good health xxx




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