Turning a hobby into a career is a common aspiration among today’s workforce. “Do what you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life”, they say. And while this may feel like an unattainable goal, there’s no reason why it can’t become a reality if it’s something you want enough.
Photography is one such hobby with potential to become a money-maker. While it’s a fantastic creative outlet (and there’s something truly satisfying about capturing the perfect photograph solely for your own gratification), turning your photography passion into a business could provide you with the lifestyle you’ve always dreamed of.
Photography retailer, Canon recently enlisted four professional photographers from different niches to share their insights on what makes a photographer. So, if you’re ready to take your photography hobby to the next level, read these six tips and feel inspired.
1) Refine your photography skills
To make photography your profession, you must, of course, be taking photographs at a professional standard. There are a lot of incredible photographers out there already, so you’ll need to stand out in the crowd – but hey, there’s nothing wrong with a bit of healthy competition.
Make it your mission to be constantly improving your photography skills and learning new techniques that will enhance your craft. Even photographers who have been working for years will continuously strive to be better and keep up to date with trends.
This may also require you to upgrade your equipment. While smartphone cameras are capable of impressive things these days, a DSLR camera is a must for professional photography. Hannah Harding, a natural light portrait photographer, says that “the robust interchangeable lenses, better image quality and control of shutter speed, ISO and aperture make DSLR simply unbeatable.”
2) Step out of your comfort zone
The worst thing you can do as an artist is to fall into habit and routine. Sure, you may have found a composition or lighting technique that works, but repetition can become boring.
Saurabh Dua, a fashion photographer, says “a common mistake photographers make is to shoot by the rules; to stay within their ‘comfort zone’. I try to break that every time I shoot, whether I’m changing up the composition, the lighting pattern or something else.”
Travel photographer, Richard Bernabe adds that “general aesthetics are more important than achieving technical perfecting or adhering to ‘rules’ of composition. Often the best composition is one that just feels right.”
So, don’t be afraid to experiment and try out new things – you may be amazed at what you’ll achieve!
3) Find your niche
The trick to building a name for yourself as a photographer and landing the best jobs, is to develop a niche. For example, you may decide to specialise in wedding photography, fashion, portraits, travel or even food. Narrowing your focus will make it easier for you to market yourself and clients will put more trust in somebody who has perfected their specialism, rather than become a jack of all trades.
Take your time to try out different types of photography and figure out what you enjoy the most or you feel your style best suit. From here you can work on refining your skills in this area.
4) Build a portfolio
As a photographer, your portfolio will be your biggest marketing tool, so it really needs to demonstrate your talent. Ideally, it should communicate your photography niche and showcase all of your best work, so that potential clients are instantly made aware of your abilities and experience. It’s also worth leveraging social media to market yourself as a photographer and exhibit your work online.
Building your portfolio may require you to work for low pay or even for free in order to form a back catalogue or photographs to exhibit, however, it will be worth it in the long run when it starts landing you the best gigs.
5) Seek inspiration
Always keep your eyes peeled for inspiration, as you could stumble across it pretty much anywhere and everywhere. And this doesn’t just mean the work of other people. Professional food photographer, Sid Ali suggests “you should draw inspiration from paintings, books, films and everyday life. The more places you draw inspiration from, the more informed and unique your work will be.”
6) Find photography jobs
In an ideal world, clients would instantly start bringing work to your door, but unfortunately this isn’t likely to be the case as you start out. To find your first photography jobs, you’re going to have to do a bit of leg work to get your business seen by potential clients.
List your business on the relevant job boards, freelancer platforms and photography networks to make yourself visible. From here, you can both bid for jobs and receive job offers. Another way to monetise your work is to list your photographs on stock image sites and earn commission each time somebody buys the right to your images.
While taking the leap from hobbyist to professional photographer may seem like a big deal, it needn’t be. You’ve already got the skills in place, after all. It just takes patience and dedication to build a name for yourself in the industry and develop a client base. If you’re passionate enough about your craft, you’ll have it in you to transform it into the career you’ve dreamed of.
IS YOUR OFFICE LEASE CRUSHING YOUR BOTTOM LINE? YOU HAVE OPTIONS
By Jonathan Wasserstrum, Founder / CEO, SquareFoot
These are unprecedented times for us all. Nobody has a playbook to get through it. Every company right now is undergoing a series of budget cuts and enduring difficult questions, trying to trim wherever it possibly can to help withstand the profound pressures and unique challenges that the covid scare haqs brought with it from an economic standpoint.
Companies looking to avoid having to make significant layoffs to offset their expenses are having to find other budget items that they can slash or reconsider. For many companies, especially those on the smaller side, that relief may come through renegotiating or rethinking their office lease. Especially at a time like this, when there’s so much uncertainty on how long this pandemic might last, and with staffers working from home indefinitely, this sizable area of cost to the business doesn’t make sense for some businesses to carry.
At SquareFoot, the commercial real estate company I founded in 2011, near the beginning of a decade of positive economic outlook, I envisioned helping growing companies to find office space. And I staffed up with a talented team of in-house brokers to show offices in NYC, and to work on deals in 30 other major U.S. cities.
I raise this background to offer some context for how dire the situation is now with regard to commercial real estate, when it’s not possible to show available office spaces to interested parties. Just a month ago, we were looking ahead at a very promising 2020, on track to act on and to achieve goals we had set. Because of this current economic downturn that has hit us all, we’ve also had to shift priorities accordingly.
We’ve instructed our brokers – effective immediately – to make themselves available to all concerned business owners as trusted advisers to walk them through their current leases and to outline for them all of their options. Even if they never do a transaction with us, I want my team to step up and provide some expertise to stressed-out executives. This is our small but significant way of helping to prevent other companies from having to let go of key staffers. We want to make this an easy choice for entrepreneurs. But, first, it requires them to understand what options they can move on.
We are already working closely with a number of businesses to review and to summarize their current leases, giving them some clarity and greater comprehension of what is set in stone and what can be adjusted in the wake of this crisis. Among the options that I and the team are exploring on behalf of those who have reached out include:
- Checking with your insurance agent about your Business Interruption Insurance coverage;
- Subletting the space. It’s not an optimal time to find a subtenant, but it’s still something worth pursuing to salvage the situation at hand;
- Post empty desks on PivotDesk, a business unit that SquareFoot owns and operates to rent out (as a host) a small number of desks within an office (to a guest) to share the space;
- Propose a rent abatement now from the landlord and arrange for a term at a higher escalated rent on the back end; or
- Walking away. Closing up shop and declaring bankruptcy isn’t anyone’s first option, but handing back the keys and letting the landlord keep your security deposit is a path forward for the most desperate of clients.
Obviously, this is not a situation that anyone hoped to be in or had prepared for. We don’t proclaim to have all of the answers for every company, but we do hope that giving some knowledge and sharing some wisdom with those in the most vulnerable of positions right now would leave them better off than without it. In addition to the specifics of the situation for each individual client, we can also step back and have offered some additional background on what to expect from the real estate market in the coming months.
For instance, we anticipate that subleasing will emerge as increasingly important to fill spaces quickly. Amid the 2008 financial crash, subleases went from 20% of the market to 45% of the real estate market after the stock market market crashed. If that’s the direction we’re heading again – and it seems we might – it’s perhaps wisest for those holding onto long term leases to act quickly.
Once the quarantine is lifted, it’s possible that everyone else will catch up and get wise to this opportunity in the market and they will likely request these types of discounted transactions in a rush all at once; subleases could flood the market, driving costs straight up.
Moreover, if similar effects on the office market emerge soon the way they did during the 2008 financial crisis then there will likely be a sharp increase in the number of tenants looking to:
- Renew their lease
- Arrange for a short-term extension of their lease
This is the lowest risk strategy for any tenant, of course. Lease renewals are likely to be incredibly popular in the coming months. We expect that landlords will be working closely and compassionately with tenants at this time to offer existing tenants who are looking for short-term extensions to offer incentives, in the form of free or reduced rents.
As the markets go sideways, you can likely find better value on the space you already have. Whether you work with my team and me, or with someone else, we still advise that you should act quickly. Right now, it’s all about reducing costs to keep people in place. Your office lease is a better place to start the discussion than anywhere else on that long list of expenses.
CAPITAL MARKETS – LIQUIDITY MANAGEMENT DURING COVID-19
Tony Farnfield, Partner at management and technology consultancy, BearingPoint
When “Dr. Doom” predicted the 2008 financial crisis back in 2006, and spoke of a necessitated market correction and was calling for the repricing of riskier assets; predicting a continuation of a global financial slowdown, or even a global recession starting in 2020, this prediction was based on known factors affecting the global economy. The unforeseen outbreak of Covid-19 and the increased volatility this has brought to global financial markets was not taken into account.
Three months on from the initial outbreak, and we have already witnessed the biggest intraday drop in the Dow Jones Industrial Average. The outbreak, coupled with the oil price shock, triggered responses from the Federal Reserve, the Bank of England and Central Bank of Canada to cut benchmarks rates in an effort to even out the shock to the wider economies.
There is a high degree of uncertainty on how the coronavirus crisis will unfold. We could experience only a temporary disruption – lasting from a few weeks to a few months, or a prolonged stress in markets, assuming that it will be months until vaccine clinical trials begin and with rate cuts (already reaching bottom) having limited effects on the required stimulus.
Banks have undeniably improved their liquidity following regulatory guidance post financial crisis; however, treasury departments will need to prepare and caveat for a wide range of possible outcomes. Traditional stress testing, scenario development and re-calibration have not taken into account conditions such as the ones experienced with the Covid-19 outbreak or the speed with which things evolved.
At a generic level, there are three key steps Treasurer’s should look to take:
- Convert uncertainties into emerging and quantifiable risks
This is already being considered by some of the larger financial institutions under their crisis management responses. However, it’s important to highlight that even for those that have triggered the crisis management process, the forecasting, rebalancing and risk assessment should be continuous, taking into account new developments in the following manner:
Continuously monitor and develop scenarios of potential sources that could disrupt funding and liquidity usage. With the right analytical capability, cash-flow projections should adapt to changing scenarios, including scenarios coming from the different business lines. Scenario sources could include unexpected credit usage that could encourage either large prepayments or defaults, or changing corporate customer behaviour – deposit inflows from corporates and depositors affecting leverage-constrained institutions. Also, there should be some consideration given to the availability of funding sources or, for wholesale funding, acceleration or reduction of funding plans.
Take immediate actions in increasing liquidity and cash holdings in the short term to cover for the uncertainty.
Continuous risk assessment
Account for emerging risks previously not accounted for, such as the temporary closure of operations or reduced capacity of market utilities. Assess those scenarios and how these are captured and factored in stress tests. Intraday liquidity should be the primary focus to understand immediate cash requirements.
- Refine your liquidity risk measurement
Better identification, measurement and analysis of key liquidity drivers should become core for an institution’s ability to effectively manage and mitigate particularly unique risks not previously considered. To do this, Treasurers should consider the frequency of their monitoring, and increase levels to daily stress tests and daily Early Warning Indicator testing to include daily developments.
In-depth analysis of risks
Re-run your liquidity risk identification exercise to understand better your current exposures, especially examining certain instances of this outbreak crisis, e.g. oil-related exposures, airline, marine or supply chain related exposures etc.
Re-calibrate based on new understanding
Re-assess existing scenarios or add new scenarios in covering a range of events and timeframes (e.g. sustained spread of the virus over x months vs limited spread and containment). Revisit your Early Warning Indicators to monitor emerging risks. At a later point, revisit these to assess if market signals existed and if they were picked up by your indicators.
- Review your mitigation plan
Identification, assessment and measurement is only part of the overall response. Stresses or risks that can be crystallised need to be accompanied by mitigative actions, agile and feasible enough under the current market conditions. Contingency funding actions might need to be revisited to determine if additional actions need to be considered.
Revisit and verify the availability of near real time reports, such as positions of securities holdings reports. Such information should be readily available and synthesised in the event that you will need to communicate clear and concise plans to investors, regulators or other market participants in relation to liquidity management strategies to foster confidence in the market.
In summary, reviewing and preserving an institution’s liquidity under extreme and volatile circumstances is the core responsibility of any treasurer. However, we know that any scenario or contingency planning is unlikely to be fully predictive of unprecedented scenarios such as this. Re-visiting already set practices and testing their efficacy and completeness should be the first step before considering inserting new scenarios and new actions into the mix. Nothing tried and tested can always remain true.
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