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Read on how a passion from childhood turned into a business that would fit around family life.
So, tell us a bit about you and how you got into photography?
Photography was always there. I started when I was really young. I remember being at school and taking photos with a compact camera, which I would then get developed. However, I really got into photography in 2004 when I got my first digital camera. Having limitless opportunities to take photos, really got me into it. Having a digital camera made it easier to practice and delete.
I started my own photo blog, where I used to post my photos. Then, I took photos of family and friends.
After my son was born, I was debating whether to go back to my previous job but realised I could start up my own photography agency and balance work and family life more flexibly. In 2016 Alina Clark Photography was born.
What were you doing previously?
I studied Journalism and did my Masters in Media and Communications. My thesis was about how photography impacts how you vote. So, you can see that photography is a theme that has been running throughout my life one way or another.
I worked for a media agency up until I went on maternity leave. Prior to this, I worked at an advertising agency and my role was in accounts management.
What were your initial aspirations for Alina Clark Photography?
At the very beginning, I thought I would do business photography. Creating photos for company websites, such as physical products or plates of food for restaurants. That never really came to fruition. Instead, at that time, I was taking lots of photos of my son and realised that these photos were evoking good responses. So, I realised that there was a market for taking photos of people rather than products.
Tell me more about the style of photography that you do?
I was always drawn towards the fly-on-the-wall style photography, witnessing events in their pure form. I explored this documentary genre for family photography. I now take photos of families in their own environment, doing everyday activities. This style of photography stands me apart from the posed family photo shoots. My genre of photography sits between the lifestyle and documentary style photos.
Describe a typical commission.
Before any photo session, I would ask my clients what they would like to remember at this stage of their family life. For example, are there any special games, or toys that they like to play or activities that they like to do This way, I know beforehand what the children like and get to know them quickly.
I give minimal direction on how to pose, instead I follow the family and I take photos of parents interacting and playing with their children. My job is to orchestrate real life moments and to steer them into playing out everyday life situations that can be captured on camera.
For the newborn photo sessions, it’s about capturing the new family as they are in that moment in time. Capturing the family home and what it looks like - showing the emotion and reality of having a newborn baby at home. I try to capture the rawness of their new life as a family.
How long does a photo shoot last?
Up to two hours. With the newborn shoots, the time frame allows for feeding/changing the babies. A baby can also be asleep and awake during that period too.
For the family shoots, it gives them enough time to do a variety of activities and capture them naturally.
How many photos do you take?
I probably take around 1,000 photos in a session. I am always shooting because you never know when something may happen and how and when that beautiful photos will emerge. Those in between moments, when you don’t expect something to happen, is when the magic occurs.
How many photos do you deliver back to the client?
I usually show the client 40 images from the shoot. Within the 1,000 images there will be a lot of similar photos, and ones that don’t make the final cut.
How long does the editing take?
As you would imagine, I must look at every individual photo. The culling from 1,000 to 50-60 takes around 1.5 hours. Then the editing of those photos can take another 2 hours. It may sound like a long time, but this is because I hand edit every image to ensure that they of the highest quality and are beautifully enhanced.
How does your pricing work?
As of July 2019, I offer an all-inclusive investment of £295. This includes the consultation, photo shoot, image-editing and access to the final photos in a gallery on a secure webpage. There are no hidden costs.
An additional paid-for feature that my website offers is an online print shop. If clients want to have physical prints, there is a facility to order what they want and get it delivered straight to them.
I bet people often ask, ‘why would I want a photographer when I have a smart phone?’ What is your response to that?
The skill doesn’t lie in the camera, but in the eye of the photographer. It’s the composition, the lighting and the framing of the photo that makes a good photo.
When you hire a photographer, you don’t only pay for them - you pay for images that last a lifetime. Professional photographs should be timeless. They will be technically correct. They will evoke emotion. Not everyone has that skill with a camera.
How do you promote your photography services?
Word of mouth is a big part of my expanding client base. I am on Facebook and Instagram, where I post regularly. I put leaflets around in the local community.
I also get involved with the local community. For example, I have done photo shoots for a local primary school, when a circus came to visit. I also did a shoot for the Reception Assembly.
I want to do more collaborations with local businesses, where we can do some cross promotion. That will be my focus for the coming months. Also, anyone running family or children-based businesses, there is an opportunity for cross promotion. I can take naturally candid photos in exchange for them promoting me.
Do you have a website?
Of course, my website is a not only a business card, but it’s the shopfront to my business. I need to have an online presence so that people can see and like the work that I do, in order to book my services. I always try to make the homepage images provoke emotions.
On my website I have a portfolio of projects that I have worked on and I have my blog that regularly has fresh content. I couldn’t have my business without all these features on my website.
Tell me about the Project 365?
This is a personal project that I am currently working on, whereby every single day in 2019 I am taking a new photo and posting it to the website – hence Project 365. These photos on my site allow people to get to know me and get a sense of the photos that I take.
Where do you see your business going in the next five years?
My love is still around families, maternity and newborn and the events around family life, such as christenings, birthday parties, baby showers, holy communions with a documentary style edge to them.
I would also like to do more personal projects and shoot more creatively. For example, self-portrait projects, documentary projects and colour orientated projects.
Where do you seek inspiration?
I look at other photographer’s work, but I find there’s a fine line between inspiration and then trying to compare my work to theirs. I do look at other photographers who shoot in a different way to me, as I am curious to see how they shoot and their editing styles. These are photographers that I like that spring to mind, who I follow on Instagram:
So, if you’re looking for a magnificent documentary photographer, Alina can be found via:
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