Perfect Layout believes that sharing knowledge and experiences is a great way of helping each other learn how to run a business better. Interviewing local businesses is a bi-monthly ritual that we really enjoy as it allows us to become more known in the community and learn about how other businesses work.
We hope that sharing the personal experiences of these companies will give them exposure to you - readers, that may need their services as well as providing insights into what has worked for them and what they could do a little better…
This month, we interview Cyrus Mehta. An experienced Photographer that has recently taken the leap and become a full-time business owner.
How did your career in photography begin?
I have always loved photography from a very young age and dipped in and out of it over the years but my passion really reignited whilst working as a Project Manager for an events company that specialised in automotive press launches. We were away on a launch in Siena for about 4-5 weeks and during one of my weekends off I decided to explore the landscape and took the company digital compact camera with me. The Tuscan landscape is simply beautiful and I was totally hooked on capturing images of anything and everything from that moment.
During this trip one of my colleagues on the launch was due to get married when we got back to the UK. I was invited to the wedding and took the photographs throughout the day. I retouched them using Photoshop and the couple really liked them. I loved doing it! Then another friend asked me to do his wedding and I thought, if I’m going to do this properly and one day make this my full time career I have to invest in the right equipment. So I invested in a Canon DSLR system. It was my first paying wedding. I continued doing this alongside my main job.
How long have you been a photographer for?
I’ve been working as a part time photographer for over 10 years now. But I actually got my first camera when I was 10 years old and I was hooked from then. I also studied photography as part of my graphics course at college. I set up my own darkroom at home where I processed all my images. Even with a full time job and travelling for work, I managed to study O’level photography at night class.
What draws you to taking photographs for a living?
The passion for creating. I love the whole process of capturing the still image and then making a good image even better through post production … if the image needs it.
What did you do beforehand?
I was a Project Manager for an events company that specialised in automotive press launches.
How has the transition been from taking photographs part-time to doing it full time?
Exciting! I can now concentrate on getting things done as there’s no longer the distraction of my main job. Before, I had to book days off as holiday well in advance to make sure that I would be available for my clients. I would never want to let clients down. I have a lot of trust put on me to capture events like weddings for instance where you only get one chance to capture the whole day.
What type of pictures do you enjoy taking the most?
Mainly weddings as this encompasses a wide range of photography skills like portraiture, social interaction, fashion, landscape and architectural photography. Although my main photography avenues are weddings, portraits etc, I photograph a wide variety of subjects such as products. I recently shot a range of high end scarves for a client who is selling through her new website. I’m just about to do a shoot in Southend for an adventure playground who are revamping their website. So my photography is quite diverse.
What makes you different from other photographers?
I go out of my way to make sure my clients are happy with what they have hired me for. Retouching for me is also a big part of photography. It can really enhance an image and as a tool makes a difference to the quality of a photo. I go the extra mile with my post production retouching and the techniques I’ve developed over the years help me achieve the look I’m after. For example a wedding is a loving and romantic occasion and I try to convey that in every image I take on the day so that I can produce a digital story for the couple that they can cherish for many years to come.
Which ways are you promoting your business at the moment?
Through my website, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Google+. I post images as often as I can and slowly but surely I’m getting likes and my name out there. I’ve tried pay per click with Google before but that didn’t really work for me. I recently tried an ad campaign through Facebook with a very small budget over ten days. The ad reached over 2,500 people but unfortunately no enquiry’s. My next step is to go to wedding fairs and try to get business face to face with couples who are planning their big day.
Do you have a website?
Yes, which I built myself.
How did you find designing your website yourself?
I’ve been dabbling with websites for a number of years now so I found it relatively easy but with some major headaches along the way as the learning curve with my current platform provider was quite steep. I’ve now got the hang of it, so I can make changes quickly and whenever I want.
Which search engine optimisation techniques have you used?
Nearly every image is described with alt tags and keywords embedded. On each page I’ve also got relevant keywords in the text. I transferred my domain to my current platform provider as my previous site was old and non-responsive making my site not very user friendly. I’m also working my way through business directories and making sure all my details are correct on all the free listings.
Do you have a business plan?
To make it work! The plan is in my head regarding how I want it to develop and all the things I need to do. I think social media will play a big part but also bringing my portfolio up to date and going to wedding fairs … I need to attend face-to-face, live events which I know will bring in the business.
So, if you’re thinking about hiring a professional photographer for your next special occasion you can contact Cyrus via:
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