by Angela Adams Published 01/10/2015
Angela Adams talks to fellow photographers about working at the coal face - an occasional series.
Most of us are aware of the big namesin photography, but what about thejobbing photographer - one who isn'tnecessarily entering competitionsand selling training - but simplyworking hard at their craft to pay the bills. Are theyan endangered species? Has the industry becomedevalued in the digital era, with all camera ownersdeemed photographers by the general public? Or arethere professional photographers diligently workingaway in our towns and villages providing their clientswith great photos? With this in mind I set out todiscover a little more from those at grassroots level,working hard to keep our industry alive and promotinggood practice and providing a professional product.
Francis Pullen is based in the bustling university cityof Cambridge, and has run a thriving photographybusiness in his chosen location for the past 15 years.The last census recorded a population of 123,900.Not only does Francis have a large client base on hisdoorstep, he also has an ever-increasing number ofamateur, semi-pro and professional photographersvying for a slice of the photography-business cake.Being a generous chap and wanting to assist others inthe profession (did you know ...Tracy Willis purchasedher first camera from Francis?), he agreed to digitallydiscuss his business with me over a series of emails.
What motivated you to start in the industry?
I'd been a keen photographer for many years, andexhibited some of my work at local venues. However,an unexpected change in my full-time employment in2000 prompted me to pursue photography as a fulltimecareer, which I've been doing since then.
What's your mindset when you get up in the mornings?
I've always been a glass-half-full optimist, so I greeteach morning as a new day full of opportunity,challenge and satisfaction. Life in general, and runningyour own business can, and has, thrown some prettydreadful spanners in the works - but I'm a greatbeliever in having a positive mental attitude. Thisfilters through to working with clients and thus intomy photography. I've been very fortunate to havealways enjoyed all of the jobs I've worked in, andnever have Monday-morning blues or feel the needfor a duvet day.
Do you work alone or employ staff?
I'm self-employed and work alone, except forweddings, when I often contract-in a second shooteror assistant. Employing staff as a small business hasbecome more complex with legal, pension, insuranceand taxation requirements, so it's often easier andmore beneficial to use contractors when needed.
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