I received an interesting request recently after having had an enlightening conversation with my SEO person. In order to improve our websites’ Google search rankings, I need to be writing blogs more often and on a regular basis. Having given much thought as to what I know and could be writing about, I actually went as far as making a list of topics I feel my readers might enjoy reading, find educational, informative and interesting.
Honestly, this is the first blog I’ve written in quite a long time. It’s not that I don’t like writing, it seems my time is always committed to something else, like life, family, taking care of our clients and running a business! Did I mention sleep?
Interestingly enough, I received an interview request through LinkedIn from a student from the University of Mississippi. As part of her class assignment she was tasked with reaching out to business professionals to understand how they became successful in their chosen career, how they overcame obstacles to reach their goals both personally and professionally. She was impressed with our online presence and wanted to interview me!
Bethany emailed me a series of questions and it made me put my thinking cap on. She made me think about who I am, where I started and what drives me everyday. What follows is our conversation.
Tell me about your job!! Name/occupation/position/company/location?
I’m David Fox, founder of David Fox Photography & Digital Transfer Services in Boston, MA.
What steps did you take in order to reach your goal? Have you met your goal?
Very long story…
My goal was to just be able to get up out of bed everyday, make images and tell stories with my camera. Photography has always been my passion, I’ve been lucky enough all these years to be able to live my passion everyday, I have a lot of support. One does not do all of this by oneself.
Have you run into any obstacles along the way while building your business?
Doesn’t everybody? I had been running a video business after earning my degree in filmmaking from Emerson, and I think the biggest turning point in my life that pushed me back into photography was the loss of my first wife over 30 years ago to breast cancer and being left with a 1 & a 4 year old trying to figure out how I was going to survive to raise my children.
After much soul searching and rediscovering my creative passion at the Maine Media Workshops in Rockport, I looked at my peers’ work and thought gee, maybe I’m not such a bad photographer after all, maybe this is something I’m really good at and could actually do to make a living.
When I returned home from my two weeks of classes back in 1993, I opened my photography studio in an old mill factory building about 20 miles outside of Boston and photographed weddings and Bar/Bat Mitzvahs, headshots, family portraits, etc., something I learned interning in professional photo studios when I was a teen. I’ve also had mentors both in photography and in business, and it was the giving of themselves, their time and knowledge as well as their drive and passion that still keeps me going after all these years.
How did you know you wanted to work in photography?
I’ve always been very creative. I was bitten by the photography bug early on when I was 11 years old and by age 15 started working part time as a freelance photographer for newspapers in my hometown, I also photographed for my school newspapers and yearbook making photos of sporting events such as Saturday football games, soccer, tennis etc., in high school.
How does photography influence your life?
Making images for newspapers taught me discipline at a very young age. There are always deadlines you have to meet, responsibilities, people are counting on you to deliver what you promised in a timely manner. It can be a lot of pressure photographing a live event, anticipating the next shot.
What does a typical work week look like for you? What are your day to day tasks?
You know, everyone thinks that being a photographer is all about taking pictures all the time.
In actuality, I probably make images less than 10 percent of the time. The rest of the time, 90% is spent selling, working with clients, marketing and managing the business, while my wife handles the admin and the production.
That’s the true reality of having a small business. It’s not 9-5; it’s more like from the time you wake up till the time you go to sleep again, you eat drink and yes even sleep photography. (Sometimes I even photograph events in my dreams too!)
A great deal of time is spent communicating with clients, trying to get new clients, writing out cost estimates, emailing, constant research etc., Oh, and an occasional photo shoot! Some weeks are busier than others photographing events and headshots. It’s always different and never the same every week.
What degrees did you need, what was your major/minor throughout college, which college did you attend?
My degree is in Filmmaking from Emerson College in Boston, MA., Class of 82.
A few things you enjoy about your job as a photographer and business owner?
I love my job. There’s never a bad day. I wouldn’t be doing anything else in the world!
I’m a people person. I love having people in front of me smiling, capturing their personalities and showing who they are as a person even if I only have a few brief moments with them is what I love most about this job. I’m not a very posey photographer. I just have a conversation like I’ve known them all my life and make photos.
What has been the most rewarding part of owning a photography business?
I do different things everyday, it’s never the same. I make my own schedule, except when I have to be on assignment at a gig. Most clients rely on my expertise and I generally work very independently, though there is a collaborative process as well.
How has journalism/marketing affected your career?
I’m a visual journalist, I tell stories with my camera. It opens a lot of doors and allows me into places I might never have been able to go to.
Anything else you’d like to share would be so helpful!
I’ve had to learn to be a business person, learn about selling, knowing what I need to charge for my time and services. What I don’t do well, I delegate. I tell everyone I just make pretty pictures and happy clients!