I came across Emanuela an up and coming commercial photographer on flickr. Sometimes interviewing up and coming photographers provides some clues into how they are breaking into the industry right now. Worth a read, have a look.
Tell us a little about yourself?
My name is Emanuela Franchini and I was born in Italy. I moved to London in 1999 and that’s where I’m still living and working. Although I’m an interpreter and translator I ended up working in IT doing web design and development. Photography has always been my great passion though.
What made you get into photography?
I have always been fascinated by my father’s camera, an Agfa bought in Germany in the late 60s, and I was dreaming I could play with it one day even though I had no idea how to use it.
Then when I turned eight they bought me a Kodak Ektra Istamatic that I was always carrying around with me and I was pretty much snapping anything I was seeing.
After some years my dad ended up giving me his camera and that’s when I started learning a lot using manual mode. This gave me the chance to really understand how light can be used to your own advantage and how to play with it.
I then moved on to a Yashica, again using manual mode to control aperture and shutter speed. I only moved to digital in 2005 but I still believe that analogue cameras can teach you so much about photography.
How did you get started?
It’s always hard to turn a passion into a job that pays well enough to make a living. That’s why I still have my day job in IT doing web development!
Photography as a business started few years ago when I met another photographer (Cristina Cocullo) and we ended up by chance getting some commissioned work. We tend to work together a lot.
What sort of photography do you mainly do?
I mainly do commercial photography and the occasional event but I get my kicks out of an ongoing project I started six years ago. It’s about self portraits I take in the household environment exploring the interaction with everyday objects. These portraits seem to fascinate people but commercial photography pays better!
What gear are you using?
My main camera is a Nikon D700. I also have a Nikon D40 which is still an excellent camera. The only problem is that it only has 6 megapixel so you can’t really push it that much for big prints. On the D700 I mount a Nikon 24 – 70 f2.8 and this one tends to stay on most of the time. I also have a Tamron 70 -300 f4 -5.6 and also some old Nikon lenses which still work well on a full frame camera like the D700.
For studio shots I use flashguns. I love how you can get creative with flashguns and the nice thing is that your gear becomes fully portable allowing you to carry your studio with you pretty easily. I have a Nikon SB600 and SB900 and I sometimes use an old SB28 as well. To trigger them I use some slaves and a radio trigger.
Few other bits I use are a Manfrotto tripod, some stands for the flashguns, a softbox, an umbrella and I recently bought a Strobies set which includes a snoot, honeycomb, small softbox and other toys I still have to try!
What’s your favourite lens and why?
I would probably say the Nikon 24 – 70 f2.8. It’s super sharp, fast and fits a wide range of situations. If you are shooting handheld It gets a little heavy though during long shoots.
How are you marketing yourself?
Being a web developer I use the internet a lot trying to focus as much as I can on SEO for my personal website and my business one which is still under development. I do have a Flickr account and it has definitely generated some visibility.
But word of mouth seems to be the tool that has given me the most jobs though so I try as much as I can to network with humans instead of the web.
What’s your favourite photo you have taken?
I have attached two pictures as it’s quite hard to choose just one. One is titled “Birds” and the other one “Two Feet of Water”.
Advice for new photographers looking to go pro?
It’s tough! There’s a lot of competition so it’s best to try locally to start. Have a walk around your area and try to identify possible customers. It could be a shop that has just opened and needs some images for marketing. Don’t try to cover all subjects, try to specialize in a specific area, find your niche and build as much experience as you can.
Use the web to keep up to date and to see what other photographers are doing, what sells, what services are requested the most.
Make up some prices that are competitive but make sure you are not losing out or earning too little.
Becoming a photography assistant could also help you lean a lot, practice and get in touch with potential customers.
Let everybody know that you are a photographer.