Redundancy, last day at work is Fri 14th July*

GraemeH posted:

My son, 20, is studying photography and is mad keen on using only film. I bought him a nice OM2n with 1.4 Zuiko for Christmas and it never leaves his side.

Maybe an untapped analogue market out there for classes, residential weekends like 'film retreats'...that sort of thing?

Best of luck.

G

That's a bl@@dy good idea Graeme.  How's your lab skills Christopher? - a teach-in on photographic techniques & composition + a shoot on day 1 followed by a 'develop & print' session on day 2... people would pay good money for that kind of 'nostalgia' thing these days; your market would be the older folks who remember the good old days of film... the older folks with a healthy disposable income nowadays!  OK, so you need a dark room & equipment, but when I did this at evening classes back in the stone age, it was wonderful fun  (I actually got an A grade 'O' level, so that dates me.)

As I think almost everyone has hinted at:  you now need to think 'outside the box'.    (Yeah, I know, finding 'the box' is a challenge all in itself, let alone thinking outside of it!) 

i ran a photography business along side my usual IT work from 97 to '09, film of course then digital ...... loved the film side of things and was able to embrace the digital side quickly due my IT background.   The crash in 08 basically killed off the profit margin, so focused on the day job...letting the camera glassware quietly depreciate on the company books :-)

recently started up again and feel the market has picked up, but I'm so busy with other stuff its a real dip of a toe into the water. Need it fund some new bodies.

One of my old contacts are pretty much given up on anything but doing photoshoots of pets and animals .... very lucrative indeed..... Dogs cats & horses mainly.

rjstaines posted:

That's a bl@@dy good idea Graeme.  How's your lab skills Christopher? - a teach-in on photographic techniques & composition + a shoot on day 1 followed by a 'develop & print' session on day 2... people would pay good money for that kind of 'nostalgia' thing these days; your market would be the older folks who remember the good old days of film... the older folks with a healthy disposable income nowadays!  OK, so you need a dark room & equipment, but when I did this at evening classes back in the stone age, it was wonderful fun  (I actually got an A grade 'O' level, so that dates me.)

As I think almost everyone has hinted at:  you now need to think 'outside the box'.    (Yeah, I know, finding 'the box' is a challenge all in itself, let alone thinking outside of it!) 

I think you may get just as many youngsters wanting to use film - probably the same ones who have a collection of vinyl and a TT!

P.S.  I can't think outside the box, I'm dyslexic and I don't have a box!  (not even a box brownie!) 

There is an   Event Photography company not far from you. I think they take on temporary photographers, they shoot and print events and print the pictures and sell them at the event.

Come to think of I do not think that sort of thing is done at Marwell, you need some kit and a partner to drive the printer and take the money.

Another vote for "What Colour is my Parachute?" book. I found it the most useful when I changed career path at 45. Gets to grips with identifying your known strengths and how to apply them in a new direction or role.

Lots of colleges offer taster days if you feel new skills are required to add to what you already possess. All the best.

It's pretty much all been said by others but having spent my entire working life in IT, I've been there too so do understand. My three suggestions are:

  • Don't try and rationalise it - save time and get over any anger, denial, etc to the 'acceptance' stage as quickly as you can
  • Network like crazy - I forget the exact figures now but know that most jobs are got thought someone you already know
  • Think innovatively - such as even moving house and/or a complete career change as I've know some make

 Whatever you do have fun ...

Lots of great suggestions from many people with varying backgrounds. As previously mentioned, I have become unemployable in my field due to my "advanced age" (still not 50 but in IT I might as well be 80). I've all but given up on traditional "work" and have focused on creating wealth by trading commodities. I can't stress enough the potential for exponential growth in Ethereum price over the next 5-10 years. I'd recommend anybody with a stomach for speculative investing to look into Ethereum. 

Hi

Sorry to hear your news, however try and take it as an opportunity as opposed to a kick in the fork.

Whilst photography is your genre, perhaps try something like independant wedding pohotgrapher where there might be better money?

Sell your house, it dosnt matter, get a smaller one thats affordable - it should ease your finances & reduce the chance of foreclosure or repossesion.

What ever you do, dont sell your hifi & keep your head held high

bon courage et bonne chance

N

So, Christopher, the 14th came and went... the world is still spinning and you and I are still clinging on to it !

Five days is far too short a time for me to ask "Are you getting your sh*t  together yet?", so I won't ask, but I hope you're beginning  to see the world in a more positive light.

Let us know if any ideas are germinating in your mind (not that I'd really expect that to happen at this early stage)... there's quite a few forum members who will be interested to hear how life is treating you.

All the best,

Roger

Evening Roger,

Thank you for asking and thank you to all of you for the concern that you've expressed about my future. I'm sorry if I have appeared indifferent to your responses, I've not been. I can report that I now have a laptop with Photoshop on it, and a website. Positives.

Maybe there is a freelance career out there after all. Just do the obvious thing with conviction, and see how it goes.

To cut to the chase, my anxiety is fear of being alone in a freelance life. I'm not a man with a network or lots of friends. I'd be the first to say that the paper that I worked for is a sh1t paper with its Daily Mail-esque choice of stories and the way they are written (this despite the best efforts of the staff). But at least I belonged to something. It's the not belonging that is so frightening.

Hopefully you'll understand if I leave it there for now.

Thanks, C.

 
 

I took redundancy in 2002. It allowed me to better care for my wife, who needed support, but the benefits went far beyond this.

It was scary but it turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to me work wise. As has been said already, if you can resist the urge to panic and make the time to have a good cogitate and look around, you may see things in an altogether different light.

I went self employed and despite having been though the occasional lean period, I would never go back to a tenured position. I don't want to work for anybody except me, at a rate and to a schedule that fits my needs and wants. The work can be very complicated but our lives are much more simple now. And happy. And not full of stress imposed by other people. 

I can't add any more advice than the masses already given. But I did want to register my best wishes and assure you there are loads of us out there, we're not starving (all the time), and we don't intend to go back into somebody else's mill. You can and will prevail. Whereas I used to think my livelihood was critically dependent on having a job above everything else, and I would starve if I failed,  I now realise that my sanity and quality of life is critically dependent on me being in control of how and when I work - among other things.

Being made redundant is a stressful thing to face, for most people there is the fear of the unknown, of how the mortgage will get paid, etc. and of course we often hear of voluntary redundance, but it is rarely that - I took 'voluntary' redundancy 15 years ago: the voluntary aspect was volunteer and we'll give you a good package, otherwise it will be compulsory and you'll get the legal minimum. Funny how they were able to claim there were no compulsory redundancies.

I was very lucky, in that the package was enough to pay off most of my mortgage, so that worry was minimised. I was then self employed for a year and a half, doing consultancy work, and made as much as I had been earning, with less hours. The one thing I didn't like about it, though, was the uncertainty that made forward planning difficult: what if another instruction didn't come along after this one? It always did, but it was a constant niggling thought in the back of my mind, and my wife's. Then I was approached to take on a permanent post elsewhere, and thought I'd try it, which turned out to be great until the holding company was bought by another that didn't want our bit, so sold us on to others who were keen to have it and wanted me, but I didn't like their ethics and do not consider myself a chattel to be bought and sold, so resigned - no redundancy this time! Just about to return to the consultancy work when I was offered the job I have now, an unexpected move but it suited us down to the ground, and it has been a very happy decade since.

The moral of this is that whilst redundancy can be catastrophic, it need not necessarily be so.  Some people say it is the best thing that has happened to them, and it is certainly high on the list for me, so whist it may not seem like that at this instant, and it risks sounding patronising for others to say it, those of us who have been there are all willing you to get through it and find your own new successful furure - optimism and a willingness to move on can pay off, and hopefully your fledgeling photography business will take off.

I'm sure you don't need telling the areas where photography can earn well, once you find the local niche and get your name known. All the best with it!

One tip if I may, and this said without knowledge as to whether it applies in any way to you, nor if the system is in any way similar today: in my complete ignorance as to how social security worked, I had this naive idea that after 30 years of paying national insurance I could go on the dole for a few months while I established my business, with some support to tide me over - important if I had not had sufficient redundancy money to reduce the mortgage, as otherwise there could have been a risk of loss of house. Ha ha, the fiddlers can get what they want, knowing the system and how to beat it, and seemingly some manage to live well on it - but because I had some modest savings I could receive nothing until I had basically spent it all, and there was a delay of 3 months before I would be entitled to the basic jobseekers allowance (by which time I had managed to get up and running and didn't need it). If you do feel you need to try and claim on social security, find out the full position before you go in to see them, because once you have it is too late - spending any savings on equipment for your new business venture might be one legitimate way of reducing money in the bank, which you can't do once you've been to them as you may be expected to use it to live on.

 

Christopher_M posted:

Evening Roger,

Thank you for asking and thank you to all of you for the concern that you've expressed about my future. I'm sorry if I have appeared indifferent to your responses, I've not been. I can report that I now have a laptop with Photoshop on it, and a website. Positives.

Maybe there is a freelance career out there after all. Just do the obvious thing with conviction, and see how it goes.

To cut to the chase, my anxiety is fear of being alone in a freelance life. I'm not a man with a network or lots of friends. I'd be the first to say that the paper that I worked for is a sh1t paper with its Daily Mail-esque choice of stories and the way they are written (this despite the best efforts of the staff). But at least I belonged to something. It's the not belonging that is so frightening.

Hopefully you'll understand if I leave it there for now.

Thanks, C.

Me neither Christopher.  Don't dwell on that though, you'll be surprised how a network develops all by itself as you dip your toe into the waters of self employment.

Inocent Bystander makes some good points above, among them 'once you find the local niche and get your name known'... this takes a few months but you really will be surprised at how this works.  In employment I lived in a very closed world, my network was my fellow employees and this disappeared when I left, of course, but out here in the real world of self employment it will surprise you at how much people you do work for will speak to other people you never heard of... this is how you will get known. Unfortunately the process is exponential... the early part of the curve rises very slowly, but trust me the curve of people who know you will rise more and more rapidly as time goes by.

Luckily this exponential curve thing works two ways... if you're great at what you're doing you'll quickly get known by more and more people and if you're crap at what you're doing you'll  get known by more and more people even quicker   

Best to you, Roger

 

Hi All,

Nearly a couple of months on, I wanted to give you a bit of an update, the very least I could do considering all your kindnesses.

After a little wandering down various diversionary paths, I'm now a freelance photographer. It's come from hearing all your ideas, talking to family and friends about them, and to ex-colleagues and other lensmen and hearing their thoughts.

It's been a slow start but I'm doing commissions for PR companies, and I'm doing football and other stuff for Southampton FC, areas I'm good at. Ex-colleagues at the newspaper that I used to work with (now largely in PR) are providing me with the bulk of the business. It's even possible that I might do the odd shift on the paper on the days when I don't have other work. Needless to say the redundancy package is dwindling fast (website, car, laptop, new software, lighting, camera, lens, insurance) but I know what I need to make to pay the bills, and clients have so far been complimentary about my work.

There's a lot of learning to come and I'm realistic enough to know there will be lows as well as highs.

People have asked me, why didn't I get on with it sooner? The answer, as you already know, is because my head wasn't in the right place. It is now.

Thank you all for your encouragement. I was in two minds when I originally posted (was I over-sharing?) I'm very glad I did.

Best, Chris

Congratulations on making the decision and taking the next steps. Time keeps marching on and so we need to as well. The majority of people do not find making changes easy, especially unplanned changes, so you are not alone in your feelings. Many have gone down this road before and most likely, like many of us before you, you will be having a very successful future.

Anyway, I'll be sending along another good thought and a prayer that things continue to work out for you. Best of luck!

That's such good news Chris.

It will no doubt be tough at times, but it sounds as if you've made a good start and have a realistic outlook about the way ahead. I wish you well.

And don't be afraid of sharing your difficult times with us as well as the good times. It's good to talk - as the BT advert used to say !

Cheers, Don

Christopher_M posted:

 

After a little wandering down various diversionary paths, I'm now a freelance photographer. It's come from hearing all your ideas, talking to family and friends about them, and to ex-colleagues and other lensmen and hearing their thoughts.

It's been a slow start but I'm doing commissions for PR companies, and I'm doing football and other stuff for Southampton FC, areas I'm good at. Ex-colleagues at the newspaper that I used to work with (now largely in PR) are providing me with the bulk of the business. It's even possible that I might do the odd shift on the paper on the days when I don't have other work. Needless to say the redundancy package is dwindling fast (website, car, laptop, new software, lighting, camera, lens, insurance) but I know what I need to make to pay the bills, and clients have so far been complimentary about my work.

 

Good man - good luck Chris 

Thanks for the update - that's appreciated.

I'm so pleased you're in 'the right place' now, that's a big part of the psychological battle that you've won; right there.

And no it wasn't "over sharing", particularly if it's helped you on your new road... I think all the positive responses here show that clearly.

Yes there'll be ups and downs, but the new learning leads to renewed growth, and you are going the right way.

All the best.

E

I do not know if you do much work on the computer with your images but in Southampton there is a Lightroom whizz called Victoria Bampton who has a photo editing business called Lightroom Queen. She also has a website by the same name.  She / they might be a useful contact for you.

Sorry count, I’m going to be a know it all amateur for a moment (albeit passing on advice I’ve had from professionals)...

“Buy the best lighting you can afford and a lot of it. Don't buy cheap stuff!”

Yes and no... there are some great Chinese lighting from the likes of Godox and Yongnuo around which are as good as the big brands (including Canon / Nikon equipment) but a fraction of the cost and in some cases more versatile.  The Godox equipment in particular is good, especially if you use multiple systems as one flash head can be used (off camera) with Nikon, Canon, Sony, Fuji and Olympus / Panasonic rather than needing dedicated for each system.  Godox equipment is often rebranded for particular companies who then offer better support - don’t just buy from Amazon / eBay!

On the other hand there is some cheap (and expensive) rubbish out there... 

count.d posted:

Eloise, we're talking in a different league here. I'm talking matched colour balance at all power settings, customer back-up, Broncolor, etc, not silly camera flashes. I've made my living solely from photography for 32 years and been self-employed for 25 years. If you would like to ask anything, feel free.

Count... I don’t want to argue just passing on advice I received from other long term professionals... but there is a reason why Bowens is no more.

Thanks to the Count and Eloise for your replies. Count, your post has disappeared but I wanted to say how much of it rang true and I have thought of it in the last few days. I liked the bit about hiring a tripod for your first two jobs, for which you had a body and a lens.

My mindset it that I don't think I have to buy everything new. But in the case of the car and the camera, I've tried to buy the best I could with respectively, low miles and low activations.

There's an expensive lens arriving today. I considered two others but rejected them because I had the feeling I was paying for their better cosmetic condition.

I have a basic lighting set, which I intend to build on when I can.

Photographers can and do discuss the tech stuff til the cows come home. There's loads of scope to bore the pants of the more casual redundancy reader here. So I will say, Count, that your most substantive point for me was about confidence. I had it in my everyday life as a press photographer. 5 mins with the MD I love. It's fair to say I lost my confidence in June, July and August. It's back now and I'm enjoying the work. Let's see how it goes...

Thanks, C.

 

Chris, glad you got something out of it. The hiring of a tripod issue for my first few weeks, was just to let you know that if you do find it initially difficult, or you feel as if 'surely no one else has start up problems', they do and it is only natural to frustratingly find you won't have everything.

If you have a couple of F1.4 lenses available it makes being creative in tight time situations so much easier. Most clients/people don't have access to these lenses and you can easily create images that make them wonder how you did it.

Regarding the lighting, choose wisely and get the best. If you go cheap, you'll be photographing a stainless product and you will probably get horrible colour casts. Your client will ring up and ask why his product looks like that. That goes for all the sets of diffusers that go with the lights. Cheap ones degrade quick with age and can't be cleaned effectively.

I forgot one of the most important bits of advice I could give you. Never, ever do a job cheap or even worse free, on the promise of more work. Never. Believe me, no matter how tempting, it doesn't work.

Watch out for ad agencies, they are more difficult to work for and most are very slow payers. Be patient and polite with all accounts depts. No payment after 3 months consider not doing any more work with them.

This post is for Chris. Anyone feeling the need to butt in and quote/talk to me, don't bother.

 

35f1.4 or 85f1.4 will be far more useful Chris. 85 isolates the person/ product and the 35 brings the whole background in the shot, but still beautifully isolates the subject. Clients are always constantly impressed with the effects of a 35 1.4, as somehow I've created a masterpiece in seconds. I've done nothing. 50 doesn't have the same impact. Secondhand for these two lenses Chris, they cost a lot, but you will use them all the time.

As I said, I don't know of your experience, so forgive my forward advice.

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Clay Bingham
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