Chat time with Becky Ryan of Becky Ryan Photography
Hiya Becky, for those who don’t know what’s the name of your business & when did you start trading?
Becky Ryan Photography I started working for myself in 2013
Tell us what your business is all about?
I’m a photographer, mainly covering weddings but also doing portrait work (promo shots for performers, family shoots etc). I class myself as an ‘alternative’ wedding photographer in that I don’t work in the traditional posed manner of staging lots of shots and being directorial on the day, I much prefer to blend in and capture weddings in a more natural way and like to capture the fun, quirky, and heartfelt moments that I am able to catch by working in this more candid fashion.
What is making you excited about your business currently?
Nothing beats how lovely it is to provide my wedding couples with her photos and have such heartfelt messages of thanks in return. I’ve had such lovely words from brides, grooms, and family members this year that it really makes me feel lucky to be doing what I do.
The opportunities that can arise from the job are also pretty exciting. On my birthday last year I found myself shooting one of my favourite comedian’s, Nick Helm.
How have you found working on the business so far?
I’ve found it time consuming and stressful at times. It can be overwhelming running a business on your own, but as described previously, hearing how much your photos mean to your couples makes it all worth while. I’m lucky to have met a good community of fellow photographer friends through workshops that I have attended, that support one another and are always there should you need advice. Although we’re based all over the country the online Facebook groups for past attendees of said workshops are very active each day and we all know that we can always post in them if we ever need to reach out.
What sort of marketing works best for you and what doesn’t?
The vast majority of my enquiries come through Google, so my ranking on the search engine is an important part of my business. I have tried advertising in magazines but never had anything from it. I have appeared in regional wedding magazines several times in features but people never seem to find me from them. I am, however, appearing in a less traditional magazine later this year, Rock N’ Roll Bride, which I am hoping may be more successful due to it being more popular within my target audience than the more traditional mainstream bridal magazines.
I do quite a lot of Facebook marketing and have had a few bookings through Facebook. My Facebook marketing consists of occasionally running adverts, as well as keeping my page up to date with my latest work, sharing new blogs from my main website and posting images from recent weddings.
I took part in a couple of small local wedding fairs when I was first starting out but didn’t get any work from them. I put this down to the audience and the size of the fair, and have considered taking part in more ‘alternative’ fairs but they have a long waiting list for photographers and also tend to carry a pretty big price tag so they’ve not been high on my marketing priorities.
I take time to try to get to know my couples as people, I simply genuinely want to know about them! What they like to do in their spare time, what their favourite shows on TV are, and in term I put myself out there on my website too as I want people to visit it and feel they get to know me a little through it. It helps potential clients decide whether I’m the right sort of person for them (and also of course reduces enquiries from people that I potentially wouldn’t quite be on the same wave length as). I’m really lucky in that how I market myself as a ‘person’ rather than just a faceless business has lead to me forming lasting friendships with some of my couples and I’m really pleased to be able to say that. I mean choosing someone to spend a full day with you on one of the biggest days of your life is a pretty big decision. It’s lovely to have had so many couples say it felt more like I was a friend, another guest, there on the day rather than their photographer, so it’s nice to be seen as both!
What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced so far?
People don’t value, or don’t understand, the work you put in sometimes and I find my images increasingly being stolen and used without permission or credit, particularly so recently. Suppliers, magazines, and it can be difficult to confront them when you’re just one little person and they’re, potentially, a big business. But, having sent an invoice off to a regional magazine just this month and intending to pursue it to the end, I feel that I am better at standing my ground now.
It can be difficult to work out how to target your specific target audience (and who they are) at the start of a business. It takes time, but, well into my third year of business, I feel I have a good idea what makes up my ideal client and where to reach them.
Time management can be a challenge, and even allocating working hours. Working from home can make it easy to find yourself on the laptop marketing or editing on and off from when you wake to when you sleep, and it can be difficult to ‘switch off’ from work.
What are you looking forward to most for the future?
Continuing to build my business, hopefully working at some of the venues on my ‘wishlist’, and meeting lots more awesome, quirky and wonderful couples. I’m also always looking forward to the varying places my photography will take me. I’ve gone all over England for my wedding work, Brighton, Bath, Northumberland, Dorset, it’s always exciting to see where it will take me next, maybe even to another country.
Well, you photographed my wedding so I know how excellent you are, so for anyone who hasn’t yet seen your work where can people find you?
Facebook – www.facebook.com/beckyryanphotography
Twitter – @bec1989
Instagram – @beckyryanphoto