Tell us a bit about your family?
I have been married to Steve for 5 years now. We live in a lovely village community outside of Colchester with our two children Euna 3 and Bowen 2. Steve commutes far to work Monday through Friday so almost all of the childcare during the week falls to me.
What’s your business called?
Can you describe it in one sentence?
Family portraiture, specialising in newborn photography and just became award winning!
When did you start it and what inspired you?
I started taking pictures as a hobby about 6 years ago, for every birthday and Christmas I asked for my friends and family to chip in towards cameras and lenses. I took an evening course shortly after I had my daughter and she was my inspiration. I became obsessed with capturing her every memory and eventually started taking pictures of friends babies and children. It escalated from there and Farlie Photography officially started as a business September 2014 when I launched my website.
How did you fund your start up?
I very gradually built up equipment. I sold and bought cameras and lenses as I grew in to them. Family and friends boosted my savings at Christmas and Birthdays. A good friend at Feathers Web Design built me a wonderful website and everything else regarding the admin, marketing and book keeping I’ve self taught and done myself.
How do you manage working around your children?
Initially I edited in the evenings, arranged shoots at the weekends and on the odd morning when my Mum could help out. The workload got too much to manage in the evenings and nap times in the summer last year and my youngest became really eager to join his big sister at preschool so he started with a childminder for two mornings and preschool for one morning a week. I still do an awful lot of work in the evenings but it’s much more manageable these days, only the odd stint editing in to the wee hours!
Can you describe a typical day, what tasks do you have to get done, how do you manage your time?
It depends on the day, Steve is up and gone before any of us stir so regardless of it being a work day or not it’s just the 3 of us. Monday, Tuesday and Thursdays are work days so I set an alarm to get up and get everyone fed, dressed and organised for the day. If I have a session I rush back from drop to set up, turn the house in to “studio mode” and remind myself of who I have in and run through the plans I’ve made for their session. Shoots last 2-3 hours and fly by in a blur of tea, prop shuffling, swapping parenting stories and shutter clicks. It’s usually time to race for pick up by the time clients leave and then it’s snack time, playtime, dinner time and bath time!
Wednesdays and Fridays are play days with the kids. We almost always make a plan to go somewhere, the zoo, soft play, woods walking or play dates with family or friends. I am doing best to make the most of these days before I lose my eldest to school in September but I am very guilty of switching the laptop on and losing myself in an email at inopportune moments. It’s hard to switch off work mode fully, this is probably why I prefer to be out of the house and away from the temptation to work.
What challenges have you faced in your business and how have you overcome them?
My main challenges are almost always within myself. When you’re in a creative industry it’s hard to be objective about your abilities and the value of the work you’re producing. When you’re so close the what you produce you can go through phases where all you see are the faults and you can’t help but compare yourself to other industry professionals. The more experience I gain the more confident I become in my abilities but equally the more I learn the higher I pitch my expectations of myself. I am however getting used to talking myself in to positive and productive headspaces.
What’s the best thing about being self employed?
For want of a less extravagant turn of phrase, I love being the master of my own destiny. My business is a huge slice of who I am, my interests, my passions, my beliefs and how I want my family to run. The best part is that the more I specialise my service and the work I create to my what I love and believe in, the better the business does as my clients seems to respond more to a unique style.
What are your plans for the future?
Too many! I want to bring film photography in my portraiture, grow my blog and continue to find new beautiful ways to capture newborns. I would like to experience capturing birth and the postpartum period and other genres of photography that are about empowering women and mothers.
What advice would you give for someone just starting out?
Follow your passions. If you are passionate about what you do and you can find the confidence and self belief to imprint who you are in what you are putting out in to the world then everything else will follow. Do not look for approval in the wrong places and do not compare yourself. If your work represents a truly real part of you then it is something to be proud of. A favourite saying of mine is: do not chase success, chase significance.
Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?
I found becoming a Mum the most empowering in my life to date. The importance of making new tiny humans and raising them in the world is huge. Bigger than anything else I could imagine. So for me becoming a Mum was like a giant dose of perspective and self belief. Because if I can do that I can do anything I want.