Pinhole Pro Welcomes Courtney Louise
What makes wedding & portrait photographers different around the world? With the official launch of Pinhole Pro in the United Kingdom and Ireland this week, we’re giving you an inside view of how our newest Pinhole Pro UK team members have started their businesses and continue to be successful. What you’ll find is that it’s not that different than the struggles and opportunities that photographers face in the US.
Today, we welcome Courtney Louise Howson who launched her own photography business in 2008 and specializes in portraiture and fashion photography.
How did you know that you wanted to build a career in wedding and portrait photography?
I have always had a passion for photography. I was very young at the age of 16 when I did my first photo shoot with a professional model, that was back in the day when I solely wanted to be a fashion photographer. Then I grew interest in photographing more real and natural scenarios, like weddings. I was 17 when I was commissioned for my first wedding, and it was through word of mouth that I took on more work both with weddings and portraiture that same year. I never had second thoughts or any doubts about building a career in photography- it sort of just happened!
What was the most difficult part of starting your business?
I think the most difficult part for me was learning to deal with competition. I was entering into a very competitive market at a young age and with no solid business experience behind me, I learned very quickly that the competition was tough.
I set up in 2009, the credit crunch had hit and certain photographers were offering to shoot weddings for next to nothing.
I found this particularly hard to compete with; we all know that everyone loves a bargain. Once I had realized that majority of couples were looking at the quality of work, I was reassured that I would still be getting work during the economy crash, despite the hard competition.
We know that selling the DVD is still controversial. Why does it make sense for your business?
When building my wedding prices and packages, I put a lot of thought and effort into whether or not the DVD should be included. I came to the conclusion though that in the 21st century, we are in a technology driven world.
The DVD is a perfect way to freely share, upload and distribute photographs to family and friends.
What camera do you shoot with? What is your most important piece of equipment?
I shoot with the Canon 5d mark ii and the Canon 5d. The most important piece of equipment, aside my camera, is my 24-70mm lens f/2.8 lens. It’s perfect for weddings and portraits, giving lots of flexibility.
What would you never go to a portrait or wedding shoot without?
Apart from the obvious answer, my camera, the next piece of equipment that I would never go to a shoot without is my trusty 50mm 1.8 lens (aka the nifty fifty!) At a budget price, the 50mm lens gives beautiful results within weddings and portraiture and I am always sure to never leave home without it.
We know that you have had your work published on the front covers of several novels. How did you break into the publishing industry?
After being a regular user on Flickr – I was spotted there by a few people who were interested in my work. It all took off from there. I sell my work for novel front covers through a couple of image libraries. Once they have approved your work, the agency promotes it to their publishing clients.
What is the best piece of advice that you have ever received?
Never give up; always a good piece of advice that you can apply to any part of your life.
What piece of advice would you give to photographers just starting out?
I would say just enjoy it. You need to live, breathe and love photography. Keep working on the personal projects and define your own photographic style; you need something to make you stand out from the rest of your competition.