Boost Interviews Portia Crossley of Portia Crossley Photography

Boost Interviews Portia Crossley of Portia Crossley Photography

 What is it like to run a photography business? 

I love running my photography business, the work is so varied, I meet lots of interesting people and  get to be creative all the time.

What does a typical day look like at the photography studio? 

Every day is different as I work mostly on location so each new project has a totally different set of challenges and opportunities…which keeps it spontaneous and exciting.

What kind of problems do you help other people overcome? 

I help people translate and communicate their business and its ethos in the most effective visual manner to potential customers.

What percentage of your time is spent doing what? 

The actual photoshoot is just small part of the job; a lot of time goes into understanding a business, planning a shoot and even more time in selecting, perfecting and enhancing the images in postproduction.

How does the time use vary? Are there busy and slow times or is the work activity fairly constant? 

There are definitely busier and slower times but I am a flexible person so these just fit in with the ebb and flow of my colourful life!

What got you started in doing what you’re doing? 

I first fell in love with photography on my 7th birthday when I was given a Polaroid Camera. Later on that evening at a Cantonese Restaurant I photographed the other diners and gave them the option to purchase the image to remember their special evening by! I earned myself quite a bit of pocket money that night but worth more than that was the discovery of photography. 

What experiences/qualifications do you have that brought you into doing what you’re doing now? 

With various photography qualifications and a background in marketing and art I am able to create images that not only fulfil the brief but look good and have an artistic edge.

I have been awarded the Distinction of Licentiateship of The Royal Photographic Society. This is not only recognition of my work as industry standard but provides me with plenty of opportunities for continued professional development. I was shortlisted for the International Pink Lady Food Photographer of the Year 2015 & 2020. Also my work on the theme ‘togetherness’ was ‘Highly Commended’ in an International Professional Portrait Photography competition. 

What would you say are some of the biggest barriers to entering your chosen market place? Are there any?

 I guess with iphones everyone thinks they are a photographer and in one sense they are but there is a difference between being able to press a button to capture light on a sensor and crafting an image with a sense of composition, lighting, hue and capturing the moment!

What would you say are the most important characteristics about being a photographer?

For me it would have to be insight, communication, an artistic eye and a nice manner. 

What part of your business do you find most satisfying? 

I get such satisfaction from helping hardworking, quality businesses thrive by creating images for them that shout to potential customers louder than 1000 words.

I also like to gift work to help with social justice and good causes and find this particularly satisfying.  I documented the A21 March for Freedom against human trafficking as it is a subject close to my heart. Recently, I have starting taking some mum and baby portraits at Daffodil House a national residential assessment centre that enables parenting capacity to be assessed whilst the child remains in the care of the parent. The aim being to create a set of portraits for both Mum and baby to keep forever that speak of the love and connection between them regardless of the court’s decision on the best course of action.

How does your business differentiate itself from its competitors? 

My business is me!  I am a person of integrity who sincerely wants to help businesses represent themselves visually in the best possible way. I take time to understand the ethos of each business or project so that I can create images that are truly representative of and in line with my client’s brand. 

What are the biggest challenges your business is facing in the coming 6 months? 

Corona Virus! Photographing whilst social distancing!

Do you think the business will overcome these challenges, if so how? 

We are living through extraordinary times.

Although the last few months I have not been able to do any location shoots for clients, I hope to be able to do product shots and individual portraits whilst maintaining social distancing soon. I have also become a bit obsessed with documenting these days we are going through and plan to submit my images of our ‘New Normal’ for the archives to The National Portrait Gallery & The Box.

 What are your major successes these past 6 months? 

For me happy, thriving clients are a major success, comments on my website like this make it all worthwhile: 

 “Tony and I loved working with Portia on our branding shoot. Portia was professional and specific about what she wanted, clearly meticulous about the detail. She took her time to read our branding document in advance of the shoot so knew exactly the kind of pictures we would need for our business. We had a lot of fun on the day and she put us at ease. We are delighted with the results and would recommend Portia to anyone who wanted to take their business to the next level (via a branding / presentation exercise), through professional photography.”

How did you achieve those successes? 

I identify businesses I would like to work with and then present to them the added value professional photographs can make to their business. I then listen to the messages they want to convey both with clarity and more subtly and convert these into visual images. 

What would you say to a younger you? Or a student entering this industry? 

If it’s your passion…just do it!

How do you market your business?

My business is mostly word of mouth recommendation, a few networking events and social media.

With the current coronavirus now in full swing, how are you preparing for the economic after effects of the lockdown? 

I am making the most of the time to update my various online presences, hone some new skills and plan a course of action.

Over the next 12 months, 2 and 5 years where do you see the business heading?

An increase in branding shoots as businesses seek to distinguish themselves from the competition.

Also Food Photography is a specialism of mine so I would love to help those hit by lockdown visually reinvent themselves and eventually market themselves afresh when they can open to the public again.

Do you have plans to expand and grow the business?

Yes I have a few things up my sleeve that I am toying with!

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