Thursday, February 28, 2013

Scotty Perry - A Photographer's Life Interview Series

A Photographer's Life Interview Series features photographers who have been working as a professional photographer for five or more years.  We are so grateful that these photographers are willing to share an intimate and candid look at their life behind the camera. =========== 

Let me introduce:  Scotty Perry - - Wedding & Family Photographer from Louisville, KY since 2007.

A sneak peek of Scotty's current website:
Scott Perry Website

Can you share 3 of your recent favorite images?
Thats not hard at all, is it?

Candid Wedding Photo by

Military Wedding Photo by

How did you learn the craft of photography?
I started back in highschool when my parents got me my first ‘real’ film camera. I kept with it through the years but didn't really delve in until I was old enough to buy my first DSLR. It was a lot of trial and error and research on the webz. I can't say for sure that I know what I'm doing now, I just know what I like to do, so I do that.

How did you learn the business of photography?
The wrong way, trial and error. To be honest I'm still not good at it.  I am a better photographer than I am a businessman. Theres a lot more stress when it comes to the books and the legal side of it all ::cough:: taxes ::cough::.

Do you work from home, a studio, or something else? 
I have a home office but I usually end up calling where I am sitting at the time my office.

Can you share photos of your workspace (or describe it for us)?
I keep it dimly lit or dark. I have a desk lamp behind me screen which makes it easier for me to stare at a screen for long periods of time.  I currently am rocking a stand-up desk that I pieced together and improvised with Ikea products. Its your basic home office, it stays messy and there are hard drives scattered throughout.

Do you have regular employees, associates, or other people who help you in your business?
I had an assistant for 2 years but he recently went out on his own which is awesome. He helped with the day of and was my 2nd shooter. Provided plenty of bathroom humor and beard jokes when necessary.  He also shot almost all the “formal” family photos the last year.

What do you outsource, and who do you outsource it to?
I probably should outsource everything. I outsource nothing. It makes it hard at times to fulfill requests, answer emails, edit photos, design albums, balance the books (which I suck at anyway), etc....

How many weekly hours would you say is spent working in your photography business?
During the wedding season I probably pull 20-30 hours by mid-season; that's including the time spent shooting, editing, albums, etc.

What percentage of your business working time is spent shooting vs. working behind the scenes?
20% ? If I had to make an educated guess

How did your last five clients find you and what did they hire you for?
My last five were mostly referrals from past clients/friends/other photographers. I'll be shooting their weddings or families.

What do you consider to be your most effective marketing efforts for your business?
I never really marketed formally. I tried it once and it was a waste of money. Word of mouth is HUGE.  I have a significant online presence as well via social media.

What other careers or jobs did you have before (or while) you started your photography business?
I've held a job for every season while doing photography as well.  I work on healthcare IT as a programmer and was also a consultant for a year.

How do you spend your time when you aren't working? 
With the kids.
Attempting to take my wife on a date.
I recently took a role at my church heading some of the creative things and production that goes on behind the scenes.

What hobbies or interests outside of photography are fulfilling for you?
Music. Eating. Pizza. On top of all that is helping and encouraging people.

Do you feel like you have a good balance between your personal and working life? 
At times
- If so, what do you do to make sure you achieve that balance regularly? 
 Late nights
- If not, how would you like to change it in the next few years?
I've thought about setting a schedule where I put in 3-4 hours twice a week in the office. Enough time for me to cull, edit or do any of the admin/clerical work I put off.

Who else is in your household with you?
Wife, 2 Boys, 1 Dog

What percentage of your household income is derived from your photography business?  If less than 100%, what else helps pay the household bills? Depends on the year :). Its been as much as 50% split with my other job(s) and as little as 25%.

What have been the most challenging personal aspects of being a creative small business owner?  Figuring out style, preferences, but this really was as easy as just being myself.  The most challenging has been the business side, clerical and admin tasks. the books. accounting. taxes.

What do you love about being a creative small business?
Freedom. Its has been a release for me from my daily musings of a ‘real’ job.

If you could share any advice with a photographer getting ready to start their business today, what would it be?
Don't do it on your own. Don't be afraid to ask anyone for help or advice. Don't let others bring you down.  If no one local will give you the time of day, reach out to the webz, there are a ton of us out here who are willing and want to help. Be yourself most of all. This business for me has been one massive and long interview, don't be fake because people will read right through you. 

For those just starting out with nothing but a burning passion, don't accept money from your friends or family or their friends and their families; get some experience first, shoot for free, figure out w.t.f. that those letters and green box even mean on your camera dial. Gain some experience and once you're confident enough to think your images are money worthy, go for it, but don't half-ass it. Shoot with that passion that you have and don't be scared to do what you need to do for a shot. I've stepped in front of, crawled underneath, jumped on to, elbowed and ran to get a moment or a shot. For me photography is about anticipation, at least the kind that I do. I want my images to be earnest and (at least) appear unforced. Learning when to snap and to not spray and pray is a knack you have to work to acquire.

Figure out what you want to shoot, look at peoples work who you admire. Analyze (don't copy) what they're doing. Think about what their settings might have been. Drill it in your head. Experiment. Then.... cut off your blog reading, stop looking at those peoples work because in your mind those people will probably always appear cutting edge and better than you. Join a community of like minded people/"artists"/photographers and gain your inspiration from things other than the photography you're shooting. Check out videos, still art, music, conversations and most of all observe. - Scotty Perry

If you have any additional questions for Scotty, or just want to leave a note of thanks - please leave a comment so he can continue to share his wisdom with you!  Want to keep up with Scotty?
Follow on Facebook:

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...