Everything you do today is in part helping you improve tomorrow. Take Andrea MacLeod for example. She didn’t start out running the successful venture A+ Photography — but what she took from her past in a whole different field allowed her to thrive in her new creative passion. That’s where our conversation started but it soon headed towards commercial shoots, headshot tips, and more.
Kendra: How long have you been working in photography? Was that the business you ran in Germany or did you make the switch one day to work behind the lens?
Andrea MacLeod: I’ve been working professionally as a photographer for about two years. In Germany, I ran a different business teaching business, English, and cross-cultural communication courses in Munich. It’s not the same as photography obviously, but it did give me a good grounding of understanding the different company and clients’ needs, along with running a business!
I moved to the UK when I was pregnant, and stayed at home to look after the kids. Then after they were older, I decided to start working again and take my hobby of photography forward as a business. I worked on improving my photography to a standard I was happy to start charging money for it, and then using my previous experience, started A+ Photography.
Kendra: When you started A+ Photography, were there any initial setbacks that you didn’t expect and how did you get around them and continue?
Andrea MacLeod: Not really to be honest. I started slow so that I could ease myself into juggling work and family life. I mean, nothing is ever completely smooth sailing, but not anything I would consider a setback, more just experiences to learn from and do better next time. I started networking straight away and that got me off to a good start finding work.
Kendra: Over the past year, I’ve talked to a great deal of wedding and family photographers. You’re one of the few dealing with more editorial and commercial shoots. What about this type of photography gives you the most satisfaction behind the camera?
Andrea MacLeod: I like controlling the situation, which you can’t always do at a wedding, haha! No, it’s because of my previous experience of working with businesses, they were the obvious target based on the skills I had along with being a photographer. I am confident going into a new situation, being able to hear what they say is important to them about their product or service and helping to capture that on camera. And I love the variety of companies I work with. From notary offices in the City of London, to dress designers, to industrial welders! Helping create images that represent the people and company is what I love the most.
Kendra: Jenna Fischer from The Office (US) wrote a book about acting and covered headshots. She gave a great deal of advice from an actor’s point of view, but what say you? What are your Top 3 “Don’t Do That in a Headshot” Rules?
Andrea MacLeod: Hmm, interesting. I prefer what to do rather than what not to do if that’s okay.
- Wear clothes that you feel comfortable in, but are in good condition. Things like a frayed collar show up much more in a photo than you’d like.
- If you don’t like your photo being taken, it’s unlikely that 10 minutes will be long enough to get a photo you are happy with and that is authentically you. Book with someone who will take the time to help you relax and bring the best out of you.
- Think about three adjectives you want people to think about you when they look at your photo and tell that to your photographer. Trying to look “warm, approachable and friendly” will be a different photo from “professional, knowledgeable and experienced.” I would pose each of these people differently, in different outfits and different settings or backgrounds and also probably different lighting.
Kendra: In terms of A+ Photography, what’s going on as we head into the tail-end of 2019 and straight into 2020?
Andrea MacLeod: I’m putting the finishing touches on my home studio with new furniture and feature walls so for my clients who don’t want me to come to their place of work, they can come to me. I hope to run regular headshot days here too, possibly as networking events, as well as extended shoots and creative projects. I like traveling to different companies, but it’s nice to have everything I need photographically at my fingertips![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]