My work experience took place with Francesca Hill Photography, Francesca Hill is an international documentary wedding photographer.
Francesca Hill Ltd. is an events and photography based business that specialises in weddings. The aim of the business is “to create a timeless and stunning visual narrative that really captures the spirit of the day”.
As well as photographing weddings, she also works with corporate businesses for their branding; family or childrens portraits, favoring photoshoots in a more natural environment instead of in a studio.
The purpose of the business is to provide a photographic service to a variety of clients, she offers a natural, documentary style to her wedding photography. In terms of corporate photography, the purpose is to provide businesses with photos for marketing and other media.
Francesca has only had her photography business for 3 years, but she has already established her business largely, she used to take on as many weddings possible, but has cut down recently since launching ‘The Big Welsh Wedding Show’.
In terms of marketing and branding Francesca has business cards and flyers that she hands out, she attends wedding fayres and also has a lot of social media publicity. She has her own website (which is currently under construction), facebook page, pinterest, instagram and more. Social media is used by most of the the UK, so its a large platform to market to as its a growing medium to obtain customers.
Francesca works independently, and occasionally hires other freelance photographers to assist her. She is in control of everything, she takes the photographs, edits them, distributes them to the clients.She is also in charge of business development, website management, marketing, SEO and client acquisition.
She meets with her clients for consultations before their wedding day to get to know them and what type of photos they’re looking for. She shows clients examples of her work as a slideshow as well as photo albums to show them what she does and what she can offer them. Francesca also deals with the marketing and business side of things, publicising her own work to get more custom.
The Big Welsh Wedding show is an exhibitor showcase in Cardiff, with a number of wedding suppliers from flowers to photography.
“The aim is simple; to create a fabulous fun and cutting edge wedding event with a difference!”
Francesca has only been doing The Big Welsh Wedding Show for a couple of years, it is a business that continues to grow. Francesca does one or two shows a year, its a profitable market and is aimed at a an audience that favors modern and quirky as apposed to the more traditional wedding fayre.
The Big Welsh Wedding Show primarily uses its website and Facebook for marketing, as well as word of mouth. Most of the sales at the wedding show were generated from Facebook. As there are exhibitors at the show, these are also a form of marketing, as they will most likely advertise to their customers that they will be at the wedding show. Exhibitors paid upwards of £250 – £550 depending how many tables they were using or how much space they required, and it was advertised that there were 70 different exhibitors. This means that from exhibitors alone, we can assume that they made upwards of £20,000. Customers paid £3 entry per person for standard, which included a small gift bag for the bride or £6 for VIP entry, which included a glass of fizz and a better gift bag. At least 200 customers walked through the door and it seemed to be an even split for general and VIP sales, with this in mind, this would have brought in over £900 or more. Taking into consideration the cost of the venue hire and the contractors pay, the revenue for one show could be at least £15,000.
The Big Welsh Wedding Show was created by Claire Loader (Perfect Wedding Fayres) and Francesca Hill. The catwalk show this year was styled and choreographed by Holly Frances Williams from ‘Pzazz Wales‘. The wedding show is sponsored by a variety of companies each year, such as Boogie Beats UK, Urban Decay etc. Francesca employs contractors for the set up and freelancers to record video clips on the day, as well as getting volunteers to help out with registration.
20 – 26.02.2017
I met up with Fran at David Lloyds Health Club for the week as her office was not available. On day one we discussed her work, I asked questions and she answered them as thoroughly as possible. We spent a few hours talking, gaining information about what she does and how she does it. Showing examples of her work and her website, she explained she studied journalism and was into documentary style photography.
She set me a few tasks over the next few days, I had to go through wedding magazines collating emails and phone numbers to contact them asking if they would like to exhibit at the The Big Welsh Wedding Show. As well as this I was asked to make Pinterest mood boards to help advertise Fran’s wedding photography and further promote her business. I was also given the task to research a website called Shootproof, find out how it works in order to tell Fran how it would work as a process from start to finish with a wedding client.
The wedding fayre took place at a venue called Depot, in Cardiff City Centre. The venue was decorated and set up with various stalls from wedding suppliers, photographers, dress shops etc.
I took photos of the venue, the stalls, the hair and makeup for the catwalk show and the show itself; Francesca later asked for the photos so she could use them on the website.
I have had the pleasure of having Jess as a work experience student on a few occasions for my photography and events based business, Francesca Hill Ltd. Jess is quiet but focused and is quite happy to work independantly and more than capable of getting the job done! I have given Jess a variety of tasks to complete and she has done so with little assistance / guidance from me which has been very much appreciated. Having recently had Jess photographing one of my events, I’m pleased to say that her photography shows great promise and I have no doubt she has a successful career ahead of her. If you require any further details then please do not hesitate to get in touch.
During my time with Francesca I have learnt a lot about wedding photography and running your own freelance business. You have to be self sufficient and well organised in order to effectively be a sole trader; there are many aspects to running a business that must be considered and kept up to date. Marketing is a huge part of a business and social media is a great outlet to gain custom. Francesca showed that there are many things that can go wrong, such as damage to equipment so you must always prepare for the worst. She told me the best lenses to use for weddings, where to get things printed for the best quality and showed a few tips and tricks for editing in Photoshop.
As well as the photography side of things, there’s a lot that Francesca has to do for The Big Welsh Wedding Show, and she runs the business almost independently also. She has to call and email potential exhibitors, and also deal with the financial and organisational side of things to ensure that the day runs smoothly. At the wedding show I took a lot of photographs; there was a lot to capture during the day, I must have taken hundreds. Francesca was extremely busy throughout the day, checking that everything was sorted and that there were no problems. It had taken a lot of preparation and nothing as far as I could see went wrong. Although I didn’t gain many practical skills I got a good insight into what it takes to run your own business and how difficult it really is.
I didn’t meet any of Francesca’s photography clients, but I was front of house at the Big Welsh Wedding Show, registering the customers. All of these customers were potential clients for Francesca, she was offering money off to those who chose the VIP package and had a stall at the event, she may have gained a number of clients from the day.