Interview : Laura Heffernan – Photographer

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Laura Heffernan is an award winning Glasgow Photographer and Hi End Retoucher. Having studied at the Glasgow College of Building and Printing (now Glasgow Met). Her work has taken her to London and South Africa where she worked for Getty Images and Corbis.

As Laura is self-employed, PoLR are interested in hearing how marketing has changed for a photographer over the last 10 years when, as crazy as this now sounds, the web wasn’t the first stop for everyone!

Once again, we can’t carry out one of these interview without first allowing our interviewees the chance to plug their wares so click the link below see Laura’s fantastic photography portfolio:

http://laheff.weebly.com

Tel: 077 492 41 935

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Laura, you finished you HND in photography in 2000. What were your main means of marketing yourself in 2000 compared to how you market in 2009?

I was one on the lucky ones to leave college and go straight into employment. I contacted the Sunday Herald who at the time were voted the “Best newspaper in Europe” and asked for a weeks work experience. It took them a year to get back to me but was worth it in the end. I work on a freelance basis for 4 years and it was the best professional experience I could have ever wished for. Like everything in Scotland…I continued to get follow up work from networking with other people in the industry which lead to working at The Scotsman and several other publications and stacks of awards.

My advice would be….just to get out there and start talking to professional people……in pubs. Networking events, bookshops… whatever it takes. Also remember that people buy from people so talk about your work and let people know you are available. Also make sure you follow up any leads within the first 4 days.

How more/less effective is your marketing with the increase of internet usage compared to 2000? For example, are contacts made faster, are you reaching a wider audience etc?

Absolutely…it’s so much easier and faster. Get your name and company brand out there by putting your profile on any related website or blog.
Also have a good well-designed web site can make all the difference. Polr have great experience in the industry and amazing contacts.

Has the internet made marketing yourself harder ie. the increased competition due to the wider audience or is this increase being offset with the help of social networking websites?

No not at all, it’s made it so much easier. There will always be competition but if you believe in your product enough and your customer service is up to scratch then you will always do well in business. If anything it makes it easier for me to see what the competition are offering and how I can improve my skills to keep up with the competition.

Social networking sites haven’t increased my earnings in anyway at all however; it’s just another way for me to get my profile out there.

I know from talking to you that you are a film photographer at heart. Do you have a preference for more traditional marketing methods too? (face to face, known contacts etc).

Absolutely….hahah. I do seriously miss the original techniques use to create imagery but, you have to move with the times. To think that Film as apposed to digital is seen as “fine art” still makes me laugh. I mean….It’s the original way to create an images!

I truly believe that the old techniques are by far the best but you do need to embrace the modern tools to make your company a success. Face to face networking techniques can be a great way to make your mark, just make sure your website doesn’t let you down. Employing a great designer can really make or break your company profile.

Can you put the following on and offline marketing techniques in order of importance to you in terms of their success in gaining you work to date
(Business Cards, Word of mouth, Cold calling, Local advertising, Online Social Networking, Offline Networking, Website presence.):

1. Website presence
2. Word of mouth
3. Business Cards
4. Local advertising
5. Offline networking
6. Cold calling
7. Online social networking

Can you do the same again but this time in order of how effective you predict them to be in gaining you work in the future:

1. Word of mouth
2. Website presence
3. Online networking
4. Business cards
5. Local advertising
6. Cold calling

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