A life changing, uncertain yet amazing, show-stopper of a year… 2016 was the year that I ventured out on my own.
For a long time I had thought of what it would be like running my own small business; working for myself and my own clients. For a while, and after numerous years in commercial businesses and contributing to online publications, I took a leap into establishing my own Portrait and Wedding Photography Studio based in Sydney, building something for myself as opposed to building a brand for someone else.
Since 2008 I have worked for successful commercial corporate businesses, and contributed to social photography publications. 7 months ago, I wasn’t sure of what the remainder of the year had in store.
My beginning …
During 2016 I established a studio under my own name. I thought long a hard for a suitable brand to represent me as a photographer. I wanted something memorable, simple and clean, yet most of all a brand that represented me as a person. Most photographers in the business are named “First-name Last-name Photography”, which seems common and over-done. ‘Photographer Pete’ is simple, straight-forward, approachable and direct. In many photography businesses, customers are dealing with an individual photographer; so why not name my studio as such?!
What, or who, is ‘Photographer Pete’ ? Photographer Pete is, most simply, a wedding photography and cinema studio based in Sydney, run by a local, individual wedding and portrait photographer – Peter Hawke.
So in review, what did 2016 bring? What did I learn?
2016 featured a few ups and downs, but mostly, it showcased the upward potential of what my small wedding photography business has ahead.
In 2016, I photographed many weddings; some of which were in the worst of conditions (remember the June 2016 storms!?), and some were spectacular (think Sarah + Alex, Jessica + Paul and Leanne + Nick) as well as some amazing portrait sessions (thinking of Amy + Chris‘ sunrise at Longreef Beach).
I was super excited to shoot the wedding of my old school friend Mathew and (his now wife) Lauren. I documented many elopements in and around the beautiful Sydney Harbour, met many super cool couples, held numerous consultations with brides and grooms, and above all, had more fun in 7 months on my own than over the last 6 years put together.
In the commercial world (which I occasionally dip my toes into) I covered numerous conferences (including Nucerity and Australian Utility Week) and completed a large landscape photography contract for the newly amalgamated Eastern Beaches Council. But surely the most significant: I was a member of a 3 band team that photographed the entire Woolworths supermarket store catalogue; some 80,000 photographs across 26,000 grocery products ranging from fresh fruit, to deodorant, to bottles of Coke! I’m not going to lie – that was a massive task!
I learnt that running a business is just as important that the photography itself. I need to be a web developer, SEO expert, marketing guru, social media manager and an accountant just as successfully as a photographer. Client and customer service, of coarse, must come above all else.
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank a few groups and individuals. Firstly, all my family and friends – without your amazing level of support and encouragement I would not be where I am today. Secondly, to my partner Jes; without your patience and encouragement this wouldn’t be possible. And thirdly, and certainly mostly, to the super awesome and fantastic couples that I’ve worked with throughout the year – I owe an enormous amount of gratitude. Without your support this studio would simply not exist. I look forward to what lies ahead in 2017; to future meetings, consultations and opportunities.
So with this said: Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and many thanks to all those who follow, support, and encouraged me along the way. You guys are awesome….