Helen Bartlett / Family Portraiture

Canon, Light Blue Software, and Me


A busy week at The Societies of Wedding and Portrait Photographers

I’m just back from an incredible few days at The Societies of Wedding and Portrait Photographers convention.  This annual event is the largest convention for wedding and portrait photographers in Europe and has been an essential part of the industry calendar for many years now. A vibrant trade show accompanied by a busy schedule of talks from internationally renowned speakers makes it an event not to be missed. I think I’ve been going for about fourteen years and over that time I’ve made many great friends and learnt so much.

I’ve also taught a lot of photographers and seeing these friends and colleagues and hearing how my advice has helped them in their work is a hugely rewarding experience.

This year I was flying the flag for Canon in my role as Canon Ambassador.  I’m the only family photographer to represent Canon at this level and it’s a huge honour. I love to give back and help others so at this show I was sharing my knowledge on the Canon stand every day in a class titled the Art of Family Photography.

I had such fun writing this talk and also delivering it to a fantastic audience on each day of the convention.  I’ve always found that it’s an enriching and enlightening exercise to write about my work, I have to think things through and that helps me to see patterns in my work and find ways to develop my style.  The last few weeks have found me sitting at the dining room table with my laptop, prints spread out in front of me, exploring my recent work and creating an interesting and informative talk which would inspire my audience and also give them creative tools to improve their own work.

I’ve always felt that as a speaker it’s my job to repay the trust my audience have placed in me to provide excellent content.  It’s time consuming but definitely worth the effort and I’m so thrilled with the wonderful feedback I’ve received.

Running a Successful Family Photography Business

As well as my work for Canon at the show I also taught a class for the Societies titled Running a Successful Family Photography Business. This was a huge success with a packed audience in the biggest room at the convention.  I’ve never felt myself to be someone who loves the business side of things – I’m much more interested in the pictures – but I’ve been running my business successfully for seventeen years and I’ve certainly learnt a lot along the way.

It was wonderful to be able to share the things that I have found to be most important to an audience of my fellow professional family photographers.  I enjoyed focusing on the need for excellent photography but also the need for superlative customer service.  Our clients are the lifeblood of our businesses and we need to ensure they have the pictures they want and a wonderful experience from their first contact with us to the moment their framed prints arrive ready to be hung on the wall.

I had a wonderful audience and the time flew by.  It was only when we were told we had to leave the room as the next speaker needed to set up and I continued to answer questions in the corridor that I realised I had been speaking for two and a half hours and answering questions for over an hour and a quarter.  It’s fabulous that everyone in the industry is so keen to learn.

Light Blue Software - Business Management for Professional Photographers

The other vital part of running a successful photography business is, of course, organisation.  I was thrilled to introduce my fellow family photographers to the secret behind my successful business which is the amazing studio management software that I use to keep everything in order.

Light Blue is the rock on which my business is built.  I have all my information in there and everything from my calendar, my client contacts, and contracts, my invoices and accounts all live in this powerful piece of software. I enjoyed demonstrating how I use the software in my own business and explaining how it can be utilised to save us photographers time and energy to allow us more time to take pictures, while improving the customer experience for our clients.

When I’m not on the Canon stand at Trade Shows you can always find me on the Light Blue Software stand as I help out the team to ensure that more of my fellow photographers know the benefits it can bring.

It’s been an amazing few days and I’m so grateful to all those who came to my talks, who smiled at me as I presented my work and asked questions at the end.  I’m so grateful to those of you who have sent messages and pictures and who have connected with me on Instagram so we can stay connected and take our work forward on this photographic journey together.

Learning, teaching, sharing ideas and inspiration.  It’s a fantastic part of our industry and I feel so privileged to be in a position to share with others and help to educate the next generation.  I’m already looking forward to the next opportunities to get out in front of an audience at The Photography Show and Phlock Live in March.

I hope to see you all there.