Corporate jobs, Family Life and Wedding Photography

Show Notes:

Today I am chatting with one of my founding Wedding Pro members Kevin Lines. What I love about Kevin is the way he keeps his work life varied with a mix of corporate work and wedding photography. He has a ‘family first’ mindset whilst also striving to bring in more income – it’s a great conversation.

Visit Kevins Website

Follow Kevin on Instagram

Join the Wedding Pro Members Lounge

Time Stamps:

The journey to photography (00:00:00) Kevin discusses the importance of family and his background in photography, leading up to his career in press photography.

Transition to wedding photography (00:08:16) Kevin shares how he initially didn’t want to do weddings but ended up enjoying it, leading to his first clients and the snowball effect.

Marketing strategies (00:10:25) Kevin discusses his unconventional approach to marketing, emphasizing the power of word of mouth and personal connections over traditional advertising.

Differences between corporate and wedding photography (00:18:11) Kevin explains the differences in corporate and wedding photography, how he found corporate photography connections, and the importance of networking.

Corporate Photography Challenges (00:20:21) Kevin discusses the challenges of corporate photography, including the limited creativity and the need to provide a defined brand style for clients.

Setting Rates in Corporate Photography (00:23:13) Kevin explains the process of setting rates for corporate photography, including considerations for day rates, half-day rates, and adjusting based on the client’s budget.

Balancing Work and Family (00:26:35) Kevin shares his strategies for balancing work and family, including blocking out days for family time and limiting weekend work.

Benefits of Community Membership (00:31:28) Kevin highlights the benefits of being part of a community, such as sharing business issues with like-minded professionals and building a network for support.

Avoiding Comparison in Business (00:34:37) Kevin emphasizes the importance of not comparing oneself to competitors and focusing on individual strengths and unique selling points.

Conclusion and Contact Information (00:35:38) Becca and Kevin wrap up the conversation, and Kevin shares his website for those interested in reaching out to him for advice or inquiries.

Transcript:

Kevin: Some, some people say like my business is my life. My, mine isn’t, mine is just. It’s part of my life that I, that I use to earn money and that, that, that’s the reality. Family is, is my kind of, is the most important thing as it probably is for most people.

Becca: I’m Becca Pountney, wedding business, marketing expert, speaker and blogger, and you’re listening to the Wedding Pros Who Are Ready To Grow podcast.

I’m here to share with you actionable tips, strategies, and real life examples to help you take your wedding business to the next level. If you are an ambitious wedding business owner that wants to take your passion and use it to build a profitable, sustainable business, doing what you love, then you’re in the right place.

Let’s get going with today’s episode. Today I’m chatting with Kevin Lyons. Kevin is both a wedding and corporate photographer and is amazing at what he does. Based in Hertfordshire, but traveling all over for work, some of his clients have included John Lewis, Tesco, Porsche, and many more. I’ve known Kevin since he joined my Wedding Pro Members Lounge as a founding member back in 2019.

Most recently, I was thrilled when my friends chose to book him for their wedding, and even more thrilled when I saw the incredible photos. I’m looking forward to dive into his journey today. Kevin, podcast.

Kevin: Hi. Thanks Pleasure to be here.

Becca: I’m so glad you’re here. And just let’s talk about that wedding because that was the first time I’ve seen you really at work.

I really enjoyed it. I hope you didn’t feel too much pressure having me there at the wedding day.

Kevin: Yeah, no, I didn’t feel too much pressure. I mean, I’ve done quite a lot of weddings over the years, obviously, but yeah, there was a sort of a little bit of extra, not pressure, but more a case of, I wanted to do, I wanted to like really smash the job for them.

And it, yeah, I was really, really happy with, with what I got from it. It helped that they were obviously a really photogenic couple and all the guests were great as well. And the kids running around and it, yeah, it was just a brilliant day from start to finish.

Becca: Yeah, it was a great day. And I always really like seeing.

you and all my members doing, doing their job because I don’t often get to see that side of things. I get to hear about what’s going on. I get to see the business changes that people are making, but actually seeing you on a wedding day was a lot of fun. Now let’s move on because I like to take people right back to the start of their journeys because I think it’s interesting for listeners to understand how someone’s got to where they are now.

So take us back, Kevin, back to the start. When did photography In general, become a career for you.

Kevin: So basically I’ve always kind of been interested in sort of images and film and the creation thereof. So basically when I left school, I wasn’t particularly. Academic, I was kind of like always a middling sort of student.

Like I wasn’t terrible, but I wasn’t brilliant. But the at, at the school that I went to, Monks Walk in Welwyn Garden City. They actually, for GCSE you could do photography at the time. So I did that and then, yeah, kind of from there that I, I, I just kind of knew really that’s what I wanted to do and it was just a case of trying to work out if I could kind of make a career out of it rather than it, it just being a hobby.

So anyway, so I, I, I finished secondary school, and then I managed to get a place on a press photography course at Norton College up in Sheffield. So, at the time they, the government were doing some kind of scholarship, so the course was quite expensive, but I actually got it for free, or paid for, which is really lucky, so I went up there and did that.

It’s kind of, it’s quite funny actually, because I actually never finished the course, because the whole point of the course was to get a job. So I actually did kind of like 75 percent of the course and then left to get my first job. Which was the point of it, I mean they’re quite happy for you to do that, but yeah.

It’s always funny when I’m sort of like, yeah I did this course but I didn’t actually finish it, but I got a job from it. Yeah, so I joined a photo agency in Hertford which, did a sort of various kind of, they did local news. corporate events and a little bit of sport photography as well, which was great fun.

Spent 10 years there and then unfortunately got made redundant because the local press at the time that it just, it, well, it’s not there anymore. Advertising is all online now and all that sort of thing. So yeah, basically I, I got a, a fair bit of money because I’ve been there a long time. So I just kind of thought, Oh, do you know what?

Let’s give it a go, go out on my own. And here we are. I’m still here.

Becca: Amazing. Well, that’s a good start.

Kevin: Yeah, well, managed to kind of get through COVID, which, you know, as everyone knows, was, you know, let’s not talk about that too much. But yeah, made it through and kind of thriving at the moment. Not mega, mega, mega busy, but busy enough that I’m getting the work that I need and, you know, having a good balance with family life as well.

Becca: Amazing. Now, press photography is an interesting place to start because not many people start in that genre. When you talk about doing a press photography course, what does that entail? Because for me, when you say press photography, I’m thinking of these like paparazzi jumping out of people along the street, but I’m sure that’s not what they’re teaching you.

What kind of skills, what did you learn? Working and learning in that industry.

Kevin: So from a technical standpoint, it’s about working in press. You’ve got to be really fast. You can’t, you know, there’s no restaging anything. You’re shooting what happens. So it’s more about kind of knowing the technical side of your, of your camera or video camera, like the back of your hand where you’re almost.

I mean, now, when I shoot now, I don’t, I just move the dials, I don’t really think about, it’s just like muscle memory, if you see what I mean, and that all stems from there, they were quite big on that, and it’s just sort of, it’s hard to explain, but they sort of, they teach you about, watch what you’re shooting, don’t always look at the main thing, look what’s developing off to the side, and again, you can kind of, you know, shift that over to shooting weddings, you know, you might be, obviously you’re there to focus on the bride and groom, but you might be shooting them just doing some candid stuff.

And in the background, you know, I might say, Oh, you know, there’s something, you know, cool developing in the background is sort of being aware of the entire you know, the entire scene rather than just one thing. And it’s, it was just basically teaching awareness of that. And there was other things, sort of caption writing at the time, and, and little bits of pieces.

But yeah, it was mainly kind of, sending you out in, in and around Sheffield and, because they have lots of protests and sports teams and all this kind of thing, and you’re allowed to kind of go out and just find your own, you know, stories and just be shooting basically.

Becca: I think it’s a really good, good grounding, especially for the wedding industry, because actually the wedding day things do only happen once.

And you do have one moment to capture that picture of the cake cutting or the first kiss or the first dance. And it really frustrates me actually, if I see people restaging things or saying, Oh, can you do that again? So I’m like, we’ve missed the moment. That’s your job to capture the moment. And I’m guessing your background in press, you do only have that one moment.

You’ve got to get the right photo at the right time. That that’s, that’s the definitely held you in good stead in weddings, I’m sure.

Kevin: Yeah, it definitely has. And I remember, when I got my first job, first thing, the my boss, if you like, said to me was, I want pictures, not excuses and that’s always stuck with me.

You know, you’re there to do the job. You can’t be like, oh, you know, I was switched off and I, I miss this, but you, you know, a wedding, if you, people sort of, when, when you’re walking around a wedding, people often say to you, oh, you know, it must be so cool, kind of just taking photos. But it, it can actually, and anyone that’s shot a wedding will notice it can be like, at the end of the day, you are mentally, you’re completely drained mentally because you have to be switched on from, you know, nine, 10 o’clock, whatever time you get there, till nine or 10 in the evening.

And there’s always stuff going on. So yeah, it’s, it’s, it’s a very. It is a hard job. It might look easy on the, like on the outside of what you’re doing, sort of physically it’s not hard, but it definitely is very, it’s mentally tiring.

Becca: I really like that. I’m going to keep that one in on the back burner. I want pictures, not excuses.

I think there’s a lot of instances where we can be using a similar mindset. And it’s funny, is it how things that we learn early on in our careers or early on in our training, things like that just really stick with us for a long time. I know there’s lots of things in my life that have done the same. So we talked about.

Your press photography, you work for this agency. At what point did weddings enter the picture for you as a photographer?

Kevin: Well, I mean, originally, I never ever wanted to do weddings. It wasn’t something that appealed to me at all. But while I was at the agency, a friend of a, one of the guys that ran the agency was getting married, and they basically just asked me, they, my boss asked me, would I be up for doing it, sort of, with him?

And I thought, oh, you know, why not? Give it a go, see what it’s like. Nothing else is, you know, a bit of extra money at the time. And I did it, and I kind of just really enjoyed it. It was something, as I say, I never really had any intention of getting into. I shot it and I found creatively is really sort of quite liberating because the thing with shooting press is that you’re, you know, there’s no room for that, that you can use create creativity in terms of your angles that you’re shooting and how you approach it.

But in terms of, you know, weddings just gives a whole bigger palette of creativity.

Becca: And so you did your, I assume you said yes to that first wedding. I assume you, you did go and do it. Where was your, do you remember your first client after that? Do you remember when you thought actually, yeah, I could actually make some decent money from this.

Not just doing it for friends and family.

Kevin: Yeah. Well, I didn’t really get any other clients sort of straight from that, but. It was again another friend of my sister’s actually needed someone and then it kind of It was so it’s a long way back now So I can’t remember exactly how it kind of panned out but I guess it was kind of just a snowball from that that you do that and then people that are there and That that’s really sort of You can have your websites, but really word of mouth is, is, and people seeing you do it is, is your best kind, best type of advertising you, you, you can have.

Becca: Yeah, it absolutely is. Word of mouth is always going to help in both the weddings and the corporate side of things, I’m sure. So let’s go on from that then, because I love in this podcast to give people some insider marketing secrets, because we’re all talking about, Oh, you need to be on TikTok. You need to be on Instagram.

You need to be on this directory. We need to do this for you over the last few years, when you have looked. Where your customers and clients have come from, where are your main sources that you think people find you from?

Kevin: Well, I’m kind of, I kind of buck the trend of that really because I don’t have TikTok.

I literally have a website and my Instagram and that’s it. I don’t have any time or inclination to kind of learn anything else. I have, I did do a reel the other day for the first time. I know that’s kind of makes you sound really lame on, on my social stuff. But yeah, so I did that, which was quite good fun.

Where do my clients come from? Really, for me, people always make a, a big thing of networking and now you’ve got to go to networking meetings, this kind of thing. I don’t buy into that at all. For me, networking, we’re networking. Now you’re talking to people. That’s all it is. You don’t. Have to build it up to be this, this like thing you go and do.

It’s what you do naturally every day. You know, when I pick my children up from school, you talk to the other parents in the playground, you’re networking to a degree it, you have, you, you have to shift the mindset from it’s something you’ve got to do where towards more, you do it all the time, just speak to people.

You know, they might not need anyone tomorrow or in a month’s time, but in a year or two years time, they’ll remember you. Oh yes. That guy that does the photos, you know, you know, I’ll chat to him. And see if we can get something sorted out together. And that’s it. There’s no real, I don’t spend any money really on advertising by my, my website.

Cause I, well, one, I don’t really understand it. I don’t understand Google ads or anything like that. But to me, it’s just, you don’t, I think nowadays you’re, you’re often, whenever I log into Facebook or go online, there’s someone saying, Oh yeah, pay me like, 200 and I’ll tell you all these secrets. You don’t need to do any of that.

I mean, fair play to people to do it and they’re successful from doing it, but there’s nothing you can’t get for free from Google or speaking to other business owners. You don’t have to have a big budget as well. I think that sometimes stops people. It’s really be yourself, just talk to people and work will come your way if you do a good job.

Becca: Yeah, you make it sound so easy, Kevin, but people find that difficult. I started referring to it as connecting rather than networking because I do think networking has these real negative connotations and actually is just connecting. It’s talking to people and finding out a little bit about them and finding out what they do and then seeing if you’ve got Common goal.

I went to a networking or connecting dinner the other week, and there was only eight people there. And I reckon, and on the surface, none of them had anything to do with what I did. There was no wedding industry people there, but actually just talking to people and finding out what they did. I found some really interesting connections.

I’ve got someone who was a comedian. They’re going to come on the podcast and talk about adding humor into things. Actually, there’s connections everywhere we go. We just need to be open to having them and open to talking to people. And there is no, secret. There is no secret. No one go on the internet and pay thousands of pounds for a secret.

There isn’t a secret. There is help. There’s accountability. There’s putting yourself in the right rooms, but ultimately you’ve got to do the work. You can’t just wake up one day and, and have this successful business. And I, you make it sound easy, but I know you have put lots of time and work into it. I think one of the.

things from when my friends booked you, because I obviously took a vested interest when I was sending supplies to people and they were making decisions. I was asking them, why are you, why did you make that choice? What were you looking for? And your website played a big part in it because they went onto your site.

And obviously I pointed them in your direction. So that’s the connection piece already. I put in them in your direction alongside about 10 other people as well. They looked at your site. They really liked your images, which obviously as a photographer has got to be number one selling point. So if people don’t have the best quality images on their site, that needs to change straight away.

And then the big thing as well was the pricing and the price transparency and being able to see exactly how much you charged, what you charged for a day, weekday wedding, because they were actually getting married on a Monday and just, they said it was just so refreshing that they could see everything straight away, could contact you.

And then the rest is history. They liked you and they built you.

Kevin: Yeah, I don’t, I know there is a lot of discussion about should you put prices on your site or not, but I look at it, if I’m looking for something, I don’t want to have to hunt about and DM someone, I just want to, I want to go on their site, I want to know how much it’s going to cost me and what I get for it.

And if I have to look for it, I’ll just go on to the next site that, you know, I’ll keep going until I find a site that has that information on. Again, everyone’s different, I’m not saying that’s the right way. And also the. It’s perhaps easier for me to do because I don’t really do packages because to me, you know, bronze, silver, gold is like, all right, better, best.

For me, I can only give my best at every wedding. I don’t have like a, oh, it’s sort of like a half effort kind of thing. I give 100 percent at every one and that’s it. That’s the only way I, I kind of, you know, feel comfortable doing it. I don’t, I don’t see how you can sort of be like, Oh yeah, I’ll give like 50 percent effort at this one because you’re only paying half what my full day is, or I don’t know.

But yeah, I don’t know. It’s, it’s not easy. I mean, I think the secret is you just have to be yourself. And when you speak to clients, I kind of, I’m how I am with everyone, whether they’re the top, the bottom, and at the end of the day, my photos are are okay. There’s lots of other photographers that have got better images than me, but I, I think people, I know it’s a horrible cliche, but people do buy people and I think if you, if, if you are as a person, can make them feel relaxed.

You know, that, that is why people will book you, not because of your technical ability because there’s so, I mean, if you see a wedding put on Facebook now, there’s like 200 replies of photographers all say, all with like really good sites and their images are all amazing. There’s, there’s only one person going to be booked there.

So you have to, the only thing, the only differential that you can have is you and your personality and how you are with them and how you make them feel. And that, that really is the bottom line of, of I think how I get booked.

Becca: And again, that comes down to the connection piece, because when you just post something on Facebook, you post a link, they know nothing about you.

Just one of a million names. But actually when you get a personal recommendation, I always say that’s the most powerful form of marketing because. Someone’s going to listen to their friend’s recommendation a hundred times over compared to a link on Facebook every single time. And you’re right, because actually the general public, i.

e. me, if I look at a photo, I couldn’t tell you technically whose photos are better. I can tell you whether I like a photo or not, but that’s personal preference. I can see when it’s framed well, but the nuances that a photographer can see, I just can’t see them. And I think there’s a lot of photographers, and I’m sure there’s some listening that say, Suffer from that perfectionism, feeling like their work’s not good enough, not putting it out there because it’s not good enough.

Whereas actually the general public, if you showed it to me, I would probably think it was amazing because I don’t have the knowledge to know any differently.

Kevin: Yeah, definitely. And I think a lot of photographers as well can get really caught up by, Oh you know, John down the road, his photos are so much technically better than mine.

Yeah. But John might be an idiot behind the camera. Do you know what I mean? You might have the personality that. That they love and your photos are good enough and, and that’s all it really boils down to.

Becca: Yeah, absolutely.

Kevin: John’s a fictional character by the way, I just made him up.

Becca: Yeah, don’t, don’t sue us about John down the road that isn’t very nice behind the camera.

Kevin: I do, I know a few John photographers and it’s definitely not any of those.

Becca: Don’t worry, Kevin, you’re safe here. We don’t think you’re being horrible to anyone in particular. Now, one thing I’d love to talk to you a little bit about Kevin is the fact that you don’t just do weddings because there’s a lot of photographers out there that are just weddings.

That’s all they do. Maybe they do a bit of family photography, but actually you spend quite a lot of time on your corporate photography. You’re always off at events, taking photos and things like that. And actually I think it’s an income stream that people are quite often afraid of, or they don’t really understand what it involves or how they get into it.

So can you just give us. a little bit of a insight into what the differences are in corporate photography and how you find those connections and how you get those jobs.

Kevin: So a lot of my corporate bookings were, so when I was working in, in doing the press stuff, pretty much I was every day going into businesses and I just kind of you know, was networking in inverted commas there, like daily, so picking up contacts and it was really handy because when, when I knew that I was basically going to be leaving press every job I was going to, I was like, right, you know, just heads up, I’m kind of leaving soon, but I will be going out on my own.

Like this is going back, have a, have a business card, you know, it’s all online now, obviously, but giving cards out left, right, and center. I, I got really lucky in that one of my best clients is Bedfordshire University and at the time when I left the paper, or the, the press agency, one of my friends was the marketing officer at the uni and kind of got me in there and he, he left after a year, but they kept me on and I’m still doing lots of work with them today.

So yeah, sometimes it is just pure luck at the time. But I’ve also, when I started out, I did do a couple of free jobs, which I know is generally like a big no no. But at the time, for my local council, it was a foot in the door for me. And again, I do a lot of work with them still now. And it’s kind of, you have to judge, you know, is it worth doing this job for free?

You know, only that person will know at the time whether they think that’s worthwhile and there will be work to be done. You definitely shouldn’t do too much of it for free, obviously, but that kind of worked for me. Also, Friends of Friends got jobs at team building agencies and event agencies. And got me in there again.

There’s not really a kind of way I would get my work. It’s just sort of a lot of my friends do video work as well. And they will obviously say, Oh, you know, you need a photographer yet. My guy, I’ll hook you up and get work that way. Corporate stuff is different in terms of. It is a lot less creatively. I, you’ll go to a conference and it will just be shot for this speaker, shot for this speaker, shot for this speaker, people, you know, networking.

And there’s not that much room for creativity, but it’s kind of, you are literally there to provide a service. You’re creating content for them to put out on their socials within a defined brand style of whoever the client is, which is obviously completely different to weddings. For me, I enjoy it. Cause it’s, I’ve got to a point now where I, I, a lot of my clients are regular.

So it’s, I see people I know there and it’s kind of, it’s, it almost, it doesn’t feel like work sometimes. And I mean, I’ve, I’ve done some bizarre jobs over the years, done crystal maze themed days. I’ve been in a crystal dome, had a go at that. That was cool. I didn’t get a crystal though. What else have I done?

Done like, I did a thing for P& O Ferries and it was like, they’re AGM got cruise for you? It’s like a. Have I got, you know, have I got news for you? Kind of rip off on there. And quite often you’re there doing these things and you’re sort of like, I can’t believe, I can’t believe I’m getting paid to do this.

This is so weird. But yeah, that, that’s kind of, it is a completely different beast to weddings, but that’s not to say if you, if you can do a job at a wedding, you can do a job in corporate, it’s different, but it’s not that different. You just have to. adjust your mindset and your expectations of, of, of what you’re doing.

Becca: And it’s a very different kind of industry, talking about the fact that you did some work for free. I mean, often I talk about not doing weddings for free, but that’s because you, you do your wedding for free, they’re only going to get married once. Whereas actually in business, in corporate, if you do one job for the council for free and they like it, that could then lead to multiple bookings every single year for the next decade.

So it is a slightly different mindset in that way, because you’re much more likely to get repeat business. I’m guessing the time frames are shorted, you have to get the photos back to people a lot quicker?

Kevin: Yeah, I mean most of the, most events I do, as a matter of course, I deliver the images. But I mean, even with a wedding, I, I tend to deliver all of the full gallery within two weeks, which is apparently quite fast.

I’m always told, but I’m kind of, I think it’s just ingrained in me from my, my first day of working that you turn around stuff fast. And it’s, it’s again, something that’s always stuck with me, but I hear like some people take sort of three or four months to get a gallery back. And that just like, I can’t even get my head around that.

It has to be quicker than that, from my point of view, anyway.

Becca: That’s from your days of press though, because in press you have to get everything within minutes, not even within days or weeks. It literally has to be there straight away. And I think one other hurdle that people come across when it comes to jumping into corporate side of things, whether that’s photography or even videography, flowers, all sorts of different places, and people can work in corporate, is working out How much to charge?

Now, you don’t need to go into detail about your rates, but how did you work out how to set a rate? Do you do a day rate, a half day rate? And how does that kind of compare to when you’re pricing up a wedding?

Kevin: Okay, so for wedding, I, I literally have just, I’m there for the day and they get an online gallery and a pre wedding shoot and that is a set fee.

How do you price corporate work? I mean, It is a kind of, there’s so many variables, it’s really hard to know. There’s some clients where I simply ask them what their budget is and then work it out from there. Generally I have a kind of half day or a day rate, so you quite often get inquiries where they’ll go, yeah it’s only a quick like half hour job or something, it never is.

It never is because it’s a half day because by the time you’ve driven there or gone into London, if it’s in London and you’ve had, it’s always a half day. So that’s, that’s just nonsense. You never have a quick half hour job. So yeah, I kind of, and also balance it up. Do I want to do the job? Really? If I do, then perhaps I might, you know, if it’s a, I don’t know, like someone, I really, a famous person that’s presenting an award and the budget’s not quite where I’d want it to be, but I quite want to shoot that person.

And then perhaps I’ll be like that. I’ll, I’ll do it. I mean, it, it, it’s, it’s a lot less defined than weddings and there’s a lot of sort of, you might have to back and forth a little bit and kind of get a steer. Generally, if someone’s emailed you, they like your work, so you’ve got a bit of a kind of starting point that they obviously want to book you.

But then there’s some that you can, you can definitely tell it’s just like a generic email that’s gone round to several people and half the time I probably don’t even reply to those. Because they’re going to be just after the cheapest person how I got my rates in the first place. I just kind of did a bit of research on other photographers sites because a lot of corporate photographers do have prices on their site or like a from, and just kind of, you, you get, you get a steer just from speaking to other people and often I’ve got a network of all local photographers and they’ll be, Oh, I’m busy this day, could you maybe cover and the price will be this.

And you can sort of just gauge roughly what they’re. their prices are there. It’s not an exact science. It completely depends on the requirements of the job, how long, where it is. It might, you know, it might, I’m in Hertfordshire, but if it’s a job right up north, then you’ve got to factor in that you’re going to lose a day or half a day, sorry, traveling.

And you’ve still got to be paid for that as well. Because when you’re there, you’re not, you can’t be working on anything else. So it’s a bit of, Speak to the client, ask what their budget is and just kind of back and forth and see if you can agree on a figure. So it’s not a very good answer, but.

Becca: No, it is because it’s really helpful because these are the things that I like to ask, cause these are the things that people sitting at home are wondering about and thinking, I don’t even know where to get started with that.

And actually having some, kind of thoughts on how you do it is, is incredibly, incredibly helpful. Okay, so let’s talk then about time management because we talked about a lot of things that you do in your life. You’re doing weddings, you’re doing corporate, you’re doing headshots, you’re doing all of these things.

But I also know you’re a family man. I often see pictures on Facebook of you at your kids football matches or going to watch Stevenage Town. So how do you balance it all? How do you keep that time with your family a priority as well as having all of this work?

Kevin: Yeah, it’s really hard and my wife’s a teacher as well, so in most evenings she’s kind of doing lesson planning and stuff like that.

How we do it is we just kind of block out days where we’re just like, I’m not going to work that day. And we, I, well, I won’t ever work when the, when my boys are at home. I might, like, reply to an email on my phone, but I won’t sit doing anything on that. I’ll just wait till they go to bed and do any editing when they’re not here.

Or, Both, both mine are in full time school now, so I obviously have a lot of time during the day that I can get my, my work done. But I, I just feel that they’re only young for such a kind of small time. You don’t want to waste it working, because work, work’s important, but it’s not that important.

Becca: And do you limit how many weekends you do?

Because I think that’s one of the big things in our industry, is that actually, quite often, there’s a lot of weekends that are involved and that does feel like it can eat up into your family time. Do you have kind of a limit on that? Or are you just seeing how it goes as it goes along?

Kevin: No, I don’t have a limit on it, but I generally will never work a whole weekend.

One day or the other. Corporate work very, very rarely is weekends anyway. And I don’t do loads of weddings. Like, I’m not stacked out every weekend doing weddings. I probably do like 10 to 12 a year. So over the year, it’s not, so yeah, I, weekends I kind of try to keep them as clear as possible. So I run my, one of my son, well, I do bits of both my son’s football team.

So that’s kind of, I often think like, what did I used to do before I had children? Because I had so much free, I thought I had so much free time, but obviously I have none now. I just, I just think it’s, it’s all individual. We are just a busy family and we’re kind of cool with that. And that’s how we’ve always been.

But as I say, I just don’t work when they’re here and try and they’re, they’ve always got some kind of club or, you know, some, you know, you know, the drill, something or other for them to go to. So yeah, you just have to find the balance and, and make sure they’re, they’re like the most important thing and what some, some people sell, like my business is my life.

My, mine isn’t, mine is just, part of my life that I, that I use to earn money. And that, that, that’s the reality. Family is, is my kind of, is the most important thing as it probably is for, for most people.

Becca: Yeah. And I, I think me and you are leading parallel lives at the moment because I basically spend my entire weekends on the side of a football pitch, watching football with my children.

But I think I’ve, I lean into that exactly as you say that actually, that’s the thing that, Brings me joy. And quite often I see people struggling, especially when you first have kids and they’re young, because you feel that push and pull like, Oh, they’re taking me away from my work. But actually I’m trying to shift that mindset and think actually my works, I don’t want my work to take me away from my kids.

And I think when we realize actually what’s most important in this situation, is it me sitting down on my phone and replying to emails, or is it be being present in the moment and taking them to every club under the planet, because actually one day in probably not that long, They’ll be gone. They’ll have moved out.

They’ll have moved on with their lives. And that moment is, it’s a cliche, but it is fleeting. And I can see it already disappearing in front of me. So I think if you’re listening to this and you’re in that struggle, sometimes it’s just about readdressing it in your own head and realizing it’s not your kids taking away.

That’s a choice you’ve made to have the children and like find ways to make your business work around your kids rather than the other way around.

Kevin: Yeah, absolutely. And what I say is I don’t, I don’t want it to sound like I’ve, I’ve got it perfectly sorted all the time. I definitely don’t. There’s times where I’m kind of, I don’t know how I’m going to fit all this in.

And, you know, the way I look at it, if you can kind of get it right 75 percent of the time, then you generally You know, I, I, I get emails late at night and to be honest, it’s like, there’s nothing that can’t wait till the morning. And to be honest, I, I, I don’t reply unless it’s someone asking me for my bank details to pay me, then obviously I’ll reply straight away.

But but no, generally. email can wait and I reply in emails in sort of office hours.

Becca: Yeah, which is good boundaries to have, but none of us have it perfect all of the time. I wish we did. If someone can point me to the person who has the perfect balance between their business, their kids, their family and general life, then I’d love to meet them and talk to them on this podcast because I think we all, we all struggle one way or another.

100%. So, Kevin, at the beginning of this episode, I introduced you and I said, you are an OG, you are one of my original members. So first of all, thank you for your loyalty, for still being around all these years later. I do appreciate it. For you, what is it about kind of being in a community or being part of the members that you’ve enjoyed over the years, even if you’re not always around for all of the things, because there’ll be people listening to this and thinking, I don’t know why I should ever join a community like that.

I don’t understand what it’s all about. What would you say to them?

Kevin: What’s good about it is, is that you can kind of, you can raise any issues that you might have in your business with other like minded suppliers that are probably having the same problem or issue and it, you know, sometimes just sharing it, problems shared and all that sort of thing.

Just to hear other people’s viewpoints. And sometimes you can read a reply to something and think, Oh, do you know what? I probably wouldn’t have ever thought about it that way, but it’s just cause you can, you, you can talk about work to your partner, but at the end of the day, if they’re not in the industry, you’re in there, you can only kind of.

Listen and sort of they don’t, they don’t understand that is the bottom line. So just to have other, other people to understand your situation and what you’re trying to do. And you know, if you’re struggling to get bookings or you’ve got too many bookings and you don’t know how to deal with it, but also it’s good to have a network, especially in a photography standpoint, you know, if you come down and you, you know, you break your leg in like before wedding, you need to have a network of people that you, you can trust and called up to cover you.

Cause things will happen. I remember once on a wedding in the very early days driving between the church and the venue, I got puncture and as it was, I did manage to get the puncture change and get to the thing, but I called someone to be at the venue just in case. And you know, it’s things like that, a sort of a safety blanket if, if you like, because you can’t do everything on your own.

You’ve got to have a network around you.

Becca: Yeah, it’s so important. It’s so important to have people. I remember actually once, this is a couple of years ago, someone coming into the members lounge while they were at a wedding and they went live in the members lounge and basically said, help, this person hasn’t turned up.

Is there anyone that can help anyone got any recommendations? And everyone jumped on it to try and help them out of that hole. I often say being in a community or being part of something like that, it’s. It is kind of an insurance policy. You don’t know that you need it until you need it. Like quite often I’ll have members in the group that haven’t been particularly active very much for ages or they may be dipping in and out of something and then something goes wrong or someone disagrees with their contract or, and they just don’t know what to do.

And then they’re like, Oh, thank goodness I could reach out and talk to you about it. So sometimes it’s, it’s just knowing that those people are there when you need them and you never quite know. when you might need someone. And also the Christmas party is always fun, Kevin, isn’t it?

Kevin: I was just, yeah, I was just going to say, well, sort of joking aside though, we, we are working kind of quite singularly and quite often you’ll be stuck at home on your own.

So actually it’s a, it’s a, it’s a really good thing to get out and just see other suppliers that you might see all the time at weddings and you kind of, because you’re both there doing your jobs, you don’t get a time to talk, but you, you know, the socials, it’s a good night and you can just have a chat and chat about stuff that isn’t always weddings that you don’t get time to when you see them at an event or a wedding.

Becca: Yeah, absolutely. And when we’re self employed, we don’t have our corporate Christmas parties, so we’ve got to do something to have fun and get together. So I look forward every year to the next Christmas party because it’s always a really, really fun night. Kevin, it’s been so fun to talk to you today.

Thanks I always end the podcast with the same question and it’s this. What’s one thing you wish you’d known sooner in your own business?

Kevin: One thing I wish I’d known sooner is to not look at what everyone, all your competitors are doing. Because if you look online, they’ll all be fully booked. They’ll all be busy.

They’ll all be smashing like amazing weddings or events. And you’ll be like, Oh, mine aren’t like that. You’ve literally got to just play your own game at your own pace and, and find your own way and just be yourself. Don’t try and copy anyone. Because what You know, what works for them won’t work for you.

Just make sure, you know, you’ve got a website that shows off your best stuff and use your kind of USP, which is you and your personality and how you are with people. That’s kind of my thing that maybe I didn’t do as much when I started out, but I learned quite quickly that’s not a way to be successful.

Becca: And I’m glad you learned that because I love the way you do things. I love that you don’t just do everything that everyone else is doing and I love that you have your own path. You’ve got that corporate stuff that you’re really successful at. You’ve got your weddings. And you’ve got your family, so you can spend lots of time on the football pitch, Kevin.

If people want to find out more about you or chat to you more about your corporate work, where’s the best place for them to find you?

Kevin: So my website is www. kevinlines. co. uk. That’s probably the best way. It’s got my email on there and they can just, I’m happy to chat to anyone about anything. I don’t charge, I don’t charge anything for my advice.

The thing is at the end of the day, we’re not all going to be around forever and there’s always going to be a new generation coming up. So kind of share the knowledge. And help, help people out and you might find that you might get something out of it yourself one day. You never know.

Becca: Yeah. A hundred percent.

I totally agree. So if you’re listening to this and you’ve got questions, feel free to reach out to Kevin or come into the members lounge and come to the next Christmas party and then you can sit next to him and have a beer just before Christmas later this year. Kevin, it’s been such a pleasure as always.

Thank you for your time.

Kevin: Thanks for having me on.

Becca: Such a fun conversation with Kevin. I always, always love talking to my clients and just finding out more about their journeys. I hope as the listener, you can see that we’re just keeping it real around here, talking about how people actually get to where they are, rather than pretending that there’s some magic route that you’ve got to pay thousands of pounds for.

And I love that quote that Kevin shared earlier. I want pictures, not excuses. I think we can all walk away from that. And in Becca’s terms, that would be, I want action, not excuses. I’ll see you next time.

Becca xo

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