Due to the pandemic, many photographers have had to change the way in which they work in order to sustain a living. This is a new section of the blog where we want to celebrate the adaptability and resiliance of the photographic community during this past year and highlight some of those that have sucessfully altered their business models, or tried something new, to continue working during what is now the new normal of the photo industry.
This week we are highlighting Chris Dalton, a photographer and architect based in London. He has worked with a number of global brands including Xiaomi, Samyang, Metro, The Evening Standard, and DataColour. He also has a large following on social media, producing content for Instagram and TikTok. Alongside this Chris runs photographic workshops, sells prints, and runs portrait photoshoots around London.
After noticing a large reduction in clients during each lockdown, Chris explains how he has used social media to bring in more clients and generate income:
The majority of my clients seem to come via my Instagram account and I'm not actually sure I’ve had any direct clients via TikTok. It seems hard for companies to grow on TikTok as they may be viewed more commercially and lacking a sense of personality - which is what you need on social media. Therefore I'm not sure there's much money to be gained on there yet - certainly compared to the sponsorship I generate on my Instagram account.
I was pushing content pretty hard on TikTok from Dec 2019 to June 2020 and finding a good few videos were going viral which gained me a quick following. However, with the quick growth of the platform it became harder to get seen and TikTok adjusted their algorithm in such a way that my new videos were gaining significantly less views than before. This meant a lot of creative effort for little engagement, which has since lessened or even stopped my appetite for posting video content on the platform.
With no clients from TikTok and a more established and engaged following on Instagram, the latter continues to be my primary method of gaining work and posting content. Through social media I get quite a range of work to be honest; in recent months I've had more workshops than photoshoots but it'll change every month. Commercial work such as architectural photography are the type of commissions I seek and have made more of an impact financially over the past year.
For photoshoots the process hasn't changed too much for me, as the subject and myself will always be a good distance apart in shooting. If indoors we'll be wearing masks in close proximity but as the vast majority of my shoots are outside Covid hasn't been too much of an issue.
I have also been able to run workshops in slightly different ways. I've been doing some outdoor one-to-one sessions with social distancing and masks where appropriate. I've also been running editing workshops online for clients, which is something I didn't do before. This will very likely continue post-pandemic.
Chris’s advice: I'd suggest to keep learning and look to other styles of photography or work in a similar field. I wasn't well versed on videography at the start of last year and purposefully taught myself Adobe Premiere and filming in order to find video work and push my TikTok profile. I'm now gaining videography clients alongside photography.
See more of Chris's work on his website and social media platforms:
Facebook: Chris Dalton Photography
And if you are intested in buying a print or booking a photoshoot/workshop you can have a look here: