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Evaluation of My PDP Document

The PDP document is used to present my professional journey through out university, as a guidance book for readers and myself. I have used this document to highlight the pinnacle moments through my learning that have helped me to focus on my ultimate goals and help me to work out what essential steps I must take to get there.

The main elements included within the PDP show my research into
my chosen profession, my networking with other practitioners, my self-promoting work such as social media and a website, and my involvement in the collaboration projects such as Print Auction and Free range.

When starting this project, I was unsure where I wanted to go after graduating, but I feel this has been essential to my learning, helping me to discover my passions and who I am as a practitioner. It has helped me to consider my goals more carefully and crucially, creating myself realistic targets that I want to achieve in the next five years.

Through the project I have tried to engage with a variety of exhibitions and artists to encourage myself to develop my creative skills and ways of working. This has been really key to my learning, allowing me to enter a space that is strange to me, allowing me to expand my thought processes.

I feel I have been successful at reflecting my strengths and weaknesses during this project, highlighting areas of continuous improvement such as networking and personal planning. I also feel that I have engaged well with my research and set myself a clear clarified journey into my preferred profession, which is essential when graduating so that I don’t become lazy or demotivated.

I want to continue to develop my PDP document even after leaving university as it has been helpful in helping me to plan and think about my intentions clearly. I want to turn it into a sort of diary, documenting my progress and noting down crucial lessons learned to continue to strengthen my professionalism.

I feel one of my biggest realisations during this project has been being able to filter work down to the most important bits. I have a tendency to believe that everything I do is important to my practice, which can sometimes be the case. However, being able to refine my work to the most critical things has helped me to cut down my work load and give myself less pressure to complete work that isn’t necessarily relevant to my practice.

In terms of the physical product, my printed PDP came back blurry which was suggested as being a combination of using the wrong resolution imagery and a fault by the printers. This highlights that I need to work on my design skills, double checking everything before creating the final product with not enough time to rectify the problems. This also insinuates I need to work on my time management when completing such heavy tasks.  I also feel that I could improve my PDP by engaging in more helpful tasks that would inject my learning further, such as work experience and other opportunities.

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My Idea for Free Range

Throughout my time at university, curation has been a weakness of mine – I have always been quite basic with my approach to show my work. I decided that this year I needed to be more flamboyant with how I presented my work and decided to really plan what I wanted to do for my summer show and Free Range.

By using photographs of the space, I was able to fully visualise what I wanted and how I wanted it to look. The nature of my project itself has enabled me to think about exhibiting more than just imagery on a wall so it was important for me to think about how I wanted it all to fit together. By doing this, it made me feel more confident that my work is going to be successful within the whole exhibition and will be much more engaging than my work has been previously. My exhibition intentions were inspired by my visits to gallery exhibitions. I felt this was an important process as ultimately when I have my own business, I want to be exhibiting my work everywhere I can and inviting the community to galleries who have exhibits of my work. For this to be successful it was crucial that I took the opportunity I had in front of me to do something creative and practice how I could plan it successfully.

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My Donated Work

My thought process for choosing the work to donate was ‘would I want that on my wall?’.
This process helped me to consider my work more thoughtfully, specifically when having to pick my best work for books and curation.

To accompany the work within the catalogue we had to write a brief description of the works which I chose to keep simplistic so not to over complicate the imagery. The imagery isn’t contextual, just taken on holidays and trips, so I didn’t feel like the description needed to be particularly contextual either.

We also included our artist statement’s to be included with in the catalogue. I chose to create a shorter version of the one I created for the main PDP document.

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Print Auction Two – Roles and Responsibilities

To fund raise for free range we decided to do another print auction, this time selling our own work. Sticking to my previous roles as a writer, I helped with the design of the catalogue by writing the introduction and acknowledgement for it, helping me to consider writing for different audiences.

I also again designed a contact for the print auction, giving us a high professional standard for our audience, as well as naming my donated work and writing a small artist statement for the catalogue.

For our second print auction, I again documented the event. This time I was also responsible for the storing and moving of the work due to unforeseen circumstances with the last auction which saw a few items of value go missing. Although this job was only small, it made me a feel a sense of importance and responsibility for the work of other people, particularly when I was feeling that a lot of my responsibility was being taken away from me and undermined.

By documenting both events, I tried to show a sense of togetherness, showing how we all worked together to create these moments. This was important to me to reflect my strength at team work and collaboration.

The most crucial thing I learnt from these experiences was learning how to create an event from nothing. If I’m thinking about having a career where I will provide exhibitions for a community, I will need to make that event from nothing. Being able to take ideas and run with them, using creative solutions to any problems and work well in a team are all assets I feel are important for me to develop when entering the industry.

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Skills Audit Two

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The reason for a second skills audit was the identify where and if I had improved on any previous weaknesses. By combining both skills audits together like this, it is evident that I have improved my communication and personal planning, which were the main focuses for me after taking part in the first skills audit. It is evident I still have more improvement to make in all areas, however, the PDP module has helped me to learn how I can do this and the steps I need to take to do so. Each process shown within this document has in some way or another helped improve my professionalism, confidence and skills, whether is a small or highly significant way.

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Contacting The Herald

I also contacted the Plymouth herald regarding putting an advert within the newspaper for our print auction. After a discussion with Joe, we decided not to proceed with the idea as the finances were just too much for only a days worth of advertising. Plus it was getting close to the event itself, which would mean that there was a high chance the promotion wouldn’t have worked anyway.

The experience was beneficial for practicing creating a relationship with an advertiser and a potential employer when thinking about a potential photojournalism career. I was quite shocked at how informal the conversation was, but it’s important for me to remember, that although it seems daunting speaking to an individual who has a career in photography/journalism, they are still human just the same as me.

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Proposals

It was an important learning process for me to write proposals and artist statements as I felt these will be crucial for me when trying to gather commission work and promoting myself within galleries and published work.
All of these processes have helped me to think about the reality of my ideas – if they will
work, how much it will cost, is it achievable? I feel as a practitioner it is highly important to be aware of how well you can sell yourself and if your work is going to be a success.

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Financial Forecast

FINANCIAL FORECAST

Finance is something I was particularly concerned about when thinking about running my own business, so I decided it would be of benefit to me to practice creating a cash flow chart to help me identify how much I would roughly need to start the business and to break even once the business was running. Although this is something that is not particularly crucial at this point, I felt it was important for me to practice this kind of
pragmatic work so that when it comes to being self-employed I know what to expect.

The process was long and took a lot of research into things like insurance costs and equipment costs for me to be able to get a rough idea of what it would look like. As this was just a practice run, I was quite broad with it just to get an idea of how it works, and essentially by the time I start my own business a lot of these costs will have naturally changed so this didn’t need to be hugely accurate.
I highlighted key things on the financial forecast to show my thought process through doing it. The process had led me to feel that I may be able to run my own accounts without the help of an accountant which will essentially save me money in the future, as it has helped me to see that I’m quite level headed and sensible with money. it also has built my confidence in believing that I could potentially have quite a successful business if I put my mind to it.

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Business Plan

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Following my research into self-employment I felt it would be good to practice how to write a business plan so that I could learn how to evaluate my business ideas and how realistic they are.

I found the process quite difficult as there is a lot more to think about than what it is you
want to do – for example the audience you are looking for, your competition and how
you are going to spend your start up loan. Everything must be justified in order for it to
make sense, however this is a helpful process as it makes you think about what is actually achievable and helps to eliminate any unrealistic ideas.

The process has helped me to think more in depth about what it is I want to achieve from
being a sole trader in photography and I feel is a valuable thing to have learnt about when entering the industry. It has enabled me to clarify in my mind where I want to be within the next few years after graduation which has given me confidence in my career choice. 

Dannielle Hand

Dannielle Hand Photography

02/05/18

 

http://www.danniellehandphotography.com

1. Your business and objectives

Briefly describe your business, outlining the different product(s) and/or service(s) you offer:
As a victim of discrimination through the majority of my life, I have always been interested in documenting the identities of those individuals who are not recognised in a positive light by society to help bring them forward to the spotlight. One of my biggest passions is helping those who suffer with mental health problems find comfort and support through the visuals I create, giving them the confidence to strategically confront the issues they have. Documentary photography is the main focus of my business with the aspiration to make it into photojournalism and other forms of publishing. My service will provide a unique and innovative approach to documentary photography, capturing the everyday realities that surround us in order to educate others about the world.

My business will also offer the opportunity for the local communities to be involved with art by curating shows of my work, allowing my audience to embrace and indulge in the documentary work.

I will also offer a service where my audience can purchase my work, therefore creating a way to create profit.

Objectives:

Short term (current year):
·                 Create a loyal clientele and build networks

·                 Gather experience by shadowing other photographers

Medium term (next 1 – 2 years):
·                 Start to become published in well-known newspapers/magazines

·                 Curate my own shows to gather more audience

Long term (3 years and beyond):
·                  Maintain strong network connections to lead me to more professional jobs working for larger companies

·                 Become fully established within the documentary industry

 Your Start Up Loan: 

Describe how you will use your Start Up Loan and how it will help you achieve these objectives:
It will help me to purchase the best equipment – cameras, lenses, etc. – to create the best imagery possible. It will enable me to invest in a fast and reliable computer which I can use for post-production. The post production software, such as adobe Photoshop and Lightroom, would also be purchased using the loan.

The loan would also cover travel costs which would be essential when shadowing other photographers to gain experience and travelling to potential clients such as newspapers.

The loan would also cover costs for printing, posting and curating my imagery. Curation costs would include the hiring of a venue, the printing of the work produced, paying potential helpers with the curation and funding opening nights. This would all gather more audience for me to build my loyal audience and become established within the industry.

2. Your skills and experience 

Outline any previous experience, employment or other work that you have done that is relevant to your business:
General Event Photography

Dates volunteered – 2012 – Present

Taking part in photography of paid events such as weddings, christenings, birthday parties and family reunions. This has helped me to work well with people of all ages and backgrounds, directing them to get the best shots according the event/environment. During this, I have been able to develop my time management and organisation skills as I have had to meet very strict and important deadlines in order to keep my customers happy. This experience is still continuing to help me establish myself as a photographer and help me become more successful in the working world.

 

South West Image Bank

Dates volunteered – May 2016 – May 2016 

Great introduction to a photographic archive, adding images to the archive, studying old negatives and getting to use different equipment and software. It helped to increase my knowledge of historical processes of photography (e.g. analogue photography) and helped me to adapt to new processes of organising archives, using computers and scanners.

 

The Bridgwater Way

Dates volunteered – October 2014 – April 2015 

Photographing of local community events for press and promotion. This experience helped me to gain more confidence when working within the community as it allowed me to interact with and photograph new people enjoying their local environments which also expanded my knowledge of the area. It also increased my passion for documentary style work as it allowed me to get involved with the moment, capturing the natural greatness of the events.

 

Timeless Images

Dates volunteered – Jun 2011 – Jun 2011 

During this experience, I was able to work on my financial skills by handling cash/business money flow and manage the shop floor. I was able to expand my studio lighting skills as I shadowed the photographer, increasing my confidence when working with studio lighting and models. The photographer also helped me to work on my directing skills with models and helped me to learn basic post production skills when editing imagery.

Outline any education or training you have had that is relevant to your business:
August 2013   The Blue School

A* – English language, Textiles, Art

A – English literature, History, Graphics

B – Biology, Maths

C – Spanish, Core Science

August 2015   Bridgwater College  

                A – Photography

B – Textiles

C – Business Studies

C – English Lit/Lang

Exhibitions

•           June 2015 – ‘Art and Media Show’ – Bridgwater and Taunton College.

2018    Plymouth College of Art     

BA (Hons) Photography

Exhibitions

•           September 2017 – ‘Plymersion’ – Plymouth College of Art.

•           May 2017 – ‘The City’ – Plymouth College of Art.

•           May 2017 – ‘Fictive’ – Plymouth College of Art.

•           May 2016 – ‘Our Essencene’ – St. Saviours Church, Plymouth.

Briefly outline any gaps in your skills, experience or qualifications and explain how you will address these:
At the moment I feel I am lacking in the experience department which is why I feel it necessary to spend my first year shadowing other photographers to get an idea of how the industry works, how other people promote their work, curate their work and sell their work.

 

 

 3. Your target customers

 Demographic details:

Delete any answers not applicable to you and provide some description as relevant.

Age: Gender: Income: Types: Target regions:
All ages

 

All genders ·  £0 – £25,000

·  £26,000 – £99,000

·  £100,000 +

·  Individuals

·  Businesses

·  Families

·  Other

·  Local?

·  County?

·  National?

·  International?

 

Briefly describe your target customers and any other distinguishing features, expanding on any of the areas you have already highlighted above:
My business will not restrict its audience as everyone enjoys photography. I will be mainly targeting companies in order to get commissions and have my work professionally published.
What customer need or problem does your product(s) and/or service(s) address?
My goal is to help the victims in their time of need to find a voice in them, to find something that gives them back their dignity and reminds them they are not alone. I am determined to destroy the stigma and educate others about the realities of mental health and the repercussions of discriminating sufferers, in an attempt to build stronger support for victims.
Explain your approach to pricing your product(s) and/or service(s):
My pricing will be an hourly rate which would include the photography itself and post-production. I will then charge for the use of my imagery to avoid any dispute with copyright.

My curations will be free entry, unless being done for a specific event or cause, to which the money would then be donated to mental health charities.

 

 

 4. Your market

What research have you conducted to understand your market, including your industry, regions, customers, competitors?

Delete any answers not applicable to you and provide some description as relevant.

·  Surveys & questionnaires

·  Interviews

·  Desk or online research

·  Personal experience

·  Social media research

·  Family and friends

 Your business: 
What sets your business apart from your competitors?
My direct impact and involvement with society itself.

 

 

 

 5. Your sales and marketing plans

How do you or will you promote your business?
Delete any answers not applicable to you and provide some description as relevant.
·  Website (information only)

·  Website (for e-commerce)

·  Advertising (online)

·  Advertising (print, radio, TV)

·  Search engine marketing

·  Social media

·  Leaflets

·  Events and exhibitions

Pick three of your key promotional activities and describe how they currently (or will in the future) help you meet your business objectives:
1.                Social Media – helps to show my work and promote it to a potential audience.
2.                Exhibitions – engages the community with the work to build a larger audience.
3.                Advertising through business cards – allows my details to be passed onto more potential commission.
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Self Employment

I know eventually I want to own my own business as a sole trader and work alone. As I
know this is my goal, I researched into it to be sure that this is what I wanted and how I was going to do it. As a photographer, in a practical sense, I’m confident I will be able to run my own business, but I felt it was important for me to understand the pragmatics and financial problems I may face.

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To help with finance, I found out on the GOV website that the government offer a start up loan of anything between £5000 – £25000. This is to help start the business with the essential materials and equipment you may need. This is a valuable thing for me to learn as it takes less stress off having to fund everything yourself and although it must be paid back, they only take what you can afford per month until it is fully paid back.

Screen Shot 2018-05-02 at 14.17.27Through research I have conjured up a list of important things to consider and take on board when thinking about a sole trader business:
• Give yourself a reality check – make sure everything is achievable
• Get disciplined – have a set routine and stick to it
• Work out how much you’re going to charge – know the financial outgoing and in
goings of your business
• Line up your first clients – networking!
• Register for tax with HMRC – think about book keeping and financial records
• Get insurance
• Use social media to market

This research has helped me become more aware of what I need to do to be a successful
sole trader and I definitely feel I need more experience within the industry before I consider starting it. However, I know that it’s something I want to do.