Business Profile: In the Spotlight

This month we talk to wedding and portrait photographer Anna McCarthy.

When, and why, did you start your business?

I started my photography business in 2008 and have been photographing weddings, children, families and events, businesses, headshots and portraits ever since. All my photography involves people. Before that I was an Editor and Commissioning Editor at the BBC. I fell in love with photography after a trip to India and was inspired to make it my profession.  

What challenges did you face when setting up?

Too many to list! I made mistakes and spent a lot of time learning, not only on courses but also by simply going out and taking lots of pictures. I have photographed hundreds of weddings and events, and numerous portraits and lovely families, so I’m confident in my creativity and camera skills.  I had a steep learning curve in terms of how to run a business well. This is always on-going as technology and systems are changing constantly…you’re kept on your toes! 

What do you love most about running your own business?

I love the variety of what I offer photographically, and the fact I mix my time between being with people and working quietly on my own in the editing and processing. Recently I photographed a christening, then a headshot for an author, followed by a wedding and a family session with a new-born baby. The best thing is the wonderful feedback I get from clients. It’s heartening to know you’ve helped to make people happy and feel more confident in themselves through your picture-taking. 

What valuable lessons have you learned?

To run a business you need to be incredibly organised, hardworking and flexible. You need to love the challenge of it all and be fascinated by people. The picture taking is just one part but you also need many other skills to succeed. In lockdown I built a new website so I’ve added that skill now! 

What advice would you share with other small businesses or those thinking of starting out?

Be prepared to live and breathe your job. If you’re starting out in photography, get out and take pictures every day, and offer yourself up for free to get experience. Don’t start out as a business until you have a good portfolio, are completely in command of your kit and have a grip on all the associated costs. Creativity and passion are paramount, but you also need a business plan. 

Name some other local independent businesses you love to support.

My absolute favourite shop is Teddington Essentials; the guys in there can never be more helpful or cheerful. I also love Heirloom, and Gillion Million, where I like to send my brides. Charcoal is a new favourite too. 

What do you love about our local area?

Walking and cycling by the river is wonderful…I even got into the river for the first time on a hot day in June. I love the fact there is so much scope for photography here with Bushy Park and Richmond. I’ve lived all over London, and this is by far the loveliest, most peaceful and community-led place. 

Anna McCarthy | 07811 242266

Compiled by The Word Sanctum,

Copywriters for small businesses.

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