Not so much a photo finish as a photo start-up – two students from Cardiff and Vale College have set up their own equine and event photography business.
Second year Foundation Degree in Photography students Ellie Thomas and Finty Osborne had a flash of inspiration and established Paramount Photographers, specialising at the moment in events and equine photography. But the two students are focusing on expansion.
“We always talked about setting up a business as individuals and we’re both into the same type and style of photography so we thought why not go into it together?” 24-year-old Finty, who lives in Pontypridd, explained. “Two minds – we can come up with different ideas.”
Ellie, 23 and from Cardiff, added: “We wanted to offer a service and as there’s two of us we can do twice as much and be in two places at the same time so we don’t miss anything. It just seemed to be the best idea.”
It was no snap decision: Ellie and Finty have spent time setting up a portfolio of work to gain exposure and show potential clients and now business is starting to develop.
“We wanted to get a portfolio together first so we didn’t really set up properly and start charging people until September – we wanted the portfolio so before that we offered our services for free so we could build it up,”Finty explained. “It’s gone really well – surprisingly well!
“It’s contacts and word of mouth that have worked really well for us – and our Facebook page has been a success. We’ve been lucky with the amount of jobs we’ve had in a short timespan.”
Ellie and Finty are focused on expanding Paramount Photographers and are exploring the idea of seeking funding for investment in their business.
“We sponsor someone and that’s helped but we would be interested in extra funding – the equipment is so expensive,” Ellie said. “It’s always been our goal to get bigger and have a bigger team so we can send more people out – I’d like to be able to cover the whole of the UK eventually.”
Finty adds: “We do get messages from people who are are a long way away and at the moment we cannot get them to them. We’d like to different types of work in different styles and have our own studio.”
The two learners believe their Foundation Degree in Photography, which CAVC offers in partnership with the University of South Wales, and the support they have received from the College have been crucial to their decision to set up a business.
“In our first year we didn’t really use much of the resources on offer from the College but now in our second year we are and it’s really good,” Ellie said. “There’s two of us, which helps, and our tutor Paul Woffenden has been brilliant as well.”
Finty added: “The College has been such a great help – Enterprise Officer Danielle Hewitt has been a really big help with business planning, insurance and things like that. The course has most definitely helped as well; without it I wouldn’t have been as confident.”