Steve Smailes, Class of 2012 | Freelance Photographer

Steve Smailes PhotographyWhen you’re finishing university you often get asked “Where do you want to be in 5 years?” and let’s be honest, it’s a very difficult question. But 5 years on I’m here to say how it stacks up to what I was thinking when I graduated from the Uni of Lincoln in 2012. 

When I left I wanted to be able to set up my own photography business and be working for myself. It was a risky and in some ways optimistic thing as I was unsure how I was going to achieve this as I had limited resources in terms of money and equipment (I had a camera I’d used my student loan and money from some work experience jobs to buy) but had to keep paying rent and other expenses while building the business.

I was given a great head start by getting work with The Lincolnite which gave me a steady income and also the time to grow my business as I work for them on an on call basis and I still work with them today. 

Through lots of networking and emails to businesses and people in the local area I’ve been able to pick up jobs with lots of local companies and many repeat clients which has given me the ability to build my business into what I have today. Working for small and large businesses shooting staff portraits, products, events and moving into other areas such as wedding photography to build on the service I offer to clients.

At the beginning of 2017 I rebuilt my website myself to offer a client area and print store. This is to give clients a place to purchase prints of their photographs and a storage area for the photographs I shoot so clients can have permanent access to their photographs, which has helped with giving a more professional service to my clients.

With the time I had to work on my business I’ve had to learn the skills for running a business while trying to build it which has been a learning curve. Even 5 years later I’m still learning things! You have to be able to learn from mistakes and be willing to accept that mistakes will be made along the way. The key is to not give in and keep plugging away.

You can see my work on my website at or tweet me.

1 thought on “Steve Smailes, Class of 2012 | Freelance Photographer

  1. Fantastic photography Steve – I agree it is tough when leaving university to imagine what you would be doing 5 years down the line. But I think things really do come together, especially if you work hard like you have done, to try and make your ideas come to life. Well done!

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