Steer for the deep waters only

Robert Day's thoughts on his photography, his writing and his business

I am not the other Robert Day

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I had my second cold call for the business today.

“Is that Robert Day Images?” asked the lady on the other end of the phone. “Yes,” I said, feeling hopeful. Her next question dashed that hope.

“Do you do the pictures for the theatre in Northampton?”

And so I had to tell again the story about the other professional photographer called Robert Day.

Mr.Day (as I will call him for convenience) works within the British theatre, and has done so for years. In fact, he takes nearly all the stills for almost the entire theatre industry. But he has no web presence – neither website nor discoverable e-mail – and he appears to get all his business by word-of-mouth. This lady had discovered a telephone number for him, but it went straight to an answerphone that was jammed full of other messages. So she’d searched the Net and came up with me.

I get calls or mails for Mr.Day about once every three months. They are always from someone wanting to buy prints – either the parent of a child who has appeared in some stage production or other, or sometimes a fan wanting a copy of a picture of their favourite star actor. I have to disappoint them – doubly so, because I can’t even tell them how to get in touch with Mr.Day.

When I started out down this route, I was aware of Mr. Day, and thought that I should try to contact him to establish some ground rules on how I would market my business and clear my proposed business name, so as not to tread on his toes. In fact, for a while I used the trading name “Hobbyist Publication Services”, a name I came up with quite some time back when I was thinking of marketing photography as one of a number of different editorial skills I possess, such as proof-reading, sub-editing and even cartooning. As a name, it sounds impressive; but it’s actually pretty ill-defined when you look twice at it, and no-one was looking for it, so I’m slowly dropping it. But I used it for a while on my website, and indeed owned the relevant domain names connected with it.

But as Mr.Day doesn’t seem to want to talk to me, I see no reason to be accommodating over this. The closest I have ever got to communication was that I once had a conversation with a producer who was doing lunch with Mr.Day the following day. He promised to pass on my details so Mr.Day could contact me. Did he get in touch? Did he ‘eck as like.

My one consolation is that Mr.Day isn’t getting work meant for me, as I’m advertising myself through the Net mainly, or by personal appearances at shows. Sadly, though, I’m not getting work meant for him, despite talking to his potential customers on a regular basis. No-one’s ever contacted me to offer a gig meant for him, alas.

So as far as I’m concerned, I’ve done everything I can to contact him, without success. So I consider that I have a perfect right to use whatever trading name I like. I like “Robert Day Images”. If Mr.Day reads this and would care to get in touch, we can discuss how I can pass sales enquiries on to him. I’ll even happily take orders for prints for him over the phone or off the Net (subject to a handling fee, of course).

I don’t have any pictures taken in the theatre, so for today here’s an image taken last weekend at Baddesley Clinton, a delightful National Trust property near Solihull.

Baddesley Clinton

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Written by robertday154

May 6, 2011 at 6:18 pm

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