1. In 2003, I wish I would have known that the “photography” was only about 1/3 of what I would actually be doing. Let’s say I shoot 1-2 sessions per day. Both of those sessions will be getting a curated email from me welcoming them to my studio with a clothing guide etc. Those emails take time to write. Each session will have to be backed up, edited, and shown to my clients in person. Each session will be shown a “sneak peek” on social media. Social media also requires time if done correctly to interact with clients, potential clients, etc. After all the above, the ordered images will have to be edited and uploaded to the lab, another hour to 2 hours of work. Behind the scenes and unrelated to the actual sessions I shoot, I maintain and design my own website, blog, pinterest boards, marketing materials, etc. Add in the hours of education spent learning all the above skills . . . voila! Photographing my actual subjects is only about 1/3 of the time involved in running this photography business. Would I change a thing? Absolutely not! I just would like people to know who are thinking about photography as a career, what to expect.
2. You are only as good as your equipment allows! In other words, some of the most beautiful, creative images can’t be captured with the kit lens that comes with the camera. I wish I would have known to spend more money on lenses early on. It would have saved me some self doubt, frustration, etc. trying to figure out why things I saw didn’t always come out that way.
3. Not everyone was my client and not everyone will be yours, and I’m ok with that now. If you are trying to be all things to all people you can’t do most of them well. I wish I would have narrowed down my focus a long time ago to what I enjoy most, shooting seniors who want a fashion inspired, model like session. AND shooting newborn babies and families who want to decorate their homes with ART of their children, with authentic expressions. In my early years, I took on everything… want your baby with a fishing pole, sure! Hire me! Want me to drive to a location you think is beautiful only to find out its in full sun all day long? Sure! I’ll do it! Want me to show up at your family reunion, Christmas or Birthday party? Birth? Sure, I can do it all! WRONG! I became frazzled, unfulfilled, uncreative, overworked and miserable. Now, I know what I want to shoot, what fills me up creatively, what makes my client look and feel beautiful. I want to photograph PEOPLE, yes of all ages, WHO WANT A GREAT EXPERIENCE, who want a luxurious designed session. I don’t want to photograph events. I want the ability to serve clients in the BEST POSSIBLE way. I want to create an experience as much as the images.
4. You have to know how to PIVOT! Yes, just like Ross on friends. This industry changes so much from year to year. What’s hot, what’s not. Trends come and go. Technology changes as rapidly as you can change a lens. Photographers have to be able to go pivot, shift their focus from time to time and not be intimidated to miss some marks, fail, learn from past mistakes. If someone would have told me when I started out that I would have employees, shoot baseball team pictures, write my own blog, I would have laughed out loud. I never dreamed I would have a store front studio, let alone 3. I wish I would have known early on that no matter what grand plan you have, things change without you even knowing it. Economies crash, recessions happen, viruses spring up with out a word. And you better know how to shift when you need to shift. I am a go with the flow type of person. Don’t resist change. With change comes freedom. Freedom to try something new, move to a new place, meet new people.
5. Share! When I started my photography business, people didn’t share ideas like they do now. No one wanted to tell each other which lab they used, which lens they used, where they shot that image, who built their website, where they found that location and the list goes on forever. This is one thing about the photography industry I am SO GLAD HAS CHANGED! Photographers are so much more willing to share information now. We costed ourselves so much time by not sharing our shortcuts, lessons, etc. Now, if you send a photographer a DM in another state and ask what lens they just shot that great image with, they answer! And they put you on their story! So if you are getting into this industry, please share. You will succeed much faster by being transparent.
Call us and we will start planning! 606-436-1988.