As I am approaching my one year anniversay in June of becoming a full time photographer, I have been reflecting on what I have learned this past year. I am SO grateful to be doing my dream job everyday but it has been a bit of a bumpy road. Being an entrepreneur is not easy, and I didn’t expect it to be, but I didn’t realize how much work I was going to be doing and how much time it was going to take to be successful but let me tell you, it has been worth it!
Some backstory for you is I was working full time in a health care facility as a receptionist. I did some college but never figured out what I wanted to dedicate my life to. I have always been a creative and wanted to something creative but didn’t want to be an art teacher. So I was getting my generals out of the way expecting that one day I will wake up and know what I want to do for the rest of my life. Well that never happened and instead, I met a boy and got married!!! I never finished school and thought I would be a receptionist for the rest of my life. Then one day my husband and I bought a camera so we could make music videos for him (he’s a musician) but instead, I started playing with it and began taking pictures, posting them on facebook, and wa-la(!), I began getting clients. I did it as a hobby for two years when one day I had the opportunity to quit my full time job to pursue it. By opportunity I mean my boss wouldn’t let me take time off to photograph a wedding that was two weeks away and had been planning to shoot for months and I couldn’t just cancel on the bride. Also hubby got a new job making enough money to cover my income.
So, all of that to say, even though I am full time I am not making a ton of money (yet!) but I am constantly working on finding ways to build my business. Not only that I am constantly learning about how to run a business and what tools to use to help run a business. So without furthe adieau, here is what I have learned (in no particular order):
1. Writing down my dreams and your goals for my business and looking at them regularly will get you far. I have writen down my financial goals, educational goals, my personal goals, and have made a timeline of when I want to have these goals done by. By doing this, I have executed my first styled shoot this past year and have been published a couple of times all because I wanted it really bad. Plus I have met all of my financial goals every month, have booked double the weddings I had last year, and have learned so much by taking classes and workshops including Carrie’s Photography Awesomesauce Photo Camp.
2. This kind of piggy backs on the last one but never stop learning. I feel like I’m still barely scratching the surface of photography and everything there is to know about it (even though I’ve been shooting for 3 years) but thinking about the things I want to learn and maybe schedule an hour or two everyweek just to research it has helped me so much. I’ve learned a little bit about off camera flash, what the difference is between a Canon 6D and a Canon 5D miii is, what the Brenzier Method is, how to fix chromatic aberration and a few other things. Since I learned photography on my own I have had to learn about a lot of things the hard way and have had to do my own research but it helps me feel a little more confident as a photographer and not feel like a fool or a fraud lol. Can you hear some of my true feelings coming out lol?
3. Shoot for yourself regularly. This has kept me feeling inspired and creative and not burnt out. It’s so easy for me to get in a rut and feel like photography is work, which it is, but I don’t ever want to forget why I’m doing it and why I love it. When I was starting out I would take my camera everywhere with me just to make sure I captured everything that was beautiful to me but now I think about how much editing I already have to do and I don’t want to add to it. I still don’t take my camera everywhere with me but instead I plan a shoot with a family member or a friend and go buck wild with it. I plan weird poses that I’ve been wanting to try and I have them wear something that correlates with the mood or theme I’m going for, and I just create. Most of my favorite images have been during these shoots and they always leave me feeling rejuvinated and inspired.
4. If you have read my last post then you know I’m an introvert. That means I can so easily get cooped up in my house and become a loner (fo real doe). What I have learned is that community is important. By seriously stretching myself and purposing to go to workshops and networking events (because that is literally work for me) I have met some incredible people and have had their help making my dreams come true. For example, I went to a workshop here in Denver for wedding vendors and met some incredbile women who were just starting their businesses and we partnered together for our first styled shoot. It was so much fun and we all were so excited to work together and now we are all good friends.
5. Even though I have been shooting for only 3 years I can already tell that my shoulders and back are starting to hurt from holding my camera and my camera bag. Since I am on my feet a lot during weddings and shoots and sitting hunched over a lot while editing, I have decided to take better care of myself. I am only 26 and if I am already feeling pain in my body. That is a sign for me to do take better care of my body. If I want to be the best at what I do and live a long healthy life and stay mobile, I need to take care of my body because I only get one and it’s suppose to last up to 70 to 100 years. I have wanted to get a little healthier anyway but I have decided that my health and body are worth investing in so I am doing accupunture, some chiropractic, an occasional massage, and doing yoga. Now that wedding season has begun I will really be able to tell if these are helping by the end of the season but so far I’m loving all of them. And just a tip (I am a huge budgeter and like to find deals), if you can’t afford preventative care a suggestion for you may be to do trade work with them. I have been trading photos with my accupunturist so that I can get “free” care and it’s been amazing! Also I go to a yoga class occasionally to stay inspired but I have found some amazing resources on YouTube for free and have been loving practicing at home.
Anyway, those are just a few things I have a learned this year from being full time. I know it was a little bit longer of a post but hopefully the photos helped a little! 🙂