Saturday, July 26, 2014

Starting a new {photography} business. The First Year.

Hello sweet friends! Today I really wanted to talk about photography and business "stuff" that goes along with it. I get asked a lot of questions about how I started, what camera I shoot with, and other photography related questions so I thought I would answer them all in one blog post! Now before I get started I just want to clarify that I am in NO way an expert on this. I am completely self taught when it comes to photography but I feel like I have learned and taught myself a lot in the last year and I would love to share my tips and tricks to starting up your photo business.

A little backstory on how I got started; It all started with Harper of course. I was obsessed with taking photos of her 24/7 and all I had was my iPhone. I would literally setup "photo shoots" and take them with my iPhone and people would ask me if I got a new camera, nope, just the good ole phone camera. I even bought photoshop before I ever had the camera! I had been wanting a DSLR for so long but we could not afford it so my Dad generously bought me my Canon Rebel T3 with a kit lens and thats where it all started. I was obsessed with learning everything about it. I read the manual from beginning to end and played with it all day long. I started shooting on AV but very quickly wanted to master manual so I set out with my little model and figured it out fairly quickly. After a few months of learning on the kit lens, I upgraded to the 50mm 1.8 and I fell even more in love with photos and it just sparked this insane passion in me! I was smitten with photography. More than I could have ever imagined. It was all I could ever think about. Lighting, locations, camera settings, all of it was becoming an obsession. I finally asked some Facebook friends if they would let me take some photos for them to maybe start up a portfolio and I was overwhelmed with responses. I took off super fast with my shoots and I decided to turn my little hobby into something bigger! In the first few months I was already swamped with shoots and I couldn't believe it. People really wanted me to capture moments for them. It was amazing! It has now been exactly a year since I asked that Facebook question and I am so blessed to have found something that I LOVE to do!

First off, I am still shooting with my Rebel and 50mm 1.8. I know a lot of times people get caught up in gear and having the best of everything but its not about that. I can do some pretty amazing things with my entry level DSLR and one prime lens. I defiantly think I have outgrown my camera and it is time for me to upgrade to a full frame body but right now I just cannot afford that so I have completely mastered everything about my rebel and I think I rock it! So, it's not about what camera you have, it's about you skill level and passion that comes through in the photos. Not the gear. And also learning photoshop. You can not charge people hard earned money for mediocre photos. Yes I strive for perfect SOOC (straight out of camera) shots but I love editing and really making them pop in photoshop. I could not live without it.

Start a Facebook page. Facebook is one of the best (and sometimes worst) forms of free advertisement. Without Facebook I wouldn't get probably 90% of my clients. Facebook is great in that way. People see my images and become interested so they "like" my page so that brings in new followers which generates more business. But also Facebook changes their settings a lot especially for business pages and it can really hurt our pages. They hide posts from our fans and it can be really frustrating so I have had to think of other ways to promote myself.

Business cards are a must! I am so happy I received these gorgeous business cards from Tiny Prints because they are such a great promoting tool for Me. I give them out at the end of my sessions and just randomly to people so that they will hopefully call me when they need their photos done. I made sure to include some of my favorite photos and all of my information including name, number, email, blog, and Facebook page.

Personalized Business Cards

Stay organized with your business and photos. The only way I can function day to day is to be extremely organized! I have so many sessions from day to day that I write everything down in my planner and phone calendar. I also love writing notes about sessions like themes or style and what the client is asking for because I try to stay on top of every little detail to make every session perfect. You also have to find a way to keep all of your client photos organized because they can become overwhelming. You will defiantly need an external hard drive and I would organize that like crazy. I literally have a folder for every single session I have ever done. I would hate to lose client images or something happen to them so I try and keep myself well organized with the photos and just my life and business in general. Trust me, this is a huge one. You will be kicking yourself the first time you forget something important for a session or forget one all together! Thank goodness that has never happened to me but I am extremely paranoid. ;)

Personalized Notebook

You are never done learning. Read, and read, and ask questions, and research, and learn more every single day! Just when I think I master something, I learn something new and I love that aspect of photography. Whether it be from my camera to my editing I am also learning and growing and that is so exciting for me. I am so thankful to have a wonderful friend who I consider a mentor that I could ask questions and advice for anytime. I learn so much and am so inspired by all of the amazing photographers that I follow on Facebook from all around the world. You cannot believe how much talent is out there but it is so amazing how creative and talented people are. I need that inspiration from others in my life when I am feeling down about my work and it really pushes me to work even harder to become a superstar when I see others achieving their photography dreams!

Find friends in the industry and actually hangout with them! Not everyone with a camera is a threat to your business! One of the best things I ever did for myself was to find colleagues who were just as passionate about their profession in photography as I was. It is so nice to be able to share highs and lows with them and talk about photo stuff with someone who understands. Sure, you could think of them as "competition" but when you find the true gems who support you and you support them no matter what, its not that way at all!

And lastly; Do not give up!! I have been on a roller coaster ride this year with the ups and downs of starting my own business and finding a new passion for something so amazing! It has been one of the most rewarding and at the same time challenging years of my life but the greatness from my new career totally outweighs the hardship. I am so proud of myself for what I have accomplished in one short year and I cannot wait to see where I am in the next year or five years. I have big dreams for myself and I will not give them up no matter what!! I am determined to be the best photographer I can be and capture beautiful moments in life, because that's really why I started anyways.

I hope that helps someone out there that is thinking about starting a career in the photo business. This is just my "one year of business" perspective but woo, has this year been a whirlwind!? Thank you so much for all the support and encouragement from my family and friends too because without them I would not be where I am today!! XO

Please email me or comment with any other questions!!

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