Happy Anniversary to me. I have been doing weddings on the side for the past couple of years, but one year ago I decided to take the plunge and invest myself full-time into photography. It was one year ago that I became a bonafide business.
Aside from the most common advice many photographers are given (get an accountant!), here are some of the things I have learned:
1. Let People Cheer You On. Photography is a somewhat unique business because it’s so public. Friends and family who commented on my Facebook and blog posts were incredibly encouraging, especially at the beginning. But there is also a small group of people (family, friends, clients, and other photographers) who I have bounced ideas off of, shared my fears with, and asked for critique. These people are the bread and butter of not only keeping your sanity at the beginning, but helping you to dream. One note of caution though, after you post your photos on fb, go for a walk or have coffee with a friend. Don’t sit there and wait for people to affirm you. You are more than the sum of your “likes.”2. Learn From Whatever Source You Can Get Your Hands On. Confession time. Back in the day when I was first really getting into photography, I learned a ton from The Pioneer Woman. She had a series that broke down everything that she was learning. This past year I have been super thankful for individual mentoring sessions with other professional photographers, Facebook groups, and the define school. Some learning will free, some will take an investment. This year I’m planning to scale way back on paying for workshops and mentoring, but I am so thankful I took that upfront investment to really work on my skills and style.3. Put Yourself Out There. My mantra this year was, “Ask until you get a no, then ask someone else.” I asked a lot of people for a lot of things this year; to lend me wedding dresses for shoots, to publish my work, model for shoots, etc. There are so many times this year that I got what Brene Brown calls a “vulnerability hangover” because I feel like I was putting myself out there for people to accept or reject, but what I found is that people are kind. Most people are not the boss from The Devil Wears Prada and genuinely want to both help you and form a partnership with you.If you’re thinking about making the jump, welcome! I hope your business is blessed with a loving community, good advice and even better critique, and a strong dose of courage.