Over the years I’ve had a bunch of people contact me to ask if they could work for me, paid or unpaid, just to learn how to be in business. I’ve always said no. But, I’ve always offered to sit and chat with people to tell my experiences, answer questions etc. I hate saying no to the job seekers, but I’m always perplexed by the request.
I just never got the ask of people – but that’s just me I guess. I wouldn’t ever ask another business person if I could work for them to learn how to do what they do and then quit to be their “competition”. There is a LOT of competition for business in the photography world. And honestly, the folks that want to just learn how someone else does it are looking for the easy way in my book. And I know, from my own experience, it won’t work anyway. But it still sounds snarky of me, right? I can’t help that part.
But in addition to the above, I can’t have employees at my sessions that aren’t there for my clients. For me, my sessions are something that are between me and my clients, and having someone with me just to learn how to do this for themselves – well, I don’t think that benefits my clients. And that is always my bottom line – if it won’t benefit my client to have someone there, I won’t. I want my clients to always feel relaxed, and that they have me and my time for their entire session. That’s what they pay for, that’s what they get. 100+%.
I am, after all, a business person first. I not in this to teach others how to do it. Some photographers supplement their income by teaching others how to do it, but I like to spend my time working for, and with, my clients.
But with this being my 10th year in business I wanted to not just remember where I’ve come from, and how I got where I am now, but tell people the story a bit. If nothing else, maybe my journey will help those that want to do something like this for themselves. So this is the closest I will come to “teaching” anything. I’m not good at teaching, I know that…but this series will share where I’ve been and a little bit about what I’ve learned, and how it works for me.
I promise I am not going to be overly negative. But I am going to tell the truth. I’ve joked with all the people who have taken me up on my offer to meet and chat – not ONE of them ever contacts me again. I think they can’t handle the stuff I tell them. So I hope you’ll consider reading this whole series. I’m not going to write it all at once, I promise. But if you never come back, I get it. No one likes to hear the tough stuff, I know I didn’t – and if I had listened it would have saved me a lot of money and work over the last ten years.
I’ve come up with the following outline for what the posts will focus on (but if you know me, you know I’ll probably go off course a bit, or add to this as I do tend to change my mind from time to time, LOL):
- Original Plan for my business
- How my equipment decisions evolved
- How I learned lighting, and how I make the decisions I do about lighting now
- My specialties
- My Pricing
- Finding my niche
- How I’ve survived my own mistakes
- Where is the future taking me
I know some of these might cross over others – but I am truly going to try to explain what I did and why…and tell you honestly why it worked or didn’t.
Please keep in mind, and I can’t stress this enough. NO ONE can tell you how you should run YOUR business. I think when I finally realized there wasn’t any one person I could learn everything from, and that there wasn’t any one with the same set of circumstances I had to deal with, that was the moment I truly got it. I am in this alone. I make decisions that affect not just this year, but years to come. And in the early years, those decisions were sometimes…well, bad ones. But I can’t blame anyone else – because for someone else, in a different area, or a different place in their business, the things they said worked for them probably did.
But I was different. So I needed to be me. And to figure out if I could not just open a business, but run it in a way that would maintain itself, and allow me to grow both as an artist, but as a person.
#photographyasabusiness #businessofphotography #beaphotographer #Professionalphotographybusinessjourney