One Shining Moment: An ode to the beginning of a business and how to have success
I have always loved taking photos but I was extremely intimidated with the thought of stepping out of “auto” and into “manual mode”. There were so many factors to keep in mind and every article I read seemed to complicate it even more. But the first time I went “manual”, my mind was blown! I was able to take a photo I was proud of and excited about and the feeling that I actually controlled the process of taking the photo made me realize maybe I could actually do this... I think that shining moment was probably my beginning.
We all have a beginning. Whether we know it or not, it exists. It could have been the first camera you bought, the first time you took an artistic photo or maybe it’s reading this article right now and finally saying to yourself “I can do this!”.
After our shining “moment”, there are still a lot of pieces that you must take action on to become a photographer (many of which I am still honing my skills).
Here are my suggestions of how to follow that moment with a successful photography business:
1. Keep practicing!
Take photos as often as possible. Take your camera with you wherever you go and look for opportunities to practice your new skill. It can seem daunting at first, but being able to look back and see how far you've come is one of the most rewarding parts of being a photographer.
2. Learn how to edit
Personally, I had prior experience in Photoshop but I needed to get better. You can easily learn all the skills you need to know from YouTube. I also had to completely learn Lightroom. Same goes for editing as it does with taking the photos, the more you do it the quicker and better you get. Once you learn the basics of your editing program searching things like "how to sharpen eyes in photoshop" will pull up an abundance of materials and quick tricks. In editing, there are always multiple paths that lead to the same destination, it's up to you to choose which path suits your style best.
3. Do a model call
Now it’s time to really put your skills to the test and get some “clients”. I highly recommend you ask friends and family to allow you to photograph them free of charge so you can practice your “process”. Repeat this step until you are confident enough to charge people for photos. However, keep in mind, it’s not just taking the photos and editing them, it’s:
Scheduling the Session - I don’t use a scheduling program, I just work one on one with clients.
Finding a Location - I have an outdoor location I always recommend to clients unless they have something else in mind.
Posing your Clients - This one takes a natural eye or a lot of practice. My high school graphic arts class taught me about photo composition.
Understanding Time Management - Decide how long you want your sessions to be a wear a watch!
Know your Flow - I always start with group or family shots first and then go through individuals. People get themselves hyped up for photos so you want to include everyone at the very beginning. The first photos tend to be some of the best.
Reading your Clients - Know and understand when your clients are over it and don’t be offended! Just be sure to get the shot.
Completing a Session - Have your closing set up and be able to tell your clients what the next steps are and what they can expect from you.
Delivering Product - I use Dropbox since I give my clients all digital files with every package. It has a fee but is well worth it!
4. Look like a Business
My first step was to create a Facebook page to get my name out there. Once I was confident in that, I created a website. This is where a lot of different factors come into the “business”. Now you have a social media facade to keep updated as well as a professional website to continually update and design. In my opinion, this is where a lot of businesses fail because it takes a lot of work to keep up this side of things. However, in today’s world it is going to be your number one tool to succeeding. Check out my post on social media here.
5. Personal Growth
Just because things are going well doesn’t mean you can’t continue to get better. Some areas you can always grow in are:
Personal Style and Perfecting It
Social Media Growth
New Areas of Photography
Quicker Editting Tricks
I hope these 5 tips for success will help you at the beginning of your photography journey. As always, let me know what other tips will help you!