7 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Started My Photography Business
Officially I started my photography business in 2013, the moment when I graduated from the Art Academy, but I was already working on my photography for many years. So many things happened and I learned a lot from this journey. I learned it the hard way: making mistakes and failing and I think this is a good thing! There are some things that I wish I knew before I started, let’s see:
Be patient and take your time
Don’t expect to work for all your dream clients right after your graduation or after the moment you buy your first professional camera. It will not only take time to learn all the photography techniques, but the most of the time you have to invest in your business because you have to do everything: photography, marketing, book keeping, location scouting, customer service, social media, branding, updating your website and portfolio and so much more. I started with photography because that what was I really loved to do, but then I had to do many other tasks and I had to focus on that part as well. You also have to invest time in your network. Your clients are other people, so it’s super important to know how to work with people and to make sure they will have a positive experience of organizing a shoot with you.
You have to save and spend a lot of money
I can recommend to start with a cheaper camera and then grow your together gear with your experience. I had to save money to buy new gear and in this way I really knew what I was going to buy and why. Of course you can just buy gear that other people recommend, but then you are not sure that you will work with the gear that you really need for your own style of photography. Don’t forget that you not only need a camera and a few lenses, but so much more. For example, you can check the list of gear that I use here. Besides spending money on your business, you also have to save money for your personal life, this can be really hard in the beginning when you have to invest the most of your money back into your business.. Try to make a good plan for yourself :)
Really take care of your images and make good back-ups
I will tell you, if you don’t make back-ups now, you will start doing this once it goes wrong. A few years ago I lost a few of my shoots and I had no back-up because I alway said that this won’t happen to me, or I said: I will do the back-up ‘tomorrow’. Right now I have a NAS at home where I make back-ups after every shoot. I save the exported and edited JPG and TIF files and sometimes also the final selection as RAW files. I feel way more relaxed about this nowadays because I know that I can always find my files in different types of quality.
You will learn from your mistakes
If you fail when you are running a business all by yourself, you feel very bad. But you have to know that these moments are the moments where you learn the most. I learned after every shoot the things that I liked to do and the things that I never wanted to do or experience again. I wish I wrote down every thing I learned during all these years because I know it such a big list! Don’t be afraid to fail, it will make you stronger.
It’s good to say no sometimes
I remember those shoots where I was editing them and I said to myself: Why did I say yes to this job? Or it was the fact that I had to do too much work for the amount of money, or it was because it wasn’t my style at all. I wish I said no more often. To clients, but also to some portfolio shoots. I have done a few of shoots that I never showed on my website or social media, because I didn’t liked the style or it was not where I wanted to go with my photography. And to go back to the previous thing my list: yes, I learned from this, so it’s not a bad thing to experience this feeling.
Focus on what you love the most
That moment when I’m shooting an editorial on a beautiful location with amazing light, a creative team and a good vibe on set is the moment where I feel super happy. Then I know: this is what I love the most! It’s so important to feel this, because then you know where you have to focus on to go the next level in your business. It’s so good to have a goal and make plans for the future. I also like that feeling when I’m editing new work that is really my style and that I’m so excited to share it with the world. Or that moment when a client tells me that they are super happy about our collaboration!
Never stop learning
Although I’m shooting for more than 10 years now, I never stopped learning new techniques or working with new equipment. That is also why it is so important to create portfolio shoots often, because these are the right moments to experiment and learn. It’s not always possible to try new things during a shoot for your client. So keep working together with other creatives, join inspiring workshops, buy good books, learn from other photographers, talk with a business coach and keep creating new work!
I hope these things will help you to grow in your business as well! What are the things that you wish you knew before you started your photography journey?
photography: Liselotte Fleur
styling: Iris Meindertsma
makeup and hair: Meltem Sahin
model: Lauren @ De Boekers