To the new photographer

My last blog post talked a bit about the season of my business that I felt myself committing to couples-related photography, so when thinking about what my next post might be, starting from the beginning to hopefully encourage someone else starting out feels appropriate.

Starting this business was a challenge... No sense in sugar coating here. I could've benefitted from mentors, but that's a lot to ask of someone. A lot of it, for me at least, was trial and error, and what I would call focused education. I would be at a session and feel like maybe I struggled with X, or working on editing a session and feel like I could benefit from knowing how to do X Y or Z... Enter, stage left: Google. If Google didn't give me what I needed, Pinterest, YouTube, you name it, but I was adamant to learn.

"How to edit out someone's arm" "Tips and tricks of Lightroom" etc. etc., and it's semi-laughable now, but I was going to learn if it killed me. You would be surprised at how many video-based tutorials are at your finger tips.

Wedding photography felt like a challenging start. I mean, I had no real wedding work in my portfolio, and who in their right mind would trust me enough with their wedding without picture proof. It was hard, because I knew if I were thinking like a bride, I had a long road ahead of me, but I believed so much in myself that I was determined to find someone willing to take a chance on me. I could've never imagined it working out the way it did, but I ended up booking a wedding for $500, and within just a handful of months after adding some real work to my portfolio, I booked 10 that year. From one. WHAT.

But, looking back, it wasn't just about booking that ONE. That was a huge goal and was definitely necessary, but there were so many baby steps leading up to that point that were all necessary in their own way. So, if you're starting out and have a million questions, and aren't sure where to begin, here's a few things to keep in mind that helped me, to help you navigate a little bit better.

{1} Find what you love. I've said it before and I'll say it again.. You can choose to be average at many things, or incredible at a few. Like any kind of art, passion is necessary. Making extra money is really cool, but it's hard to have art without passion and passion, or lack thereof, is obvious.

{2} Business plan a little bit and figure out who you are as an artist, and then invest in your brand to reflect that. I put this as number two because I didn't do this in this order, but I wish I would have. It's one of those lessons learned for me.

Recently, I launched my new website. Old news to you if even news at all, because you're reading my blog post, and that's part of my website. To you, it's all kind of obvious, laid out in your face and at your fingertips. But for me, this was a key turning point. I knew this was necessary, but a website takes a lot of time and effort, and I often lack time. I remember when Ashley (Ashley Brown Creative!) sent me a list of questions to learn about my business in order to kick start bringing this website to life.

  • What's your mission?
  • Who is your ideal client? 
  • Describe your client experience in words.

Um. If I were in a room full of people, this would've been one of those awkward silence moments. I'm almost two years deep in this business and I've been less than intentional about the direction of this business. Yikes.

Fast forward about 8 months to my website launch. I had defined who I was, where I wanted to go, and who my market audience is. This is impactful, but for more than just the fact of having a tangible website. I have a newfound confidence in myself as an artist, and really, a newfound passion because I'm being intentional. Long story short, define yourself. It's important.

{3} Invest in your business. Equipment is obvious, but I would venture to say that education is even more important. You owe it to your clients to stay fresh on your skill and to continue to learn. I promise, you'll never stop learning. I'm sitting here writing an advice-filled blog post and I KNOW I don't have all the answers. But the point is I've been through where YOU are, and luckily I have people more knowledgable than me to learn about the stage I'm in.

{4} Believe in yourself, set goals that challenge you and be willing to hustle. I'm in a season where I've checked so much off my initial list, but now that I've given myself some direction, I have a new, more relevant list of goals to conquer. I feel challenged every day, and I don't always have the time. But don't use that as an excuse. I wrote this blog post on my lunch break at my full time job. Find the time.

I hope you found this helpful, and if anything, encouraging. I'm only a little over two years deep into my own little business, but when you're seeking education and constantly working to be better today than yesterday, you'll surprise yourself at the rate of growth.

With alllll of that, I'm taking on FIVE mentoring dates this year, each for TWO hours and there are no off-limit topics! Availability is extremely limited, but if you know anything about me, you know focus and dedication to each client experience is huge. I book a limited number of weddings, and now a limited number of mentees, because I want to be able to have the time to give each person everything I have to offer.

Visit my Connect page for my email address and reach out for more information! Book a mentoring session with me today, and receive $100 off!

Meanwhile, I'll be over here cheering you on, every day. Thanks for being in my corner, too, and following along this little dream of mine.

XOXO, Taylor

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