Hi there, friend! Today, I really want to walk through some deep questions that I feel are important to ponder before totally immersing yourself in your start-up photography business. A little self-evaluation and food-for-thought!
1) What if photography loses it’s luster?
Seems like an absurd question, right? You love and enjoy photography and you’re ready to roll! With that business license in hand, you confidently begin scheduling appointments and building up a portfolio. All the photo shoots are going great, you upload those images into the computer and excitedly scroll through them; gushing with pride over your work. You did it! And then you realize something… you now have weeks worth of editing ahead of you. Initially you tell yourself, “It’s cool! Editing is fun too!”, but by day three you are dragging yourself into that office chair, and the itch to create something different feels so intense that you just want to scream.
Truth time? Being a photographer may not always feel fun. There are going to be elements of owning and operating your own business that are incredibly exciting and enjoyable, and then there will be those that you avoid/procrastinate until you literally have no option other than to complete them. In the midst of the disagreeable, try and remember a few things:
Take a deep breath – This is simple, yet effective
Reflect back on your “why” – Why did you choose to become your own boss? What made you fall in love with photography? Remind yourself how awesome this is going to be!
Change up your scenery (especially if your house is your office) – You know that café on the corner that puts the cutesy little designs in the latte foam? Take your work there!
Schedule time to take pictures for yourself – This is so important!! Take an afternoon to go around town with the intention of taking images solely for yourself. Be adventurous! Test out those different techniques and styles you have been reading about.
Grit your teeth and push through – Blast those tasks “to infinity and beyond” through sheer force of will (thank you Buzz Lightyear)
2) When are you going to work?
As the boss, you get to set the hours! Wahoo!!! We have talked about how amazing it feels to be your own boss a few times on this blog (it never gets old for me); however, setting hours can prove to be tricky if you haven’t decided on the timeframe in which you are willing to work or the type of photography you want to pursue. Here’s a list of 5 major avenues of photography and the time frames they usually demand.
(ps. You may have to set longer hours initially to build up a client basis)
Wedding Photography – Peak wedding season is mid/late spring to early summer. Can you devote almost every weekend spring through fall to shooting? You’ll obviously need to schedule your own vacation in there but it can be time consuming! Don’t forget that for many of these weddings, you may have to travel!
Sports Photography – Just like wedding photographers, be prepared to shoot each weekend during peak seasons. This could also mean late weeknights! You’ll have to decide if you’ll travel with a specific team or only shoot certain games.
Portrait Photography – Portrait photography is one of the easiest subjects to work into your own schedule. You may have to be flexible with your clients but these sessions can be done any day of the week as long as lighting allows. Avoid mid-day sessions, but the summers provide plenty of daylight to shoot after work during the week/weekend.
Architectural & Retail Photography – Architectural and product photography are specialized enough that you’ll typically be shooting during normal business hours (Real Estate being the exception… it’s pretty much, “do it ASAP!”). Since designers and business professionals are often with you during these sessions, they generally want to take time during the work day to photograph and rarely request weekend shoots (just one more reason I love Architectural Photography!).
Photography as a side hustle (aka Part-Time)? – Side hustles tend to feel like the most work! You’ll have to not only schedule the session during your free time, but also the edit during your free time too. This isn’t to dissuade you though! In fact, most photography careers start this way! Just remember that you may have to give up lots of your “off time” to complete the work.
3) How will you manage the stress?
Photography can be stressful! Often we are afforded one single opportunity to capture the image with the correct poses, lighting, and (my favorite) focus. Think about it, the wedding party would be not-so-happy if the camera battery died just as the preacher said, “You may kiss the bride”. As the photographer, you are privileged to capture moments that will be reflected on for a lifetime or more so be proactive and prepare for many different scenarios. Obviously, certain situations can only be learned through experience; therefore, continue seeking after learning opportunities to continue to grow and refine your skills. This will help boost your confidence and prepare you for future sessions.
Can you handle the freedom?
It’s your photography business and you can mold/tailor it however you want! Will you work fifteen hours a week and be satisfied or will you be a workaholic (like me) and pull 50 or 60 hours because you’re having so much fun?! The reality is, to be both a great boss AND a great employee for your company you’ll have to have some serious self-discipline! While it’s great (well, its totally awesome if I’m being completely honest) to have the ability to approve vacation and time off whenever you want, make sure you have prepared and can afford to do so. You may set the hours, but you also provide the paycheck. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: YOU ARE THE BOSS!!! So, can you handle the freedom?
First, think. Second, dream. Third, believe. And finally, dare.– Walt Disney