If you’re reading this, I know you have been putting the work into this “little photography thing,” but let’s face it, you’re ready to take your photography business to next level, start making the big bucks, and feel more fulfilled with your art. And first I just want to say, YAY! I’m genuinely so excited for you to start this journey of taking your hobby and turning it into a photography business. I want to share with you where to start when you decide to take the leap and make the transition.
And second, I need you to know this career is definitely not a get-rich-quick route (though you might have already realized this). But, there are definitely things you can do to set yourself up for success. When I first started, I spent hours and HOURS watching videos, researching, trying and failing, and practicing to get to where I am now. And while you might be in the same boat right now, hopefully, you can learn from my story and mistakes, and find a quicker path to freedom and financial growth!
Here’s what I want you to remember…
Mindset For Success When You Start Your Photography Business
Running a business is soo much different from having a hobby. Your mindset holds such a different kind of weight when you are the CEO. You’ll learn as you get going that your business is a direct reflection of your inner mindset and thoughts. So, if you’re dealing with a lot of self-doubt surrounding your business, or if chaos is the word that comes to mind when it comes to managing sessions, as much as we try not to, it’s going to manifest into your business. And yes, clients will see it.
Don’t worry, though, this just means you have a little bit of inner work to do before you jump into running your business head first.
My first suggestion? Spend some time figuring out your why. What is the thing that pushes you to keep going? Why do you want this to work? Don’t be afraid to go deep here. When things get hard (because trust me, they will) we want to look back at this why to remind us to keep going, and why it’s all worth it (and trust me, it is!).
My why has always been my family, specifically my kids. I was a kindergarten teacher turned photographer and I’ve been in photography for over a decade now. Coming from a divorced family, I wanted to make other families feel connected and whole through my art, and I wanted my family to feel more secure and loved by pursuing a career I love.
If it wasn’t for my “why” I would have given up a long time ago. I started my business to have the time freedom to be home with my kids and be able to set an example for them to see that you truly can do anything you set your mind to. I was so scared starting out and it was not easy by any means. But this “why” was really the thing that kept me going on those long nights of editing and throughout the busy season when I felt like I was going crazy!
Related: Click here to read the 5 things I wish I knew when starting out that would have made all the difference!
Building your brand
Once you’re a legit business, you are, by default, building a brand. It’s important to be aware of the type of brand you’re creating because this is now the face of your business. It’s what brings in clients, it’s what defines the type of client you attract, the caliber of experience you provide, and the general vibe of how you do things. Your brand is more than just the photos you post. While, yes, that might be the main thing that draws people in, it’s your messaging and the experience you provide before, during, and after the photos are taken that keeps them coming back.
To create your brand, we’re going to take a look at all that mindset work we did. What is your why, what is your goal, how do you want to operate, and who do you want to work with? These answers will help you figure out what kind of messaging to use to attract those things. Don’t worry – this doesn’t mean you have to go out and pay for big, expensive branding. Just figure out how you want to present yourself to the world, and slowly build your brand off of that!
Want to go deeper?
In my signature course, the Art & Heart Academy, we go deep into how to find all these things from within yourself and create a brand out of who you are as a person. We want this to be true to you so it’s super genuine and easy to convey this to your audience. Learn more about the program here.
Shooting the session
You probably have mastered your sessions with friends and family. Getting that confidence is so important! Being able to casually move through your session is key to making your clients feel comfortable and be able to pose naturally for your photos. When you start to transition to business mode, we need to add a touch of professionalism into that. I love to run my sessions super laid back and treat most of my clients like they are my own friends. But, you also need to be prepared and able to take control of the session if needed. What does this mean? Here are some ways to level up your client experience during sessions and build that trust with them:
- Scout the location beforehand so you have timing ready and know the best spots for lighting
- Be prepared for kids to be tired or nervous (Listen to the podcast: Five Secrets to Getting Kids to Cooperate During Shoots)
- Have poses (or “unposing,” as I like to call it with my students in Art & Heart) and prompts ready to go so you get a variety of shots
- Know how to read the family dynamics and run the shoot accordingly
Setting Up The Backend Of Your Photography Business
Now time for the part that you either are dreading or haven’t even thought of… the backend of your business. As creatives, it’s easy for this part to be something we don’t feel super comfortable with. It can feel like a foreign language. But that’s okay! We all start somewhere and you’ll learn as you go! There are a few things to think about setting up to help your business run smoothly.
- You’ll need to set up prices and packages for clients to choose from (Check out: How to Actually Calculate Your Rates as a Photographer)
- Plan out how you’ll market the business (think: IG, Pinterest, blogs, etc.)
- Will you outsource parts of your business? (This is great to consider if there is something completely out of your zone of genius. I outsource design and copywriting!)
- How will you continue your education? Just because this is your own business doesn’t mean that’s it. It’s important to keep learning, and investing in your business so you are always offering the best quality to your clients.
- Time management: You’ve probably already seen how busy things can get when you have multiple shoots on top of picking up the kids, running errands, and being a mom in general! Unfortunately, it doesn’t stop when it’s a business. Getting strong at time management is going to become essential. (Listen to the Podcast: Balancing Motherhood and Your Photography Business)
You got this mama
Now, this may seem like a lot and I won’t lie to you, it can definitely be overwhelming, but it’s so rewarding and beyond worth it. And with the right community and resources, you can learn to harness all the tools possible and make this journey fun… as it should be! We go over all of these things and more inside the Art & Heart Photography Academy, and you have a built-in community that goes right along with it.
If you’re ready to turn your hobby into a hustle and start your photography business, click here to learn more about Art & Heart! I can’t wait to see you inside!
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