Hello my friends! Today I wanted to talk to you about five key tips for photographers starting out. These are all things I wish I knew when I first started my photography business.
But before we do that, I want you to know about my free Facebook community for photographers in business! Click here to join, I would love to see you in there!
#1 Charge Enough
The first thing I wish I had known is to charge enough. This may sound like a “duh” thing, but I was NOT charging enough when I started!
In the beginning I would charge around $50, and as time went on I would start to charge more, but even then I hadn’t really stepped back and taken a look at my expenses. With the amount of time I was spending on each session with traveling, taking the actual photos, the gear (which was not the most expensive gear – but it still cost money), the time spent editing the photos, delivering them on a CD, etc. All of it started to add up.
I didn’t take any of that into account, so when I got paid it just felt like money in my pocket and I was excited about it! However, when I actually sat down and did the math, it was not enough. I’m married to an accountant so it should have occurred to me sooner… but let’s just say it didn’t. So my advice is to figure out exactly what your cost is and how much time you’re spending. You need to be compensated for your time, the gear & programs that you’re using; there’s so many expenses that you can start to shell out money for without actually realizing it. You really have to pay attention so that you can cover everything… and then some, so you can pay yourself!
#2 Try Everything
Okay the next thing is to TRY THINGS! If you’re not sure what you want to do and you’re like “well I like doing families sometimes, but I also kind of like doing couples, I might want to do weddings I’m not sure…” That’s okay, just try everything. Do a lot of everything that you think you’re interested in and see what really speaks to you the most.
I really wish that I had narrowed down my ideal client a lot sooner. It would have helped me find my voice in my marketing and it just would have helped things become a lot more streamlined in my business. A great way to figure out what you’re interested in is to shadow people at their sessions, if they’re willing to let you do that. A lot of photographers, myself included, would love to have somebody shadow me at my sessions. Go be a second shooter for a wedding photographer! Do anything that you can to get your foot in that door and see what you like the most.
#3 It’s Okay To Change Your Mind
Another thing I wish I’d known is that it’s okay to change your mind. I was always really worried about what people would think when I changed my prices or when I started photographing different things. But here’s the thing: NOBODY pays that much attention and nobody cares that much. So you do you! Go where you want to go and everyone else will follow along, the people who are meant to be with you will stay with you.
There are so many things out there that you can try out, and if it doesn’t work for you that’s totally fine! Believe me, I’ve changed my mind so many times. (SO many times.)
#4 Invest In Your Education
The next thing I want to talk to you about investing in your education- it is so important! I was really hesitant to actually pay money to learn things for the first several years because I was a cheapskate and I didn’t feel like paying anybody. (Anyone else?) But once I did, I feel like it took my business to the next level. Every time I spent a significant amount of money on myself to learn more, I went up another level.
So yes, you can learn all these things on your own, right? There’s all the information out there for you to find. But what you’re doing when you’re paying to learn something is getting a shortcut to that thing that you want. I’ve taken I can’t even tell you how many courses and I’ll be honest, I wouldn’t say that all of them were amazing, BUT – I learned something from every single one that I took. Even if it wasn’t that great of a course! I still learned something. I’m really grateful for all of the money that I’ve spent on educating myself, because it has really helped me become the business owner and the photographer that I am today!
#5 Follow Your Gut
And the last one is to take everything you hear with a grain of salt. And yes, that includes everything I talked about today!
You will hear lots of different things from lots of different people and it’s okay to pick and choose what feels good for you. Even if something works for somebody else really well, that might not be the thing that will work for you. Don’t be afraid to follow your gut and do your own thing.
That’s all folks! Thank you for taking the time to read this and I hope it helped. For more helpful tips for photographers check out some of my other educational posts HERE!
To hear me go into more depth on this topic: