HONESTLY, why did you become a photographer? That is a question that I’ve posted to our Facebook wall today and received numerous responses. As expected there was a pretty broad range of reasoning behind the initial motivation but many admit it is their desire to work at their own schedule as a mom while making money doing something they love. We received quite a bit more personal feedback then I was expecting and I’m still being moved reading through all of the touching responses as I’m writing this. So amazing!
For the sake of this post though, let’s focus in on the income and family schedule theories behind starting a photography business. The subject of ‘business’ is so easily overlooked by photographers as many just don’t feel you have the time to worry about it or can learn it on your own as you go along. You may be very caught up in learning to be a better photographer and taking photography workshops but in doing this you are missing the glue that is holding everything together. You are missing out on learning the things that can guide you to managing a successful business that actually allows you to follow your passion while being able to spend time with your families as well. With a solid business sense, the 2 can actually coexist, believe it or not!
I can tell you that the harsh reality of the photography industry is that things are really not as simple as they seem. Many start off by having inappropriate photography packages or by charging “just getting started” rates. In doing this you are unintentionally adding to the tensions that have already begun in the industry and de-valuing a neighboring photographer that has already put so much blood, sweat, and tears into her business. Many don’t realize this but the choices that are made by introductory photographers really does have a huge impact on the entire industry as a whole. It is VITAL that you learn ALL of the proper steps to take when starting this journey.
Another harsh reality is the scheduling and family time. Many enter into this journey expecting to have more time with their family while also bringing a little more cash to the table. What really ends up happening in most cases is that you end up working MORE hours than ever before. Far more! You LOSE some of the most valuable time with your family as you struggle to develop the “beginning stages” of the business. Or so you think… often times this goes on for YEARS. For some it becomes so backwards that you may end up getting a secondary job just to be able to keep the doors open to the business you have worked so hard to create this far.
THIS DOES NOT NEED TO HAPPEN. For most the answer is really so simple. Start-to-finish business structure.
Set yourself up to succeed at your dream! Whether you are just starting off in the industry or have a few years under your belt; you need to re-analyze and learn proper business structure. Doing so can help you to gain time with your family by maximizing the revenue that you are pulling in from each client. Learn to setup a strong system so that you are actually profitable at the end of the year near tax time. Learn how to bring in the clients through marketing and how to handle them from the very first email. Learn how to manage your time, stick to your workflows, and reach your goals. Keep your accounting records organized and analyze your sales, marketing and accounting data to help grow your business each year under a proper operating budget. Set up a long-term vision that will help ensure you a comfortable retirement. Be efficient and a shining example for others just coming in to the business after you. Remember that new or old… the choices that neighboring photographers make around you will have an effect on your business just how neighborhood home prices can be effected by short-sales (no I’m not meaning that negatively against those who have done that. Different subject!).
New and experienced photographers, taking a business workshop is not something to be embarrassed about. It’s something to be proud of! Even if you are a very experienced photographer technically, it doesn’t mean that you have learned to master your time management and workflow so that your able to be with your families as much as you’d like. Or if you are new to photography then I can’t emphasize enough that a photography “business” workshop with a successful photographer to coach you along the way NEEDS to be your FIRST step.
Thank you so much for your time and I really do hope that you will join us to better the industry as a whole by pushing business education as a prerequisite and refinement opportunity. Learn Shoot Inspire has JUST released a workshop that will cover all of these topics plus SO much more that simply couldn’t be listed in the outline. This online workshop is titled “Photography Business Essentials with Tennille King” and is priced so incredibly low in comparison to the years of income and priceless time with your family that it will save you. The full version is perfect for fresh and experienced photographers based in every country around the world. Please sign up to our workshop updates newsletter through this link to have details emailed to you right away before this workshop sells out.
Whether you plan to attend our workshop or not PLEASE share this post with others to help us encourage as many photographers as we can across the globe to find a photography business resource of their liking and consider it.
Please continue to read below for a few words from Tennille…
If you felt that any of the above applies to you then the Photography Business Essentials workshop puts you on the right path. Each lesson is broken down into relevant topics and examples, along with discussion questions and homework assignments designed to put your business on track for long-term success. The lessons are designed to educate you and the assignments help you apply those lessons to your own business. Discussion questions for each lesson are provided to really examine your business practices and get you thinking, while open Q&A allows you to ask specific questions. I’m a complete open book…no topic is off limits! I’m a big advocate of properly running your photography business, so I’m sharing the business and educational experience that I’ve gained over the past 15 years.
A little bit about me…I’m 36 years old and entering my 7th year in the photography business. My college degree focused on Public Relations and Marketing. In addition to my educational background, I have held a job since the age of 12. I’ve always had a love for business management. When I worked in the hotel industry, I focused quite a bit on revenue management – finding ways to be the most profitable. When I worked in the recruiting industry, the job was a 100% commission based position that involved finding clients in our target market, networking, and nurturing relationships. I’ve done my own taxes – personal & business – since I was 18 years old. And although some of you may think it’s weird, I love math/numbers/accounting – it relaxes me!
While this workshop doesn’t focus on photographing precious little babies or awesome high school seniors, it does focus on how to run a business properly and profitably, how to find and keep those clients, and how to manage your time and workflow (so you don’t go crazy in the meantime)…allowing you to do what you love for the rest of your working years!