Dear Past Me: 10 Things I Wish I Knew as a Beginner
Cedar Falls / Waterloo / Cedar Valley Iowa Photographer
Woohoo! I just hit the official one year mark for my business! Although I've been taking photos since high school, I only have been doing it professionally fir a year now. I've got SO MUCH to learn still, but I thought I would write about some of the things I learned this past year!
I'm going to write this as if I'm addressing myself one year ago, so hang in there with me!
1. Get in front of the camera!
How can you know what your clients feel like if you haven't been on the other end? Not only that. as a photographer it can be tempting to use a tripod or your spouse to take photos of you, but hiring a professional not only allows you to just focus on getting photos with you and your boo/fam/all of the above, but also shows you value photography in general!
Photos by Erin Richard Photography
2. Print your photos!
So you know how I said you should get your photos done?! Well don't let them sit on a hard drive! I've always wanted photos on my walls, and this gallery wall makes me wanna just sit at my table and stare at it all day. My business is a print-based business. I value high quality printing and I got tired of my clients not enjoying their images in their full potential. I was finding that so many of my clients weren't printing their images, and then I looked at my own little home and saw that I was guilty of this as well.
Not only is this a huge conversation starter, I feel like anyone that walks into our home knows how much we all love each other <3
3. Back dat stuff up!
Seriously. Don't be me. Around Chistmas I had a hard drive fail on me and lost all images that weren't on social media or already printed. Thankfully I have a huge album with a ton of 4x6" prints so I didn't lose everything but still, it was a huge bummer. I'm passionate about image backup for this reason. You think it won't happen to you, but so does everyone else. Why risk it? There are many ways to back up your images onto a cloud service, use it! The one I use automatically backs everything up the minute I plug in my external hard drive.
4. Making a Facebook page doesn't make you a business.
Okay, yeah. I said it. I'm sorry if that hurts some feelings but seriously, I thought that if I made a page on Facebook that was all I needed to do. I was in for a RUDE awakening! Facebook doesn’t give a crap about your business if you aren’t paying- investing in good marketing strategies is important!
5. Owning a photography business is only 10% taking photos.
This goes with my above point. There is so much more to owning a business than taking pretty photos. I feel like this was a make or break it moment for me, but I made it!
6. You need to separate your home life from work life.
Yeah, I'm still working on this. Baby steps! For me, this meant dishing out some money to hire a professional to completely automate my booking system to where clients can book on their own, as well as adding on roughly twenty women to my private Facebook group to help me run it. I am still working on this, but in a job you can't clock out of this is so important!
7. Investing in education is vital!
In the early days I was determined to learn all I could through Pinterest and Youtube. The thing is, there's so much education out there being offered if you're willing to pay. This isn't money wasted, this is investing in yourself and your business. I'm a member for multiple online subscriptions where I have access to so much material for bettering myself as a photographer and as a business owner. The two are not the same thing, I learned that the hard way!
8. Get yourself a great accountant and lawyer!
This. So. Much. I would be lost without mine! I personally love Quality Accounting in Waterloo and Jay Nardini in Cedar Falls! They are the bomb.com and help me with all of the stuff I probably shouldn't be doing myself.
9. Every person is not my client, and that’s okay!
My clients are the kind that appreciate my art and craft. I prefer to take on less clients at a higher paying rate. I know that puts me out of budget for a lot of my friends, and no, my feelings are not hurt when you go to someone else. I feel like I used to be so hungry to make every single person my client and it totally bit me in the butt. Now, when I see one of my friends go to another photographer I take a moment to check out the photos and give them some love!
10. Do as much in camera as possible.
Editing isn’t just slapping on a filter! Good lighting, posing and styling your clients goes a long way. Learning HOW to edit is so important. This goes along with investing in educational resources- there is so much out there to learn!
I have seriously loved this crazy first year. I can honestly say that I made every mistake in the book and learned the hard way about a lot of things. It's been a very humbling and rewarding experience! I'm currently booked solid until late September and have limited spaces left for the rest of the year. I never thought a year ago I would be serving so many amazing clients, but here I am!
To my past and future clients, I thank you. You are beautiful human beings and I love telling your stories.
I have also recently been doing primarily boudoir work, which you can find HERE. This is the majority of my upcoming sessions and past sessions and I've totally fallen in love with what I do. I'm passionate about making people feel beautiful and empowered.
Wanna get on my calendar? I would love to chat with you about it! Contact me. I bet you're probably super cool and we'd probably get along great!