Happy Sunday everyone! Yea go Colts! It was an exciting afternoon for this fair weather fan….we donned our Colts gear and cheered them onto the Superbowl. I’m really not a football fan AT ALL, but, being a Hoosier it’s exciting just the same.
So, I was surfing around the web today (during commercial breaks, of course!) and found this GEM of a blog post from a photographer in Georgia. Seriously, I was doing the happy dance just reading it. Like me, Shannon Holden gets daily requests and questions from fellow photographers on the how/what/when/where/why of her photography business. Like me, she is happy to answer what she can, when she can…..but sometimes other things are more pressing….and at then at times we end up writing multiple emails of the same info day after day.
Well…..she wrote the most brilliant post answering so eloquently many questions that have been asked……and giving fantastic insight to the aspiring photographer about what it takes to succeed in this business. After reading this I 100% agree with ALL that she has written. My favorite grabs from her piece are these:
… be a business person. Any successful photographer (not the starving artist, but the photographer who can actually afford to pay their bills and still pay themselves, too) will tell you that success in this industry is 20% talent and 80% business skills. You absolutely must understand what it takes to run a business and do so legally. Be prepared for the money and time required. Even if you are planning your business to be a small, secondary job, you will probably be surprised at the amount of time you will pour into it. Your cost of doing business is not just your camera and your prints. Your business time is not just your time behind the camera.
This business will offer a lot of competition, some of it friendly, some of it not. Some colleagues you meet may have been burned by a competitor, so don’t be surprised if they seem a bit guarded. Most photographers I know would love to offer insight and knowledge to an aspiring artist, but it can be very challenging to do so. Many, like me, are working parents, working very hard to maintain a delicate balance between career and family. As a business owner, our free time is so precious, and we usually want to save it for our spouses and kids. So while we would love to answer a question or two when we can, often the questions we get require a lot of time to address, time we simply don’t have to spare. For this reason, I highly recommend finding an online community, where most of the answers you seek are often being discussed at length, and you can find multiple perspectives on your topic.
When I started this photo thing 11 years ago, I had no idea I was starting a family business….one that my husband would eventually run masterfully. I shot film, developed all my client’s prints in the (bathroom) darkroom of our one bedroom apartment, used my personal cell phone as the business line, and was MORTIFIED accepting money for what I considered my “gift.” In addition to my own clients, in the beginning I shot for another photographer’s studio and I consider that relationship such a blessing! Thank you Mark and Christine for trusting me in those early days!! Having the experience of being behind the camera SO MUCH was invaluable.
We have come such a far way, and by no means was this overnight. Thankfully, Matt took the reigns of the business after about the first year and we made some VERY good decisions in valuing our time and talent. In turn, we have built the most amazing base of loyal clientele, and consider it a privilege to document their lives. We still struggle with balancing the whole work vs. family life thing….and because of this, we have declined becoming industry speakers.
But, I have had a bunch of requests for workshops through the years. While preparing and hosting a workshop is not really my thing, I’ll be doing a mentoring session at our studio next month for a lovely photog out of Canada (hi Janet!), and might be open to more. So let us know if you’d be interested. BUT! In the meantime, please check out that post from Shannon, and I hope it will provide some great insight. I’m still happy to answer any specific questions that photographers might have. I’m kind of an open book in that department…so if for some reason you have asked me a question in the past and I have not gotten back to you, I am so sorry! Life got in the way.
And since I’ve been asked a bunch lately, here is what’s in my bag:
Canon 5D mark II, Canon 5D,
50mm 1.2, 85mm 1.8, 100mm 2.8, 70-200mm 2.8, 24-70mm 2.8, 17mm 2.8
In the studio, we shoot Photogenic lights with a 4×6 foot soft box and (2) 2×3 boxes. I really like the Gary Fong lightsphere attachment if I need to use the Canon on camera flash.
I am FIRM believer that it’s not the camera in your hand that makes the image, but eye in our head and the relationship you build with your subject. I am not a gear girl, and I consider these just tools to get the job done. That being said, I have been a very happy Canon shooter since leaving my Nikon gear in the dust 3 years ago.
In addition to the resources that Shannon included in her post, I’d recommend the following vendors:
And since I’m one proud mama….here are our crazy kids. These are the pics from our Christmas card this year…and since they would rather take a 3 hour nap than get their pictures taken, I’m so happy they obliged on this day!