Blogiversary | What I Learned | Part II

Annnd it’s time for Part II of what I’ve learned in the last year. Here’s Part I if you missed it. 🙂

11. Don’t overbook! Especially when you are first starting out and way too excited to make rational decisions to turn down or postpone shoots. I’m still learning this one, since I have always had a tendency to over commit, but I’m telling you…taking a weekend off here and there is a MUST. If you don’t, you will burn yourself out and end up sobbing to your mom/boyfriend/dog that you are quitting photography…on more than one occasion. Not that I’ve learned that from personal experience or anything…eh hem….

12. Don’t sacrifice friend or family time. Still have shoots in the queue that need to be edited? Edit them tomorrow. If there is something really fun going on tonight, allow yourself the luxury of doing it. Don’t shut yourself in your office and edit til you fall asleep at the keyboard while your friends are out having fun. Make time for relaxation and fun, and balance them with the work. The world will not end if you don’t post that blog post tonight. Really…it won’t.

13. Go to a workshop. Any workshop! Ok, so I’ve only been to one, but it was a definite turning point for me this year. I met other people who shared my passion and we’ve stayed friends ever since. We support each other, ask each other questions, and watch each other grow. Plus, I met Courtney Fries (who is AMAZING), and I learned more from her in a day than I had the whole summer. Getting advice/knowledge/encouragement from a real pro is priceless. Pick your favorite photog and see if they have workshops…if they do, sign up for one! If your experience is anything like mine, you will come away inspired, rejuvenated, and excited to take your business to the next level.

14. Read blogs. Ok, so I shouldn’t encourage blogstalking to the extent that I do it, because I may or may not be a little obsessive…but I will tell you, blogs have been an integral part of my learning process this year. Reading about how other people do it, what they shoot with, why they do this or shoot like that…you name it, you can probably find someone who has blogged about it. And, bonus…blogs can be SO inspiring. I actually follow fashion, design, AND photography blogs, because seeing other people’s creativity inspires me to push myself to the next level.

15. Find friends in the photography community. This kind of reiterates point #3, but it’s a little different. You should find other photographer friends because they will get you in a way no one else can. They know what it’s like to stay up late editing just a few more photos, or posting on  your blog. They know what it’s like to live, breath, eat, dream photography. Other people can be supportive (which is AMAZING…thank you to all of you who are!!), but if they aren’t a photographer, they just won’t get it. It’s such an encouragement to just have someone to share the experience with, to grow with, to learn with. My friends Sarah Reed and Valerie Atohi have been those special friends for me…plus the lovely ladies from Courtney’s workshop…woooo shout out to Chrissy Rose, Susan Gentile, and Ronda Wollard…you ladies are all AMAZING, and I’m so happy to call you friends!

16. Don’t wear cheap shoes to shoot a wedding. No really…don’t do it. I wore shoes with ZERO support to a wedding in St. Augustine, and I thought I was going to die by the end of it. Nowadays I wear a better pair, and I bring an extra pair to switch to halfway through the day. I’m still looking for the perfect shoes though…any suggestions?

17. Don’t undervalue yourself. This is something I am still fighting against. It’s SO hard to know how to price yourself, what to charge, estimate how “good” you are, etc. In photography, you aren’t selling a product…you are selling yourself, your work, your blood, sweat, and tears, your art. It’s easy when you are learning to think you aren’t worth more money, and I fall victim to these thoughts all the time. But, in the end…listen to other people. Look at how much your business is growing. And give yourself the credit you deserve. (For WAY better thoughts on this topic than I just gave, read Carrie Ann’s post over at Go{4}Pro. Oh, and if you aren’t reading Go(4}Pro…start. It’s a priceless resource of info!!)

18. Get model releases from the beginning. That’s pretty self-explanatory. You need those things, for real. I didn’t start asking for them until recently, and now I’m playing catch up with all my clients from the past year. They are good things to have, just in case.

19. Don’t forget about the business side of things. I would consider myself good at photography. (I wouldn’t be doing it if I didn’t think so.) I would consider myself not-so-good at the business side of things. Ok, I won’t be THAT harsh on myself…but let’s just say the business side doesn’t come easily to me. So, I have to work double-hard to be good at it. Keep your receipts. Do your taxes correctly. Don’t buy things you don’t have money for. Like I said…this part if still something I’m working on, but I’m aware it needs work. What I’ve learned is that just because it’s not my favorite thing to do, doesn’t mean I get to ignore it…and ignoring it means spending long hours catching up on not-fun things that you could have done a little bit at a time after every shoot. Yeahhhh…again, learning things the hard way.

20. Don’t give up just because it’s friggin’ hard. If I had a dollar for every time I threatened to quit photography this year….well, you’d probably think I didn’t like what I do very much, but that’s not the case at all. I’m just kind of a drama queen sometimes, that’s all. 🙂 I LOVE what I do, but there are very very hard days when you are working a full-time job and starting your own business on nights and weekends. There will be meltdowns and painful learning moments. Moments of doubt and frustration and panic. But they will ALL pass, and in the next moment you will be listening to a couple say their vows or watching a mother hold her new daughter…and then it’s all ok. Every hard moment WILL be worth it…I promise. (And this is coming from a girl who still has plenty of hard moments. I don’t think they ever really go away…you just learn how to handle them better.)

Thanks again for reading! I don’t claim that I’m doing everything the right way or the easy way…just the only way I know how. So if my blog helps one person be able to learn something NOT the hard way…then I’m happy! 🙂



5 thoughts on “Blogiversary | What I Learned | Part II

  1. Sarah

    I love this series. 🙂 You are wonderful and I’m so glad I get to be one of those special friends! 🙂 🙂 You’re doing an awesome job!

  2. Pingback: Dear Blog, I miss you. Love, Wendy |

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