It’s been a while since I’ve done a more personal post, so today I decided to talk about my recent decision to start a photography business. For those of you who may not know, I love photography. I’ve been a hobbyist for about seven years now, and I’ve photographed everything from landscapes to flowers to weddings. I’ve played around with the idea of starting a photography business before, but it’s taken me this long to decide to go for it!
Why am I starting a photography business?
So why now? Well, good question! For one, Cole and I have our wedding coming up this year. There’s a lot to pay for when it comes to planning a wedding, and photography is something that I know I can do on the weekends to get a little extra money. Of course, eventually the goal would be to make this my full-time job, but for now, weekends work.
Another reason is that I have been deeply dissatisfied lately with my academic and career choices up to this point. I wrote a post about ignoring life’s expectations recently, and this is definitely an idea that comes from that mindset. I went to school and racked up a massive amount of student debt, but I’m not doing anything in my field. While my coworkers are wonderful and my job itself is fine, it’s not what I see myself doing for the rest of my life. My ideal work environment would be working from home and being my own boss, and I want my work to make a difference to someone (more on how I’m planning to make a difference in a bit). Starting a photography business now (and starting small!) will hopefully help me to build a client base in a relatively low-risk way.
Starting this business is actually one of a few major goals I have for 2017, another being to create a budget that actually works for us. I’m going to be honest, Cole and I basically live paycheck to paycheck. It seems like every time we get a little money set aside in savings, something unexpected comes up and we’re right back to square one. If I can get a successful business started by using a hobby that I’m truly passionate about, then I can contribute to our finances more. Maybe we’ll finally have a buffer!
How am I going to start a photography business?
Now that I’ve told you why I want to do this, you’re probably wondering how. Well, the good news is that I have basically everything I need to get started already. I have an amazing camera (a Nikon D5500, for anyone who is wondering!), a tripod, and several different lenses. No, I don’t have some of the fancier equipment yet. I definitely want to make some progress before I try to buy any of that! I have experience using my equipment from my seven years with photography as a hobby. The only purchases I’ve made so far are a domain name (about $10) and some business cards (about $30). As far as I’m concerned, that’s a pretty good starting point!
Okay, so I have what I need… what am I going to do now? The very first thing that I did was build my website and come up with a basic pricing scheme for my services. I decided that I wanted to run a discount for the next few months while I get my business up and running. Have you ever heard of Thumbtack? It’s an awesome little website that matches shoppers with service providers in their area. I joined Thumbtack and started sending quotes to potential clients on there. I’m also offering free photography services to potential clients in my local area via Facebook. I’m asking my friends and family to share my information and let me know if they know someone who might be interested in my services. In short, I’m doing everything possible to get my name out there!
So far, I’ve had a really great response! I launched my website on December 29, 2016. As of this writing on January 3, 2017, my website has gotten 153 pageviews. I got 123 of those since the start of January and a whopping 108 of them just today! I have 58 likes on my Facebook page. 13 of those came this week. (It’s worth mentioning that some of my Facebook likes came from before, since I decided to convert my existing hobbyist photography page into my business page so that I didn’t lose any followers.) I’m up to 20 followers on Instagram, too! I don’t really have a lot happening on Twitter, but that’s only because I haven’t really developed a strategy for that platform yet.
In any case, the response to starting a photography business has been incredible! I am so grateful to everyone who has supported me so far.
How am I going to make a difference with my business?
Remember how I said I wanted to make a difference in the world with my job? Well, today I launched an effort to do just that. I’m offering a public pet photography session towards the end of January in Tuscaloosa, AL, which is where I live. I’ve talked about animal rescue and how important it is to me before, so it shouldn’t surprise anyone that I’m in a few lost and found pet groups on Facebook. I noticed that there aren’t very many clear, well-lit pictures of pets in these groups. My goal by doing a public pet session is to let people bring their animals for nice, professional pictures that will be useful in case they ever lose their pet.
Another thing that I’m doing that’s somewhat similar is networking with some local humane societies and rescues. For them, I’m volunteering my photography services to help get their animals adopted. All of that? I’m doing it for free.
I’m not looking for praise or trying to brag. I only bring this up because I want to point out that no matter what your passion is, you can make it into something that will make a difference in the world. I love photography, and I love animals. Animal rescue is something that is very important to me. What better cause is there to dedicate my passion to?
So here we are! It’s the beginning of a new year, and in a way, it’s the beginning of a new me. I’m starting a photography business this year, and I’m determined to make it succeed. If you’re interested, you can check out my portfolio here.
Do you have questions, comments, or suggestions about my business? Let me know in the comments!