It’s been one year since I started my photography blog, so I thought it would be fun to pull just a few of my favorite pictures and reflect a little on the past 12 months—just in time for my new website design, which is still in progress!
It’s like my “year in review”—I love those kinds of emails (like Spotify will show you what you’ve listened to). I did a few shoots prior to 11/11/18 that I love (including a wedding), but I didn’t take the leap to post and make a real website until that day.
So anyway. Turns out working at something and spending time learning does help you grow and get a little better—who knew? I’m kind of shocked at how much time I have actually devoted to working on my business. I have had lots of phases—I had a calligraphy phase (I liked it, bought some really nice supplies, but definitely didn’t practice enough), a watercolor phase (this went nowhere), a piano phase (our keyboard is in one of our guest rooms that I never go into), Madewell & Patagonia shopping phase (at least I still wear everything I bought), and probably way more phases that Austin would be happy to talk about. But I couldn’t justify spending thousands of dollars on photography if it was just going to be a phase.
So here’s what I did in the past 12 months since starting this blog to make sure this wouldn’t just be a phase.
- Moved to Colorado from the San Francisco area—starting a business in a new city is scary
- Met with Colorado photographers for mentorship
- Started charging people for sessions, which means I also
- Established my business legally—I created an LLC and got liability insurance, so I guess that makes me professional now 😉
- Upgraded my gear
- Established systems for my post-session workflow
- Worked on and tightened up my brand because I
- Figured out what I like to take pictures of!! So I
- Narrowed my business’s areas of focus/service to just couples & young families
- Got closer to figuring out what editing style I like
- Realized I REALLY love editing and delivering photos to clients
- Listened to dozens of podcasts on the business side of photography
- Implemented marketing & business strategies
- Started a Facebook page for my business
- Bought a lightmeter and got better at film
- Worked with my film lab to get scans I always love
- Used film for all my personal trip documentation
- Photographed an epic wedding
- Photographed some awesome couples (here are just two examples: 1, 2)
- Photographed some good family sessions (in my opinion at least)
- Consistently posted my work in various places
- Got great direct feedback from clients who were obsessed with their pictures
- Got great reviews on Yelp, Facebook, and Google
- Moved my website from Squarespace to WordPress to have more customization & better SEO
- Grew & learned so much!
I look back and kinda pat myself on the back for how I hustled on both the art & business sides but first and foremost honored and delighted the user. After all, as a product manager by day, that’s my job—to focus on the customer’s needs and deliver them a great experience. Getting texts, emails, and phone calls of extreme excitement after a gallery delivery literally propel me forward and motivate me to continue doing this for fun on the side.
I wonder what my “year in review” will say next year? I set business/photography goals for 2019, and although I didn’t meet most of them (maybe it’s not too late?? Last month of the decade is coming up), I think it was a really helpful task for me to sit down and think about the business and how to turn the investment Austin and I have put into it into something more.
Maybe next year I will say things like:
- V2 of my website
- Tightened up my editing, branding, and posing even more!
- Photographed amazing couples in the mountains (now that I have liability insurance I can get those photo permits!! Haha)
- Maybe get published in a major wedding blog (this mattered to me this year but it’s mattering less and less every day, as I realize that the thing that matters most is the client’s happiness at receiving pictures at all)
- Maybe spent money on paid marketing (I love my workload now and LOVE my 9-5 job so I’m trying to always keep myself sane, but maybe I’ll spend a little to get some more weekend sessions)
- Learned and grew even more in the art & business side of photography
- Made clients SUPER HAPPY!
Thank you to all the amazing people who have supported me and encourage me SUPER often! Shout out especially to AK, SH, LT, JY, JC, HB & RB, my family & in-laws, MA, KL, CY & KY, JR, EC ok there’s more but these people flood me with encouragement. You all make me keep going and push me when I need it the most.