2022 Narrative International Photography Awards
By Rebecca Bradley
When I first hit publish on my photography website I thought, this is it, I am going to be a photographer! Thinking back on it now, seeing how naive I was makes me smile. I really had no idea what I was in for running a photography business.
During my first year in business, I was working full time, commuting three hours a day, and my husband and I were building our first home. The hustle was real and I had to get very good at utilising every single bit of time I had to make things work. Looking back on my first year, here are a few things I learnt, that had I known sooner, would have made the hustle a little easier.
You will wear many different hats
When I started my photography business I thought, this is amazing, I will get to go to cool places, take beautiful photos, edit them nicely and that’s that. Little did I know, I would not just be a photographer. I would also be a wedding planner, a stylist, an accountant and a web designer. I quickly learnt that taking photos was really about 10% of the business and the rest of my time would be spent doing a whole lot of editing, working out how to make my numbers balance, updating my website, typing up run sheets for weddings and sending invoices.
You don’t need to be the best to start
I wish I had not spent so much time doubting my ability. I felt the weight of ‘imposter syndrome’ in every way when I started in photography. There were so many times I told myself that I needed a better camera, a newer laptop, and more experience before I could start. It wasn't until I forced myself to put those thoughts aside and focus in on what I wanted to achieve that momentum in my business really started.
It is about the experience
A piece of advice that stuck with me was that the experience you give your clients is as important as the photos you deliver. When I started I was so focused on getting all my shots ‘technically’ correct. I thought this was the be-all and end-all. While I know technical skills in photography are hugely important, I believe a large part of a photographer's success is how they make their clients feel. How comfortable you make them feel, whether you made them laugh, and how helpful you were are all things people will appreciate and refer you for.
The road I have taken to get to where I am in my business today is different from what I expected but I have loved the journey all the same. I know I will look back in another year and have learnt and grown so much more. Bring it on!