5 Unexpected Things About Starting A Photography Business
1. I am covered – COVERED – in bug bites. I was going to count them for you so you’d understand what “covered” meant, but I got to 7 just on my left ankle and gave up. I need to invest in some long yoga pants and a pair of Hunters so my poor legs don’t get any more torn up as I roll around in fields, hike through woods and lie in long grass to get a shot. I need a sponsorship from Off bug spray, stat. Or at least a huge can of it to keep in my camera bag for me and my clients.
2. Besides bugs, there are other hazards to shooting in scenic locations. Like when you ask a pregnant lady to take two steps forward and she steps on a snake. Luckily no one ended up in labor (instead, her husband showed my kid how to poke it with a stick) and she didn’t run screaming from the field. I’ve also ruined a pair of shoes by walking right into the ocean to get a shot, not to mention the little girl who followed me into a lake and ended up soaked herself. I’m already dreaming of a nice, snake-free climate controlled studio.
3. Cutting down the number of photos I offer is SO HARD. My session package comes with 12 digital files the client gets to choose out of 30-40 edited pictures. I set it up that way so I wouldn’t have to spend a million years editing every picture from a session, since I usually take around 300. AND YET. I can’t bring myself to skip anything that’s even halfway good, so my galleries have 75+ pictures. I’m going to have to a) edit faster and b) learn to cut back so I don’t spend 20 hours on every session (which would mean I’m only making $5 an hour before you even add in travel and insurance and equipment). Yikes.
4. Setting up a business is a lot less fun than just taking pictures. There’s the tax stuff, the legal stuff, graphic design for business cards and web and more (huge thanks to my friend Alena for my logo), packaging, labels, price guides, what to wear inspiration, websites…it’s a lot, is what I’m saying. If I wasn’t already pretty good at this blog stuff I might have quit after the first 24 hours. I don’t know how the really amazing photographers can even be so good at both parts – the part of my brain that loves the artistic elements of photography curls up in a corner and cries every time I have to fill out a tax-exempt certificate.
5. I love it. Despite the bug bites and snakes and crossed-eyes from editing and hours spent staring at different flash drive options and paperwork and having to answer the phone when strange numbers call and OMG TALK TO STRANGERS…I’m so, so exited. I’m getting better with every single shoot (practice makes ever-so-slightly-closer-to-perfect) and the experience is priceless. I’m still sort of stunned anyone would pay me in real actual pennies to do something I enjoy so much. AMERICAN DREAM HELL YEAH.
OK, I swear I’ll blog about something else soon. Who wants to hear about how blue-colored Icees turned my children in MONSTERS yesterday?