For Photographers: 3 Investments to make on the road to Full-Time

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5 years ago, owning my own photography business was nothing but a pipe dream. I was SO far from every step I needed to take to create a business, let alone make enough money in it so that I could quit my full-time job and officially call myself a photographer. It is not easy and there is no real “rule book” telling you the step by step guide on how to get there. I learned the ins and outs of my camera, I shot everything and everyone I could, I spent thousands of dollars renting equipment and slowly but surely, after 3 years, I had taken all the small steps needed to finally take a giant leap into becoming a full-time photographer and I haven’t looked back since! I did NOT go into debt starting my business. Instead, I saved up my money I earned from every second shooting job I got and made sure to make smart investments along the way in whatever would help make my business and myself as a photographer stronger. If you are feeling defeated or always find yourself thinking “gah! Am I EVER going to be a full-time photographer?” – this post is for you! You CAN get there but you need to make smart investments in places that will only help you get there faster! Today I’m sharing 3 things I suggest you seriously INVEST in to finally be a full-time photographer!

1 – Equipment! – The equipment does not define who you are as a photographer. I HATE when people ask on Instagram “ooh I like this photo! what camera did you use to take it??” because that doesn’t matter at all! The photographer creates the image by having an eye for it and executing it in a way no one else could have seen it. However, great equipment will make a beautiful image clearer, sharper and better looking so it is important to have quality equipment. My biggest tip is SAVE for equipment. Do not put it on a credit card because the last thing you want to do is get yourself into debt while trying to start a business. God forbid things don’t work the way you wanted and now not only are you stuck with a ton of photography equipment but debt too!? No way! I know it’s so tempting to just own every piece of equipment you want right off the bat but the easy way can also be very dangerous. Instead, save up first your camera body and then RENT lenses! Try out all different types of lenses and use them in all different scenarios, even if you aren’t shooting a wedding or a lifestyle session. That way you will find out what lens’ you like best and know which ones you want to save up for. However – if I must recommend a lens’ I have to go with the canon 50 1.4. This baby is a monster portrait lens and it blows my mind because it is SO cheap compared to all the L series lenses. It’s a lens I invested in right away and shot with for YEARS before finally upgrading to the 1.2 🙂 If you want to know more about the other lens’ I love for a wedding day, be sure to read this post all about my top 4 favorite lenses! 🙂

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2 – Education! Something that absolutely 100% changed my business for the better was doing my coaching session with Katelyn James. This is something I had dreamed of doing for a year or so before I finally had saved up enough money to do so. I jumped at the chance and everything I learned that day completely changed the way I did my business and my client experience… and it’s only gotten better from there. I would highly suggest investing in a mentoring session with ANY photographer that you look up to and admire, if it’s something they offer. If not – there are SO many FREE resources out there for you! A favorite has been YouTube! YouTube is one of my favorite platforms for learning new things. I am someone that needs VISUALS to learn and so this is my absolute favorite. Some of my favorite channels on YouTube to watch are Jasmine Star, Katelyn James (of course!), SHOWIT Live, and Jana Williams! And even after being a photographer for years, I still watch these YouTube channels and any free webinars my favorite photographers will have to continue learning. This business is constantly changing and there is always something new to learn to better YOUR business and client experience!

3 – Online Presence! Here’s the 100% truth… if no one can see you, no one will book you. This is something I learned very quickly and made sure I was ACTIVE with. For social media, I created accounts for my business on every platform. I don’t have a personal Instagram account – my business account is MY Instagram page and everything I post on it is 100% me and who I am! I try to mix and match personal and business photos on Instagram. I created a Facebook page for my business very quickly and made sure it linked automatically to my Instagram, so if I was going through dry spells where I didn’t have any work to show off from my blog or website, my Instagram photos would be popping up on Facebook as well. The key for me was my website. I made sure I had a professional website with all of my information on it, a lot of information about who I was as a person AND a photographer and a blog along with it always keep my work up to date. I would refresh my website photos every chance I could in the beginning, with any and all work I did! I learned very quickly that if you didn’t have a nice, LEGIT website – no one was going to bother booking you. Brides want someone who has done this before, know the ins and outs of a wedding day and know that they can completely TRUST you with their wedding photos and if your website doesn’t look professional, they will assume you aren’t as well. You don’t have to be a full-time wedding photographer to have a great looking website so don’t get discouraged! This is the stepping stone that will get you to where you need to be!

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Those are my 3 tips of investments to make that will get you to becoming a full-time wedding photographer! I hope this was helpful to all you newbie photographers out there. Just remember to keep pushing. If you want something bad enough, you CAN make it yours! 🙂

 

 

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