Today marks four years since I filed for my business license with the state. Four whole years!
If you hadn't noticed, I have learned a lot in that time. I work really hard to be very good at what I do. I am not a half-ass kind of person and I am going to make sure I can do a good job. I take every opportunity to learn something and I invest in my education. Skill and practice are integral to doing my job well.
Working with my Amy to pursue the creative things she loves has been such a fun experience. We have photographed outfits in snow, in rain, in summer heat. We have made some tricky locations look great and working with Amy has taught me new things about my own craft as well. Fashion photography is very different from portraiture or event coverage. I thrive on the textures, patterns, colors and flow of each outfit. I can’t wait to see the next ensemble she has for me to photograph.
I was contacted by Stacey a couple days later and we set up a networking meeting. As a business owner, it is so beneficial to make connections and grow relationships with other local professionals. I highly value having a list of service providers that I trust to refer my friends and clients to. Stacey explained how passionate she is about changing the face of her industry and calling her peers to a higher service standard. She hopes to see more diversity in the professional world, specifically more women entrepreneurs. Stacey enjoys using her time to network and invest in the community as well.
What is one tip you would give other self-employed professionals who are just starting out? Business can be rocky, especially at the beginning, so it’s important to keep developing ideas—to be innovative, to try new things. Don’t become stagnant. Keep learning—attend conferences, workshops, webinars. If one thing doesn’t work, try something else. Observe and learn what your clients want, and adjust your services accordingly. I’ve learned in life that things often don’t go as planned. This is true in business as well. Don’t fight it; go with it! Being stuck in one certain mindset can be damaging to your business’s success.
Every business need a strong brand. A large part of building an iconic brand is having professional images that show off your services, products or people. Check out a previous post I wrote about this topic here: “Commercial Branding Shoot. Why You Need One”. Working with local Toledo professionals to create high quality branding images has been a rewarding experience and I enjoy seeing how my services can make a difference in their business.
Commercial photography makes up a good portion of my business. I work with a variety of businesses and professionals in different fields. Some need branding images for their websites, some need social media content, and others are looking for headshots. Every business needs documentation of their product, service or professional faces. High quality commercial images play a large role in marketing to potential clients. I really enjoy being able to offer this service to Toledo area businesses. I love getting to know more about other professions and brands as I work with them on their commercial photos.
Headshots are important in the professional world. Not only do they impact how your peers see you, they can direct how your potential clients think about you. Just like your store front, logo, and website create an experience for your customers, your own image is also an important part of your brand. A person who presents a sloppy appearance could be labeled as someone who might not take pride in their work. A nervous or angry expression could make clients wonder if you are difficult to work with. An outdated headshot may remind you of a younger self, but it will confuse peers when they meet you in person.
Honestly, I had no idea what working with a snake would look like. I assumed that I would just let Spooky do her thing and we would hope for the best. She did not disappoint. Nicole was so gentle with Spooky, directing her but never forcing her to do anything she did not want to do. My priority when shooting with animals is to make sure they are treated with respect, in an ethical manner. Spooky's comfort and safety was more important to both of us, than having a successful shoot.
Anva is a very cute place. The decor is fun but relaxing and comfortable. I am a lover of textures and Anva is full of lovely ones to look at and feel. I felt like the whole place spoke to me saying, "just breathe and be". Val is one of the most positive people I have ever met. Every other word out of her mouth was a compliment. I am drawn to people like that because I highly value words of affirmation. What better place to get a self esteem boost than your stylist's chair? Val was very knowledgable about her business and her services. She has her client's well being in mind.
It was a pretty piece left over from a gilded age. The young girl's mother had found it in the attic and thought it would look nice in her little bedroom. It hung unobtrusively on the wall waiting for the tot to be tall enough to see into its shiny mercurial depths.
Branding your business might sound like something that just happens. When you start your shop, your service, your product, branding and public image will just fall into place right? Wrong. Branding is something purposeful that every successful business has done. Branding has to do with logos, color schemes, names and aesthetic. But it is even more than that. From the way you speak about your business on your website to the smell your clients associate with your company, everything you do can impact your branding.
Most of the time I am shooting for my job. I take portraits or I am documenting a commercial business. While all of my paid shoots involve my personal creativity, there are definitely expectations to get certain poses, light styles, a specific look. I am very happy to accommodate all of these things and often I also get to play a little for myself, but there is something truly refreshing about creating something just for yourself. No expectations except your own.
I am the night.
I walk in shadows and I sing in solitude,
My eyes are closed but my ears hear every movement,
I bring rains of starlight and waterfalls of moon beams.
I do not sleep but I shroud the world in a breathing death,
For most, a temporary state of escape.
No Disney princess; I am a warrior queen.
My hair is the color of the tropical sea, hemmed in by a crown of lost life.
My arms wear strength like golden cords, infused with the energy of roaring waves.
My body moves with agility and speed, like the currents of the laughing deep.
My gown shimmers and shifts, as the sun casting a broad arm over a calm horizon.
My tale would push me further and faster, ever moving to explore every ravine of the ocean floor.
Alas, my feet, keep me tethered to the shore.
When I began organizing my first group photo shoot, I planned to invite a variety of models to join us. The main goal for the event was to give each of the photographers an opportunity for practice and an environment in which to be creative. It is so easy, as a business owner, to become caught up in the "work" and forget the "art" that initially drew us to our profession. I decided to facilitate this day to return to the art without the pressure and restrictions that sometimes accompany a paid session.