You've wanted to be a "real photographer" for years and now after all that daydreaming you are finally going to pursue your hearts desires and make photography your career. Go get'em girl!
But first, here are some things you are going to know in five years that you'll REALLY wish you knew today.
1. It’s not going to be easy.
Right now you are thinking “how hard can it be?” You have a nice camera, a kit lens, a Macbook, Lightroom and a Facebook Fan page with 300 fans.
So what more do you need other than clients willing to pay you $75 dollars for a session and CD?
Not much. Small steps. I know everyone else around you is getting really nice gear and talking about fancy things you can't begin to understand. But take a deep breath and do as many of those $75 sessions as you can because, bless you heart, you need LOTS of practice. Did I mention you have to practice? Practice on your roommates. Practice on the dog. Practice on the coffee cup. Practice. Practice. Practice!
2. There’s a good chance you aren’t going to see profit for a long time.
You’ll book some clients and be making money in no time! Right?
And I just LOLed. There’s this thing called CODB and those $75 sessions aren't going to come close to covering what you need. Especially after you dropped that lens... please always zip your camera bag.
I know you think you will NEVER get enough saved for that camera upgrade. For now you will learn to do AMAZING things with what you have. Bigger badder gear is nice and you will have it someday, but for now you will learn so much more by pushing the limits of what you already have!
3. Figure out licensing, taxes and insurance.
Welcome to adulthood. Please don’t try to DIY because you are not talented in that area and you will make a mess. The government is serious about those taxes. Don’t think they aren’t.
4. Seek the wisdom and knowledge of those who have experience!
…but don’t ask them stupid questions that can easily be answered on Google or Youtube. You can find almost anything you want to learn online. Use it.
But when you really are lost, reach out to fellow photographers. It is only because of them that you will become the photographer you want to be.
I know some treat you like an amateur. Relax honey, you are. But don’t let that slow you down. Someday you will earn their respect and it will be oh so victorious.
5. Don’t get so caught up in being “busy” and growing your business that you neglect yourself.
I could shake you. Stop being too busy to eat right, go to the doctor, work-out and refresh your Photoshop fried brain. Unplug now and then because, believe it or not, your health is more important than your followers.
And for the love of popcorn, take a deep breath about those emails. You have yet to loose a potential client because you didn’t respond within 5 minutes…and your husband is really tired of you burning dinner every night because “I was sending an email."
6. Run from the nasty little bug called “Comparison”
And by run I mean as hard and fast as you can. Nothing will discourage you more than to scroll through social media and seeing how amazing everyone is compared to you. They book more, charge more, have more reviews, blog more, travel more, own more gear...STOP IT!
The truth is that IT DOES NOT MATTER. What matters is your work was better this year than it was last year and your clients are thrilled with the images and service you provide them!
7. It will be worth it!
Spoiler Alert. You are going to get pregnant and it’s not going to be when you think you are “ready" to start a family. And then after your beautiful daughter is born you will think there is no physical way you can balance being a work-from-home-traveling-wedding-photographer-mama-housekeeper-cowboywife!
But you CAN and you will! Because being a Mompreneur is going to be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life. (Notice I didn’t say “next to giving birth” because that sucks.)
You will travel to new places all over the country. Meet diverse and amazing people. Help others grow their businesses. See your work published and featured. Be invited to speak at conferences. Have your work hung next to famous photographers...And have so much fun!
But for now, go figure out how to stop shooting in Auto.
Oh and I know you don’t even know what it’s called now, but vignetting...just stop now.
Your's Truly, Me