I have been in business since 2012. It seems like it's been much longer! Recently, I have been looking back through some of my first seasons of senior portrait work, and I am thinking now about how much I have changed as a photographer and how my work has changed as well.
It's funny how you see and even think of things differently when you first start shooting for clients. You feel almost panicked at the prospect of thinking of 100 different creative poses for your senior so they will be satisfied with the variety you present them. You worry about so many things - always nervous about making your client happy and using your creative muscles at the same time. And some of that never stops... However, I have become more relaxed over the years, and now realize that turning your senior client into a "Gumby" figure that can bend and twist into infinite poses is not the ideal. That is not the way for me to make my senior girls feel beautiful.
Then there are also the business blunders. First of all, I used to have a hideous website. Sorry, I have deleted all evidence of it, and will not post a screenshot here for your amusement. ;-) And my logo was "homemade" because I couldn't afford to invest in a professional logo, but I didn't fully think it through before I made it, and had to change it a few times after that. All of those early logo iterations were NOT representative of my brand or my style. Fail. Also, my prices were terribly low, so I hardly made enough money to keep going, and had to infuse cash injections from my personal savings to keep building my business. However, I know I had to start somewhere!
So, what have I changed for the better, and what do I need to revisit?
These are the things that come to mind when I look back on my older work that I am glad that I moved on from:
- Constantly comparing myself, my business, and my work to other photographers, their businesses, and their work.
- Not having properly marked up products, so I struggled to make much per client for the amount of work I was putting into each client.
- Making myself jittery during sessions by stressing out over attempting all sorts of poses or directions that didn't work.
- Not preparing my clients thoroughly for how to best dress for camera.
- Not being consistent in my social media branding, or what I posted and when.
- Not having a fully streamlined editing process.
And here are a few things that I actually wouldn't mind revisiting, and adding back into my photography life:
- Taking shots of things in between, when the client isn't "ready" - some of these are happy accidents.
- Location scouting every week. I find that it's good to test new locations often, I had gotten out of the habit!
- Shooting in open shade. I had converted most of my shots during each session to being in full backlight, but I wouldn't mind throwing a few open shade shots into each session again to add another look to my sessions.
So, how long have you been in business? What are you so glad that you changed? Are there any things you want to start doing again that you abandoned long ago? I'd love to know!