Growing Pains and what I have learned….A Guest Post
The blog post below was written by professional photographer Erin Krikstone:
When I started my business, I didn’t personally know anyone that had a successful photography business. I had no one to ask for advice; no one to give me a reality check; no one to tell me that starting and running a successful Photography business is really HARD.
1st Myth: Being a photographer is easy money with very little start-up costs. All you need is a camera.
Ha, this is my favorite because I’ve actually had people say this to me. And honestly, I believed this to be true in the beginning. Shows you much I knew! If you are contemplating starting a business, any business, it is imperative you take a hard look at the start-up costs, as well as the recurring costs. I wish I had known about the free resources my city offered for new start-up businesses. I wish I had broken everything down on to a spreadsheet and figured in my COGS (cost of goods sold), estimated taxes, equipment costs, prop costs, etc. I wish I had not charged dirt-cheap rates because I worked my entire first year of business for free, which I didn’t even realize until tax time.
2nd Myth: My business will leave me a lot of free time and I can work when I want. If each session takes me an hour to shoot, I’ll be making x dollars per hour.
Ah, this is just funny, really. Well, sad and funny. Did you read above where I said I made no money my first year? Did I mention how many hours I put into the business? Well, there were way, way too many hours to count. I know now that for each newborn session, it will take at least 10-12 hours of my time (though my clients only see me for a few hours). This will include shooting the session, editing the photography session, uploading galleries, providing sneak peeks and updating my blog, placing print orders, burning CD’s, answering emails/phone calls/Facebook messages, packing orders, correcting lab errors, and shipping orders. Not to mention the other things that have to be done that are not customer specific, such as updating the website, tracking orders, tracking payments, paying taxes, etc. Whew, I’m tired just thinking about it. My photography “job” could easily take well over 40 hours a week and I’m not even considered full-time.
3rd Myth: I don’t need business skills and I can easily figure out how to do everything on my own.
I guess you don’t NEED business skills. However, since I currently spend about 10% of my time on photography and 90% on the “business” side, I’ve had to do some quick learning to figure out how to manage my business. Many photographers fail within the first two years; and, the reason is they don’t understand business and neglect to consider the time and materials that go well beyond what is seen through a lens.
With all that being said, I love my job. It brings me true happiness every time I take out my camera, hold a newborn baby, and see the joy on a mother’s face when she sees the memories my skills have captured for her and her family. Now that I have my own children, I realize how important these memories are to the families I photograph. I am so grateful that I have the opportunity to pursue my dream and that I have clients who love my work.
Would I do it all over again? Yes, I think I would. But, I would have waited, studied and learned a lot more before I ventured into this crazy business. My business is still fairly new and I certainly feel the growing pains. However, I’ve come too far to quit and well… it makes me happy. And when you see these images, I think you will feel happy too!
Erin Krikstone is a professional photographer who specializes in Maternity and Newborn Photography. She also photographs children, families, seniors, weddings, and whatever else comes her way!
Simply That Photography serves Collin County and other surrounding counties in the Dallas, Texas area. Erin provides on-location and in-studio photography services for all occasions.