I think of 2015 as a year of incredible growth. I had never thought of myself as a business owner before I decided to launch my photography business in May. It has been a whirlwind since then, but it has also been a blast. I learned so many new skills not only out of the necessity of running a business, but also because it gave me so much delight in learning them. Here are some of the roles that I fill as a one-person photography business:
- A Website Designer (baby level!) – I did end up buying a template for my website but I do my own WordPress, graphic design, and eCommerce. I used to feel so lost reading about setting up an online store, but I eventually found the tools to establish my own. Also, where Photoshop used to intimidate me, it is now my best friend for graphic design.
- A Marketer – I started getting so many calls and emails from various companies – Yelp, WeddingWire, The Knot, Wedding.com, BrandRep etc. – offering me to use their services. Here’s a hat that I can’t say I like: being a patient Business Development person & listening to pushy sales pitches. For instance, I had a very unpleasant experience with Yelp – not a great company from my experience. I do enjoy working with WeddingWire and Wedding.com, which use very different business approaches, but are some of the more effective marketing channels. Social Media marketing, especially Facebook, has been a lot of fun to learn. Facebook so far is the best platform for creating awareness and showcasing my photo portfolio. Engagement is key and I’m slowly figuring out the more effective engagement tools.
- A Content Producer – Mostly blogging, but I’m also starting to get into video production and ebooks. I absolutely enjoy learning about my clients and telling their story on my blog. Somewhere in the details there is always a unique gem, and I try to bring it out in my narratives and interviews with my clients. As for video production, there’s a video at the end of this post, so stay tuned!
- A Volunteer Worker – Talk about giveaways! I did give out a fair number of free sessions, but in all honesty, I enjoyed them so much I never cared afterwards about the cost. Fortunately, I do have a full-time job to finance all of this, and I’m thankful for it. While we’re on the topic of volunteering, though, I also can’t forget about all the help that I’ve received from my family, friends and past clients, all without any expectation of being given back. Their help comes in numerous forms: continuously promoting my business, critiquing my website, brainstorming fabulous marketing ideas with me, modeling for my styled shoots, diligently liking and sharing my posts on Facebook, etc. All of this really brought us closer and I deeply value the great relationships we have established and made stronger through my business.
- An Accountant – I used to think crunching the numbers was such a boring must-do of running a business, but I started discovering the fun part of it through my full-time job at QVC. If you give the numbers a story to tell, they don’t appear so dull anymore. I finished the 1st draft of my 2015 income statement a couple of days ago and it turned out to be a pretty enjoyable task!
- And last but not least, a Photographer! – I remember having felt a little bashful calling myself a photographer. A year ago, I was only starting to take photography as something more than just a hobby. Looking back now, I’ve gotten the basics down and with each photo session, I learn more about lighting, color, composition, and especially capturing real and authentic moments. I’ve also recently acquired some fancier gear and cannot wait to see the photographs I can produce with them!
I’ll stop my narrative here though, because I don’t think there’s a better way to demonstrate my growth as a photographer than to actually show my pictures. Here’s a video that captures some highlights from my 2015 photo sessions. Hope you enjoy watching it!