Making Photography Business Decisions

Brynn, dreaming,  like we all do This week I have been struggling with business decisions. I am attempting to create a business plan to fit not only my lifestyle which includes a lot of traveling, but to also support me as a photographer and business person. Let me tell you this is quite a challenge.

I have read, watched, and taken many business and photography courses to try to find the magic bullet that is going to work for me. I have not yet found that magic bullet and realize now there is no "magic" bullet.

I have my own style, talents and interests which makes my life very unique so there is no plan out there that will fit my situation and give me all the answers. I realize now that I have to come up with my own plan which will work for my own business.

I  believe that we are always where we should be and life will lay out our path if would  just get out-of-the-way. Well the path that I feel is laid out before me at this moment is to start and create a business that will serve not only my clients but my life with the gifts and talents I have today so we both can benefit.  This will be no easy task.

Here are just a few of things I have discovered.

  1. Mountains and nature are not going to pay me to take a photograph, but their beauty  releases my stress so I will continue to photograph while in the beauty they share even if it is only for my eyes.
  2. Most of my horse photographs come easy to me and I just instinctively know when to push the shutter, but again the horse is not in the market for photographs, it is people who love them that are.
  3. Taking portraits is a challenge but challenges are what makes us stretch and grow so I am going to learn posing and how to create compelling portraits.
  4. I love to capture the connection between people and the animals they love so I will bring my strength to photograph animals and learn my weakness to photograph people together to create a great product.
  5. I also love to  decorate and have been told I have an eye for it, so I will use this talent to help create beautiful wall arrangements for clients so the photographs become more than just digital.
  6. Having a good business means learning to get you emotions out of your business so I will learn the skills of business so I can become profitable thrive.
  7. Handling money scares me to death but my husband is a wizard at it so I will consult him every step of the way.

So these are the things I need to work through to create a business that I love and will support me and my family and be a service to clients and customers. A lot of work, education and practice but I believe it will be all worthwhile.

Here are a few attempts at photographing my grandchildren over Easter. Nothing like going for the hardest subjects children under 4

Cadan giving me a very rare smile 3 years old

Ryan, 4 years old and quite the little character.

Brynn at 9 months just so sweet.

Getting Real With Photography and Business

Ghost Horse I decided to start writing about chasing the dream. That dream of making a decent living with the craft of photography. Did I just get your attention? Probably because most of us who are not doing this just as a hobby are trying to make a living in a very saturated industry.

I heard this quote the other day." If your business is costing you money it is a hobby not a business, is this true? What about the cost of a start-up? What about the cost of education, equipment, marketing, etc for any new business? I think that you should expect it is going to cost you a lot of money to get to the point of making photography a business. It is also going to cost you a tremendous amount of time in practice and education.  Photography is not like a franchise, this is a craft that will  most likely  take years to perfect. I am going on my 6th year of full-time education and daily practice trying to master  my vision. I will not even say what this all has cost me, just incase my husband reads this someday.

Another suggestion I hear is that if there is no competition there is no market.  Really? So we need to do what everyone else is doing  if we want to make a living?  I had to sit with that for a bit. I suppose that is true if you want to be a commodity but if you're an artist, you want to run and run fast from becoming a commodity.

I feel fear when I think about  my vision for my business because I want to focus my photography on draft horses. Which for a business plan in the so-called "real world" would falter due to it is such a small niche part of the market. Then I watched a podcast  on TWIP about this guy  Don Kamarechka who has poured himself into snowflake photography and is now attempting to publish a fabulous book. This got me thinking.  How big could the snow flake market be? But he is now known as the expert in snowflakes. Who could imagine that for a market?

The world does not need more of what we have already have. We need new stories, visions, art, products, and perspectives.

It is so easy to walk down the path that is well-worn and mapped out. But to follow the path your heart is calling you to follow takes courage, dedication and the wiliness to not listen to the masses. I believe you are experiencing such a calling when you feel fear at the very thought of doing what you have been called to do. Fear of rejection, fear of failure, fear of status and reputation. When you feel these fears it is a good sign that you are on to something and you need to take serious look at this because there is something here  that is designed with you in mind.  It is also a path that you can choose to follow or pass up it is completely up to you but if you pass up the inspiration it will move on to someone else and you will have missed the opportunity. I am sure you can recall such a situation.

Will I be able to pay my bills and live a comfortable life by following my heart? I have no idea, but you can follow along with me as I share with you this dream and vision and the challenges I am sure to face.

Let the journey begin. I will post something about my journey each Tuesday, even if it is just to say I can not post today because of  ???

Taking A Leap In 2013

Leap of Faith - Krabi Thailand I have been studying photography intensely for the past five years. I had the time and opportunity when I first moved to Belgium because I was not qualified to get a "real" job there due to lack of language skills and adjusting to learning the culture. I knew I needed a craft, something I could do that would give my life or should I say my career life some value. I chose photography because I love to find the beauty in the details of what otherwise would be a mundane scene.

Like all new photographers I tried every thing. Started out with landscapes, which I do still enjoy but something was missing. I was starting to get bored.  I felt there was something else I needed to photograph. I tried, to do  portraits and gathered  family and friends, but I know this is not for me. I just do not feel comfortable telling people how to stand, turn their heads, and please not say cheese. I did not want to orchestrate the photograph I want to capture it.

My daughter-in law with her daughter

It wasn't until I went to my first draft horse plowing event in Belgium that I found the passion  that I felt was missing. I am drawn to horses and rural living,  Horses because I know them so well and they have been a big part of my life. Rural living because I have always loved living out away from the crowd. Photographing this draft horse plowing a field with this man who was doing it for the last time was a thrill for me. I love hearing their stories and see what others are doing on their farms and with their animals.

Brabant At Work

So here is the leap. I am going to get serious and do the photography I love. Even as I write these words I am afraid of what I am about to do. But I have learned from the past, that being afraid and experiencing fear means you are on to something. If you are not afraid of your dream it is not big enough.

Here is the list of why I am afraid to concentrate my business to horses and rural life.

  1. Because I travel I do not own my own horse  it is not easy to practice.
  2. How many clients could I get with the lifestyle I live by traveling between two countries?
  3. I will have to spend time and money marketing to find my subjects or clients.
  4. The world is moving away from country life and animals and no one will be interested in horses or rural lifestyles anymore.
  5. Can I really get to the level of photography I am trying to achieve?
  6. Can I make a living at creating these kind of photographs?

Now if you are reading this and own a  horse  or live on a back road I am sure you can put my fears to rest because you love horses and rural living as much as I do. But I am coming from the photography business world where you see amazing photographs and feel you will never be this good. I want to aspire to one of the best and it scares me that I may fail.

I could photograph pets, families, weddings, events, sports, etc and maybe carve out a living. But for me there is no passion there and I know I would only be mediocre at best.

So here is my first big leap of 2013. I am going to strive to be a great horse and rural life photographer. I want to make a good living at this so I can continue to grow in my field.

There I said it, now as soon as I press "publish" I must find a way to do this.

Follow me and let's together see what happens. Will this  be a success or will I have to make a new goal next year? I am dedicating one full year to giving my all to this small niche in photography.

I have made big leaps in my life before, which I will share on occasion here, and I have learned that if you have the heart, and desire and get out-of-the-way life will help you find your path. You first job is to fight off the fear that wants to hold you back.

In my next blog I will share my recent leap to get closer to my family. This was "huge"

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