I wasn’t always a family photographer. In fact, before I had a photography business, I was working in Investment Banking. And before that, I was an Accountant!
I was a bit of a nerd at school (and a good studious girl). I went to uni and completed a B. Comm (in Accounting) degree, because I was good at maths. I worked as a Accountant Cadet while I did my degree – I did everything I thought I SHOULD do, plus I figured it would be useful while I worked out what I wanted to ACTUALLY do with my life…
Fast forward thirteen (yes, 13) years:
I was working in Investment Banking in the city, commuting an hour in traffic each way to work, working long hours and weekends when required… Don’t get me wrong, it had it’s perks but the “good old days” of (pre GFC) were long gone… I wasn’t loving it and I knew that I was definitely NOT living up to my potential.
I was bored, burnt out and blasé about anything work related (honestly I am surprised I didn’t get the sack!!)
This really wasn’t the long-term life that I wanted for myself….
Watch the video below to hear how I went from hobby to business in just 5 weeks.
Can’t watch the video right now? check this out instead:
Transcript: Thinking of Turning Your Hobby Into a Photography Business?
My sister and my best friend and lots of my friends were having babies, and I was just enamoured with taking photos of all these little kids around me and I loved it. I was getting lots of compliments and I was getting pretty good at it.
I decided I wanted to start making some money from taking portraits.
I knew that if I wanted to go into business, that taking the odd photo every now and then and getting a great shot was A LOT different to going and doing a fabulous photoshoot from start to finish. I knew I needed to get confidence in that and I knew I needed to practice.
So I emailed all of my friends to ask if they knew anyone who would be interested in a shoot with me for free. It was for ten families only, and they had to be available in the period of time that I set. They received all of their images on a DVD and all they had to do in return was give me a model release which allowed me to use their photographs in my marketing.
I had quite an old camera (I was using a Canon 350D that I had bought in 2002), and the digital age had moved quite rapidly since then but I couldn’t afford right then to buy a new camera. So I decided to hire one for the week and I organised all of those practice photoshoots to happen in that week, so I could use that camera. That was in the first week of October in 2010.
I held the shoots, did basic editing on the photos, selected the best shots, set up my website and sent an email and the link to the website out to all those same friends again saying, “I am now in business”.
By the 7th November, I had my first paying client, and from there, it just snowballed.
16 months later, I quit my finance job to work full-time in my photography business.
I have had a few people who have done our online photography course Beginner Bootcamp, saying that they are starting out, and that they are nervous. We all have to start somewhere and we all feel out of our comfort zones sometimes.
I might come across as though I am a confident person, but I get nervous even today sometimes. Back then, I would sit in the car before each shoot, and my hands would be shaking, and I would be so worried.
But all you can do is have a bit of faith in yourself, have a bit of determination and just do it.
So if you’re in this position, and you are thinking of maybe starting a photography business, or maybe you are getting compliments on your photography or maybe (and this was one of the driving forces for me starting up my business!!) was that I knew I wanted to buy an expensive new camera and I wanted to get it as a tax deduction (that’s the accountant in me coming out!)
I knew that I wouldn’t be able to claim it as an expense unless I was earning some corresponding income from it, so I made sure I had my business set up and then purchased a new camera for my business.
So my advice would be:
Just do it. Stop making excuses. Stop worrying that you aren’t good enough. Stop thinking you will screw it up, what is the absolute worst that can happen? You’ll have to say, “sorry guys you got a free photoshoot and it was crap?”
Always ask yourself what is the absolute worst thing that could happen? The worst is really not that bad…
Fast forward to today:
I just can’t get over that by taking those steps back then, (and it was hard and it was scary and nerve-wracking and terrifying) that I would be in this position today. Running my own business. Living in a way that I want to live everyday.
Because Mondays are now whatever I want to make of them. :)
So that’s my story! I would love it if you left a comment or if you have any questions, feel free to ask me anything! My entire business has been built on word of mouth, so I would so appreciate you ‘liking’ and sharing below for me :)
If you want more tips and advice to grow your photography business, I give lots of it out for free! You can get it here.