A couple of weeks ago I was interviewed for the popular podcast fulltimephotographer.com. I was excited to be a part of it and am really happy with how it turned out. If you would like some insight into how I started my career and my philosophies on working in photo industry. Go check it out. Thanks to Josh Rossi for the letting me contribute. It was a great experience. Here is the link to the interview.
I went to a meeting last month about the importance of a business plan as a photographer. It was really helpful and motivated me to start putting an actual business plan together for myself. I’ve met every week for the past couple of weeks with a business counselor at Zions Banks Business Resource Center named Jorge Sanchez. It has been so good for me to start this process and set a goal of creating a new business plan. When I say new I mean the first one I’ve ever put together. Up until this point my plan with my photography business has been to be the best photographer I could, shoot photos for pretty much anyone that would pay me to shoot and hopefully make enough money to pay all my bills. I’m pretty sure that’s how alot of us photographers start out. We have some sort of a talent for photographing things or people and decide one day after someone pays us a few bucks to shoot something that we want to do this for a living and just go for it. That’s pretty much how it went with me. I’ve taken some basic business classes in college and studied how to start a business, I took a short 6 week class on starting a business and than just prayed that it would all work. Thank heavens up until this point it has been working out, but I’ve been thinking over the last 6 months or so that I’m not where I feel I could be as far a being a truly successful photographer. I’ve often looked at other photographers both locally and around the county and thought to myself “I want to be like that guy, they’ve got it going on”. I wondered how do I get there? That’s what got me so pumped about the meeting, it finally clicked, “that’s how I can do it”! I realized that a business plan is the road map to true success in becoming the professional photographer that I’ve always felt like I can become. Please don’t get me wrong, I feel like I’ve been extremely blessed with some great opportunities and have some great clients. I feel like I’ve done the best I could with what I had to start with, but I’ve realized now that I can really take things to the next level by making a plan. I decided to do it.
The first step in a business plans is figuring out what your idea is, or in photography language what is my style? When someone asks you what you shoot, what do you tell them. Up until now I’ve always said “people” and that’s pretty ambiguous and doesn’t really grab someones attention. I’m working on describing what I shoot in 30 seconds. In order to do that I had to start asking myself some questions. What is it that I photograph best and better than anyone else? It started me thinking, what do I offer the world? Do I photograph anything better than anyone else? These are exactly the types of questions that I needed to start asking myself in order to figure out where I needed to go with my work.
I decided to go to the library one afternoon and started thinking about what makes a professional photographer a professional? Really when you think about it anyone can take a picture, anyone can buy an nice camera, anyone can travel, does that make them a professional? What makes a pro a pro? Is it what they shoot? Is it the camera they use? While we are on the subject what makes a good photograph for that matter? As I started thinking about all this I’ll be honest I started feeling pretty overwhelmed. We all know that being a professional photographer takes a ton of work and I believe a good portion of raw talent combined with numerous other qualities and skills other than the above mentioned. These are all the questions I started asking myself. It was so nice to just start figuring out some of these things and writing down some answers. It forced me to take a hard look at my work, what I’ve shot up until now, how I shot it and where am I going with my work.
I realized it all comes down to vision. How I see the world. That is what I have to offer the world, the unique way in which I see the world. That is why I want people hire me. That is why I shoot things the way I do. It’s my vision, not just the way I see something but how I want others to see it. That vision is what gets me up in the morning and exited to shoot, and ultimately what sets me apart from all the other photographers in the world. I concluded that is what I have to focus on in my business plan, my vision, and hopefully as I work and create images that vision comes through to everyone that sees it and I get to where I truly want to be as a photographer. The comforting thing that I comes along with that is that no one can take that from me, it’s mine and mine alone.
I’ve got a rough 30 second statement put together so far and am now researching that idea and getting it more dialed. Also I am researching locations of a new future studio and what my niche is in the photography world. It’s been exiting so far and has really been motivating me about the future. I just wanted to write a little about my adventure so far and will be keeping you updated as I go through this process. Thanks for reading and following my blog. I am so grateful for the support that I get from my wife, my friends and my family. I couldn’t do it without them.
For reading all this I have included a great song and video for you to check out that I’ve been really enjoying lately!