Filed in : Photographers

I love the off-season. Now that I’m able to focus more intently on the business-y stuff (as opposed to editing, since sessions are a lot slower this time of year), I’ve spent the last few work days brainstorming and writing blog posts that I’ve been meaning to write for months!

Last year, I wrote a post about six things I wished I’d known when I started out and it was one of my most-read posts all year, so we’re back with another installment! Let’s begin:

7 things no one tells you when starting a photography business- Abby Grace

1. STOP looking at other people’s work so much. I can’t stress this one enough. Should there be other artists/photographers you look up to? Absolutely! But should you spend hours obsessing over their work, to the point that it makes you feel really bad about your own? Nope. Try this: pick 2-3 of your favorite photographers, follow their blogs, and cut yourself off there. That’s enough to keep you inspired, but not so much as to constantly overwhelm you.

2. Also? Stop comparing yourself. Your journey and your business are going to look vastly different than the next photographer’s, so comparing yourself won’t get you anywhere. All it will do is frustrate you, and that’s valuable time you’ll spend worrying that you otherwise could have devoted to taking over the world! I promise, this isn’t some cliché saying that I’m putting up to make you feel better about your business. It’s 100% true.

Kind of like that time I compared my branding to everyone else’s, and decided I needed to rebrand with teal & blush because that seemed trendy and cool. Guys, WHO told me that blush blazer was a good choice??

7 things I wish I'd know when I started my photography business- Abby Grace

3. Suck it up and spend the money on a lawyer-approved wedding contract. Don’t try to write it yourself, please don’t! An airtight contract protects you, your business, and your clients. A contract you got for free off of Google, or worse, one you’ve written yourself? There’s no guarantee at all that it’ll hold up in court if, heavens forbid, you ever have to go there. (Psst! Rachel Brenke, the Lawtog, sells wedding photography contracts on her site!). More on this particular topic on Friday’s post!

Ask yourself this: would you rather… spend $125 for a contract template now? Or potentially have to spend thousands of dollars in the future to pay for a lawyer? Your choice!

4. Make sure your camera bags fits ALL of your essential equipment. Having to carry a lens separately inevitably means you will leave that lens at home one day. Or in the drawer of a hotel room. Fun story… I’ve done both of those.

5. The bride and groom may have been the ones to sign your contract, but come wedding day, their families are also your clients. Treat them with the same love and respect as you treat your couple, it’s their day to celebrate as well! Serving the parents of my couples on the wedding day has truly become one of my favorite things about my job. I love seeing their joy, and I love being able to encourage that joy through serving them well. There’s a tendency of photographers to view the parents of our clients as “us vs. them,” but don’t fall into that trap! Mothers and fathers of your brides and grooms can be some of your biggest cheerleaders, and having a cheerful attitude about serving them too makes a wedding day better for everyone.

7 things I wish I'd know when I started my photography business- Abby Grace

6. Seek out opportunities for constructive criticism! No one LIKES hearing they didn’t do the best job on something, but I promise, you will grow so much from the times that someone’s willing you say “you could have done ___ better.” Be careful not to simply brush it off when someone points out a weakness in your business (but also, take into consideration who it is that’s speaking).

And last but not least,

7. Know how to parallel park. 🙂 Especially if you ever plan to shoot in a city, or anywhere with paved roads/civilization in general. Not knowing how to parallel park could mean you spent 20 minutes driving around looking for an open spot, and that’s valuable time you lose with your couple!

Happy Tuesday!

Seven more things nobody tells you when you start out

February 3, 2015

  1. Korie

    February 3rd, 2015 at 7:55 am

    Thank you so much! I needed to hear this today! I have been free lancing for years but just in the last two years got really serious and the compare game has been killing me. I was never self conscious before until I started doing that. Thanks for helping me see my work is unique and my own. I will grow and change and that’s at my pace and is ok.

  2. Natalie

    February 3rd, 2015 at 8:06 am

    I love this post, Abby! Especially #7… because it’s so, so, true!

  3. Sara

    February 3rd, 2015 at 8:10 am

    Know how to parallel park! Hahahahaha! my husband was just telling me I needed to learn/practice for life in general- now I have a business reason! I usually make my husband/friends do it for me. I now know how I’m spending my Saturday afternoon 😉

  4. Shalese

    February 3rd, 2015 at 8:17 am

    SO good! Especially about serving the parents and families well. Your blogging is on pointe! 😉 (get it? because you love pointe shoes!)

  5. Janelle C

    February 3rd, 2015 at 9:03 am

    I love this post! I actually just posted my 2015 goals on my blog yesterday and points 1 & 2 were on my list for this year! Stop comparing myself to others… this will definitely be a work in progress for me. Thanks Abby! 🙂

  6. Karen Field aka Mom

    February 3rd, 2015 at 3:16 pm

    I absolutely loved this post!

  7. Jean

    February 3rd, 2015 at 4:27 pm

    Great advice from a seasoned professional photographer. So proud of my lovely granddaughter!

  8. Kat

    February 5th, 2015 at 7:51 am

    Parallel parking – YES!!! Girl. I am the WORST and had to learn in a rush on multiple weddings this past year. EEEE.

  9. Rici

    February 11th, 2015 at 10:31 am

    This is great Abby! Love the family tip! So precious!
    Oh and the parking disasters in Germany, historic village & city centers… yes….

  10. Tatyana

    February 20th, 2015 at 8:46 am

    The constant comparison is such a huge one!

  11. Lydia

    March 4th, 2015 at 12:52 pm

    Hahaha @ parallel parking! I actually go out of my way to avoid parallel parking because I hate it so much, but it’s true that sometimes it’s a necessary evil when shooting in the city!

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