I swear, I didn’t skip a day. but after church in the morning, the shoot in the afternoon, and traveling all last night, I kind of forgot to actually post what I wrote. An old school-mate from high-school asked me to do a write-up on my small business for her college class. and since it is bg photography’s blog, I decided to share it with you. I talk about success factors and customers and lessons learned, and I promise…its from last night! I even have proof. 😉
Business: bg photography
Industry: Photography, Weddings, Senior, Newborn
Founded: August 2010
Business Description: “Intertwining passion + some artistic flair, I’m dedicated to producing photographs that you will love.”
Start-up History: After graduating from Hope College in May of 2010, I began looking for jobs just like all my other classmates. However, with unemployment rate so high, I quickly found myself running out of money and running out of job options. I’ve been working with cameras since 2008, but once I was asked to take some senior pictures in August, I decided to make it a career. And with that thought, I started my own business.
Customers: Initially, my business began with senior girls’ portraits. After word got around, I did one session with a senior guy. From that, I spread the word via my Facebook page that I was interested in mainly doing couples and weddings. After a steady few months of senior portraits, I began photographing couples that were just dating and then finally signed three weddings for summer 2011; thus resulting in scheduling and shooting engagement sessions.
Value Added to Customers: I firmly believe that everyone should be photographed professionally at least once in their life. I believe in making people feel beautiful and unique, and I strive to give my clients a modern, fresh perspective of themselves: how I see them. Not only will these pictures give them an image to be proud of, it also captures a moment—a moment that is fleeting. With their pictures, they are halting time and can always remember how they felt at that exact moment.
Five Success Factors: 1) Believing in yourself. Without a doubt, I’d be nowhere if I didn’t believe in the talent that I’ve been given. In such a competitive market, I needed to be confident in what I had to offer.
2) Internal Support. I needed the support of my family, fiancé, and best friends. Starting a business is difficult and draining: financially, physically, mentally. You doubt yourself and your ability, and when you need to stand back, you need your support group to lean on.
3) Be open with the client. Many clients are nervous in front of the camera. Before every session, I e-mail the client to let them know what the session with look like. And if I’ve never met the client before, normally we’ll sit down before the session and talk about what poses they might like, and we’ll talk just about life. People are always more comfortable with people they know. And once I show them a few shots at the beginning of the session, they see that I know what I’m doing and I’m good at, and they’ll relax and let me do my job.
4) Equipment and knowledge. It might sound silly, but if you don’t have the nice camera, you’re pictures can’t compete with others in the market. Although a large investment, your camera will reap results that will more than double your investment. Research lenses. (i.e. A 50mm f 1.2 will produce an incredibly better picture than a 50mm f 1.8.) Also, you need to know your equipment. If you can shoot in RAW compared to JPEG, your pictures will be sharper and more vivid. Choose lenses and filters that fit your specific style. Never stop learning!
5) Style. Develop your style that will differentiate your product from the others. STICK WITH IT. By having a consistent, professional, and artistic style, your product will be more easily recognized and widely advertised by word of mouth.
Lessons Learned: Know the risks (personal and financial) before you begin. If it’s too much of an investment or the cons outweigh the pros, know when to throw in the towel. But if it’s your dream and it’s feasible, listen to Winston Churchill’s advice: Never, never, never give up. Starting a small business is a risk, and in order to be successful, you have to be persistent: with advertising, with your style, with yourself.
have a great Monday! 🙂