Back in 2012, I was fresh out of college, and I still remember processing through different options for my post-grad life. Most of my time during that season was spent filling out job application after job application.
Truthfully, you've probably been there too...
So, as I looked for job opportunities for my recently graduated self from my room at my parent's house, I started my professional photography business! Looking back, I don't feel like there was as much openness about the industry, or communication about crafting your own business as there is now. And at the time, I did what most photographers do when they first start their businesses...
I shot everything I could.
I shot seniors. I shot couples. I photographed babies and I photographed families.
I shot my very first wedding (for my dear, brave friend who trusted me!).
That's what you do when you start out: You try it all. You gather experience, you improve your camera skills, and you learn. A. LOT.
One of the things most photographers learn is that they 1) DON'T enjoy shooting anything and everything, and/or 2) DO enjoy shooting ONE aspect of photography more than others.
Yet, some photographers continue shooting anything and everything. Maybe that's you! You're like, Katelyn...I just can't afford to stop photographing _________ (fill in the blank with seniors, families, weddings). I get that. I really do.
But I have to ask you a question....is that what you really want?
Back in September of 2017 I attended the AWESOME Arielle Peters Photography Workshop. It was great! I learned lots, and was able to ask questions that I'd been pondering. Plus, there was a beautiful styled shoot to practice some of the new skills we had learned. I'm grateful I had the opportunity to attend.
The AP Workshop brought to mind several questions, and one of them had to do with the structure of our business. Did I really want to continue to shoot both weddings and families?
I had already limited and eliminated the senior and baby/newborn categories of my business before. But, I was challenged to further hone in on what I wanted my business to look like...to decide what my speciality would be. It would strengthen my business, and strengthen my focus.
This process was HARD. Partly, because there were SO many things I loved (and still love!) about each side of the industry. Each side pulled me their way, and I thought about it from that September until the beginning of this year. What did I really want to do?
But the question I really needed to ask myself was this: What I do I want my life to look like?
Have YOU asked yourself that question?
If you're like me, feeling pulled between to photography markets is not a good feeling. So, its easier to just say that you'll do it all. ALL of the sessions, ALL of the inquiries. And, you'll probably continue to do that until, at some point, you come to the conclusion that you can't do it all (and do it well).
Are you strengthening your focus in your business?
The industry is much more open now, and there is a LOT of advice out there when it comes to what lens to buy, what course to invest in, and how you can achieve a particular editing style.
But, maybe one of the most important questions that needs answered is a much more quiet (and honestly hard) question.
In the swirl of information you accumulate as you grow your business, the question might not be, "What do I like to shoot more?"...
But might be..."What do I want my life to look like?"
We all know that the photography business industry has both it's busy and slow seasons. Spring through Fall = Busy. So, while we are on the cusp of spring, I wanted to reach out to you. Before the busy season gets in full swing, take a little time to think about it.
What do you want your life to look like? We both know each and every speciality within the photography industry has its pros and cons.
Do you want to shoot weddings? That includes long Saturdays, vendors, long days away from your family, an intense number of photos to cull and edit (even when you have great software and consistent business practices/workflow).
Do you want to shoot families? That includes an increased number of sessions (though shorter), and younger subjects to shoot. It includes figuring out creative ways to serve your clients (and friends!) while entertaining their children.
In my case, it meant choosing to photography only couples and families (instead of also photographing weddings). And the clarity I experienced after making that difficult choice caused new inspiration to foster within my business.
And you know what? Only YOU can really look to the next couple of years and take the deeper look at your business...to ask the hard question of how you are spending your time, your energy, and your focus. What is God calling you to do? What do you feel He may have for you and your family in this next season?
I've always held onto a simple concept I heard once (I can't trace it's exact origin)...
When you say "yes" to one thing, you are saying "no" to something else.
The struggle is hard, but worth it.
What you are you saying "yes" to my friend? I'd love to hear from you! Comment below with how you've embraced this struggle, or are processing through this question.