- Investing in gear I wasn’t sure of
We all start somewhere, and it can be frustrating and confusing buying gear while not knowing if it is what you need. I went to a local camera shop to buy my first camera, I knew this was what I wanted to do as my career – and I was willing to spend the money. Unfortunately, I bought a semi-professional camera with a terrible lens. If I could go back and tell myself what to buy, It would be a used Nikon d750 and a used 50mm 1.4 lens. It would’ve been in my budget at the time which was 2,000. Now I understand not everyone wants to “go big or go home” but I ended up selling the semi-professional camera (Nikon d7100) two months later and buying my first d750, and never touching my d7100 again. The camera lost value the second I purchased it, although it was hardly used.
If you’re wondering why I regret not buying the 750 right away is because it is a full frame camera & I love the low light capabilities. I encourage everyone to try out lenses they may like, or camera bodies. Ask your favorite photographer what they use and do some research to see if it’s the fit for you!
- Charging too Little
Now, this is obvious, everyone will tell you this one. But I put way too much emotion in my business causing me to turn my so-called “business” into just an expensive hobby. I wasn’t profiting and continued to sell myself short for my art. Really dig deep, and determine your worth after figuring out your cost of doing business. I had no idea how off my numbers were that it’s embarrassing to look back on. Easy to forget that business owners have to put away 30% of EVERY session for taxes. $30 for every $100 I make really adds up. To me the right clients will understand the value in portraits, so charge your worth! Your capturing memories that will seriously last a lifetime. It so important to profit from your business, you deserve food on the table too.
- Attempting to be a Jack of all Trades
I learned this quick. I thought because I was a photographer it meant that I had to photograph anything and everyone. Not true. I would photograph families, real-estate, birthday parties, etc. all because I thought it would benefit me. After my third or fourth family session, I was done. I decided it wasn’t for me and families weren’t where my heart was. The only thing I truly enjoyed photographing was seniors & weddings. I decided that’s what I would put all my energy towards from here on out and it has made me love my job with my whole heart. Picking 1 or 2 things will overall make you happier and a stronger photographer.
These are just what I wish I could change about myself and my business starting off, and may not apply to everyone. I grow and learn from things just as any other person would – and I’m happy to share my mistakes just as much as I share my successes.
Ultimately I hope you take something away from this as a beginner– or maybe you regret the same things I do! I’d love to hear all about your biggest business beginner mistake below!