July 30, 2020

What I Learned in my Second Year of Business | Springfield, VA Family and Senior Photographer

Running your own business is a lesson in growth: growing as a person, growing in your photography journey, growing in your client relations, and learning to manage your time as you run a business while continuing with all the other aspects of life. As my second year of being a Northern Virginia Family and Senior Photographer comes to a close, I like to reflect back on what I learned. I wrote the same type of blog last year on my first year anniversary with different, but still relevant lessons.

If you’re a new photographer reading this, then let me tell you that the first year is just plain tough and the second year is by far easier. Everything is new in your first year and it seems most of your time is filled with battling the learning curve. In my second year I had time to be introspective and it was fantastic.

1. I know what being “too busy” looks like. In my first year I just had to go with what landed on my plate. After that, I realized what was too much and then how to correct that for upcoming seasons. There is no true way to learn your limits until you are pushed to do it. 

2. I learned so many things about editing. In my first year I worked so hard on finding locations, building rapport with clients, delivering a smooth session, and photographing in sometimes not-so-perfect light. I wish I had taken time to learn more about editing then, but I didn’t know then what I know now: that taking the image is only half of the end result. How you expose an image is the other side of the coin of editing. There is so much that goes into editing and it has really helped me get a consistent style.

3. I know how to stand my ground about Golden Hour. I can push a session within 2 hours of Golden Hour, but rarely in the past year have I done anything more than that. It’s just not good light and doesn’t produce the style on my website. Not to mention how different editing is for a 1:00pm session versus a sunset session. I know how to be polite with my clients and explain my reasoning in a professional way. 

4. I slowed down. Sure, quarantine helped this out a bit, but it made me realize how much time I was spending on my sessions. I value my time more and adjusted my business accordingly. The value of your time is a key lesson for any business owner to learn.

5. I know my ideal client better and can more easily say no to jobs I know are not for me. At the start of running your business there is this desperation for jobs, any job will do! You don’t feel confident, but you basically never feel confident your first year so you chalk it up to that and complete the session. Then you come home unhappy and wondering why you did that. In the past year I have learned to weed out jobs that are not the right fit for me and that feels so good! 

6. I’ve grown in my self portraits. These are tough, but I find them so important. It fuels my creativity and it’s good to remember what it feels like to be on the client-side of the camera every now and then.

I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished in the past 2 years and can’t wait to see what Year Three brings!