Inside a Wedding Photographer's Brain (as told through KUWTK Gifs): Owning a Photography Business

This whole "I own a wedding photography business" thing ain't for suckers.

1. Starting Out: Ask any wedding photographer, or photographer for that matter, to see their photos from when they first started and they likely they have them hidden deep in a vault. We all start somewhere! Those first shoots we do on our friends, or anyone who will let us use them as test models, are some of our buried treasure items! 

2. getting a license: When we finally take that step to become legal, you feel like a badass. A business license immediately induces bad-assery attitude. You have just become a CEO. Maybe a CEO in the red, but a CEO nonetheless. 

3. going full time: Gaining a business license and shooting for paid clients doesn't equate to a full time professional. Many of us still work traditional 9-5's while building our business on the side. It takes awhile to get to the point where we can finally go full time. When this step happens, it is the most terrifying and rewarding moment ever. 

4. joining all the FB groups: It quickly comes to light that advice and tips are needed to stay afloat. You learn that whatever you're going through, someone else has already experienced it. Online networks help us tremendously and often time we live in there reading other's peoples nightmares and drama that we pray we never have to live through ourselves. 

5. getting a following on IG: building a business on social takes a lot of time and webinars that tell you all the things. When we finally hit, let's say, 1K, we feel insta-famous. For me, 90% of my business comes from IG. When we have a following, it's kind of like a virtual badge of achievement. *I fully recognize this is said and that we shouldn't judge our achievement on number of followers*

6. networking: networking is such a hit or miss thing. To be honest, it really depends on my mood. There are days where I am PUMPED to go drink with other wedding professionals. I get drinks, food and amazing connections! But then I have nights where I want to be the most anti-social person ever and networking just doesn't sound exciting. Either way, it's a crucial part to building a successful business in this industry. It truly is all about who you know! 

7. styled shoots: I love styled shoots and I love looking at them as opportunity to win. It's never a competition (unless it's the Lakeshore in Love Contest) but I love using styled shoots as an opportunity to really show off. After all, it is a perfectly concocted shoot that I usually have a ton of say in. They help build portfolios, practice posing and build connections with other vendors. 

8. booking clients: without this step, you're really not a business. Clients are the reason we are able to do what we love and without them, we're simply just hobbyists.  I'm lucky enough to have booked the most amazing clients throughout my years of photographing and have LOVED each and every person that has been in front of my camera. 

9. getting a review: reviews to photographers are as exciting as a diamond ring is to our bride. Not only do reviews help us acquire future clients, but it validates that all of our hard work is paying off. We want to make sure we do everything right and the one way know that is through client reviews. I have cried reading some reviews come in. They really do mean that much. 

10. major business milestone: there are tons of milestones that we photographers can achieve. Booking x amount of clients, booking your most expensive client to date, receiving that one award. There are so many goals we set for ourselves in our business and when we hit one of those, it's a celebration. 

11. anxiety and doubt: it's bound to happen. Even to those of us who don't even have generalized anxiety, the pressures in this job are no joke. Some people handle it better than others, but I wouldn't for a second believe a photographer if they tell you they have never ONCE had an anxiety related to their work. 

12. late nights: we spend a lot of our nights editing, emailing and cramming for business. I recently attended a vendor lunch of photographers. One girl had just gone to sleep at 7:30am after editing all night. We tend to get into these zones of editing and time passes and the next time we look at the clock, it's 5 hours later. 

13. taxes: Oh taxes. Everyone dreads doing their taxes, but no one quite as badly as a small business owner in America. Can I get an Amen? Depending on how your business is set up, it can be a pretty painful experience. Luckily for me, I have a stellar accountant on my side! 

14. family parties: I don't know what it is, but since I'm a photographer, my family automatically assumes that I will be bringing my camera to every event and photographing the day. I mean. Do you ask your chef cousin to cook every meal for every birthday party your family hosts? It's my day off people! 

15. comparison: Comparison is the thief of joy. It truly is. It's hard in this industry to not fall into the trap of comparing your work to others. But listen; I try really hard to remind myself that the only person I need to compare myself with is my former self. Repeat. 

We do a lot my friends. Owning a business is a lot of work, but it's worth it. 


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