You've heard everyone say it... invest in your business! I went through many months of my business with no sessions booked, paying for software I wasn't using, and feeling extremely hopeless in the process. I bought many guides online that taught me the bare minimum because human interaction and hands-on experience top the list and is how over half of the human population learn new skills.
There are so many ways to invest in your business, but I'm sharing what I did and how these small things helped me become the photographer I am today! Here are FIVE things you should splurge on when building your business: a mentor, styled shoots/content days, second shoot, your brand, and professional photos.
Get a mentor.
When I first started diving into the business, I knew I needed someone to go to if I needed help. I reached out to one of my favorite photographers and asked her if she'd mentor me. I picked Kyndal with Kyndal Elise Photography for a few reasons.
1- I admired her values within her business: work-life balance, client experience, and how she treats others. I was a 'nobody,' but she didn't hesitate to support me and my future endeavors.
2- Her style was pretty similar to what I wanted mine to be.
3- She's a full-time photographer. Duh.
To this day, I know Kyndal is in my corner and continues to support me in my business while rocking it on her own. Here's a picture of Kyndal and me during the mentor session. :)
Attend styled shoots.
This was probably one of the scariest things I did. I walked into my first styled shoot, held by Kyndal, and was ready to throw up. Ironic... I know. I didn't feel qualified to be there, had never shot a traditional wedding nor seen a wedding dress that close before (joking... kind of). I was so excited to be there but was nervous that everyone else would judge me because I didn't really know what I was doing. I literally just learned how to shoot in manual???
I was greeted by friendly faces, a bunch of women MY age. I was ecstatic that there were people MY AGE. Ever since that day, I have kept those connections and remember how those ladies made me feel. I got content to share, a new community, and a new sense of confidence.
The moral of the story is that it can be scary, but what if I didn't? I shared wedding content, and engaged couples started messaging me. If you don't share the content you want to shoot, you'll never get any inquiries for it.
Here are some of my favorite styled shoot accounts on Insta:
The Heartland Muse - Midwest based
The US Club - Midwest + Utah based
Dream Styled Shoots - Oregon based
The Creating Co - nationwide
Wanderlust Shootouts - West Virginia based
LOCAL PHOTOGRAPHERS - reach out to some of your favorite photographers! They have connections you need to find something local or are even planning their own!
Before I really dove into weddings, I wanted experience shooting them! I got a second shooting gig with a local Des Moines team, Peridot & Lace. I think you all know where this is going if you follow along with my journey! P&L has given me so much more than I could ever ask for. Aryn & Shawna ROCK. They have given me more confidence, opportunities, and put their trust in me. Since starting with them in April, I've upgraded to an associate on their team. I spend 2 ish weekends a month associate shooting and have become seasoned in the wedding industry. Sprinkle in some first looks, ceremonies, and sunset couples photos; you can fill your resume with so much.
I could ramble and rave all day about how important second shooting is, but you get the point!
I recently got a rebrand done in April/May! Even though I'm decently skilled in photoshop and graphic design, I knew I couldn't tackle this project on my own! I know too much about myself to portray it all in a few icons. I outsourced this project to Creatives by Courtney She absolutely CRUSHED IT. When you outsource work that takes quite a bit of time, you can devote that time elsewhere! Time is money, especially when you are giving a service! My website is full of elements, but I'll share some of my favorites she added!
Get professional photos.
I know you're a photographer OR capable of taking your own photos... outsource it. It'll be much easier and a better investment if you let someone else take them, not to mention the stress. If you've ever set your camera up on a tripod, you know exactly what I'm talking about! Tripod photos are great for many things, but the face of your brand deserves so much more! I credit the people who can create great photos on a tripod. I am not one of them.
If you want to edit them yourself, ask the photographer BEFORE you book if you can edit them yourself to match your brand. Asking a photographer to edit based on your brand is difficult because they specialize in their own style. That's what makes us all individual and special. :) You could also do a headshot swap with a friend if they need some too!
Here are my recent brand photos done by Peridot & Lace!