I’m a twenty-something wedding photographer in Texas who photographs couples who are ready to celebrate their marriage. Building my business has been one hell of a ride, so grab a cup of coffee (or some wine - no judgement here) and join me for my life behind the lens.
I still can’t come to grips with the fact that my business turned TWO this month! It has been an adventure to say the least, but I’m excited to see what the future holds for Dawn Elizabeth Studios. One thing that hasn’t changed over the last two years is how much I’m learning. Every single day has been an opportunity to learn something new. I’m excited to share a few big things I’ve learned in the past two years!
When I started on this journey, I knew I wouldn’t be able to do this alone. I focused my energy on being a “sponge”, where I would ask for advice from other photographers and absorb as much as I could. I was amazed at how many photographers were willing to share tips and guidance on what helps them, shooting techniques, and even how they started their business. The key is to have the courage to ask. I will note though, you are much more likely to get a response when you show that you’ve done your own research as well. There is a big difference between asking “What settings do you use in receptions?” vs “When I’m in a reception, I’m not able to get my images in focus. Do you have any advice on how I can fix this?”
In the very early days of my journey, I met Ragan and Sarah from Ragan Patterson Studios. These two have been incredible mentors and kicked this dream into high gear for me. They taught me things from client management, shooting styles, photo critiques, and even working with artificial light. They even gave me my first second shooting gigs. I think back to where I was when I first met them. At that time I never imagined that I would be shooting my own weddings. Their mentorship has been so invaluable to me in the early stages of my business, and I couldn’t recommend anything more than to find a mentor that will help you along the way and cheer you on as you grow!
This kind of mentorship isn’t limited to one on one interactions though. I have always been a huge admirer of Katelyn James, and through her newsletters I learned about The Rising Tide Society. The Rising Tide Society is a community where creatives come together to share their experiences in the industry. The group focuses on the idea of “Community over Competition”. Through this group’s online interaction and monthly Tuesdays Together meetings, I have met so many incredible creatives right here in south Texas! I really don’t know what I would do without these ladies (and gents!). They have made this experience so fantastic and it is so comforting to know that I have a huge community to lean on.
Okay, this one is a bit tough for me to write because I’m a total gear junkie, but I think it’s really important for photographers and clients to understand. Good gear does not instantly make good photos. This is also true visa versa. Just because a photographer has beautiful photos, does not mean it’s because of the gear they use. Regardless of where you are on your gear journey, you can learn with what you have. Sure, you might have gotten your camera on Groupon (which is where I got my first camera), but you can still learn and improve your techniques with it! Learn about off camera flash. Practice shooting the same things using different composition and angles. Experiment with different shooting styles and tricks. No L series equipment needed!
This one took me a really long time to fully appreciate, but in the last year I realized that I was doing things a certain way because thats how other photographers did it. I used a certain OCF set up at each wedding, I built my wedding packages a certain way, and I even sold certain products just because I thought I was supposed to. I wasn’t getting the results that I wanted, and it wasn’t until I started focusing on myself, my style, and my clientele, things started to change. Ask yourself, “Why am I making this change?” before implementing something new. If the answer is, “well it works well for —“, then it might not be the best move. Yes, it seems obvious, but I’m amazed to see so many photographers do this exact thing then wonder why things didn’t improve!
What other advice would you add to this list? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!
So let's take our new relationship offline and meet face-to-face for hugs and maybe a Margarita!
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