Can you believe it's almost may?


Crazy how time flies!


As I'm gearing up for this wedding season, I wanted to dive into how I've invested into myself and my business over the winter months. Investing in both yourself and your business is incredibly important because it helps us to grow. Investing isn't just buying a top of the line camera and equipment- everything in this post is used on the back end of my business. I won't lie- it can be daunting to drop a lot of money at once. At this point, I've been in business since February (so 3 months) and I've already seen a turnaround. I've made that money back in bookings. Since investing in myself and tools for my business, I've noticed more people also investing in me by booking and supporting my business. So! That being said, below are a few things I've done to invest in myself and my business:

Website


It took me awhile to actually hop on board with this one. For the longest time, photography has always been just a "word of mouth" hobby for me, but when I got laid off from work and started struggling to find another job I knew I couldn't just sit around all day doing nothing. I had always planned to do the website eventually, but ended up needing it sooner.


I've also found that if you want to be in the wedding industry, you need a website. Not only are potential clients landing there, but other photographers as well. It's common in this industry to start out as a second or third photographer- and a lot of that is done through Facebook groups. But you can't join those groups unless you have an official website with some work on it. So long story short, you can find work through another photographer by having a website.

elopement couple
Customer relationship management system


CRM


This was a game changer for me. As a hobby photographer, I didn't really post online much because I never had model releases or contracts signed. I was also under the table payment wise. Sometimes I was paid in other ways, like a nice dinner giftcard or trading for artwork.


There are a few different CRM systems out there like Honeybook, but I actually manage everything through Pixieset. It's nice to have everything in one place alongside my website. I can send and sign contracts, invoices, & questionnaires. I can also set up a booking site for clients to go and book sessions directly. It's VERY nice. Pixieset already has contract and questionnaire templates available so it was quite easy to tweak as needed and then send on its way. I do pay an additional cost on top of my website, but to me it was worth it. I currently am on one of their base plans, but I plan to upgrade to their next level once I get a few more bookings for 2024. Which is also nice, because as I grow my business I can level up my membership with them for my needs.

boho maternity

Lightroom


Let's talk editing! For the longest time I edited everything via the photo app on my phone and using Instagram filters. Cringey, right?! It's kinda embarrassing to even mention that because I was honestly just too cheap to get Lightroom. And to be honest my photos were just alright. I wasn't super proud of them but I also couldn't justify spending the money on Adobe when I was just doing it for fun.


I took the above photo before I used any type of editing software. Can you imagine handing this to a client? You don't have to imagine- because I did. I'm totally blushing right now just remembering how cool I thought it was I didn't need to edit. Lightroom changed my business for the better.

and presets


This is what I should have delivered to the client. It's warmer, brighter, and mama is just glowing in this photo. I recently went back and edited a bunch of my older photos in Lightroom just to help build my skills. If this comparison of no editing vs editing doesn't make you run to Adobe right now, then let me tell you about the magic of presets.


Presets are pre-saved editing tool you can save and apply to your photos. I like to compare it to a filter. It saves me so much time while editing to use them! Especially when I have a wedding gallery to deliver within 30 days. When I first started editing, I bought a pack of clearance presets for $5, hated them, and tweaked them so much until they became my own. They turned out totally different than the ones I purchased. I now sell those on Etsy- the above preset is included in that collection! My biggest piece of advice- buy presets from a photographer and not just some clearance website. Presets from a professional are much better.

last but never least


mentorships

Making connections and friends in this industry is hard. There are many photographers out there who are cutthroat and see everyone else as competition. I am not one of them- I love to lift others up and support others. I've been very lucky to make connections with so many wonderful photographers that are supportive of each other.



Mentorships are like a double investment. Not only are you investing in yourself, but you're investing in a friend's business. You're investing in them and their knowledge. Sometimes a mentorship is also investing in a course they offer. I dove into the education I was taking in in a previous blog post, but look at courses that photographers sell. There's so many and usually those courses come with a VIP Facebook Group for you to connect with others!

I've been so lucky to mentor with Hannah McLane. Let's be honest for a second, I wouldn't even be in this wedding industry without her. She convinced me to finally switch from families over to weddings.


I had an hour long phone call with her and sporadically email her random questions and every single time she comes to me with enthusiasm and support. I leave feeling like "I can do this!". I started that mentor call not even knowing where to begin. I was freshly laid off, but knew I needed to get up and do this full time. A mentorship is well worth the investment.


I'll leave you with this


It took a huge leap of faith for me to drop money on this right after I was laid off from work. I wasn't confident in the turnaround and was nervous it would be a waste when I needed to pay rent. My business grew after I invested into it and I'm happy to report it's worked out. As I see my business grow, I'll continue to invest in it. I hope this gives a push to those wanting to go full time with photography. It wasn't that long ago I was in the same place, my hand was just forced into it sooner than planned. In all, I invested $250 into my business into the beginning. That covered the website and Adobe. Once I got some bookings, I integrated in CRM to help better manage everything.


At this point in my business, I'm not offering mentorships but I gladly offer friendship and an ear to listen to you. Feel free to reach out if you have any questions about getting started in photography or need a resource!

Yes, I still listen to Nsync

Happy Almost May