Happy Wednesday everyone! We’re excited about today’s blog, because we’ve decided to share something publicly that’s been going on in the background of our lives for quite some time now, and we’re ready to share it with the world in a more public way and to continue to grow this part of our business!
But first…a little background info…
When we first started our photography business, we remember feeling completely out of place and overwhelmed by the photography industry as a whole – and because we didn’t know any other professional photographers when we were starting out, we weren’t really sure where to turn for help when we needed it…in fact, we thought that all of the more established photographers in our area would only see us as competition…so we were scared to even approach them, let alone ask for them to mentor us. As a result, we struggled through a lot of tough lessons in the beginning, and we had very little support or help. Thankfully, our business grew faster than we ever could have dreamed in those first couple of years, and we eventually discovered that the photography community is actually a really inviting and supportive place to be! As we gained confidence in our business and our photography, we also gained the confidence to make connections with other photographers, and making those connections literally catapulted our business forward in many ways. We started swapping referrals with friends, we gained a support system to reach out to when we had technical or business questions, and we suddenly found ourselves surrounded by a community of like-minded business owners. It was a turning point for us, and we’re thankful to have chosen a passion and profession in an industry where so many of our so-called competitors are also our closest friends and supporters.
After those first two lonely years in business, Rick and I sat down and made a private commitment. We knew that we didn’t want any other new photographers to feel the way that we felt when we were starting out – so we decided to start giving back whenever possible… It started simply enough….we started reaching out to newer photographers in our area to connect with them and offer help. When we attended networking events, we would seek out the new photographers and invite them to sit with us. We met up with as many photographers as possible for coffee to talk about marketing, we hosted small get togethers focused on learning off camera lighting, we coordinated social events, and (most popularly) we sometimes invited them to join us on actual wedding days to gain hands on experience while assisting us and working alongside us (we still do this today!). A few years ago, we had over 20 interns during one of our wedding seasons! As our business has continued to grow and thrive over the years we’ve continued to intentionally offer support to new photographers behind the scenes, and one of the most rewarding parts of our business has been watching the photographers that we’ve invested our time into succeed in their businesses.
And that takes us to where we are today….
Like many of our friends in this industry, we began this journey because of our love for photography (and for working together full time!), but quickly realized that running a sustainable and profitable business that would support our family was much more about the BUSINESS side of things than it was about actually taking photos. And over the past 3-4 years especially, we’ve seen many of the photographers who started their businesses when we did leave the industry because they were struggling financially in their businesses, or because they working too many hours for not enough pay and getting burned out, or simply because their business was fizzling out – and it always breaks our hearts.
Not only do you need to be a master at your craft as a successful wedding photographer, but you’ve also got to be a marketing expert, a social media guru, a professional photo editor, and website designer, a bookkeeper, a secretary, an album designer, a blogger, a professional networker, etc etc etc…the list goes on and on.
And so, at some point over these past few years, our focus has shifted slightly from not only helping only brand new photographers with the technical side of things, but also to working with more established photographers who are struggling with sustainability and profitability in their businesses. There is nothing more exciting for me that getting a message from a photographer that we’re mentoring letting me know that they just booked another client, or had a wonderful sale, or exceeded their business goals for the month as a result of our help! At some point last year, we maxed out with the number of photographers that we were able to mentor in our limited time, and it’s been frustrating for us to have to turn people down or put them on a waiting list when they reach out to us, because we know that if they’re reaching out, then they REALLY need our help in that moment, but unfortunately here simply aren’t enough hours in the day for us to help everyone and answer all of the emails!
So – a couple of months ago we started a private Facebook group that is all about “Business Coaching For Photographers,” and we’ve been able to open it up to all professional photographers who are interested in getting daily advice, encouragement, and business coaching from us for free. We do live videos weekly, we answer questions and provide advice daily, and we are thrilled with how our little community has grown to over 500 strong and for the relationships that have been created as a result. This group gives us the opportunity to assist WAY more photographers than we could possibly help via one on one coaching, to share things with the group that we wouldn’t typically share publicly, and we absolutely love the dynamics of the group and the honesty and realness that is shared on a daily basis about all things business. So – if you’re a photographer looking for a little extra boost, or for pricing, marketing, or any type of business advice – we hope you’ll join us! Click on the photo below to request to join…and we’ll see you in there! Love, A