Wow 4 years has gone by so fast. I remember getting the key like it was yesterday. I'm writing this post for you, TO the dreamers..
So What's it like being your own boss?
I must say I've learned a lot in the past few years and if your interested in photography or starting out as a photographer you might want to tune in.
I started this company in 2011 when my daughter (my second born) was a newborn. I had been snapping photos of my eldest for a little while with a DSLR at home because I couldn't stand the grain off a mobile phone! and I quickly discovered how much I enjoyed photographing children.
I had been photographing things and people my whole life.
I spent most of my teens with a camera in my hand and didn't even realise I had a passion for it.
I took film classes at A level and enrolled in University for photography and videography and still even then I didn't know it was the path I was meant to follow.
To me it was something I just thoroughly enjoyed.
It wasn't until a little person became my subject that it hit me I was supposed to play this part.
I was shy.. I was early 20s. I couldn't do this, surely?!
I decided to go for it! with much encouragement from family and friends and even though I was a stay at home mother at the time and had very little money to invest in a business. I started off travelling to peoples homes, some of you might remember?
I packed my car to the max with kit! stands and lights my Dad bought for me and sheets! yes, sheets..the first couple of sessions I did for free to build up a portfolio.
I cringe at my first few years in this industry but it was all a learning curve.
You see..reading all about it and then actually putting all that in to practice was somewhat different. It's not as easy as clicking buttons..I had to start somewhere.
A few months passed and I was able to afford a few more things, then a little more and a little more.
I remember my first big sale..My husband and I were sat in the car holding £200 in our hands smiling and jumping around like fools, the car was rocking side to side like that scene from Only fools and horses -when they became millionaires.
We hadn't become MILLIONAIRES but we were proud. I was so proud that I could achieve something like that by doing something I loved.
I went on from visiting people in their homes which became quite tricky, lugging all the kit around and trying to set up in tiny rooms.
I decided to rent a space and then I used an old building in town for a week and got a good feel for it.
My children were still little, by this point my eldest was 3 and my youngest was under 1. I wasn't sure If I could commit to a full time position yet.
A few years passed by and I had been using a space at home which I quickly outgrew, we had another child (our third) who was coming up to the age of 2 and I felt it was time to look for a studio space.
So in 2015 I found it! and it has been quite the adventure.
I have seen many businesses open and close it's doors in this time. It's definitely tough to run a business and survive! It's even harder running it solo with three kids.
Your not only the lead photographer, the CEO, your the admin assistant, the editor, the receptionist (Phone line, fb and email), the delivery person, the tea maker, the cleaner (of newborn pee and cake mess) the planner..the list goes on. It's a lot of responsibility for one person.
One person who at the end of her sessions goes to the school to collect her kids, makes dinner, tidies up and tucks them in bed until the day starts all over again tomorrow.
You see, being the 'boss babe' means you are in charge but it doesn't mean it's all plain sailing.
You discover that the first £1000 you make goes out on bills..ouch that hurts.
This industry is also very competitive and new trends come and go in which you try to keep up with which means you need to invest in new things all the time.
Photography props aren't cheap. If you have a hobby as photography it's going to cost you £1000s! trust me.
What the clients don't realise is the sets they sit on potentially cost around £70-300 depending on what props have been added. The backdrops alone are worth a lot but then you obviously don't want to be the mean photographer that charges an arm and a leg for a session; but you can't charge only £25 either!
So for all you entrepreneurs I say this, find your worth and stick to it. Bite the bullet because if your taking photos with a £3k camera and charging less than £50...ehh. you get it, right?
I love giving back to clients though too, so now and again a sale will pop up and that's me being generous, so snatch it while you can ;) I've given and given in this job and I don't regret that because with that has come such reward and gratitude but I've also remembered self worth. Don't work yourself silly for nothing, you owe yourself more.
I couldn't have gotten where I am right now without the wonderful people who have hopped on board with me!
Nicola- who spent hours hand making props, partner, great lead and natural shooter!
Teri-amazing girl who volunteered with us and who's gone on to a great job in working with young children.
Marie- who's skills with newborns were phenomenal- I know most of you will treasure her images for years to come.
Now there's three of us here. Myself, Hannah Merrett, our newborn specialist- award winning shots! amazing talent with such precision.
Amy- the lovely face who greets you and makes the tea and answers all your phone calls.
I couldn't have got this far without all these ladies!
I now have a fourth child and my return to work after my maternity ended last year was harder than I imagined. However I have received such positivity from clients. Working mothers- I have such admiration for you! I have such dedication in this job that even though I've had a tiny little one by my side throughout my career It's driven me to do more, to want more.
So with that I want to say a huge thank you! to everyone. Brutally honest when I've written this and I hope those who've read it will see the value of following your dreams, the hardships, the sacrifices but the fullfillment of knowing you went out and did it!
If I can, you can..
To my clients. A MASSIVE THANK YOU for the last 8 years. For all the support, for every like and share on fb, for every booking. You guys are the best.!