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It starts with coffee

Updated: Jan 31, 2023

Coffee makes everything in life a little easier, comforting and energizing! Coffee has certainly saved me when burning the candle at both ends this past year. My photography business is progressing as my skills as a photographer and business woman grow. Of course every step of the way has been a learning opportunity for me to improve upon myself and my business. In this post I want to catch you up on what I have been doing in 2022.

It's only September at the point in which I am writing this post. There is still much to do to finish the year out strong, but I felt this was a good time to catch up with everyone. So let's start with my rebrand. In January I changed my logo, my website was given a complete over haul (check it out if you haven't already and my business focus from portraits (which I still offer) to canine portraits. The number one question I get is why dogs? My response is, why not dogs? Dogs are gorgeous creatures, they photograph extremely well and most people who have dogs consider them part of their family. So it seems obvious that people would want to represent their canine family members in their homes. I admit its quite a shift from people to pets. So I knew I'd need some formal education. Which brings me to my next project...

I have taken photography courses in the past, but its been a while. I won't give a year, but let's just say the last time I took a photography course, we were using film and dark rooms. I signed up for an advance canine outdoor photography course. It was such an amazing experience. I learned so much and I feel my photography skills and editing skills have really grown. Relearning color theory, composition, lighting, posing, image analysis, editing and workflows. Has given me a great refresh of foundations that I can grow upon. What I want to produce is not just portraits, but portraits that border on fine art. Here is an example of my before and after this course:

Once I completed the course, I took the next step and began the application for certification through the photography association I am a member of, That Photography Spot. They are based out of the UK and have a strong foundation for canine and equine photography. They offer 3 different levels of certification, bronze, silver, gold. I applied for the bronze certification. What does a certification involve? Well, it requires a photographers profile, sort of like a resume but more personal, more detailed. I also had to submit a panel of my work. I sent out a request to my followers on facebook for models and was over joyed at the response of people, friends, family and neighbors willing to assist me to meet my goal. I spent most of the spring holding sessions with a variety of dogs. It was a fantastic experience, I also met some wonderful new people. I then put together my panel for submission. You may be wondering what does a certification do for me? As a photographer it shows that I have the technical know how to produce quality work for my clients. It is a foundational certification and can be built upon. I submitted my panel back in May and I'm happy to report that I passed! A very nerve wracking experience indeed, but also a great learning experience. The association provided me feedback along with my certification, which was so helpful. They are a fantastic organization and I'm very pleased with my decision to join. So now if you look on my website you will see my certification icon BTOG proudly displayed. 😊

Let's talk about gear. During my training and certification I learned that my current kit (camera) wasn't the best camera for the type of photography I am pursuing. I love my camera, don't get me wrong. But it was lacking in certain areas. So I made the decision to switch my camera for a different one. I have switched from a Nikon D850 DSLR to a Sony A7RIII Mirrorless. This may not sound like a big deal to some, but to a photographer or at least to me, its quite a shift! I would make the comparison of a blackberry to an iphone. The mirrorless cameras are replacing the DSLR cameras and provide a lighter, more technological equipped camera. It provides more data in real time and seems to be a bit faster than my DSLR. I'm very happy with my decision thus far.

Finally, business. I will say the business side for me is the least exciting, but admittedly the most crucial. I continue to work on marketing to get my business out there for people to see me. (I always appreciate when people share my work or share my website or facebook page with others 😉). Social media is a very tough part of business, not only do you have to deal with the algorithms and understanding how they work (which I still struggle with) but you have to keep adapting to the changes Instagram and Facebook keep forcing upon us as artists. Instagram is no longer a photography-based application. It's all about the reels. I continue to work on improving my posts so they are more relevant and thus hopefully more visible to others. There is nothing more frustrating than having a post with many likes and comments and then the next day post and it reaches no one, never mind hoping they like or share it.

I've also learned that online ordering is not a great way to do business. So this year I have been working on transitioning to an in-person sales model and building up samples for my clients to see and hold when they are making decisions about what products to order.

Bottom line, just because I'm good at what I do, doesn't mean I'm going to magically be successful financially. It takes a lot of work and perseverance to build a business. A lot of mistakes and redos to grow and be successful. So as I continue down this path, I will continue to learn and grow and hopefully in turn, my business will also grow. I'm sure I will have more to share on the business front in future posts.

What will the rest of the year look like for me? As we head into the fall and winter months I will be working towards another certification level, some personal projects, continuing to expand my education and work on outreach to local businesses to partner with and grow my exposure.

A big THANK YOU if you are reading this post as it likely means you are supporting me and my work and that just means the world to me! I couldn't do it without you. ❤️

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