I mentioned in my last blog article that I'd love to share some of the realizations I've had since moving back in the direction of building my photography business in Flagstaff. I've finally got a moment to sit down and share so let's get into this!
Rebuilding might require some Sacrifice
Rebuilding my photography business has been my goal for about six months. But it wasn't until last month that I finally made some progress. So what changed? The first thing I was doing wrong was posting photos on my social media expecting them to be enough to attract new, paying customers. I even hosted a giveaway the entire month of November that hardly saw any traction. This was frustrating and discouraging to say the least. My mindset and expectations were all over the place. The idea of coming back into photography and creative flow was exciting and nerve wrecking, but when nobody seemed interested it put me
But something had to happen. I could tell if I didn't shoot soon and act on my eagerness to shoot I might move away from photography forever. So I came up with a Sixty Dollar Photoshoot promotion and shared it to a local Flagstaff Facebook Community page. This required taking my pride and stuffing it in a sack. Like I said in my last post, I took a good look at what made me feel good, and at the end of the day what makes me feel really good is having the opportunity to create. I enjoyed it most back in the day before I ever charged a dollar, when my focus was on refining my skill and understanding the medium. So, while I believe my work is worth much more than $60 and am told so over and over again by loved ones, what was more important was getting back into it. Putting the camera in my hands, connecting with new people and making magic happen.
Feel the Nerves and Do it Anyway
Something I knew I'd be facing again coming back into photography was the nerves and anxiety I experience leading up to a photoshoot. Knowing it will be there still doesn't really give me much room to prepare, but it means having a conversation with myself at the time of booking that looks like, "If you book this, you're showing up. Don't waste their time. Don't waste yours." I have, however, come up with a little trick that eases some of my nerves. I have a small questionnaire I send my clients before booking now that gives me a chance to get to know them. I ask their name, interests, what pictures are "must haves", if they plan on an outfit change, props, etc. Having that information helps me prepare talking points during the shoot that they feel comfortable sharing about and helps me direct them better, since I make a point to remember names before showing up to the session.
The anxiety and nerves haven't disappeared but I do feel more determined and prepared with these little prep steps. Sessions always seem to fly by and by the time I'm headed back home my heart always feels so happy to have had the opportunity to create.
People are Good
What I took away immediately from my first shoot back was that people are so good and kind. People who hire you are just like you. They want what you would want from a family photoshoot, couples photoshoot, etc. They have their insecurities and family quirks. They want to feel good in pictures, they want direction. They put trust in you to be kind and come from a place of love working with them, their family and the friends they refer to you. People are good.
The People are Good realization also applies to the photography community - not just in Flagstaff but all the surrounding areas. I always found it difficult to find community among photographers because it feels like such a solitary gig. However, in my time away from photography I realized how much further you can go with a supportive and encouraging community. So coming back into this arena, I've reached out with other creatives in the area (and out!) who are already well developed and asking for their guidance and support. When I was in this world before, everything felt like competition and comparison and I snooted around like I knew all there was to know about photography. In this new wave of my creativity, I want to be open to learning and growing with the people equally as passionate and talented in photography.
Work in an Inspiring Environment
I think part of why I've been feeling a pull back to my camera is because I'm back living in an area that inspires me. When I was living in California, in the town I grew up in, I felt pretty deprived of inspiration. It was a "same old same old" feeling, shooting in the same locations over and over again and not feeling very captivated by them. Part of what brought me to Flagstaff in the first place for college was the complete change of scenery. Oceans and palm trees never inspired me, peaks and pines did. So moving back to this infinitely beautiful location with so much room to explore and play had me itching to shoot.
I've got a month full of photoshoots, new connections and opportunities and I can't wait to share my experiences with you as I grow into the next level of my photography business.