The ups and downs of running a photography studio and the mistake I made

Have you ever been on a roller coaster? I used to be a thrill seeker but I am not so much any more. As time goes on I prefer something else a little more steady. Running a photography studio has been a bit of a roller coaster, it has its ups and its downs and over the years I have come to see a pattern. There are busy seasons and there are seasons where it’s silent, you know like in January when everyone is catching up on their bills. I use that time to regroup, refocus, set goals, do my year end tax prep, try new things, and learn from past mistakes.

This year I set myself up for a mistake tho I didn’t really know it at the time. I started a project to learn some new techniques and create fine art prints to sell and I put out a model call for women to participate, I got an overwhelming response and I started on the project. I quickly learned that I struggle to just create what I want and instead let the subject lead the direction of the image. No fault of theirs, this is my issue, I want them to fall in love with the portraits they are in, and then want to buy them. But the point of the project was to create images that anyone could relate to the subject, that were pieces of art people would want to hang on their walls regardless of who was in them, the subject should be anonymous. But I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t create images where the subject was anonymous, don’t get me wrong, the images we created are gorgeous and I love them but they aren’t fine art pieces everyone would buy.

That’s okay tho I can learn from this. But what has happened that I didn’t anticipate is I now have a list of people who want to be part of my projects and that list keeps growing, I am still getting inquires from people who love my work and want to be a part of what ever my next project is. That is very exciting but it hurts my business. I cannot keep doing projects and not have paying clients. Why would anyone pay for their own session if they can wait and get it for free. This was the mistake I didn’t see coming. I learned a few things here and that is I need to be very clear with myself before I do a project so I know exactly what I want to create and what the outcome is going to be. I cannot let myself be lead by the stories I learn from my subjects. I love the stories I want to create a portrait for everyone and tell their story but if you want your story told I need to be paid for it. That is how I stay in business and this business isn’t cheap to run and soon I will find myself in a heap of dept and no clients to speak of. My mistake.

But this isn’t a pity party post, I think I have a solution that will work out for us all so bare with me I’ll get to it in just a minute.

A couple years ago I realized I needed a secondary stream of income that would be steady and help get me through the highs and lows of the photography business. I was introduced to direct sales and network marketing business model and I knew it could work for me. I now have two, one in health and wellness and most recently one in the beauty industry a company that’s mission is to change the beauty industry and be the leading company in safer, cleaner, healthier highly effective products. And specifically it was their make – up line that attracted me to them. I wanted to offer a high end product here at the studio, that I use on my portrait clients and make it available if they too are looking for safe and effective body products.

I am working hard to get this secondary business off and running so I can keep doing what I love to do most and that is create beautiful artistic portraits. So if you are waiting for my next project and want to be a model here is how you can get in on it. You scratch my back I’ll scratch yours: I need people to host a social either online or in person where I can present my Beautycounter business, in return for hosting a social you will get a make-over and mini beauty portrait session that includes 3 social media images to share online (if you are looking for business head shots, personal branding, or new profile images this is a steal of a deal). I get to introduce you and your circle of friends to a wonderful new company everyone should be aware of and you get to glam up and get your picture taken. WIN WIN. As well everyone who hosts in April and May will be entered in a draw for a full fine art portrait session including a 16×20 wall print (session value of $500). Must be willing to come to the studio for these sessions.

Hosting a social is super easy and takes little effort on your part. If you are interested in this partnership you can read more about the details of it all here: Host a Social

I hope this works for everyone.

Cheers, Sherry

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    My studio is located in Blackfalds, Alberta.

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