I am so proud to be celebrating my business half decade today!
Happy 5th birthday to me!
5 years ago I decided to **become a photographer** with little understanding of what the future would bring and what setting up a business entails. I set my leaving date for 4 July as sharing my start of my business with (American) Independence day seemed fitting; (I also had a large degree ceremony that me and others in my team were responsible for organising and I wanted to make sure I left at the best possible time for this).
So 5 years ago, I left my desk behind and the comfort of regular pay, 9-5 working culture and a very generous holiday allowance to start my own business. Initially I got very good at not spending money, housework, making bread and generally enjoying a break whilst developing the business and my photography skills. I felt the nerves building up as the weeks went by with no regular income and the realisation of the enormity of what I was doing starting to sink in, however all the way through it felt like the right decision. The buzz of my early shoots as the good feedback of clients came in kept me going, and I could see the images getting better and better.
It hasn't always been easy - it's a big adjustment going from regular 9-5 work to a pattern where initially I had weeks with no jobs, no income some months (thank you savings!) and difficult lighting for my initial set of cameras to deal with. I hadn't realised how much confidence there is in selling something you create and the whole position of having to accept yes I'm good at this and yes I am worthy of payment. I also hadn't realised quite how much trust clients put in you in where to stand/what to do etc. to get the best images and my first few shoots were quite nerve wracking for someone who isn't naturally bossy/commanding.
5 years later I have less time for bread making, with most weeks filled with at least a shoot or two plus editing, I have met so many people and had some amazing and surprising experiences. I'm even planning a PechaKucha talk on 17 July to share some of my more unconventional shoots! I increasingly have a huge sense of pride about my business and that initial disbelief of 'how is this working' is going away.
My bag goes everywhere with me!
I love the freedom of working at my best times (editing is usually done in pjs first thing in the morning!) and to make all the choices about the business. I love being able to go the extra mile, and hopefully make a great difference to some very special times in peoples' lives and also capturing those moments that might be missed otherwise.
I still want to improve my skills, keep abreast of new developments in the industry and not 'rest on my laurels' however I am beginning to settle in; confident in both my skills and the experience that 5 years in the business brings. I'm so lucky to be able to do something I love, at a level I can be proud of, with the excitement of knowing the upcoming years will bring new challenges, wonderful clients and very special moments.
Like an Oscar acceptance speech I have so many THANK YOUs
- to the ex colleagues and friends who saw something in my early stages and booked me and allowed to use beautiful children/grandchildren on my portfolio.
- to all the clients who in all their individual ways have brought me so much experience, have made me laugh, cry (wedding speeches bring a tear to the eye!), and trusted me to capture their most special and intimate moments.
- to Jean Luc Benazet who has included me in the Cambridge Photographers team for most of my photography career giving me so many fun and varied experiences.
- my wider family and friends - I've had so much support particularly early on from people and just being heard by them. I've also had great advice and it's amazing the team I have around me who have inputted even in small ways to the business.
- my partner - he's been an amazing support helping me get to shoots sometimes, asking the right questions and simply being my 'cheerleader'. He's also had the courage to ask about things that maybe aren't quite perfect, raising my standards even more. Every time I leave for a shoot he reminds me with these words "remember you are doing the job you love"
- my mum - she is the original Price family photographer and also part of the reason why I'm doing this in the first place, planting that seed Christmas 2013 with the simple question "why don't you become a photographer?" and being so positive all the way through.
Photography isn't the easiest job in the world at times but I now know 5 years in I really am a photographer!