Something I was told many many years ago… “you are in the business of photography and NOT the photography business!” That has stuck with me to this day. Business is first and foremost. In the last 40+ years of being in LA I have met tons of great photographers. So many better than me. So many with more talent, more ideas and super creative. BUT they are ALL gone and nowhere to be found. WHY? Cuz they could NOT run a business!
Taking photos is 10% of the job. Getting work, dealing with clients, marketing, branding, dealing with talent, preproduction, post production and getting up everyday trying to motivate oneself to continue is the other 90%. You need to remember that anyone can pretty much take a good foto, but running a successful business is why you started in the first place.
Being my own boss and running a business is 100 times harder than working for someone, but the rewards are that much greater. I know at the end of the day that NO one will do my job and I’m the only one who can. I know that my work ethic and skills have kept me in business for over 30+ years. I know that if you work hard, be smart and give everything your best… You can be successful.
How do you define success is the BIG question. First, its about doing what you love. Second, building a solid reputation. Third, its about giving your best always and knowing that you can ALWAYS get better. I could go on and on, but thats for another day.
When starting your business… Get advice, write a plan and do your homework. So many businesses fail cuz they don’t have a plan. ALSO make sure you have a vision for your business and your art. The two go hand in hand. Be as clear as you can be, but remember things will change. Trust me, things ALWAYS change. Embrace the change and just use it to your advantage, but having a plan helps with everything.
Last, I want to mention the concept of getting a mentor. I had plenty and still do have people I go to for all kinds of help. They have the experience that I don’t have, help me understand and learn. They also listen to my frustrations and help me vent. Getting someone to help you grow is super important. You will be better for it in ALL your business adventures.
If you don’t listen you don’t learn.