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It was like one day I felt impossible, and the next day I felt.. possible. Scarlet was three-years-old and in nursery school and Des was just a few months old. I was learning things, many things, day by day. Des used to cluster nurse, all of the time. There was no rest for the weary. With Scarlet, I used to read books while I was nursing. With Des? I used to read photography tutorials. Over and over. I couldn’t get enough information. I swear I learned all about shutter speed while nursing my son.
I have a history thick with photography, and it didn’t just start with my kids. I studied cameras as a young child, then took courses in high school and college, and did an apprenticeship in my early 20’s. I really loved fine art photography for years.
I wanted to be on gallery walls, or in people’s homes. It never occurred to me that I could potentially do and be more than one thing. It’s like this blog – if you’ve noticed? It’s more than one thing. So one day I just decided that writing and photography were the things for me and I should stop being so afraid. That’s the thing. I was so afraid. I felt like a hack. Have you ever felt like a hack in your chosen field? I now know that many people do, and then find themselves doing things they only just dreamed about. It was my time. Everything needed upgrades – my gear, my computer, my advertising, my website, but all of that comes with time. You do a little at a time, at a comfortable pace, and then you soar every now and then.
I’m not wonderful at paperwork, so the DYMO LabelWriter® 450 helps me with specific labels – like shipping labels when I’m sending out DVDs of client proofs, or appointment cards when I want to send and remind someone about a client photo session. I also make labels for file folders so I keep track of the business expenses and profits. It’s a lot of labeling!
I would love to share with you the tips for starting a small photography business that worked for ME. You should always consider your passions and expertise, as well as research insurance and LLC options, and many more. My tips are more about channeling that inner something you need to get this off the ground – with some hands-on, technical advice as well, wherever appropriate. It’s a journey that will be different for everyone, and for various fields of work. It’s amazing sometimes to think back to how we all go from Point A to Point B, because sometimes point B is just dizzyingly wonderful, and oh-so-right.
- Learn to shoot in manual. I can’t stress this enough. This is all part of finding your specialization(s) and style(s). You need to know what your camera is doing, and how you can contribute nearly fully to that process.
You are not just a creative. Remember this. If you’re starting and running your own business, you are a photographer/customer service rep/bookkeeper/marketer/secretary, and a million other things. Never underestimate this.
- Love takes time. So does this. This is love. Go slowly, or don’t. Either way, IT may go slowly. I started with two kids – one an infant – so I’m still playing the long game, and perhaps I alway will be. It’s paying off slowly but surely. Be aware that photography is a luxury that people don’t NEED, but they also kind of do need. I mean I need it! It’s memory-keeping at its most exquisite. It has changed the world and always will. People do need to be reminded that they do need it, though.
Be friendly and open. I’m a natural people person so I’m lucky, but this is huge. Sometimes it’s just hard, but be genuine. Some things may not come easily to you, but being genuine will shine through and people do understand. They do.
- Branding and style are important, but not always easy. I was lucky because I got incredible website and logo design help, as well as great website domain and hosting. I needed a lot of hand-holding through that process and I still do sometimes.
Word of mouth is your friend. I do most of my work this way. I could expand too (see next point) but sometimes it’s perfectly comfortable where I am. I have a lot of tasks to juggle as is, and that’s why I love word of mouth best.
- Marketing is your bigger friend. I do mine in strange, strange ways – through my blog, mostly, and through Facebook, but not even my fan page! I worry that if I plastered the world with my info, I wouldn’t be able to keep up with the workload. And I’m petrified. That’s the truth. This is scary. And it’s different for everyone. I have this strange “advantage” to being a blogger/photographer because my photography helps my blog, and my blog helps my photography business. Strange but true.
Think outside the box. Be someone YOU’D want to hire. For me, it was reprint rights. It’s hard to find a photographer who offers them. And I may never be rich from photography but I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE what I can afford give to people. And it’s too much sometimes. That’s ok. People tell me it is. I give a lot but I don’t know another way. Go big or go home.
- Ask for help and advice. And take it. My friend Kirsten was the one to tell me this was the career path for me, even if it took years to believe her. And my friends from Two Clever Sisters have been immensely helpful.
You may need a lot of stuff. You may own some, and you can also rent some since some equipment is good for only one time, or is not yet affordable. This will vary for everyone. Do you want to know what I need? I’ll tell you: a website, a social media presence, a camera, a backup camera, lenses, different lighting units, reflectors, an external flash, filters, a macro lens filter, battery type stuff, memory cards, Lightroom software, Adobe Creative Suites software, Photoshop and Lightroom actions – can make your own, buy them, or download them from free sites, insurance and other incidentals, contracts, Tax ID, professional lab, DVD labels, accounting software, business cards, model releases, external hard drive, business bank account, PPA membership, pricing list, packaging/mailing/filing materials. THIS is where my DYMO LabelWriter® 450 comes in.
I don’t know what I’d do without my DYMO LabelWriter – it helps me organize my business and retain my style as well. I love cool fonts and labels and return address labels and thank you cards! I think all of these little touches are so important for a small photography business. The DYMO LabelWriter 450 Bundle is available primarily online, but you can check HERE to see if your local Staples carries it. I bought mine online through Staples and it was quick and easy!
The LabelWriter 450 is the perfect solution for my labeling, filing and mailing needs. I need my little business to stand out, and although I can go far with providing a warm personality and clear photography (at least I hope), I love what I can do with my LabelWriter. I can print address labels, create file labels for my records, make stickers for my business and make appointment cards. I just love little appointment cards. I can also create fun thank you and gift cards. My LabelWriter saves me a lot of time and money without the hassle of printing sheet labels on my husband’s desktop printer.
You can save time by creating labels directly from text in Microsoft® Word, Excel®, Outlook®, QuickBooks®, etc. or easily print addresses from Outlook® Contacts or Mac® Address Book. And the LabelWriter can print crystal-clear barcodes, labels and graphics with a 600 x 300 dpi resolution. I love that I can also create custom labels from 60+ label styles and layouts.
There is also the DYMO LabelWriter® 450 Turbo as another great solution for your small business. It can also be purchased online, and is available in a limited number of Staples stores. The LabelWriter® 450 Turbo prints labels at a high speed – 71 labels per minute – and takes the outstanding performance of the LabelWriter® 450 to another level. It eliminates the waste and hassle of sheet labels, and prints precise quantities without difficulty. You can label, mail and file more efficiently with the DYMO Label™ software and DYMO Stamps®, and you can customize and print address, shipping, file folder and barcode labels (and more) all from your PC or Mac®. This is also an amazing product to help fuel a small photography business.
The bundle includes thermal printing technology and comes with four LabelWriter® label rolls – including: LabelWriter appointment card labels, LabelWriter shipping labels, LabelWriter file folder labels, and LabelWriter multi-purpose labels. The bundle pack also comes with DYMO Label™ software, which was a big help in getting started with my labeling.
Be sure to go check back every week at Staples Daily Deals for special deals on your favorite DYMO LabelWriter® products including DYMO LabelWriter® 450 Bundle, LabelWriter® 450 Turbo, and LabelWriter® 4XL Turbo!