How to Be a Successful Wedding Photographer | PART FOUR

Full Time vs. Part Time

                I would love to only do photography in a full time capacity.  I think about it every single day when I get up for work.  Then maybe I could get a somewhat reasonable amount of sleep during the busy months. And as far as I’m concerned, this is my full time job and my day job is my part time job, as I certainly spend more time doing photo related work. 

                As of November 2017, both Kyle and I have full time day jobs on top of the photography work.  And by full time, I do mean 40-50 hours a week, hauling ourselves up at 6am and driving through the snow in the winter full time jobs.  People think we are crazy, but we both are the types that have to be busy all the time.  If I’m not working, I feel like I’m being lazy and find something to do.  I can’t just sit around and he is exactly the same.  It’s very tiring and we make a lot more money from the photography, but we keep working our day jobs.  You’re probably wondering why.  Well, here you go:

                Neither of us want to start at zero.  Since photography work is basically contract work, you don’t have a guarantee that you are going to bring in a certain amount of money week to week, month to month, or even year to year.  Therefore, if we start at zero, winter will hit and we won’t be able eat.  We finally paid off our credit card debt last year, so now everything is going into savings.  We have to consider that we will have to pay for all of our bills with photography money, as well as insurance, other things I’m not thinking of, and then just have money to feel comfortable.  And I’m not going to be my own boss and be miserable.  There’s no point in that.  I was financially miserable for too many years so I’m never going back to that.  Instead, we will save up a few years of salary to fall back on for anything, work our asses off, and then do photography full time. 

                That’s not to say it’s the only way to do it.  Some people are lucky and have people that help them out financially when they are beginning a business.  Some people don’t think ahead.  And some people just don’t care and figure it will work out.  I can’t do that.  It would stress me out far too much.  It’s making me nervous just thinking about that. 

**An update to this section**
As of May 2018, Kyle will be doing photography full time, something we are incredibly excited about.  Hopefully I will follow him in that capacity soon.

 

Taking Time for Yourself

Owning a business takes up all of your time.  There are major pros to this work.

  • Being your own boss
  • Being your own boss
  • Being your own boss

    There are also a lot of things that can stress you out to no end if they let you:
     
  • All the responsibility
  • Dealing with stressful clients
  • Having to be on 100% of the time
  • Budgeting for a full year

Being your own boss rocks, but it’s not all you would think it is at first.  It’s still work and if you want to be successful, you have to abide by certain rules.  It’s just the reality of it.  The worst part of this for us was the first three years when we were booking low amounts of weddings at lower rates due to us only being in business for three years.  You can have the best work in the world, but a lot of people will see a new business and run in the other direction.  And I can’t say that I blame them either because I’m not about to give money to someone who may not be able to help me on one of the biggest days of my life due to lack of experience.  Dealing with stressful clients is never fun but the key to this, I have found, is to turn everything into as much of a positive as possible.  It makes the clients happy and it also turns it into more of a positive in your own mind.  We have dealt with so much over the years and we have learned that being positive with everyone makes it all work out in the end. 

Being there for your clients 100% of the time will make you crazy. You may feel you have to do this, but you don’t.  Many business owners feel that they need to be working 24/7 with their email and phone attached to them at all times.  That is a quick way to hate what you do.  Take time for yourself.  I still need to tell myself that now, as the months between April and November are crazy, with me being lucky if I get four hours of sleep a night between July and November.  The fact is that if you are not doing well physically or mentally, your work will suffer.  I took a year off of my day job and did photography and editing full time.  I would sometimes stay up for 36 hours editing and end up making myself sick because I wanted to get the work to the clients as fast as possible.  It’s not worth it.  You don’t want to feel like crap and you don’t want to end up turning around bad photos to clients because you were too tired to notice that they weren’t sharp enough.

I’ve heard so many people who have been wedding photographers say the following, “I did it for five years and it wasn’t worth it so I went back to the workforce.”  Yep, been there – exactly there.  The guy who sold me the computer I edit on heard I was a successful wedding photographer and became incredibly jaded with me because he had done it for three years and it didn’t work.  Yeah, you’re not going to be turning away work hand over fist in three years.  It takes a long time.  You have to push through years of very hard work and very little return to make it into a successful business.  You’re constantly learning, so both you and the business is evolving and that take time.  Just push through it. 

As of now, this is the last part of this article.  If anyone has any questions, or would like me to write about any other aspects of the business, feel free to email us! 

Part Three can be seen HERE.