Topic 1: 100% Viewfinder coverage, Yn560TX, head space, get closer
Topic 2: Laryssa: It’s almost tax time and many of us who have a photography business need to gather our tax stuff.
- Organization of your shoots. Make sure you add mileage to your shoots (and the corresponding expense)
- Keep track of all deposits and receipts
- I’m switching to Quickbooks but I typically will put a copy of my receipt in a year month folder on my hard drive (which gets backed up to backblaze)
- Don’t forget to track your purchases (camera equipment and accessories)
- Give whatever reports you have for to your accountant
- I typically keep my receipts and unless she needs them I won’t give them to her.
Topic 3: Aaron: The photography skill you need to work on is NETWORKING with people. It’s in our nature to think we can predict the future. We think we’re in control of far more than we truly are. That’s why every chance encounter you have with someone at a coffee shop or the eye doctor or the playground could be a big turning point. But the turning point might not come that day–it might come months or years down the road. The ability to connect with someone right away, to hold an easy-going, positive conversation, and to talk passionately yet casually about your photography is a skill to be honed.
Every job I’ve gotten since my first one out of college was thanks to networking and being in people’s good graces. Grades, college degrees, test scores, those got me the first job. But nothing else, not exclusively anyway. Without a network of people, I wouldn’t get a foot in the door.
Photography seems to be all about baby-steps, perseverance, and grinding away day-by-day. Everyone can take good photos, but not everyone works well with people, both as a business person, a session coordinator, and whatever other hats come with small business photography. You have to be good at talking to people, finding ways to stay in their head as a photographer, and being positive without being pushy. I have a story example:
- Visit to eye doctor
- Needed photos for an IP article
- Started talking with the woman who did initial intake
- Ended up going to her home a week later, photographing her kids for the article
- A month or two later, I did anniversary photos and senior photos
- Positive social media sharing
- And months afterwards, too!
- Sent an email at New Year thanking–IMPORTANT!
- Did photos for a benefit concert her husband was playing in–free
- The next day, she called with an opportunity: take all of the photos for the doctors’ office website redesign!
That’s networking. Staying relevant and visible, being nice, doing the extra small gestures, being patient. All of this took seven months. But now I’m sure I’ll be doing senior photos, maybe more anniversary photos, future weddings? Who knows? I’m now “their photographer.” You never know where that can take you.
Also, social media isn’t networking. A positive social media presence can reinforce a relationship, but it never will be a relationship. Social media could get you an initial conversation, or it might remind someone about you, but social media will never replace good in-person communication and connection.
(I have more examples, like being an IP writer, shooting with Erica Kay, meeting Nick Fancher, writing for Kevin Kuster, writing for a parenting blog, reaching out to a local venue, the list of people who I keep in touch with goes on and on…) The issue of Shutter Magazine I reviewed has a small section about how to practice–talk with a stranger and see how positive and natural you can make it.
You never know when you’ll see someone again for an important moment in your life. Here’s one more fun one for you: kids, you never know when you’ll see your high school teachers again, so be nice. My tenth grade English teacher ended up being my boss where I taught eight years later. Granted, it’s not so unimaginable since I went into the field of education, but I didn’t know I would as a tenth grader! You never know when you might see someone again, and when that person might be your next big break. Be nice to your teachers, kids. Your life could be in their hands.
Doodads of the Week!
Aaron: 53”-wide Seamless Thunder Gray paper backdrop and 1” gaffers tape no better way to start experimenting at home than with a tiny homemade studio. With window light or OCF, this makes post-processing your images so much easier. And it’ll look professional. Head shots, kids, products, table-top, even full-body. You can also turn it black in post. I initially got a roll of white, which is great, too, but gray tones down the intensity of the image.
Laryssa: Samsumg 250GB SSD Hard Drive