This month I am celebrating TEN YEARS of business! It’s been quite a ride, and I’ve learned so much, so I wanted to share some thoughts.
As a bit of history: I started getting into photography through self-portraits on flickr in 2007. In February 2009, I officially began my photography career with some gigs for the Queens Chronicle photographing events and news stories around Queens (if it were its own city it would be the fourth most-populous in the country!). I was super excited and very nervous every time, but it was so exhilarating being out and about trying to get great shots in all kinds of situations. (I covered a huge variety of events, including a circus, a boxcar pool race, an outdoor festival, subway graffiti, bike races, elections, and more.) I also second-shot some weddings that summer, and soon moved into portraits. I began focusing mainly on families and headshots. Lately I’ve been expanding the headshot and business photography side, and I’m working on updating my second website about it! In total, across my ten years, I have photographed photojournalism, events, couples, weddings, families, maternity, newborns, headshots, and businesses. (I haven’t yet explored landscape, boudoir, products, or food. Or done travel photography, which is what a lot of people assume I do from my business name. Oops.)
The biggest thing I have learned is that I will never stop learning about photography! There is *so* much to know, and I am actually glad that I will never feel like I know everything about this craft and this industry. Lighting, posing, colors, angles, directing, and more–there is SO much to keep in mind! When I began preparing for the certified professional photographer designation exam and image submission a couple years ago, I felt like I had jumped into the Matrix–I could suddenly see so much more and so differently than I did before! So I was super proud to earn my CPP, as a token of my increased knowledge.
My skills have changed, my editing styled has changed, my logo has changed, my website has changed. What has never changed, though, is that I love meeting people and hearing their stories– who they are and what they do and what is special to them. Then I get to somehow show that and translate that into a photograph or series of photographs. And related to that, I love helping people, and that takes many forms in photography. It means helping people create photo memories of their family life so they can treasure it forever as kids grow and change. It means that I get to help people feel confident about themselves with amazing photos for their online presence in their business or personal life. I want everyone to have photos they feel great about, because they look like themselves at their best, for everyone else to see.
My gear has changed a lot too! In 2009 I had my little Nikon D80, which I thought was so cool. In 2010, I upgraded to a Nikon D300 which was huge for me! In 2013 I finally went full frame with my Nikon D600, and in 2015 I upgraded again to the Nikon D750. I have promised myself I will not upgrade cameras any higher for another couple years because I don’t think I need to. But it’s hard not to be tempted by the classic Gear Acquisition Syndrome that so many photographers get sucked into! Lenses and lighting really do make a huge difference though, and over time I’ve upgraded to really nice gear. (For instance, in 2016 I finally got the Nikon 70-200 f/2.8 lens that I’d been dreaming about owning since 2009!)I still enjoy doing creative photography just for me. I’ve taken classes–in 2007 I got a film SLR and then in 2008 I took a class with it; I took a street photography class in 2010; and this spring I just started my very first darkroom class! I got a Lensbaby last year to play with, and in the last few months I’ve been gifted some amazing vintage film cameras, (which I’ve been talking a lot about lately in videos on Facebook and IG stories). In the last couple years I’ve been trying to push my creativity by doing personal projects and model shoots, and taking one-day workshops to challenge myself with new genres (like video or street portraiture).
Two big things that have not changed is that I’m behind on blog posts, and that I’m still doing hairflips. 🙂
And of course the main thing that hasn’t changed is that I still am obsessed with photography! I think about it, I love talking about it, I read about it, I listen to podcasts about it, I obviously post on social media about it. It’s my job and also my hobby in that I take a lot of personal photos for my own family and make scrapbooks. Sometimes that makes it hard, because photo stuff is always there in my mind for some reason, and it’s hard to get away from.
I’ve met so many great people over the years–clients, fellow photographers, and other folks in the entrepreneur community–and have enjoyed getting to know them and being inspired by them. I can’t wait to see what the next ten years brings! Thanks for being along for the journey. 🙂