When I started my photography business in Phoenix, I was already established in the photography community. I was part of a couple of different photography groups, and people knew my work. I started photography journey in 2010, but I didn’t begin my business until 2016. I had a great deal of time to increase my knowledge, craft my skill, and develop a voice. All of that didn’t matter when we moved to the Austin area. No one knows me here, and they don’t know my work. The idea of starting all over was daunting, and honestly, I didn’t believe that I had the talent to make it. Was I going to hang up my camera, and never start a business? I was seriously thinking about that action. So, why was this my mindset? There were a couple of reasons.
First, and the biggest, I was scared. I was scared that I didn’t have the talent. Before moving here, I joined a couple of Facebook groups for Austin area photographers. Let me tell you that the talent blew me away! I began to develop Imposter Syndrome. I started to doubt everything that I knew about composition, lighting, and posing. I often questioned whether or not I could compete with the talent pool. Now, this isn’t to say that there aren’t talented photographers in the Phoenix area. No, this isn’t the case at all. There is tremendous talent there, and I’ve been honored to work with some of them. The difference here in Austin is that I haven’t developed the support system I had in the Phoenix area. This is something that I am working on creating.
Second, no one was choosing me for TFP (Time for Print) sessions. In a couple of my groups, models would post asking for TFP sessions. I would respond, but I wasn’t chosen. I did have one model respond. He wanted a session with him and his girlfriend. I thought “Cool, I don’t have enough couples in my portfolio. I sent him a DM, and we settled upon a date and time. When I asked him to send both his and his girlfriend’s email addresses, he ghosted me. Really, dude? No contract – no session. I don’t change that for anyone. After several additional times of not being chosen, I realized that I had to show people what I could do. These people didn’t know me or my work. With that, I put out my own model call. I had three models and a fellow photographer sit for me. Since that time, I have worked with one of the models on two additional shoots, and we’re working on a third.
Third, the idea of starting all over again to establish my business was daunting. I made the excuse that I had to learn my way around so that I could have locations to photograph my future clients. I also believed that the cost to begin a business here was $500.00, and this isn’t currently in my budget. I have since learned that this amount is incorrect which is encouraging. As for learning different areas for sessions, I just get in my car to go exploring.
I am now in a place where I am ready to move forward, and get my business running. I’ve had product printed with my work because I am going to have a both at an event. I’m registering my business by December 10 – my birthday. I’m reviewing my contracts to make sure that they’re ready for clients. I’m purchasing another full frame camera, a light meter, and a telephoto lens. Tina Strickland Photography will be open for business, Lord willing, in 2020.
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