I'm Joelle, an international Lifestyle and Wedding Photographer based in St. Joseph, MI. I'm also an educator and Photo Editor for photographers interested in growing their business and living life more.
Photo by: Nicole Balsamo Photography
I firmly believe that my business would not be where it is today if it were not for God’s leading. I do my best to ask Him each day to take my business into His hands; and when I forget, I definitely notice a difference! I begin to feel defeated, discouraged, overwhelmed, stressed…it’s not fun at all. But, as soon as I hand everything back over to God, things begin to shift. My inbox receives inquiries from brides, collaboration opportunities, blog features, etc.
But, in addition to trusting God, I believe that it’s also important to continue putting in hard work. Running a business doesn’t come easy, but it is worth it. Make sure you’re shooting often, editing well, and sharing your work consistently.
I’m a goal digger and a list maker. I thrive when I can work off of a checklist. And one of the easiest ways to start accomplishing more in your business is to write down some goals, then decide when you want to achieve them by. Here were some of my goals for 2017:
I still photograph the majority of my shoots with a Canon 7D. One of the biggest things I’ve learned is: you need to save more than you spend – and be grateful for what you have. I’m also a member of Canon Professional Services, which keeps my equipment in good condition so I can continue using it longer. If you’re a Canon user, then I highly recommend you register your equipment with them if you haven’t already!
*Update: I now shoot with a 5DMIII, but I used my 7D for a good four years before upgrading. Do what you think is best for you!
Networking is powerful. The old saying, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know” holds a lot of truth to it. Here are some ways you can connect with your local vendors –
Styled Shoots: Brainstorm a styled shoot that will be publication-worthy, and then do it! Include local vendors and encourage everyone to credit the others when sharing sneak peeks + images.
Second shoot: Last year I emailed many wedding photographers near me about second shooting opportunities. You learn more about the profession, and gain beautiful images for your portfolio. And you’ll get paid!
You may still be in school, or you may be done with school. Either way, don’t stop learning. I started my photography business while I was in school, and it taught me a lot about balance and responsibility. When I was first building my business, I invested in a couple of mentoring sessions and workshops. Those learning experiences brought me so much joy and really helped shape my business.
It’s okay to make it look like you’re really busy, even if you’re not, because that’s how you begin attracting clients – who will pay you for your time. Sometimes that’s just what you’ve got to do. If you’re just getting started, you may end up doing a decent amount of work that you won’t get paid for, but you’ll get gorgeous shots for your portfolio. And those will get your real clients. But, make sure you’re sharing your work consistently and often.
The photos that you see above are from an engagement session in Chicago that was scheduled the night before we met for their session. And it’s one of my favorite sessions to date. The night of our shoot, I shared the photo on the left as a sneak peek and went to bed. The next morning I woke up to see it had 1.2k likes (!!) and How He Asked had messaged me about featuring their proposal story + engagement photos (!!!!). That was a HUGE turning point in my business, and it also pushed me over 1,000 followers on Instagram – a goal I had been trying to accomplish for a couple of months (but ended up happening in one night).
I guess what I’m trying to say is, whatever you do, make sure you do it well. And please don’t do anything just for the money. But, that’s another story for another day.
The most enjoyable experiences, for everyone involved, are when you have core elements in common. For me, my faith is really important to me, and so is coffee. Those are two things that I post about on my social media fairly frequently, and it’s attracted the kind of clients I especially enjoy working with. They feel like they can relate to me, and that’s important. It gives them a reassurance that I understand them on a more personal level.
So, don’t be afraid to be yourself. Do you like to perform random dance sessions? Share that. Are you a comedian? Add some jokes into your captions.
As Dr. Seuss said, “Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.”
I hope this blog post made a positive difference for you! If you found it helpful, I’d love to know! Feel free to shoot me an email at JoelleElizabethPhotography@gmail.com.
Stay tuned for more posts like these coming soon!