It was 4:30 on a Saturday morning and Stacey jumped out of bed with an enthusiasm that surprised even herself. This morning she was heading to the Blue Mountains to capture the sunrise with her new professional camera. She had packed her bags the previous evening and was out the door and into the pitch dark. The day went well and she returned home that evening with some wonderful images; images of mountains and trees at sunrise. The afternoon has been spent taking photos of the models at a Fashion Show that a friend of hers had organized. It had been quite a day. Stacey loved fashion photography and had thought while she was in the mountains she would try some nature shots and experiment with different lighting. She loved learning new things.
Stacey was pleased with her photos and decided to enter them into a local competition and was delighted when she was declared the winner.
Photography was her hobby, her passion.
Stacey worked as a manager at MSS Consultancy, a multinational corporation and quite liked her job and enjoyed the conviviality of being with her colleagues.
She kept working on her photography and developing her skills and was gaining a reputation locally as a fashion photographer. She loved wearing her camera around her neck and coming up with creative concepts for her shoots on the weekends.
Her flat mate commented on the difference in her behaviour on weekends compared to weekdays and she suggested Stacey leave her job at MSS and become a full-time photographer.
Stacey knew she was different at the weekends; wasn’t everyone? Weekdays Stacey worked in a fast paced environment, under high pressure from both, her management, and their clients. Her job often called for her to work long hours.
While it might be a great idea to quit her job and be a photographer Stacey feared that quitting her job would mean she would not have a source of fixed income. She thought it would be quite romantic to be able to say when some one asks “what do you do?” to be able to say “I’m a fashion photographer” However, she couldn’t imagine how it could possibly pay as much as her corporate role so she decided to continue with her job and continue with her photography at weekends and for fun.
Things were changing at MSS Consultancy and the company faced a huge loss that year so a number of employees were tipped to lose their jobs. Stacey was one of the lucky ones to keep her job and at the same time not so lucky because now the work load increased.
There was a second opportunity to take a redundancy and this time Stacey jumped at it deciding that now was the time for her to take the leap and begin working as a photographer.
She used her small payout and her savings for living expenses, rent and maintenance, and to start building her website to attract clientele. She tried her best, but she could see things were going backwards very quickly. The main reason was that she did not know how to charge her clients; she didn’t know how to ask people to pay her.
Many of her early clients were friends and family and they asked her to give them discounts and some even expected her to work for free.
She felt frustrated and saddened by this experience and this affected her photography. It’s difficult to be creative when there are money pressures.
Things weren’t going the way she planned, and she soon gave up and began looking for another job.
After a few weeks, Stacey found herself a part-time job as a store manager at a Camera store. Despite the fact that she had loads of consulting experience she was finding it difficult to get back into the consulting world. When this camera store job came up she thought “If I’m going to be back to working as an employee, I might as work with an area I’m interested in”
Stacey wasn’t sure how it would go and was prepared to give it her best shot. She found that working in a Camera store involved meeting, chatting to and interacting with a number of aspiring and established photographers.
There was Tom, a food photographer, and a loyal customer. He was regularly at the store and they stuck up a friendship completely based on talking about photography. He invited her to a photo-shoot he had organized for a Food Magazine. It wasn’t long before she started working with Tom, her sense of fashion worked well with his experience with food photography.
Stacey was not only learning about photographing food she was begining to learn about running a photography business. Tom had managed to combine his love of photography and create a successful business.
Stacey enrolled in a course to learn business basics, why hadn’t she thought about doing that the last time? She learned about making informed decisions based on an established business plan and key strategies that differentiates a hobbyist photographer from a business professional. She learned how to charge what she was worth for her skills and expertise and ho to find new clients, her Ideal Clients.
Stacey went on to become an award winning photographer, publishing work in leading magazines all over the world.
I’m Ingrid Thompson and thank you for reading this post.
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