Making it Work: Professional Photographers II

Making it work

Portraits by Stephanie

1.Where all have you moved/lived? Tell us a little about your family, spouse, pets, why you move, etc?

I met my husband in high school in a small town in Texas. He joined the Army right out of high school in 2005 and we were married in 2008. Together we have lived in Atlanta, GA, England, Washington state, and we are currently doing a 3-year tour in Charlottesville, VA! We have two children, both boys. One is 3 1/2 and the other is 16 months old. We also have two dogs, Tucker is a lab/collie mix and Sergeant is a miniature dachshund. We typically move about every 3 years.
2. How did you get started in photography? How did you decide to make it your profession? How long have you had your business?
I first realized that I love taking pictures shortly after I had my first son. EveryStephanie 4body takes thousands of pictures of their newborn right? Let’s just say mine was a little on the excessive side! I realized that I wanted to make a profession out of photography after I began taking pictures of my friends’ children and they started telling me I should try to make some cash on the side out of it. I have only had my business for about 6 months now.
3. How does moving impact your business?
I haven’t had to move my business just yet so that will have to be answered at a later date! I will say that I believeStephanie 6e that starting a new business in a new place is just as hard as moving one though. I have had to meet new people, make new friends, all while trying to establish new clients. I am currently involved in a workout group with other moms and their children (called “Baby Boot Camp”) which has been good for meeting friends and potential clients. The only negative thing I have to say about establishing a new business in a new place, would be that there are already photographers established here with their clients so it can be kind of difficult to compete with them because you want to run your business but you dStephanie 1on’t want to go stepping on anyone’s toes in the process.
4. Any advice you would have for others who may want to start a business that they can move with them?
As far as advice goes, I would just say that it took me the better part of 6 months to get the guts up to start my own business and also I have put more money into it that I have currently been able to put back. So just make sure that you have enough income coming in to start your business but not tip you over in other places. Also, I would say start low and be as thrifty as you can and once you start making the bigger bucks you can upgrade your equipment and charge more for your services.

Transient Photo

schmitt61. Where all have you moved/lived? Tell us a little about your family, spouse, pets, why you move, etc?
Alex and I moved to Kansas City to start working with an industrial contractor in May of 2012. We moved there right after graduation from Purdue University with our sweet fur baby Miya. It was there that we got our next fur baby, Nala, and we lived there for about a year and a half. Our first move with the company was to New Jersey in January 2014.  It was there that Elizabeth was born and we lived there for exactly two years.  This past December we were sent to Kentucky and that is where we are currently residing! It has been a fun adventure so far and even though we have not been with the company for long, we are looking forward to all the great adventures that are to come!
2. How did you get started in photography? How did you decide to make it your profession? How long have you had your business?
I have wanted to be a photographer since I was in high school, but it was not ever my number one goal.  My number one job that I wanted for as long as I can remember was to be a stay-at-home mom. However, photography has always been my passion. After taking a year off school between high school and college, I decided to attend Purdue University. It was there that I spent four years getting my bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts, with a main focus in photography. I didn’t really pursue an official career because shortly after graduation Alex IMG_8641 copyand I got married and had Elizabeth a year later, so I have been fairly busy. It took some time to figure out how I would keep a business going if we were going to be moving around frequently. I started Transient Photo a little over a year ago. I decided that there would always be people I know that are in need of a photographer. An added bonus is that as a freelance photographer working out of my home, I am able to put my family first and still be able to indulge in my number one hobby.
3. How does moving impact your business? 
Because we move around so much it is hard to have a full on photography business. We can never know how much space we will have at our next location! However, one thing I love about photography is that most often it can be done anywhere! I prefer to do photo shoots outside in a natural setting rather than a studio any day of the week, so that works for me with the moving around. It is exciting to always have a new location and different change in scenery! fallphotos18However for some cases like newborn settings it is best to have a studio.  Up until this move, I have had the lighting equipment to do indoor photography sessions but have never really had the right props or space to use them. I am happy to say that I have found that solution and now have a nice little backdrop that breaks down and fits in the closet! As far as finding new clients goes, I am still working on that. Up until this point I have relied entirely on word of mouth. I work for family friends and my name gets out there! However, I am working on a few more ideas to get my name out there this summer! I now have a fully functional website where clients can book and pay for sessions online, and a store where they can order prints. I’m hoping that with some crafty fliers and some word of mouth around town I can drum up a little more business this summer!  As far as finding new locations to shoot, my favorite thing to do it drive around with my camera, my adorable daughter, and a couple super cute outfits. You never know what you can find hidden off on a back road or on the other side of town! I also like to ask my clients where they would like to go. Sometimes they might know a place I have never been or they might have a place that means a lot or has some sort of significance and that is always the best option!
4. Any advice you would have for others who may want to start a business that they can move with them?
If you are going to start up a business knowing full well that you will be moving, make it portable!  There is nothing worse than investing time and energy into something you will have to completely redo in the future. Etsy is a great way to start selling something that you are making! Even now Facebook and Pinterest have selling options. The internet is a great way to make a little extra money if you have the time!schig.16
5. Any advice for hiring the right photographer for you and your family?
Finding a photographer that can capture your family at their best is sometimes difficult. Always meet with them before committing! I like to meet with potential clients, show them my work, talk, and get a sense of what they are looking for! It is always good to research them and check out websites and social media, but you never know if they are the right fit for you until you are face-to-face. For example, I am naturally an easy-going joke teller.  So when I am on the job I am professional, but I am also fun! I want your photographs to be genuine and not posed, so I’m not bossy.  I will guide you and your family in the photo shoot, but mostly I will just try to be an observer and capture you naturally rather than posed! I think the best thing you can do when trying to find a photographer is meet with them and find someone that is like you and that you feel comfortable with! That will make the world of difference in how your photos turn out!

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