The Photography Business Check up

At the beginning of the year I shared my goal to take my photography to the next level this year. It started with investing in new equipment, i.e a full frame body (Nikon D750) and prime lens (85mm f1.8), and then using that equipment to shoot two pro-bono sessions with well-known local equestrian entities. I also took a survey on the blog of your opinions regarding portrait sessions/equestrian photography in general, and I thank all that participated- the feedback was incredibly helpful! The photos that follow are just a sample of my favorites this year.

And of course I am now partners with Lilybird Flowers!

Since kickstarting everything back in January, I have officially done more shoots in the last 3 months than I did in the entirety of last year. I used any profits from shoots to pay off my new equipment, and now that it is all covered all pennies earned will go into the #newponyfund.

For the first time since I started my photography side-business, I actually am at capacity for how much I can handle. That’s 5 sessions booked for the month of April, and though it feels a little harried between balancing the 9-5 job and time in the saddle, it’s still a pretty cool feeling. The next step feels like building a pipeline of bookings for the future- and this is something I’m less successful in, as most of my sessions are planned weeks out instead of months. Part of this is probably the financial culture of horse people as well as obvious worries about weather, pony soundness issues, and other concerns.

One of my other goals for growth is to incorporate portraits into my horse-shopping travels, which helps offset the costs of hotel/gas/etc. I alsoย love meeting new people and experiencing the relationship they have with their horses. Every equestrian’s journey is slightly different, and every single one has a story to tell. Facebook has been helpful in spreading the word, as well as my connections (and I include blogland in that!) in various areas. My next possible trip may be to northern Virginia/Middleburg area, maybe even this weekend, and if I’m lucky I’ll squeeze in a shoot while I’m there!

Photographing Cambalda will forever be a highlight for me- Ping is the man!

One of the main struggles I have found with this business is the sheer amount of competition there is. While I feel like I am reasonably priced given the work involved, there are others out there who charge a fraction of my fees, or even work for free. Mostly these are younger photographers looking to build their portfolio or just make a little spending money, but I simply can’t, or won’t, attempt to enter a price war that will leave me not being able to cover even my gas. All I can hope is that my style and quality of work will be attractive above the mayhem, but it’s easily to enter into an oblivion of self doubt when faced with the daily barrage of local photography ads.

Still, I am more than excited about the sessions completed so far in 2017 and flippingย ecstatic when I think of all the sessions to come. Sometimes I wonder if I am boring readers to death with my Friday photography posts, but I just love to share this other sideย of my equestrian passions. Thanks for being part of the journey, and if you have something you want to see please let me know!



25 thoughts on “The Photography Business Check up

  1. You go girl. Stick to your guns on pricing. There are soooooooo many people out there that buy a DSLR and a copy of Photoshop and think they’re all that. There’s a lot more to it than that, and it’s obvious to me from your pictures that you’ve got talent worth paying for.

  2. The clients you want are the ones willing to pay your price for quality. The little cheapo photographers can’t even touch your skills and therefore their work reflects it ๐Ÿ™‚ Plus it does help that you have a 9-5 job to pay for all the important things (bills, food, etc) so I think waiting for the right clients is better then selling yourself short! Your work is to good to give it away for peanuts!!!!

  3. The competition and young kids working for free are the reasons I stopped pursuing photography professionally. I wasn’t willing to put the investment of equipment and time in to get to the level I needed to be when others were going to undersell me all the time. That being said, I agree that style & quality will eventually win.. however I wasn’t at the level I needed to be to “win” and just couldn’t get there time and $$ wise. I think you’re doing a rocking job!

    • Thanks- that means a lot coming from you! I am so glad it’s not my full time job as there’s no way I would handle the stress of the competition if my bills depended on it. I am enjoying the process for now though and having a blast!

  4. I love your eye. That makes photos for me. Anyone can take a photo in focus and with good color balance, it takes more to frame a shot and say something with it.

    Just saying, if you’re in NoVa, my barn is right across the river from Leesburg… ๐Ÿ˜‰

  5. I’d love to see a post about how you got into photography. I LOVE it. I suck at it and don’t have a good camera but it is something I am interested in. I’d totally take some classes at my university but because I am not an art major I can’t. OR hit me up on Facebook, your work is gorgeous and inspiring!

  6. The D750 and the 85mm 1.8 are both amazing! I HIGHLY recommend the sigma 50 or 85, they are UNBELIEVABLE. Significantly better than the Nikon equivalent (speaking from experience)! ๐Ÿ™‚

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