Last Monday I had the opportunity to present to some college students taking a Business of Photo class at my Alma Mater, and it was such a fun experience! It only confirmed my desire to educate other creatives in business and photography. One of my business goals for this year is to offer more educational opportunities, and that includes more blog posts about photography + business. This one is the first and I'm so excited to share it with you!
In the past year, I have learned so much about running your own business and being a professional photographer. When I sat down to think of the things that have really helped grow my business in the past year, it came down to 10 key points. I'm sharing them with you in hopes that they'll help you in your own journey!
Faith + Hard Work
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 are some of my goals for 2017:
Use Your Resources
I still photograph the majority of my shoots with a Canon 7D. While I love the 5DMIII, I know it's in my better interest to wait a little longer before upgrading, because 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!
you'll get paid!
Rising Tide Society: RTS was founded on the concept, "Community over Competition." They provide a place for creatives to virtually meet and lift each other up with encouraging words or ideas. It's awesome.
Never Stop Learning
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. Last summer, I invested in a one-on-one mentoring session with Nicole Balsamo Photography, and later in September I flew to Utah for a photography retreat with Nhiya Kaye Photography. Those learning experiences brought me so much joy and really helped shape my business.
FYI: I'll be offering one-on-one mentoring sessions this Spring, so stay tuned for details coming to you in April! :
This one is SO important. I didn't realize just how much of a difference blogging makes until EVERYONE started telling me last year that I should. I decided to find topics that would relate to my clientele (i.e. Brides), and write about it. It has been a hit! Some posts that have been helpful include: getting in shape for the big day, tips for wedding dress shopping, and user-friendly photo booths.
Fake It 'Till You Make It
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.
I wouldn't necessarily say that I've made it yet, per se, but I do know that I've come a long way. 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. That night I shared the photo on the left as a sneak peek, and I just had this feeling that it was going to get attention. 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.
Don't Undersell Yourself
Client Experience is EVERYTHING!
Stay True To Yourself
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!
I went to high school with these beauties and remember them being inseparable. They were always together, laughing their heads off over all kinds of things. There was so much joy and love between them, and 8 years later, that hasn't chance one bit.
This session was so much fun and I'm eager to photograph more sessions like these! Thank you Stephanie and Martha for asking me to be your photographer! :)
If you're interested in scheduling a portrait session, email me at email@example.com!
Shelby + Justin have a sweet tradition where every year they go on Christmas dates. This year Shelby surprised him with a fun trip to Chicago as a little celebration for Justin just completing his Masters in Architecture! WHOO! I was so honored when Shelby asked me if I would take some photos of them while they were visiting.
Shelby works for a sweet organization called Lane of Roses, which provides resources for women who want to grow in their faith and relationship with Christ. It's such a beautiful organization! You should check them out!
We milled around Millenium Park for their photos, and took some portraits on Michigan Avenue. It was pretty cold outside, so we were thankful for the sunshine that took some of the edge off!
Me: "Justin, play with her hair!"
Justin: *see above*
Thank you for asking me to take photos of you! It was so fun meeting you both. :)
Are you recently engaged? Ask me about my wedding collections! I photograph Friday + Sunday weddings - see www.joelleelizabeth.com for inquiries.
So you said yes to the love of your life and now you're saying yes to the dress! There are a couple of things to keep in mind when you go dress shopping, and designer Alyssa Kristin shares specifics in today's blog post.
When Alyssa was in middle school, she made a bucket list. One of the goals was to design her wedding dress one day. Over the years, she forgot about it until she became engaged years later; after visiting countless dress shops and not finding anything she liked, she decided to follow through with her childhood dream..."It was quite the experience, and through that I realized I really love wedding dresses and designing". She married in July and started her business 5 months later. The dress she's adjusting in the photo above? That's her wedding dress. :)
Choose your venue first. It'll help you choose a dress that you both love and fits with the location.
Try to only bring a couple of people with you when you try on dresses. If you bring too many people, opinions can become overwhelming. This is your day after all.
Schedule multiple appointments in one day so you can compare dresses to each other. If you schedule them a month apart you may forget some things you liked from other stores/gowns.
Bring shoes! While Alyssa has shoes and accessories on hand in her studio for brides to pair with gowns as they try them on, not all designers do. So if you're visiting multiple locations, bringing a pair of heels will help you have a better understanding of how the dress will feel on the big day.
Alyssa also customizes her gowns and will modify a certain gown in her collection to best suit the bride. "I'm here to make a bride happy, and if I can tweak this, this, and this to fit her, then we both win".
If you're going dress shopping soon, check her out! I cannot recommend her enough.
Alyssa Kristin | Chicago
When I was younger, I loved that my middle name was Elizabeth. I liked the way it sounded when people said “Joelle Elizabeth” – it sounded so romantic and charming. When I met other girls with the middle name Elizabeth, they instantly became more important. I also thought a lot about Queen Elizabeth and the royal family. And years later, the royal wedding between Prince William and Kate Middleton became my favorite event.
When I started my business, I knew without a doubt that I wanted it to be named after me. I wanted to be clearly associated with it. So naturally “Joelle Arner Photography” was born. It made sense at the time, but over the past couple of months I’ve begun to rethink things.
Because my business is beginning to receive so much more attention and love from amazing couples and publications, now is actually a good time to make the change – before things progress even more. And what better time to make the change than on the first day of the year?
This year is filled with lots of big (and small) goals for my business. I’m really excited to begin sharing these changes with you over the months to come! Thank you to everyone who has supported me in my journey so far – whether that’s through words of encouragement, booking sessions, or simply following along. It means so much.
Happy New Year!
Are you recently engaged?! Congratulations! I'd love to celebrate with you on the big day. You can find my website at www.joelleelizabeth.com! Simply fill out the Book Now form and I'll get back to you soon! :)