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Instagram Q&A: Direction of my business, puppies, college, & more!

July 22, 2020

Today I’m doing something a little bit different for you guys! Recently, I polled everyone on my Instagram account to see what you want to know and then filmed a little Instagram Q&A based on what you guys sent me! If you’re not following me on Instagram, make sure you start now. It’s a great chance to be a part of these Q & As – and submit your questions for next time! I can’t wait to answer YOUR questions today during this Instagram Q&A!

Did you go to college? If yes and for what?

I went to college for marketing and graduated a little over a year ago! 

How do you feel your marketing education helped your business?

I feel like my marketing degree didn’t help me AT ALL! Everything in my business I learned myself from YouTube, other photographers, or Google, which I think actually helped me most of all. I will say that, I went to Ohio State – and there weren’t a lot of small business classes. I would have definitely enjoyed them if there were, but that wasn’t something offered!  Also, I did find my marketing classes to be really easy actually because I had experience from my business! But, my courses were all geared towards the corporate world. So I do understand that part of the world if I ever need it! 

How did you start your business? 

I got this question SO many times from you guys!! I’ll try to break down some of the important things quickly. Just remember there’s so much that goes into a business being started and growing. I actually started my business my senior year of high school. And I photographed my first wedding at 17… by that, I mean I showed up and watched another photographer shoot a wedding and didn’t actually take many photos. Fun fact: my grandma actually dropped me off for that wedding!! 

When I moved to Columbus OH, I started my business right away. I only had a few classes during my senior year as I was homeschooled so I moved in the fall and had about 6 months to work before my classes at Ohio State began. I did about 20 weddings that year, assisting and second shooting. Honestly, I found opportunities and went after them! I always knew I wanted to do weddings so I just went that way quickly instead of trying to start as a family photographer or senior photographer. Instead, I focused on what was important to me. 

And how did you grow your business during college and after you graduated?

Then, I really grew my business while I was in college. The overlap of weddings and college together was overwhelming but having really good systems and people on my team helped me get through it all with only a FEW meltdowns!!!  I hired a photo editor in 2015 after my first wedding and have grown the team since. I honestly don’t know if I would have maintained my sanity going through classes and the business if I hadn’t asked for help. So basically: have a system and ask for help!! It will make a huge difference.

By the time I went full-time, it had already been a few years since I’d started my business and honestly, I could have gone sooner than I did. But, instead, I waited so that I could finish my college degree. I wanted to have it as a backup and since my tuition was paid, I knew I would never have a chance like that again! It’s not your typical story but it worked for me. If you are planning to go full-time, my biggest recommendations are to have 3-6 months of expenses covered in your savings. And, be sure that your business is making enough through the year that you’re actually profitable and able to help cover your expenses. 

What was your wedding like? 

I got married almost 3 years ago and I was married in July… which wound up being really amazing for us. It was in the high 70’s. We got married at Oak Grove and kept things really simple!!! A lot of the budget was put towards our venue and photography (my dress was only $300!). My favorite parts were our first look and that we were both still emotional during our ceremony. I also loved that our wedding was SO fun! I think being a photographer and knowing where lulls can happen on a wedding day was helpful – we made sure our guests always had things to do! It was so fun seeing our family come together, too. And, even though I was 20 and my husband was 21 when we got married, we knew it was the right decision and wouldn’t have had it any other way!

Are you going to continue to shoot weddings or focus more on education? 

There’s definitely been a lot of changes in my business and for me, so I was expecting this question! To be completely honest, I don’t know completely what all of these changes look like yet for me. I will say, I’m not actively trying to book a lot of new weddings but I’m not sure I see myself doing a ton of weddings right now. Honestly I don’t know though! This year, I’ve been able to focus on growing the education side of my business, thanks to the pandemic, so I’ve had a lot of time and capacity to work on my new courses, shop products, and so much more! Don’t get me wrong: I LOVE weddings and love my wedding couples. Wedding days can just be SUPER stressful and I’m not sure that’s where I want my focus right now. 

How do you take all the cute photos of yourself?

So, the majority of the photos now are taken by husband Michael! He’s basically become my human tripod!! He’s also my second shooter, so he’s actually really good with a camera. Usually, I set myself up where I want, know the poses I want to use and tell him where to stand. Then he takes the photographs – and knows to give me both verticals AND horizontal images! I do occasionally do headshot swaps with other photographer friends in the area. And, sometimes I do self portraits with my camera’s timer. But, the majority of it is Michael! Don’t forget to check out my tips for how to have a non-photographer take your headshots

Tips on a go-to pose for couples when you’re feeling in a posing rut!?

I have four main poses I go to with my couples, which helps me jump between poses and keep me from blanking in the session. Then, when I have them in those poses, I have prompts I give my couples! I actually have a Joyful Prompts Posing Guide you can check out to learn more about that!

Okay, okay… I’m not going to give away all of the fun things we talked about in this Instagram Q&A! Make sure you go check it out on YouTube and follow along on Instagram so you don’t miss a chance to submit a question next time!

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