It’s August. I’m a big fan of August for a lot of reasons – it’s my birthday month, for one; it’s the last full month of summer, which means we’re that much closer to my favorite time of year – fall; and it’s when I officially went full-time with this photography gig three years ago. It’s so hard for me to believe that my business is actually three years old, because I’m going to be totally honest… there were times I didn’t think this was possible. There were a lot of days that first year when I was hanging on by a thread… and yet, here we are.
I had absolutely no idea what I was doing when I decided to go full-time three years ago. And I would definitely recommend being more informed and more proactive about your business structure, taxes, marketing, contracts… etc. than I was. I was a technically proficient photographer; I knew my craft inside and out, but I didn’t know business. At all. I jumped in with my eyes shut and that’s not something I would suggest to anyone thinking of going full-time. Do your homework, get good systems in place, and then leap. The learning curve is steep.
The Katie Jane Photography of 2009 and 2012 are such different beasts. Elopements were not even remotely on my radar. I knew I had to distinguish myself from every other photographer in NYC, but I had no idea how I was going to do that. This is something I’m actually working on talking much more in depth about in the coming weeks – finding your niche – so I won’t really go into it right now, but I will say, finding my little niche was definitely the thing that kept me afloat. It was the difference between life and death for my business. If I had never stumbled upon elopements and decided that’s where this business needed to go… I would not be writing this post right now.
I really have to thank everyone who helped me make it through that first year: the friends who modeled for my portfolio; the clients who took a chance on someone with very little professional experience; Kelly Prizel for letting me second shoot for her even though I had literally never second shot before or photographed anything bigger than a family portrait session; and most of all, John. Who told me I could do this, believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself, and supported this business through its darkest days.
The business is stable and growing bigger everyday. (I never thought I’d be able to say that.) But I’m still a long way from where I want to be – I have big plans and huge goals. I want an actual studio, employees, associate shooters, more time to work on personal projects, a gallery show, to be flown all over the world to shoot elopements. Hey, a girl can dream.
Here’s to the next three years, and to taking over the world.