6 Things I Got Right When Starting a Photography Business

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Hey! I am Neyssa Lee, mother of six, planning & Disney obsessed, and a Seattle area photographer who has been in your shoes trying to grow a business. I now use my super power of time management to help fellow photographers take control of their businesses. Learn more by heading to my ABOUT ME page.

Hi, I'm Neyssa

In the beginning, starting a photography business can feel like navigating a maze in the dark. With many paths to choose and numerous decisions to make, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. However, certain steps, when done right, can lead you toward a successful and sustainable photography business.

From the early days of my business, I found a few key elements that have contributed to my business’s longevity, 13 years later. Here are the 6 things I did right when starting my photography business.

Neyssa Lee sharing about starting a photography business

When starting my photography business I worked to master my camera

Before anything else, it’s essential to know your tools. I spent countless hours learning the ins and outs of my camera. Beyond just the basic functionalities, I sought to understand how to use different settings and techniques to capture the perfect shot in various lighting conditions and environments. This is the bedrock upon which a successful photography business is built, and investing the time to master your camera will always pay off.

Of course since those early days my skills have grown. This does not mean you should not be starting a photography business if you don’t feel like the “perfect” photographer. What it means it ensure you are comfortable with your gear so that you can focus on your clients.

One of the best ways to improve as a photographer is to simply use your camera every day. Every day. I did several project 365s (meaning I took a photo every single day for a year). That was when I saw the most growth in my photography.

Investing in education for my photography business was key.

Starting a photography business isn’t solely about having a good eye and technical skills. I learned early on that it’s equally about knowing how to run a business. I invested in business education courses and even worked with a mentor. (Thank you Me Ra for all you’ve done!) This investment empowered me to make informed decisions and avoid costly mistakes. It also helped me ensure that I was not only starting out as a photographer but could continue to grow a photography business.

Next, when starting out in my photography business I looked for a community of photographers.

The journey of building a business can be a lonely one. I sought out a community of photographers and like-minded friends who understood the unique challenges I faced. As amazing as my husband is, he did not understand the toll running a creative business (while raising kids, I add) has.

Having a supportive network to bounce ideas off and share experiences with was invaluable. This community became my sounding board, my source of inspiration, and a pool of collective wisdom I could dip into whenever needed. To this day, many of those friends are the ones I take quarterly CEO weekend getaways with.

Neyssa Lee blogging as a photography business coach

Another thing I did well was I blogged consistently.

In the early stages, I didn’t have a lot of work to showcase. But I kept showing up, kept writing, and kept sharing my journey. Regular blogging gave me a platform to connect with potential clients, showcase my skills, and share my perspective. It became a tool for establishing my brand’s voice and building my online presence.

Thank you to my mentor, I learned how blogging could be used for SEO. And now, as a Seattle family and newborn photographer, my blog brings in and serves many of my clients. It’s one of the reasons Google searches are one of the main ways clients discover my photography business.

In fact, blogging has become one of my passions, I created a course to help photographers like you. Curious? Discover how Blogging for Business can help you.

I didn’t fear experimentation.

When starting my photography business, I allowed myself the freedom to try different things. From experimenting with various editing styles to offering different types of sessions, this phase of exploration was pivotal. It helped me identify what worked, what didn’t, and most importantly, what I loved doing.

If I had focused too much on “niching down” instead of giving things a try, I never would have known what I truly love. When I was starting my photography business, I thought I’d be a light and airy wedding photographer. (Spoiler alert, I do not photograph weddings, nor am I light and airy! Ha!)

I learned to embrace mistakes as learning opportunities when starting my photography business.

Mistakes are inevitable when you’re starting out, and they were for me too. But I reframed them as opportunities to learn and grow. Each misstep was a lesson that brought me one step closer to the business I dreamed of running. Embracing this mindset early on helped me approach challenges without fear, knowing each one was a stepping stone to success.

Starting a photography business is a journey filled with trials, triumphs, and many learning moments in between. These six steps I took when starting out not only helped my business weather the initial storms but also set a solid foundation for the successful business it is today.

Remember, there’s no one-size-fits-all blueprint to success. The key lies in learning, adapting, and above all, embracing the journey with all its ups and downs. As you start your photography business, keep these lessons in mind, invest in the right areas, and give yourself permission to make mistakes. After all, they’re just the universe’s way of steering you in the right direction.

For weekly tips, inspiration, and ideas for running the photography business of your dreams, join the newsletter for photographers. You’re not alone in this journey, and I’m here to share my experience, so your path might be just a bit easier.

Looking for a community? Join my free Facebook Group for Photographers.

Comments +

  1. Becky says:

    I love all these tips! Especially the blogging one! I wouldn’t have knowing how much blogging helps, if it weren’t for your course! Thanks!

  2. Katie Niemer says:

    One of the craziest things to find out when I did my SEO checkup was that blogging was doing all the work for my website. Literally. If it wasn’t for blogging, my website would have zero engagement. Finding ESB, investing in business education, and joining these invaluable communities has been huge! I also love the experimentation tip!

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