In this section you will learn how to grow in your photography, bother personally and in your business. Taking time for yourself is one of the most important things you could do for yourself and your business. If you feel better about yourself it shows in your business. Taking breaks and vacations can improve your mental health and build your confidence. When you take the time to refresh yourself and gain clarity you are able to decide what decisions to make next. You are also more energetic with your clients and your work.
Practice. Practice. Practice.
The best way to feel courageous is to know what you are doing. Dive deep into educating yourself about your gear, understanding light and how to organize yourself. Learn about running a business and seek out other people that are experienced. Have systems in place so you wont have as much to worry about. Practicing and knowing how to use your location, light and camera will help you go into a shoot confidently and boldly. Practice connecting with people so the day of your session or wedding you are able to connect quickly with your client. If you are nervous shooting couples ask a pair of your friends to adventure around with you and work on getting comfortable with two clients. If you are nervous about shooting families photograph your own family. Get creative and look hard at your strengths and weaknesses.
Give yourself a break and let yourself breathe. Take time off and don't check your social media or emails for a day. Get outside and reset yourself. Taking breaks are so important to our well being and how we feel about our work. Have set times you close Lightroom and log off of social media. Turn your phone off at a specific time each night and don't use it as an alarm clock. Keep it outside your bedroom. Taking care of yourself is so courageous. Giving yourself grace and forgiveness when you feel you have made a mistake increases your belief in yourself. Step back and acknowledge. Press pause on your life and focus on yourself. Take days off and spend it all on yourself. It does wonders for your health.Take care of yourself and your business will thrive.
You need to be your own cheerleader. Being your own boss and being a creative is an amazing combination, but it also means that sometimes the most important (or only) feedback you receive is your own. So why not be kind to yourself? Consider printing out your positive reviews from clients and creating a vision board that you can look to when you're feeling down. This will remind you of your motivation and why you do what you do. This board will give you the pride and drive to strive on.
Additionally, for each type of session create a playlist that gets you in the mood and inspires you to connect with yourself and your clients. Sometimes the right song can inspire you to move forward and make the necessary decisions to see your vision through.
Shoot for Yourself
There is nothing selfish about shooting for yourself
In fact, this is so important!! Exercise your creative mind. You are a creative at heart. Working for your clients can be exhausting and draining. This is why it's so incredibly important to plan shoots for yourself. Make them as fun and as unique as you want. Go into the session with the mindset of "I will give it my all and if I don't show these images to anyone its doesn't matter, I am doing this for myself and myself only". So much of our business is working for someone else and working with their visions. Even your dream clients are people you are working for. Plan shoots for yourself where you can truly get in touch with your creative side. This all goes back to practicing your craft. You improve your confidence and belief in yourself when you create your own session and vision.
I make it my goal to shoot one time a month for myself. Then at the end of the year I can look back and see I have done 12 shoots for myself. When I am shooting for myself I am able to slow down and create images for no one but myself. I love allotting time to experiment and try new things that will in turn increase my ability during a paid session.
You put your heart into your work, share it, and then in the end you don't have control of the public's opinion. We don't have control over what the viewers think. We of course want everyone who sees our work to love it and be overjoyed with the outcome, but that is not always what happens. Through accepting the fact we don't have control over peoples responses to our work it gives your freedom to let negativity go. You are so much more free if you accept that people are viewing your work through their own perception of reality. I encourage you to let go of negative feedback. Release the negative people from your life and let their negativity roll off your back.
Find a Mentor
Find a mentor. Finding someone to look up to and trust with your business and photography can be so helpful. Getting constructive feedback for your work can help you improve and show you everything your doing right. Meeting with a mentor can help you focus in on your goals and achieve them more. They can also be your accountability partner. Have them check in with you regularly to keep your goals in check. Just remember, you don't need to do it all yourself. Find that person that you can go to for advice, ask about business ideas, and will let you know when you've strayed from your original vision.
If I had not found a photography mentor I wouldn't be who I am today. They helped me find the best camera, learn to use my gear and get my business up and running. Another thing they helped me gain is clarity on what I wanted to pursue. I still meet with my mentor at least once a month to discuss my dreams and theirs as well. You can learn so much from listening to another dreamer and business owner. They give me feedback as well as much needed encouragement.
Getting Comfortable Saying No
Saying no can be so difficult but it's vital to get good at when you own a business. People will ask you for some crazy things that you really don't want to do. Here's the good news, you don't have to do anything you don't want to. You are your own boss, you're the one calling the shots. When you say no you are opening up the door to say yes to other exciting opportunities. When saying no your first impulse is to explain yourself but remember that you don't owe anyone an explanation. I have found when you do things just for the money or exposure it's likely to negatively affect your confidence. There is nothing selfish about standing up for yourself and saying no. Remind yourself that this business is your passion and you don't want to do anything that doesn't fuel your fire. So get used to saying no and get ready to say yes to a happier future!
It's a difficult task but I have turned away clients because their vision didn't aline with my goals and style. Because of my willingness to stand up for myself I was able to say yes to brand new exciting experiences. Every email you get will not be from your ideal client and that is okay! If you become more selective on who you choose to work with you will be able to devote more energy and passion into the projects you have.
Getting Comfortable Saying Yes!
I wanted to end on this course on a super positive note! I know we just focused on saying no to the things we have no desire to do but what about yes to things that push us outside our comfort zone?! Stay true to your goals and vision but say yes to things that will push you to expand your mind and creativity. Taking risks is the most important part of being an entrepreneur. By saying yes to things that can be difficult we are opening doors to our future. As a goal choose one new thing a month to say yes to. You might find that you enjoy shooting that instead of something else.
Before I was in the wedding industry I loved shooting still life's and landscapes. When I was approached to second shoot weddings I immediately thought no because I had never photographed people before. In fact it intimidated me so much I was anxious and didn't want to do it. Thankfully I pushed through. Flash forward five years and I couldn't be more thankful I said yes and pursued this business!
Congrats you made it through the course! I encourage you to truly take action on all the information you have read! I have compiled a list of books and podcasts to dive into if you want to continue with your education!
"You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life" By Jen Sincero
"Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear" By Elizabeth Gilbert
Now it’s time to take everything you’ve learned and go out into the world and create! Email Caitlin (Caitlin@coraldove.com) if you have any questions about the course! If you want to set up a one on one mentoring session to dive deeper into learning your craft email Caitlin! See more mentoring info HERE.
Our goal with this course is to inspire photographers to make images that they can be proud of and that represents their own personality. If you need any extra encouragement or want to dive deeper into any of the topics, I'd love to hear from you! Sign up for our mailing list below to be the first to know about new courses and free education!
Caitlin designed the course, wrote out the original drafts of sections, and supplied the stories from her own experiences. Nick edited the sections and wrote about a few topics himself.
Thank you so much for taking our course!