If you are a new senior photographer just starting out in your business, this post is meant for you! We’ve got a topic that’s going to hit home for many of you – the phases of growing your photography business. As senior photographers, we all start with a passion for capturing those special moments, those authentic smiles, and the unique personalities of our clients. But turning that passion into a thriving business can be a journey full of highs, lows, and everything in between. Let’s dive into the phases of growing your senior photography business. And how to navigate them with grace, confidence, and a whole lot of self-love!
Alright, let’s start at the very beginning! We could call this phase of business the Seedling Phase. This is when you’re just starting out, planting the seeds of your photography business. You have that fire and passion, and you are motivated to get yourself out there and start booking clients! This is the time when you are putting together your portfolio, maybe building a simple website, or creating a social media account. You are building the foundation of your business and finding out who you are as a photographer and what makes you unique! This is exciting and nerve-wracking and overwhelming and fun all at the same time. If you are in this phase right now, just know I am so excited for you! And I am cheering you on from afar.
Amidst all of the fun and exciting pieces that go into first starting your business, there are also some challenging things that we can face. It’s easy during this time to look at your competitors who might be years ahead and compare yourself. But remember, we all start somewhere, and it’s okay to be a beginner! Embrace this phase, soak up knowledge, and focus on your growth, not your competitors’. When I was first starting out, I struggled with seeing what other photographers were doing in my area, what their websites looked like, and how many followers they had on social media. It can be so hard not to play the comparison game, but I had to keep reminding myself that those veteran photographers were once beginners too.
I’ve said this before and I want to say it again because I think it is so valuable and important to remember. No two people find success the same way. The journey is different for everyone!
So we really can’t compare ourselves to those who are farther along in their journey. What we can do is use those veteran photographers for advice, inspiration, and encouragement! It’s not a competition of who can be better, it’s a celebration that we are all finding our own ways and making our own journey.
As your business continues to grow and develop beyond the foundation you have laid, you might start to find yourself in a season of growth spurts. Being in a growth spurt is a fun and exciting place to be. Your skills are evolving, your portfolio is expanding, and clients are starting to notice you. Maybe you are getting some referrals from clients, you’re making more connections with local businesses and schools, and you’re growing your marketing efforts.
As wonderful as growth can feel, it can also be a bit overwhelming. I know when I started to see my business grow, I also started to have feelings of imposter syndrome start to creep in. Just like comparison, imposter syndrome often sneaks up on us before we can realize it. Over the years, I have struggled with questioning if I was good enough to be here and if I was smart enough to manage my business and the finances, and all those pieces that go into the backend of a business. I questioned if I was talented enough and if I could create an experience for my clients that they would enjoy. The list goes on really.
If you have ever struggled with feelings of imposter syndrome, just know you are not alone! And also know that it doesn’t have to take control of your mind. I have found that one of the best ways to fight imposter syndrome is to celebrate your wins! You are where you are in your business because YOU got yourself there. You are talented enough, smart enough, and brave enough to be where you are. So celebrate it! Celebrate each and every one of your wins, no matter how small they might seem.
As you continue to move through your career path and your business growth, it’s normal to find yourself in a steady phase. I like to think of this phase as the adolescence of your business.
You are enjoying the growth you have had and you are settling into the foundation you set for your business. This is the time when you really start to find your own unique style and voice. You might start feeling more confident and comfortable trying out new things, posting more often on social media, and your portfolio and website are probably getting updated regularly.
This is the time to really nail down what makes you unique as a photographer! Your style of photography is what sets you apart. And your voice is different than any other photographer out there. The way you promote yourself, speak about your clients and experiences, and the way you speak to your clients is unique to you. Really think about your values for your business and your mission and how those things translate into what you do day in and day out. Remember that as you are developing your unique brand, you don’t need to be like the other photographers around you. That comparison struggle can sneak in again at this phase in your business, but you have the tools and the confidence to remind yourself that you don’t want to be like everyone else! That’s not what got you here. What got you here was being YOU, and what will get you to your next milestone is You.
Now let’s talk about something that is inevitable for any photographer. Weathering the storms that come your way. Every business faces challenges, whether it be slow seasons, creative ruts, or unexpected setbacks. You aren’t just a business owner, you might also be a mom, a wife, a partner, a parent, a teacher, a friend, or a sister. Maybe you juggle two jobs! No one ever wears just one hat. Unexpected storms are just bound to happen and are a part of life. These moments can be discouraging, but they are where your resilience shines. When you are in a storm, remember to give yourself grace. Not everything is going to be perfect at this time, and that’s okay. Seek out support from your community, recharge, and remember that tough times are temporary. They don’t mean you need to throw in the towel.
Remember, it’s your unique journey, and there’s no set timeline for success. Embrace each phase, learn from every experience, and never lose sight of why you started. After reading this, I want to challenge you to set aside some time and evaluate where you are at in your business right now. Maybe you are at the beginning stages of laying the foundation, maybe you are soaking up new growth, or maybe you are weathering a storm. Wherever you are, remember that you can do this! Give yourself grace, believe in your abilities and passion, and push yourself out of your comfort zone just a bit!
If you need more help with growing your senior photography business, making 4 -figures per senior session, and becoming the go-to senior photographer in your area, The Seniorologie Semester is for you! You can learn more about it by visiting www.seniorologie.com/semester.
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