In this episode of Oh Shoot! Cassidy Lynne (@cassidylynne) shares her biggest regrets and things she wishes she could redo in her photography business.
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Things I Wish I Could Redo in My Photography Business
These are things I either wish I would have done sooner or things that I would change when starting my photography career. This whole idea came from a Tiktok I made here. Someone left a comment on my video saying I should make a podcast episode about it and here we are! Here are the 13 things I wish I could redo in my photography business.
#1 I wish I did more second shooting.
When I first started doing wedding photography specifically, I basically did no second shooting. I have second shot maybe two or three times in my entire life. I wish I would have put a little more emphasis on second shooting and actively searched for opportunities by reaching out to more people to see if they needed a second.
Benefits of Second Shooting More
- I think I would have been able to grow my business faster if I would have had more in my portfolio.
- I would have made more connnections with people in the industry.
- It would have helped me get more experience and more practice.
I do think second shooting is super important when you are starting a photography business, especially in the wedding industry. So if you want to get into weddings, put yourself out there and reach out to people. You never know who you’re going to meet and what an opportunity is going to do for you if you never pursue it in the first place. If you are reaching out to connect with other photographers make sure you have pure intentions. You’re not just becoming friends with someone so that you can work for them.
#2 I wish I would have focused on connecting with other photographers in the industry sooner.
Right away I wish I would have focused on making friends and being more intentional with interacting with people in the industry both in-person and on social media. Now I know so many photographers, planners, venues, DJs, and so many other wedding vendors. It’s hard being a photographer sometimes and it’s nice to connect with other wedding photographers in your same industry. It’s key to making the experience a little bit better. Connections get you further along in your business, but even more importantly they provide the emotional support and community you need every single day. It’s so valuable and irreplaceable.
#3 I wish I would have switched to a mirrorless camera sooner.
You know I love my mirrorless cameras! I wish I would have switched sooner because I saw a huge jump in the quality of my work when I did switch. When I started shooting I had different DSLR cameras like the 5D Mark II, 5D Mark III, and 5D Mark IV. When I switched to mirrorless, I saw a huge difference in how my raw images looked and in my focus specifically.
Why I love mirrorless cameras:
- Better and sharper focus. I really struggled with hitting focus on my DSLR cameras. Even if the focus was there, it might have been a little fuzzy. With mirrorless, I love having the option of having the sharpest image ever and being able to scale it back if I want to.
- Handle low lighting better. I often deal with really crappy lighting scenarios at weddings where it’s really dark. I just photographed a wedding ceremony that was inside an old factory with no windows and was shooting at 3,000 ISO. I felt comfortable doing that because I know the limits of my camera and with mirrorless you can go higher with your ISO than on a DSLR.
Switching sooner would have helped me feel more confident while shooting and not feeling like I needed a ton of expensive lenses. At the end of the day, the issue I was having with hitting focus wasn’t a lens thing, but a camera body thing.
What mirrorless cameras do I use?
None of you should be surprised by this because I literally always talk about switching to mirrorless. I currently shoot on Sony and have a Sony A9 IIi. I used to have the Sony A9 and still have the Sony A7 III. You can find my full gear list here!
#4 I wish I would have used presets sooner.
I started using presents around year two for me. I was using a random present that one of my friends made. It wasn’t anything special. I couldn’t figure out how to get the edit I wanted and I didn’t love how the photos turned out. The presets that I finally got made such a huge difference in my work and I loved how my photos turned out. It was a look I didn’t know how to achieve myself and I didn’t know all the tools in Lightroom at the time.
When it comes to presets it’s important to understand what goes into making a preset. It’s ok to buy presets and use other people’s. At the end of the day you need to be able to tweak those presets to get the exact look you’re going for. You need to understand all the components in Lightroom and really learn how to use it. Especially learning how to use everything in the Develop tab in Lightroom is key. Presets are great, but you need to know how to use them and when to use your own knowledge to get the edit you’re going for.
Looking for presets? Check out my newest Matcha Glow presets!
#5 I wish I could redo my second photography website.
When it comes to websites, your first website is what you can find and afford. We all need to start with a website we’ll be eventually embarrassed about. I think your second website is so crucial in how you transition from part-time to full-time photography. Your second website establishes you as a professional photographer and determines if someone is going to book with you or not. I think some people who saw my website ended up booking with someone else because I was charging four grand for a wedding, but my website looked like I spent $300 on it. Before they even contact you, your website is the ultimate first impression someone has of your brand and we need to treat it as a priority.
With my second website I wish I would have:
- Paid more attention to the design and copy.
- Hired someone to design it for me.
- Focused on branding like with the colors, fonts, etc.
- Hired a copywriter for the written parts.
#6 Invest in a professional contract ASAP.
It’s pretty obvious that when you don’t have a professional contract, you might run into legal issues. It’s so important that as soon as you start booking anyone that pays any amount of money to you, get a contract that is professional and will protect you. You never know what legal situation you’re going to come across.
#7 I wish I wouldn’t have compared myself as much to other people.
This seems like an obvious one, but when I was starting my photography business I was comparing myself to a lot of photographers. I would compare myself to photographers who were way more experienced, established, and had more time in the business. So if you find yourself going on social media and are comparing yourself to the work of other photographers or how many followers/likes they have, you’re comparing yourself.
Tips to stop comparing yourself to other photographers:
-Unfollow or mute those people on social. Unless those people are bettering you or helping you in some way, you don’t need to follow them. You can always come back and follow /unmute them later on.
-Take a little social media break or set boundaries.
-Remember the only person you can really compare yourself to is you.
The thing that ended up bringing me the most success was when I stopped comparing myself to other people. Of course, I still deal with this, but the minute you stop caring about other people and you straight up focus ahead is when you start to see success. I wasn’t trying to take photos like India Earl or edit like Dawn Charles. I was literally just being me and doing what I like to do. I wasn’t getting down on myself if I didn’t take the exact steps that this person took. We’re all different and we all achieve different things.
#8 Focus less on gear and more on lighting, location, and outfits.
If you look at big-name photographers and look through their work, a lot of the photos you’re drawn to and vibe with are because of those three things. This is something I really wish I could redo because in my first two years of photography, I was always shooting at noon. I didn’t think about how shooting at golden hour really does impact how your photos turn out. Or shooting at a different time depending on the vibe you’re going for.
Outfits have a lot to do with how your photos turn out. I’m often drawn to photos with lots of neutrals or blues. The outfits sometimes make a big impact on how much we like the images we end up making.
The location is huge. When you’re picking a spot to do photos think location, location, location. You need to have good locations up your sleeve. I wish I would have focused a bit more on locations when I first started photography because I didn’t realize how big of an impact it made.
Start with the base of lighting, location, and outfits. Then you can take things to the next level with your composition, gear, and creativity to take your photos to the magical level we all want.
#9 Pick a Good Lens over a Good Camera Body
When first starting in photography, people often run into a crossroads of whether to buy a new lens or a new camera body. If you can only afford one right now, my personal opinion is to always start with a good lens. A lens really impacts the style of your images, while a camera body improves the quality. I recommend starting with a 50mm or 35mm lens.
#10 You only need two to three good lenses.
You don’t need a 70-200mm lens to take good photos. I ended up finding out that I am a 35 and 85mm type of girl. I use my 50mm every once in a while for portraits. I don’t need a 70-200 or a 24-70 right now. When I was first starting in photography, I felt like I needed to buy all these really expensive lenses that I ended up not really using. You don’t need that much camera gear aside from your base lenses and a backup camera body.
#11 I wish I could redo my portfolio building
This is straight from the heart right now and was the first thing that popped into my head when it came to redoing things in my photography business. I wish I would have done more free sessions and more shooting that was the style of work I wanted to be shooting. It took me a long time to end up booking the type of clients I felt were my ideal client. I could have sped up that process quite a bit if I focused on building my portfolio a bit more.
How I would have built my portfolio better:
- Go to more content days. Every single content day I’ve been to, I’ve loved and it always improves my portfolio.
- Ask more people to model and create styled shoots that were exactly how I wanted them to look.
- Do more free sessions.
A lot of people think free sessions are not it, but there’s a time and place for free sessions. I did a lot when I started, but I wish I would have done more. You can do free sessions and get your name out there and build experience and reviews. It’s so incredibly valuable and is how you build a reputation
#12 I wish I would have outsourced Pinterest sooner.
I was really worried about Pinterest when I first started and it took so much of my time. At the end of the day, I could have grown my business a lot more by literally hiring it out and focusing on other things like client communication and experience.
#13 I wish I would have worked on my client experience right away.
The minute I knew I wanted to start a photography business I wish I would have sat down and worked on my client experience and communication. Preparing yourself to be ready to book and give your clients a great experience is something I should have focused on at the very beginning.
How I would have worked on my client experience:
- Made guides right away. Guides for outfits, locations, pricing, and a wedding guide.
- Invested in a CRM platform like Honeybook ASAP to help with emails and to keep my business organized.
- Created email templates like the ones I have now.
- Client Questionnaires
- Set up my online invoices and contracts.
If you’re in need of templates for guides, emails, questionnaires, etc, I have several in my education shop!
Even if you aren’t full-time, you don’t want your client experience to be a dead giveaway of how much experience you have. You want to be professional and over communicate with people by setting up your backend to succeed. You slow yourself down when you are trying to book, but you have no client communication or no contract.
I hope this episode really resonated with you and that at least one of the 13 points hit home with you!
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