On this dreary January 2nd day of 2015, by 4:00 pm, I feel rather accomplished! First, I’m blogging! Yes!
Second, and more importantly, I have closed out 2014 by filing my Alabama taxes and renewing my business licenses. This might sound silly to other small business owners, but it’s a lot of work learning the legitimate business side of things! Twenty-fourteen was a year of learning as I go, if you will. And, there were mistakes made – though thankfully the Department of Revenue was very helpful in helping me clear that up, and I only owed one relatively small fine. Trust me, 3 tax offices, 2 different ways of filing (online and via snail mail) and varying start dates to the “license” year? Seriously. It’s a lot to absorb. I’m really praying we can stay in Alabama as long as possible, if only to avoid learning another state’s small business procedures! Ha! But today I closed all that out and look ahead to how to improve upon what I know now for 2015! The biggest feat for me will be organization. Not that I’m not organized, but more that I can definitely make improvements to make things more efficient. That’s all stuff you probably don’t care to know about though…but I will close this thought out by offering that just in one day, I’ve “worked” for a few hours, without doing any “photography”…no session, no editing, no marketing or putting orders in. Today was simply the business side, so that Shelby Leigh Photography is a legitimate business, and I’ve already spent quite a bit of time and money to make it so. When one is out shopping for an “affordable” photographer, remember that many of us (not all, but that’s for a different post) are doing a lot more than people think about or than they can see (or want to acknowledge). It’s more than simply “going out, snapping pictures, and popping them on a CD.” If you care where your money is being invested, find out if your photographer is investing in him/herself as well. My photography is a passion – a calling to offer the best of myself and my talents to others in a way that is helpful to my client, my family, and in helping foster my own talent. I’ve cared enough to invest in myself so you can trust that your investment in me and my services is well worth the commitment.
Oh! Also giving myself a little pat on the back…okay, patting my sweet husband on the back to…he’s currently mailing a rebate offer that was given by B&H Photo and Canon! As I just purchased a new camera (Canon EOS 70D) last year, which I highly recommend if you are a photography enthusiast, I had honestly not planned on buying a full frame (okay, not just “a” full frame, the highly praised and sought after Canon 5D Markiii) until next year. However, with the amazing (A-HMAZING!) sale and rebate offer that Canon (LOVE CANON!) was giving, I couldn’t pass it up. So, I will be patiently awaiting my $650 rebate American Express card for a few weeks, but let me just say I am sooooo excited to try my new baby. Which, no, I haven’t done yet. I’ve honestly been trying to get other things lined up and organized both in business and family, but I will. OH I WILL PLAY! I’m so excited! And I have to give a shout out to my friend Becky…her fabulous creative talent was imparted on my new baby, and she made (hand sewed!!) a new camera strap for me! I LOVE IT! My baby was just waiting for something to make her stand out, and Becky helped make that happen! Love having a friend to share my passion of photography with too…the hand sewing and French press coffees are just a nice bonus!!
Ah. Goals and Goal Setting.
It’s no secret…I’m trying to be a “business.” Part time, of course. My priorities have always been and will be what God is calling me to do and my family. That being said, remember that my schedule will always be based on what is doable for my family, so being somewhat flexible is a near requirement in working with me! So far, no complaints!
But with Shelby Leigh Photography, I want to be able to offer my services in such a way that my clients want to use me over and over again. I want them to see something in me that they want to come back to. This is a challenge in a military community, especially where many of us are only here for one to three years at a time. That being said, word of mouth and marketing are important, so if you have used my services and enjoyed your time with me, please refer me to friends and family in the area. You never know who might have a special event on the horizon that they want captured to share and remember.
I would love to do more studio and newborn work!! My studio so far has only been used for Christmas, and I am on the look out for newborn babies. I have props and visions, but of course am open to your thoughts and ideas on how you want your special bundle captured.
I am hoping to change up my session pricing in the coming months. For the past six or so months, I have been very happy with the gallery setup that I chose for my clients. Now I just need to figure out print and package pricing and stick with it! I will still offer digital images as well, but for numerous reasons, I would like to start print pricing as well.
I would also LOVE to teach others the basics of using their DSLRs off Auto!! Seriously, let’s be honest, many people have these “fancy” Canons or Nikons. But who “knows” their cameras?! I want to change that!
I’m also considering doing a 52 week photo project in a group…eek! Yes, just considering. It’s January 2nd. I should figure this out by now…
I’m quite certain there are other goals, but I’m being paged by my daughter for a crocheting project. And no, I don’t crochet. So this will be interesting! But I only have a couple more days with her without school interfering so I’m off for now.
If you are a photographer…do you have goals set? And by “photographer”…I don’t necessarily mean “professional.” Like I’ve said in previous posts, I do not consider myself “professional” in that way. But if you take pictures, and if you enjoy taking pictures, do you have some goals to learn more? Have you joined groups for photo walks or even newbie photographer groups on Facebook or other platforms, like Flickr? Do you have a goal to shoot (photograph…not literally shoot) your family more? Or if you’re a photographer that only shoots your family, maybe you want to venture out to shoot landscapes?
Take some time to think about what you would like to do with your camera and your abilities! Contact me if you would like some help, suggestions on cameras, video tutorials that might be helpful…or groups to join.
Happy, happy New Year, 2015. May you bring us happiness and lots of captured memories!