I had a phone call earlier this week with Christine Tremoulet to talk about her new business venture, a community for wedding professionals. Like me, Christine closed her professional photography business and now works with those in the industry, as a story-telling strategic coach. I’ve known her for years online and was so geekily excited for us to actually speak.
We got off track a bit… okay more than a bit. We spoke for two hours. I ended up telling her how I always get questions about why I closed my photography business and if I miss it. Our conversation inspired this post.
Last December, I photographed my last wedding, and early in 2016 announced that I was closing my photography business. This past summer I sold all my professional photography equipment, keeping a little mirrorless camera for fun. I interact with photographers on a regular basis. Half my facebook feed is photographers, as are more than half my clients, and a good number of my friends. Naturally I get asked this question often.
Do I miss running a photography business?
No. I am even surprised by the quickness this answer comes out of me. I have had some amazing clients and loved creating images that they could enjoy for a lifetime. I was good at what I did and know the photography business well after 7+ years, but I got everything I could out of it, and found something I enjoy more.
As much as I’m a photographer at heart (been shooting since I was 15 years old), I’m also a tech and web geek by nature. I love the constantly changing ways of technology, the challenge, the insanity… but mostly the chance to take a vision and bring it to life. Not that different than creating a photo when it’s phrased that way?
I mostly love getting to work with other small business owners, hearing the struggles, sharing ideas and advice… truly collaborating. I read somewhere that the thing that comes easy to you, that you don’t even realize is a skill, but others struggle with is your competitive advantage. For me, I never realized that not everyone gets the things I do when it comes to technology and visual branding through website creation. From the creative parts of designing to the organization of information to the technology bringing it all together… it’s something I do with ease.
Was it a difficult decision to close my photography business?
It was actually more of a difficult decision on a practical level than an emotional one. In 2014, photography was 100% of my income. In 2015, it was still 1/3 of my income. It was taking more than half my work hours though, which is why I decided it was time. It was scary to give up financially something that supported myself and contributed to my family, for a new venture. Emotionally I was ready. In 2016, I have earned 100% of my income from web design.
Do I miss photography itself?
Photography has changed as we all know. It was difficult for me to sell my D700, 50 1.4 and 70-200 lens. This was the last and favorite of my professional equipment. My hubby said to just keep it, but I hated that it sat in a closet even more than I minded parting with it. Truth is that for what I do, photographing little moments in my life, I am fine with my Fuji or even my iPhone.
I do miss shooting more, but that has nothing to do with running a photography business. I just need to keep my camera out more, to document my daughter growing up. Mostly what I need to do is remember to take the photos off my phone or camera. Truly I probably shoot more now personally than I did 1-2 years ago in the peak of my business. I just really need to get the images into albums and onto my walls.
I love looking at photos, sharing and collaborating with photographers, and helping them market their business through an amazing online presence. This I get to do day in and day out, and I absolutely love all of it.
I also must admit to looking forward to the weekends off to hang out with my family, which is truly what motivated me to make such a lifestyle change in the first place.
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