The Bean Blog (currently on hiatus)

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

The Wedding Photography Business

You may remember me talking about trying to make some money from photography--mainly, wedding photography. When I first embarked on this plan, back in May, it seemed like a nice idea in a vague kind of way. I quickly got a job for late August. I felt good about it--out there in the distance. Well, my friends, August is now. Not only is that job almost upon me, but other jobs are lining up as well. I have two jobs scheduled in October and one in January. Could it be this easy?

I've tried to start other little "businesses" before. Once, I tried to set myself up as a dog walker. I knew many of the dog people in my neighborhood, and I thought, why not walk dogs? Fresh air, animal companionship, sounds good, eh? Except for the fact that I hate walking my own dogs let alone anyone else's. Every now and then, walking my dogs is fun. But day in, day out? No thank you. Especially not for half an hour to an hour, which is what people expect when they're paying you. Let me make it clear that I never had a dog walking thing going and then threw it away. I think I got two jobs out of my attempts to start the "business." But those two jobs were enough to make me see that it wasn't for me.

I also once tried to start up a zine. I never thought I'd make real money out of it, but I was hoping I could get enough advertisements to pay for the printing plus maybe a little extra--and I mean a little, like $20. But that fell apart, too, due mostly to the fact that I never did anything get any advertisers. I ended up printing the thing myself with a total cost of about $100 and a total run of about 100 copies. The first and last issue.

So when I said that was I going to start a wedding photography business, frankly I thought that it would go the way of these other "businesses." But it hasn't. I haven't even really done anything to generate business for myself. I've just been waiting for clients to reveal themselves to me, and then I go after them. About half the time, I've gotten them. Now I've started phase two: actually advertising. I submitted an ad to a little Philadelphia paper that runs ads for free. And I'm going to put an ad on whatever free online services I can find. On top of that, I'm going to put up some flyers at various places (like grocery stores, etc.) that have community bulletin boards.

In other words, this business idea of mine is becoming a reality. Honestly, it's kind of scary. No, it's really scary. I just booked a wedding for January. That means that I can't just decide to stop doing it, like the dog walking or the zine. These people are giving me a deposit, we're signing a contract, and I'm going to have to be there. That means that my business will still exist four months from now whether I do anything or not. Just like a little kid, I feel funny inside. The question is, is it funny-excited? or funny-scared-shitless?


  • Craigslist, hands down... the single best online bulletin board., I suppose you could go as far as NYC too, but you may end up getting more than you can handle. Either way, good luck, way to go, and whenever you have shirts made, I'll buy one! Woo hoo!

    By Blogger Dan, at 9:30 PM, August 18, 2004  

  • Wow...that is exciting having a line of work set up for you 4 months from now. Just do not cancel at the last minute. I've seen some photgraphers cancel at the last minute, and let me tell you...their case usually does not hold up in court. SO good luck on your August shoot and if I ever get married and youre still in the biz, I'll know where to look.

    By Blogger D.T., at 1:58 AM, August 19, 2004  

  • Oz, sometimes I'm shocked by how much we have in common.

    My first business was one of those stupid home party things which I really hate admitting. I hate going to them, and yet I was once one of those consultants. It lasted through the six required parties.

    My second business was a small graphic design company. I ran it for 6 months, got pregnant, and shut it down. I cited the health of my babies and the stress of the job as my reasons. In reality though, I really just didn't want to do it anymore.

    So now it's the jewelry gig. I've been selling my stuff for nearly 15 years now, which, when I think about it, is really overwhelming. But it's never been real. Not until recently. Suddenly, I'm getting orders for things that people have seen, or for things I've made for others as gifts. My past history with this sort of thing tells me that it won't last, but the way things are looking, I'm starting to believe there is a chance for success here. And like you said, that is scary.

    By Blogger Whimsy Chick, at 10:52 AM, August 19, 2004  

  • Danny-boy, I know about craigslist. I live in a house, not under a rock, my sweet-ums. I hadn't thought about expanding all the way to NYC. Right now, I'm working pretty cheap, so taking gigs in NYC would be cost-prohibitive, but it's something to think about in the future.

    DT, yeah, I'm a little worried about getting sued. Not because I would cancel last minute, just because someone told me that wedding photographers get sued for producing bad pictures. I think I'm a good photographer, and I've never had any complaints, but art is in the eye of the beholder, and I'm bound to come across someone who isn't happy one of these days. I guess I just have to jump in and hope it doesn't happen to me. This fear in the main reason I have a contract--it specifies limits on lawsuits.

    Kerrie, Reading your post today about your business was a little deja-vu. We do seem to be on similar paths. Maybe that's why you understand that scared feeling I have in my stomach. I might be emailing you if I get freaked out too much... :)

    By Blogger Oz, at 12:51 PM, August 19, 2004  

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