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Joyful photographer & videographers, lovers of film and chasing golden light.

MEET Holly & Grant

Hey there! Thanks for joining today! Today I wanted to talk about 5 mistakes I made when I started my business. I’m only three years in, but there are already a LOT of mistakes that I’ve made, and things I definitely would have changed had I just KNOWN starting out! Today, I’m sharing these five things with you so that if you’re just staring out, hopefully you won’t be making these mistakes either!

My top 5 business mistakes

  1. I didn’t get legalized right away! This may be the most tedious and scary step, but it’s one that I didn’t do until three years in! You want to get legalized RIGHT AWAY because otherwise, you’re doing it illegally. Collecting payments and swapping services and goods without actually being recognized as a real business. This can also be potentially harmful to you, especially if you’re booking weddings. If you’re earning anything over $600 a year on your business (which you want to be, obviously, or you wouldn’t have started your business!) you need to be collecting sales tax. And you can’t collect sales tax without being legal! So, hop on that right away!
  2. Buying presets. This was one of the biggest mistakes I’ve ever made! I spent *really, this is embarrassing* over $1000 in presets. That’s right, over ONE THOUSAND dollars on presets! And that’s simply because I didn’t know what style I wanted my photos to look like! (stay tuned, that’s my next blog post!) When looking at presets, really really think about what you want your style to look like. Look for free presets too. For the first year of my business I used a free preset I got off of another photographer’s website. It worked for me until I really honed my style! That’s where I suggest starting until you get the hang of presets, or, just make your own!
  3. Spending money on things other than education. This was one of my biggest mistakes. Education and educating yourself about photography is the most important thing! Don’t spend money on lenses, gear, or presets, if you don’t know HOW to even use your camera! Invest in an online photography course, or attend one in person to learn more about how to use your camera, how to use manual, and how to learn about light. Learning from someone who knows what they’re doing is more important than buying that expensive lens you see every other photographer using.
  4. Comparing myself to other photographers. This is HUGE. When you’re starting out, you see all this amazing work and all these other amazing photographers and the work that they are posting. It’s normal, and frankly easy, to compare yourself to them! However, remember this. They have been in it for months, years, or decades longer than you! They have education, resources, and different cultures that have them where they are at. It’s okay to take inspiration from other photographers, but don’t compare yourself to the point where you feel terrible about yourself. You’ll get there!
  5. Lastly, my fifth mistake is not knowing about how to use light. How to use light to your advantage is what distinguishes a good photographer from a hobby photographer. And I don’t say that lightly. Know. How. To. Use. Light. If you only learn one thing about photography, learn about light!! I didn’t learn about light until I was in year two. That might seem early, but to me, that was super late. In year two I photographed 12 weddings, and 20 portrait sessions. To not know how to use light was a huge waste of my time and my clients time! Sometimes photos from their sessions looked amazing, and sometimes they didn’t. I couldn’t figure out why! Until I took an online photography class and realized that I didn’t know how to use LIGHT to my advantage when photographing!


I sincerely hope that a few of these tips help point you in the right direction when you’re just starting out with your business. Starting a photography business can be a daunting task, but if you put your mind into it, and your energy, it’ll be all worth it!

Top 5 Mistakes when starting my business


Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017


Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

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