There’s nothing more daunting than taking the risk to start your own business, even more so for students who are still learning the ins and outs of their craft. One can feel quite far from the previous experiences of beginners when looking in comparison to experiences built now.
I was recently invited for the second time to College of DuPage by professor Miles Boone who teaches in the photography department. I had taken many classes at CoD and I was happy to be back to talk to the students. As a full-time real-estate photographer and headshot photographer, I spoke about my journey to become my own boss. It’s not easy and requires not only a lot of discipline, but a lot of things that don’t seem so obvious. A lot of nuances go into building yourself and your brand! It takes more than just understanding yourself and how you work, which is tough in and of itself. While on this journey of building my brand and business, I realize it’s also a journey of self-discovery. While I reflect on the steps I took to be where I am and become who I am, I took an initiative to know more about the people I take photos for. While this interview is about me and my personal experiences, I took this format as a way to dive more into the businesses/groups/organization whom I photograph. I’ve started asking for more information about my models because, it’s one thing to get to know your clients from behind the camera, it’s a totally different experiences to get to know them without the camera.
It was an honor being able to come back and talk to the students. my favorite part was being able to connect with them because I’ve been in their shoes and it made me realize how far I’d gotten, how every year I’ve gotten more and more confident in who I was as a photographer and as a business owner. The biggest takeaway that I want the students to remember is that, show up! Whether it’s meet-ups, workshop or gallery exhibition, show up and make connections. Practice your craft but don’t forget the photographing is just one part of running your business. Understanding your industry and your competitors are vital, make sure to surround yourself with other business professionals. At the end of the day I’m just so excited for the journey that these young professionals are about to go on.
Major thanks to the College of DuPage Photography Department for everything that they do! To learn more about their program visit their page: http://www.cod.edu/programs/photography/