Coming in to 2013, one of my biggest new year's resolutions was that I wanted to grow. I wanted to grow as a person, I wanted to grow as a photographer, and I wanted my business to grow. Growth was the thing I was aiming highest for, for 2013. That, and exercise. Haha.
When I just started taking photos, I knew that portraiture was what I was passionate about, and I somehow happened to fall into wedding photography. I put zero effort into getting into wedding photography - it just sort of "happened". I was keen, though, because it's just another form of portraiture. If I get to take photos like this, I'm happy:
As time progressed, however, I realised how passionate I was about intentional portraiture, and not "just taking photos of people at a wedding". I found that I really enjoyed taking a photo of one person at a time, making sure that it's really, really good, like this:
I never stopped the portraiture side of my photography, I just got so tied up in shooting weddings that I didn't really get time to do much portraiture. This year, that's all changing; it's already started.
I still really enjoy shooting weddings, and I have no intentions to stop shooting them, but I have a desire to shoot more portraits, and I'm going to do so. I've started working really hard on the portraiture already, with shoots like the one I did with Devin (right). This is the growth part I'm talking about. This push in the right direction is what I'm chasing.
I have a few more things I'd like to share with you that are part of this growth:
If you're familiar with my website, you'll see that it looks quite a bit different to how you remember. Not a whole lot, but enough you make a pretty significant different in its usability. This is the old site:
The new site gets rid of a few design issues I had, and also reduces my galleries to ONE image per page. I prefer this layout. And ultimately, I think the new site is just better looking than the old one:
The old site was great, but there were a few flaws that were pretty groundbreaking that needed a change. The most concerning of those is that my site was not mobile friendly. Not being able to easily view the site on your phone or tablet is a serious concern for me, because more than 30% of the traffic my site was getting was mobile traffic. The new site fixes this. In fact, the new site is solid on any platform you throw at it. Have a look!
I've just formed a business relationship with a really, really good makeup artist. Her work is absolutely incredible, and I'm really excited to get her on board. Here's an example of her work:
In the last 2 weeks, I've lost 4 wedding clients because of conflicting dates. This is all because people are looking to book me to do work for them on days I'm already booked, and I'm not too stoked on that. Furthermore, my pricing is already far too low. So I've set up a new pricing scheme for the most of my work. I've done a bit of work on pricing setups for portraits, since that's what I plan on chasing. These changes to my pricing should even things out a little.
I've also invested in some new equipment. I've been using great equipment until now, but it was time for a bit of an upgrade. The first for me to mention is my new set of camera bodies - the Nikon D3 and the Nikon D700. I'm happy to be using such fantastic camera bodies for my work. Here's a shot of the D700:
I also replaced the Octabank I was using with a much much better one. The new one is bigger, and it's also a whole lot stronger. My previous Octa was a cheap 1.2M octa I picked up on eBay. It did the trick perfectly, but it wasn't a durable unit. The new one is a really solid, 1.5M octa. The light from this thing is so, SO soft. I love it.
Portfolio is a thing that photographers always have to have at the ready, but it's also a tough thing to keep up to date. Ideally, you'd want a large, high quality book with prints in it. The problem with this is that a book like that costs a few grand to print, and it's not something you can update. So it doesn't make much sense from a financial standpoint.
A digital portfolio is always annoying because you have to work to upload your photos to the right apps and have them scaled, etc. It's really just a hassle. I've come to a great solution though. I'm using my iPad for portfolio and the App I'm using is tied in directly to my website's galleries. So any changes I make to my galleries will be automatically synchronised to my iPad's portfolio. This way, clients are constantly seeing up-to-date portfolio work from me, and I literally just need to keep my site updated. I really like how that works.
That's it. I set out for growth, and I'm glad to be chasing after it. The gear, doesn't mean much for growth (what good is a new camera if you're not taking photos), but everything else is good, and I'm happy to be growing.