In today’s blog post I am going to be sharing my story of why and how I started my own photography business. Grab your coffee, put on some comfy clothes, and enjoy reading my story!
Why I wanted to get into photography
So, why the heck would I want to get into photography? It’s a kind of saturated market and it could take years to build up a stable and consistent income. You also have tons of monthly bills that come in related to your business (although you do get to write those off on your taxes haha).
The photo class I took in high school is what first got my interested in photography. We shot on old film cameras and learned how to develop the pictures ourselves. It was a lot of fun and I loved that I finally had a class I actually enjoyed.
Every week there would be a new lesson and a new subject we would need to take photos of. I don’t remember specifics on what photos I took, I also don’t have any of the photos anymore but I do remember that I really liked being creative and figuring out the lighting and subject placement (posing).
Fast forward to the end of 2018 (5 years after highschool), I am now living in Germany, struggling to find a hobby that I liked doing. I came across an article on Pinterest on how I could start my own blog. I did some research and ran the idea of starting a blog by Stefan and he thought I should go for it. So I did! I created a lifestyle and travel blog named “Living Life with Ashleigh”.
That’s when I really started getting into photography. I had to take a bunch of different types of photos for my blog and social media. Every week I would take an average of 20 photos and they were all different. Some were photos of me, Nova (my dog), Stefan (my husband) and I, flat lays of products, travel photos, etc.
I wrote over 100 blog posts that all had to have their own specific photos. So I was out of the house a couple times a week for hours at a time shooting content for my blog. I loved every single minute of it. I’ll be honest, it sucked sometimes. Stefan and I would be out for over 2 hours to shoot photos and I would end up hating every single photo. Then we would have to go out the next day and try again. Sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn’t.
I had my blog for almost 2 full years before I decided to try my own photography business. Since I was getting tired of struggling to come up with topics to write about and feeling like my photos were generic I thought it was time to try something new.
I was talking to Stefan about my thoughts and he suggested that I think about starting my own business. Figuring out my niche and setting up portfolio sessions were just a couple of things I needed to do before getting to work.
How I started my photography business in Germany
Starting a business in Germany isn’t easy when you don’t know the language. Thankfully I had Stefan to help me get my business up and running on the legal side of things lol. He set up my taxes, invoicing program, PayPal, he filled out and sent it all the paperwork the state needed, and SO much more. Without him my business wouldn’t be where it is today.
I didn’t really have a clue (after doing the legal stuff) of how I should actually start my business. So I did research and found quite a few helpful blog posts off of Pinterest.
I found a photography business plan checklist and printed that out. I followed that for the most part to get everything up and running.
Before doing any sessions/portfolio work, I also needed to upgrade some of my equipment. So I bought an iPad Pro 12.9in 2020 with an apple pencil, magic keyboard, and magic mouse. I love to edit my photos on my ipad and it’s really convenient to bring on trips or to work in different places around the house. I also bought a few new SD cards, adapters, lens caps, etc. to make sure I never ran out of anything or if I lost something, I had a backup at home.
Once I decided on my niches (pets, couples, and branding) I set up a bunch of portfolio sessions so I could practice working with people and pets to gain experience. I think I did over 15 portfolio sessions before I decided to start charging people.
My first clients were actually a couple from a portfolio session I did for their pups!
How my photography business is doing now
Since starting my business in July of this year, I’ve made back a little less than half of what I invested into it.
I did end up buying a new camera, 2 new lenses, and updated my old ASUS computer which took a decent portion of my income lol
My niche has also changed a bit since I first started in July. I’m now offering packages for families, couples, portraits, and boudoir.
Before lockdown here in Germany, I was booking consistently and had a few boudoir portfolio sessions lined up.
Right now business is slow because December – February are usually slow times for photographers since there’s not too many holidays and it gets a bit colder so no one is really wanting to book any photography sessions.
I am looking into taking some courses and maybe even do a mentorship during the slow months. I was also thinking about getting into product photography so I am able to make some money during lockdown.
Check out my portfolio here:
Where do I see my business 5 years from now
Now that’s a good question!
A few of the goals I plan to achieve in the next 5 years are:
- Have my own photography studio for boudoir sessions
- Book 20 sessions a month
- Hire an assistant
- Sell travel prints
- Offer mentorships
- Get into elopement/wedding photography
- Offer travel packages around Germany
This is the SHORT version of my photography story. I feel like if It hyped everything out, it would take you 30 minutes to read everything.
If you made it to the end, thanks for reading! I am so glad that I could share a part of my photography journey with all of you 🙂
Please follow me on all my social media accounts and let me know you came from my blog and I’ll follow you back!