Dreams. We all have them and some of us pursue them, but a dream is just that if we don't apply ourselves to achieve them. I won't lie and say it's been easy since moving. The Tampa area and Florida in general is a very competitive photography market. Starting over is certainly never easy and I have been questioning myself and whether I can maintain my business. I stalk the feeds for people looking for photographers, usually late to the game by like 80 :( Instead of wallowing in my own sorrows though, I plan to step out of my comfort zone and start exploring different options to better brand myself and make my dreams of being my own boss a reality. Google ads produced little to nothing other than taking from my pocket as did Facebook ads. The only thing I got from FB ads was scammers from Africa, it was devastating as they were literally in boxing me non-stop, and FB refused to refund my money and that's a story for another day. I spend more than I make, and I am really starting to wonder how long this is sustainable. I fork out advertising fees of around $500/month, website fee, insurance fee, props, equipment and the list go on. So, the next time you think your photographer is over charging or you are looking for a "cheap" photographer, just remember we do this for the love of it and sometimes don't even break even or make minimum wage. This is an art and should be treated as such. Would you question your hair stylists' price if she/he is good? Probably not and that only lasts 8 weeks if you are lucky, so why is photography so undervalued? Yes, anyone can take a picture, but not everyone can capture an image that lasts virtually forever. Sorry for that tangent, I just see it day in and day out. We need paid for our time too, it's not just clicking the camera. It's prep, driving, traffic, gas, editing, etc. If you value the art, consider asking the photographer questions. Verify they are running a legal business and go from there.
Look out for red flags, such as grainy photos, no website, no insurance etc. Value where your own hard-earned money is going. Also, if I am not available for your date, I will be certain to refer you to another wonderful local photographer. We have a great group of photographers that are community over competition, and we help each other out, which is exactly how it should be.
On another note, sorry that was quite the rant, I have been given a pretty amazing opportunity and cannot wait to discuss the possibilities. I am a dreamer though and sometimes that bites me in the butt. I get overly excited and only ultimately let myself down. Isn't that what entrepreneurship is though? You have your lows, more lows and a few highs until you finally find that sweet spot. Something that has really resonated with me are a few podcasts I have been listening to. The difference between failing and success is not giving up. Will everyone make it? Nope, but some will and that could be me. I have a strong desire to not only pursue my opportunities locally, but to also start branching out. Wedding photography seems to be my perfect fit and I want to ultimately someday become a travelling wedding photographer. Capturing moments from city to city one click at a time. It's a dream, but I plan to make it a reality.