In my previous blog, I wrote that towards the end of last year I woke up one morning with the realization that I was about to turn 30 and career wise, I had nothing to show for myself. So I made a decision to do something daring and kind of scary. I decided to get into an industry that is cut throat and hard. However, the benefits, the magic, the absolute joy that comes from doing what I want to do. There is nothing like that. I felt like I could offer something unique to the area that I live in. I started a Photography business.
It started with just a whiff of an idea. It was in September 2016 and a friend of mine called to ask me if I would take pictures of her Wedding Day. I loved the thought of capturing her special day for her and was happy to offer my services. I phoned my mother and asked if I could borrow her Canon EOS Rebel T3. She was hesitant but agreed, and so it began. The wedding was cozy and very sweet with a small group of family and close friends. I enjoyed arriving before the ceremony to take pictures while the bride got dressed and following her journey to the altar, as well as their lovely ceremony. I sadly left before the dancing and other events took place because we had a very long drive home and I was not the driver that day.
Next came a phone call from my very best friend, Sara wanting to take engagement photos with her soon to be husband and her son. I was ecstatic to be a part of something I find very special. I have been her friend since we were Freshmen in High School and to be part of her special occasion was a wonderful experience. So, off we went on an adventure to Marshall, IN. I loved taking their pictures and sharing their special day in beautiful moments. I have also had the pleasure of taking her pictures during her first alterations appointment for her dress (however, I am not allowed to post those until the wedding. The groom has not seen her dress yet :D)
After those two sessions, I realized how much I truly enjoyed taking pictures. My mother, allowed me to keep her camera and gave me all of the lens, batteries, chargers, cases, and books she had for the whole camera. I was shocked that she allowed me to keep her camera. She loves photography as much as I do. She is who I got my love of photography from. When she allowed me to keep her camera (on loan until I can afford my own. I don’t care what she says about me keeping it) it opened up huge doors for me. She stated that she wanted to be my silent partner. She has helped me so much with purchases. Things like cute knit newborn outfits, backdrops, and my business cards. When I decided that I wanted to start an actual photography business she was the one I called and sat talking with one night trying to come up with a name. During that conversation, I kept coming back to FeyWild. I lived my life being surrounded by magic and fairies because my mother created that life for me. Fairies are also called Fey creatures and since they live in the wilderness I thought it was the perfect name to stir thoughts of magic and beauty in others. In other words, FeyWild Photography was born.
Since graduating from High school I have done exactly three things with my life: Wedding, Veterinary, and Photography. These particular skills, I feel, make me unique qualified to work in the private photography field especially because the main aspect of photography that I want to do is Birth Photography. I gained the skills for photography in general from my mother, any other things that I learned came from working in a studio. The Veterinary industry is tough, anyone that tells you differently isn’t actually in it. Emotionally and physically it is tough. When I got into the industry I had the bright idea to go out and start working in an Emergency Vet office. I had no idea what I was doing or how to even learn how to do. To this day, I do not know why the office manager hired me, but she did and I am forever grateful. When I started I will never forget the emotional fatigue that came with the job. Coming home and sobbing myself to sleep because of stupid mistakes that ended with the death of furry loved ones was a difficult pill to swallow, but I learned how to put the feelings somewhere else and do my job. I feel like those skills would and will aid me well, again especially in birth photography because I can put my feelings and my emotions aside because I learned how to do that. I can, quite literally, be the fly on the wall photographer that I am paid to be. Lastly, I loved working in the wedding industry. I did everything from event planning, to dress finding, to color planning. However, the thing that I loved the most was helping a girl find the dress of her dreams. I loved seeing her face and watching her friends laugh and smile. I was able to share in a special moment without exactly participating (like being a photographer). All of these jobs and these 11 years of being out of high school and being in customer service the whole time led me down a single path, FeyWild Photography.
I decided to start a Facebook page, talk to my personal Doctor, who is also an OBGYN, talk to my florist friend, and of course, talk to my mother. I started laying down plans for what I wanted to accomplish. I created a name, I decided on a look that I wanted for the face of my business, and I knew the people that I wanted to talk to first. My mother was the smartest of them all, she said I needed business cards and my florist friend said between those and facebook I was doing it exactly right. It is all about getting your name out there and developing a relationship with the public that then develops into a reputation. I asked my husband to draw a picture of a fairy mom and baby silhouette and then make the background purple with light. It was a hard concept to explain but he figured it out and I am very happy with the business cards he helped me create. Next came the networking, something that I can thank my wedding industry days for teaching me how to do. I talked to people that I knew and when that helped me feel more confident I started branching out into the people that I could possibly build a relationship with. Event Halls, Hospitals, and Birthing Centers phone numbers were written down, emails were sent out, and plans were and are continuing to be made. The hardest part about going out to places that you have never been to is the whole “selling yourself” part. I didn’t want to come off like a sales rep, but I also wanted to make sure they knew that I was here to establish a business in the area. First up was Sacred Roots Midwifery and a meeting with their Office Manager, Kate W. I was so nervous I realized at one point I was rambling and mentally told myself to shut up. Thankfully after leaving, I came home to find that I had received a text message from her asking if we could meet for coffee the next day because she had some ideas she wanted to discuss.
“You have something different. I saw it when we talked yesterday. It is why I wanted to meet and talk about some options and get to know you.” It was nice to hear that, even when you are so nervous you aren’t really sure what to say to “sell yourself” to the buyer but you want to be clear that you are offering something worth buying. However, that is what was said to me when I met with Kate W., a local Doula when she’s not working as an Office Manager, that wanted to work together to offer a very nice package for mommies. It was a pretty big moment in my life that was topped off with a wonderful message from my Doctor telling me that she had booked two mothers’ that wanted me to take their pictures for their births. It was the highlight of my business starting moments to date.
Many of my friends and family know that I have been without a cell phone for seven months. During that time it was very difficult to get in touch with me but I learned to make it work. When I decided to start a business my husband wound up being the receiving end of many phone calls and my endless nattering to keep the ringer on his phone on just in case someone called to speak to me. Thankfully, I will soon be making more business cards with the correct phone number on them at some point because I finally was able to get my upgraded cell phone. Thank goodness for technology.
I have a lot of ideas bouncing around in my head about different ways to network. I recently got in touch with “Perfect Wedding Guide” here in Indiana and I was able to get a listing on their website as an Event/Wedding Photographer. I plan on contacting them to discuss coming to a show to be a vendor. I have a six-month goal, a year goal, and a three-year goal. If after all of that time I am actually becoming a full blown business woman I am heading to a planned five-year plan. I current goal is the six-month goal and I feel like I will hit my mark. I have a lot of networking goals and plenty of ideas that keep rolling around in my mind.
I think my biggest selling point is AFFORDABLE photography. You still get the same level of photography as some of the larger more well known private photographers but for, what I think, is much more affordable. The people that I have talked to agree with my pricing and stand behind my ideas. I can’t wait to get my name out there and make beautiful memories that will last long after the moments the capture.
Stay tuned for more. Thank you for reading.