I began my career as a photographer when my oldest was just over one year old. Though I had been a hobbyist for many years, I felt like I was fumbling in the world of professional photography. Anyone entering into a new field makes mistakes as they navigate their way and I definitely made my fair share. This Spring, I passed the five year mark for my Boston Family Photography business. Reflecting back, here are the top 3 mistakes I made in my early years!
Sure, if you asked me when the best time to shoot was, I would tell you golden hour without missing a beat. But knowing that, and standing my ground when clients gave push-back are two very different things. Golden hour is often not a convenient time to shoot. There are bedtimes, work schedules, commuting times, and naps to work around. When I first started working with clients, I would suggest the ideal time in our initial chat. A large amount of clients would have an objection to the times I suggested. What would I do? Cave. I was afraid they wouldn’t book if I said I couldn’t be flexible. I didn’t have the experience to stand up and tell them the reasons why it would be OKAY and how I handle kids after bedtime.
After those sessions that happened at non-ideal times, I would be kicking myself. Editing would be tough (as it is when you don’t shoot at the proper times), I would want to pull my hair out trying to “fix” poorly lit images after the fact. It took me several years before I mustered up the confidence to stand my ground and confidently offer the times I shoot outdoors as the only options.
One of the biggest of the 3 mistakes I frequently made was continuing to show work that I didn’t want to do. What do I mean by this? When you’re new and your style is not very defined, you get lots of different inquiries. Senior portraits, cake smashes, weddings, engagements, couples sessions, families, posed newborn sessions– you name it! Because I was hungry for business, I often said yes to things that I maybe should not have. I needed the money and surmised that I couldn’t ONLY shoot what I was inspired by in the beginning.
In my opinion, this is partially true. In the beginning, ideal clients were few and far between. Taking some sessions that I wasn’t overly passionate about brought in money and experience. But here’s where I went wrong: I put those images on my social media and my website. Why? I don’t know. I probably felt like I needed more content! What I should’ve done if I didn’t enjoy a particular type of session is deliver it to the client and not display it anywhere.
Let’s say I took a particularly cute photograph of a baby covered in a little frosting during a cake smash. What harm could there be to showing that one image on Instagram in a whole feed? The truth is, it can set you back a fair amount! Potential clients will sometimes hone in on one image they are into. You’ll inevitably get inquiries from people who love/want cake smash sessions. Show only what you love and want to attract.
Do you want snuggly families? Active families? Families who don’t want to look at the camera? Show ONLY THAT.
Out of my 3 biggest mistakes, this is by far the hardest to overcome. When you’re new, you’re nervous. Being a photographer isn’t like a desk job where you can slowly ease in with your morning cup of coffee while you absentmindedly click on some emails. When your session starts, YOU ARE ON. It’s a performance of sorts and you have to run the show like the director of a play. I used to be very nervous during sessions. Nervous that clients would be difficult, that I would forget my pose flow, that I’d do a bad job. Nervous enough that I wouldn’t have the confidence to adjust something that wasn’t working. I felt like maybe that would tell my clients I wasn’t an expert.
Here’s the secret though, adjusting things during a session shows that you ARE an expert! Don’t be afraid to move your client if the light you thought would be good isn’t. Speak up and tell the Dad that the way he’s sitting is not working on camera. Don’t be afraid to come back to a pose later (or never) if the toddler isn’t handling it well. I was afraid and would be disappointed in myself later when I didn’t tell the dad from that session that I meant sit, not squat!
"To say that I love each one would be cliche and a total understatement, but seriously... She nailed it. Being a photographer myself, I am very picky and searched dozens of photographers before coming back to lyndsay and booking her and I am so glad I did. I can't even remember the last time I hired a photographer and was this in love with the images and unable to pick just a few favorites. Thank you, lyndsay, for making the photo session easy (with 3 kids), fun and providing this mama memories for a lifetime.”
"Our images are so special and really captured our joy and the sweet personality of our little girl. Lyndsay did a great job going beyond the typical posed shots and making our photos feel authentic. We will treasure them forever."
- amanda, northborough
"We have done multiple sessions (family and newborn) and we’re so happy with the results. Lyndsay makes you feel comfortable and is able to truly capture the moment. We will have her prints hung in our house for years to come."
- beth - framingham
"We've done it all - newborn, maternity, cake smash, family photos - and every single time we are amazed by the quality of the end product. Lyndsay captures beautiful moments that we will treasure forever!"
- nicole - framingham