Happy Birthday KCM Photography!

I honestly can't believe it. I've officially been a business owner for a full year! One year ago today I registered my business, did all the super un-fun legal things, made a website, and landed my first paying client! When I picked up my camera back in 2015, I never imagined I would be where I am today. Even a month before I started my business I didn't think it was the path for me. Kyle and I spent a lot of time discussing what I was going to do after I left my 9-5, and we primarily discussed that photography might not be the way to go. But when the opportunity fell at my feet, I couldn't say no, and of course he supported me in my pursuit of a career that made me passionate and excited to go to "work" every day.

I learned so many incredible things in my first year of having a photography business! This endeavor has challenged me in unimaginable ways as a mother, spouse, professional, and as a creative spirit. To commemorate KCM Photography's first birthday, I decided to share my top three lessons from the past year with you!

My first "official" session was a military promotion ceremony!

What I Learned in My First Year of Business Lesson 1:

Accept that you cannot know everything and always be open to learning

Starting a business is really scary. You're the one in charge of everything - there's no buck to pass, no scapegoats, no one else to take responsibility. Maintaining a learning mindset to both the business and photography sides of things was incredibly helpful for me. When I didn't know something, I searched for answers. If a client had a question I didn't know the answer to, I told them I didn't have an answer and that I would find one for them ASAP. Acknowledging that I was not an expert in photography or owning a business allowed me to give myself some grace when I was lost, confused, or made a mistake.

Being open to learning opportunities, whether as a creative or a businessperson, made a massive impact on my first year in business. I took advantage of every free course or resource I could find on the Internet. When I found teachers and formats I liked, I went all-in, absorbing as much knowledge as they could reasonably provide. When I couldn't find a course or video or other resource, I had a great community of fellow photographers to rely on to answer my questions or point me in the right direction. Which brings me to second biggest lesson of the year...

I learned a lot about composition, lighting, and editing - this was one of my first sessions...

...and this is from last week! What an incredible difference a year of learning makes!

What I Learned in My First Year of Business Lesson 2:

Community over competition is crucial to being a businessowner

Community over competition might be on it's way to being overused, but in a supremely competitive field like photography, it is SO necessary. I was fortunate over the past year to find some incredible photography mentors and friends. From my photog bestie, Jessica, who has been a second shooter for me and collaborated with me on multiple styled shoots, to Amanda, who gave me a plethora of opportunities to gain experience and answered all my questions even though she has so much on her own plate. I am so grateful to every photographer who has crossed my path this year and has this mindset. The ability to bounce ideas off each other, learn from those with more experience, and have a space to share the agonies of being a creative entrepreneur is essential to being successful and maintaining your mental health as a businessowner.

BTS while second shooting with Amanda Berry Photography

Me and Jess after a fun styled shoot!

BTS on a styled shoot with Jessica Albert Photography

What I Learned in My First Year of Business Lesson 3:

Have a solid understanding of your priorities

My first fall as a photographer had me drowning. I didn't expect things to be as busy as they were since I was so new, but I was also accepting every opportunity that came my way. After about two months of high stress and feeling like I was never seeing my family, I knew something had to change. I spent much of the slow season listening to Priority Pursuit, a podcast with one of my all-time favorite photographers, Victoria Rayburn. In the very first episode, Victoria walks you through a simple exercise for determining your priorities as a creative entrepreneur. Doing this exercise for myself allowed me to prioritize the types and number of sessions I was willing to take on in order to keep Kyle, Jude, and Bo at the top of my list every single day.

My top priorities - all day, every day

Here's to More Years!

Starting your own business is not for the faint of heart, especially in a creative industry like photography. But being willing to learn, building relationships with others in your field, and knowing your priorities makes it all a little bit easier. I'm so grateful for the friends I've made, the resources I've found, and most of all for my family for their endless love and support of me and my business. I can't wait to share lessons I learn from year two of KCM with you!