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My 25 Biggest Mistakes

I’ve made many, many more than 25 mistakes in my 5 years in this industry, but these are some of the ones that affected my business the most. If anyone of them can help any of you from making the same mistake, I’m glad to share them. Some of them may be surprising, and some of them may be so obvious you are considering me an idiot right about now. I’m ok with that.

In no particular order:

Taking on too many “free” sessions. This is a lesson that I most recently learned, and am still recovering from. I love to give to charities, and I love to expand my portfolio, and I love to give photography to my friends. However, all of this “love” has added up to a backlog that I am only now recovering from after taking some time off from shooting. I am still editing free sessions from November, and *just* finished one from September. So what, you ask? It was free! Yes, but now my reputation is suffering because I will be forever known to these people as the photographer that takes forever to get your images to you. They don’t care that it was free. They care that they actually HAVE the photographs.

Letting emails sit in my inbox. My automatic email responder tells people who inquire about a session that I will respond within 24 hours. But for the longest time, I was taking 3-4 days to get back to people, and even (gasp!) sometimes forgetting about the email at all and not finding it for weeks afterwards. Whoa. Bad, bad business practices. After getting my 5th or 6th response from potential clients who had already booked with someone else, I smartened up. I try to email back immediately after getting the email. Clients like that. And I like having clients.

Not having confidence in my work. If you haven’t really talked to me in about 3 years, you would be amazed with the change. When I was first starting out, I had very little confidence in my work. I put on a brave face with clients, but I was constantly comparing myself to other photographers, and falling short. Even when I had been in business for awhile, doubts plagued me. Now I’m not saying that today I think I’m a rockstar, but I believe in myself and I know that I can do whatever I set my mind to. I can be just as good as anybody else.

Buying too many actions/templates/etc. I have about 20 different coffee table book templates. Guess what? I have not, nor will ever offer coffee table books. WHY on earth would I even buy one template, let alone 20? Obviously because I like throwing my money away. Now I think carefully about every single business purchase I make.

Hiding. This is a personality flaw I’ve always had. When things got overwhelming, I hid. There’s a part in book Confessions of a Shopaholic where she just runs away from all her debt, etc and hides at her parents’ house. That’s me. Whenever I felt overwhelmed, I would just stick my head in the sand and pretend things weren’t happening. As you can guess, things don’t get better on their own, and you can create some pretty upset tummies by hiding out from your problems. Now, as hard as it is to do – I know that it’s just so much better to confront everything head on.

Thinking Photoshop could save me. When I started shooting RAW, I was in love with the fact that I didn’t need to custom white-balance anymore. I could just shoot and fix it later. Exposure problems? Oh well, fix it later! Except if you don’t get it right or nearly right in-camera, good luck getting a great image out of Photoshop. Oh, it can look ok . . . but do you really want to be sweating out your ordering appointment worried that they are going to choose something that was overly “fixed” in PS and might not be enlarged well? Which leads me to –

Showing clients less than awesome images. Crap exposure, weird color, missed focus. You know the minute that you put ANY image with those problems in a gallery, a client will order it. Big. HUGE! And then you can either give them a substandard product, explain to them that they can’t have the image they want, or convince them to get a canvas (heh heh). I’ve learned to save myself the headache and get rid of those images right away. Now that’s not to say that I still won’t show something with more emotion than technical perfection. But any imperfections have to be pretty minor.

Laziness. By nature, I am a lazy person. I work from my bed more than I really should admit. I love doing nothing – I love not working. It’s true! Thankfully, I love working at this particular job, so it counteracts my inherent laziness. But, I will leave things to the last minute and procrastinate and not get any work done and play Cafe World on Facebook and look at engagement rings at (I am already married and not likely to get engaged anytime soon.) Then I have a whole pile of work that has built up and I have to work really, really hard and I get stressed and it stinks. So I just try to plug through my to-do list everyday and schedule my laziness for appropriate times.

Laziness. Part Two. Laziness on the job. Every so often, I slip into a rut, and I stop trying new things at sessions. I go through the motions, get the usual shots and try to get the heck out of there. The clients don’t really know any differently – it doesn’t show in my personality or anything, but I’m just not that into it. I don’t feel inspired and just hit my go-to shots and then pack it up. I try now to find little things to inspire me for every session. Either a new blanket for a newborn, and new trick to make older kids laugh, or a new location. It’s up to ME to put the creativity into my photography.

Pretending I’m not a business person. If you are in business, you are a business person. I don’t care how creative you are – someone’s got to think of the biz side. If not you, then someone else. I used to only do the things I liked and let the other stuff slide. But it turns out that other stuff is kinda important, and can kill your business if you don’t take care of it. Like knowing if you are making any money. Again, leading me to:

Taxes. I am going to admit something that hopefully won’t land me in federal prison. I didn’t do taxes for 2 years. 2 years. I did my usual procrastination, then hiding routine. For two whole stinkin’ years! Imagine the knot in my stomach, always having that in the back of my mind. I had no idea what I had made, no idea what I owed, and it was making me SICK. But one day I just honestly smacked myself upside the head and bought QuickTax. It took me about 2 hours to do everything, and it was DONE!
My challenge these days is getting my taxes in on time each year. I still owe a $23 penalty from last year. I will write the cheque after this post. I promise.

I put a baby in a tree. On purpose. Against my better judgement, I had a parent suggest it, and I complied. The dad was behind the baby holding it and hiding behind the trunk. But it was still a stupid and dangerous thing to do. I completely and totally regret it. I did it because I wanted to impress other photographers. Now I don’t even SHOW that image to other people because I am so embarrassed by it.

Letting people take advantage of me. I’m Canadian, therefore I am a nice, polite, person. Which means that sometimes people try to push me around. They can try.
Because after having a couple of people push me to bend policies and then getting severely burned by doing so, I don’t let myself get pushed around anymore. I still give great customer service, and almost always say yes – but sometimes those yes’es have price tags that I attach. If something is going to take me extra time to do and it’s outside the norm of what I offer, then I will charge for it accordingly. There’s a great saying about bending over backwards, not forwards.Also, for those of you involved in commercial photography – this is practically an epidemic. Because there are so many photographers willing to shoot for peanuts because they think it’s “exciting”, more and more companies will try to lowball you for jobs. DON’T LET THEM. Know what your rates should be, and if you don’t – get FotoQuote or get out of shooting commercial projects.

I used to pay A LOT of attention to my local competition. So much so that I could tell you what hex code they used on the text on the footer of their blog. In other words, too much attention. I still think that a knowledge of your local market is smart for ANY business, I think photographers can get wrapped up in each other way too easily. When you look at another photographer’s site, there’s just no way to be objective. You are always going to find locations that are cooler, shots that are better, prices that are lower. It did me no good to get tied up in knots about stuff like that, and it didn’t inspire me to be a better photographer. More like a bitter photographer.

Studio Envy. I will admit that I still get studio envy every so often, have you SEEN Danna’s? I’d love to be able to not have to drive all over creation to get to a session, I’d love to have that professionalism that comes with having a space. However, with money being important to me and the lease prices being crazy expensive in Calgary (about 3K a month for 1000sqft, not including insurance, electricity, utilities, parking, furnishings, etc) it just doesn’t make a lot of financial sense for me to do it. Yes, I could take more sessions, and yes, my sales would be higher with the in-person ordering. At the moment though, with my youngest daughter still two years away from school, I don’t have the time to devote to being there. It’s just a financial risk that I am not willing to take right now. I am more about keeping the money for awesome vacations than paying “the man” every month.

Overexposing in my processing. I went through a phase for about a year, where everything I did was SO FREAKING BRIGHT. I have no idea why, except at the time I thought it was awesome. I took some shots of my Filipino friends, and after I processed them, they looked more caucasian than I do! Bright, light skin doesn’t look natural, and while it is a look, it’s not one that I am going for anymore.

Underexposing in my shooting. What the heck was I doing for awhile there where all my images were so dark in-camera? Maybe that’s why I was over-processing them later. All my images for a period were underexposed by at least a stop, requiring me to adjust exposure later in RAW and introduce more noise to the image. Now I tend to overexpose slightly if anything, because an overexposed RAW file is much easier to recover and process than an underexposed one.

Message boards. I still visit some photography forums, but I don’t devote the hours upon hours that I used to. Forums like ILP and Props can have a wealth of knowledge, but also a wealth of other stuff that will suck away your time. Maybe it’s because I don’t have as much to learn, but I don’t spend a lot of time on forums anymore, which makes me a lot more productive. If you can keep your participation to a level where it’s not damaging your overall time management, then have at ‘er. Just know what threads are worthwhile. And make sure you try to keep giving back what you get.

Believing the hype. I used to get sucked into believing pretty much everything I heard. A photographer with an average sale of 13K. Someone who was traveling all over the world to shoot babies. Someone who is so freaking awesome that you pale in comparison. Just remember that we all try to make ourselves look great, it’s good PR. We all want to look cooler than we are, busier than we are, more successful than we are. So if you’re told that your “frenemy” just booked 15 NBA triplet sessions for next week, just smile and wink. Who knows? Your next blog post of the amazing home and kids with designer duds may just be of your sister-in-law that you begged to let you shoot her family for free so you could put it on your site. I won’t tell if you won’t.

Feeling guilty. I actually feel that guilt is a pretty wasted emotion. You made a mistake, learn from it and move on. Your guilt isn’t helping anyone. For reals.

Not backing up properly. “I’m not a wedding photographer” I said. “I can go back and do a reshoot” I thought. Fine, maybe you can. But do you WANT to? I’d much rather spend the extra 10 minutes making an extra backup than the hours of a reshoot and re-edit. Oh my gosh, the stress of trying to recover images. Now I back-up my computer with Time Machine, with BackBlaze online, with an external hard-drive AND with DVDs. Excessive? Maybe. Safe? Definitely.

Getting rid of files. I tell my clients that I keep ordered files for one year. I had a client from 3 years prior want to purchase her digital files and I only had one copy of them, and it was on a busted hard drive. Bummer to lose out on that sale. But hurrah, I also had it on disc! If I had tossed those files to save “room” (and COME ON, how much room does it take to save the files?) I wouldn’t have that extra money in my pocket. Now I try to save everything. It’s like free money sometimes.

Being too much of a fluffer. Tissue paper, fancy cards, expensive things sent to the clients before they pay me a dime. I know this works for other people and that is awesome. I get the whole “boutique” studio thing. I however, want money. Cold hard cash, and I want to keep my bottom line as low as possible. So I carefully research what products give me the best look to match my branding, and discard the rest. I still have a lot of cool packaging and products, but I’m also as green as possible – making killer .pdfs to send instead of fancy triple tri-folded welcome cards. I still have a case of tiny silver tins that I thought would be great for wallets, but they are actually too small because I didn’t bother to match the measurements. Any ideas?

Listening to my husband. He’s a smart guy, maybe almost as smart as me. He owns a company. He runs a business. But he has no stinking idea about MY business. Don’t get me wrong, he gives me lots of good advice. Lots of common sense advice. But he never really can give me specific advice or ideas about this biz, because he’s #1 – not in it, and #2 – not a woman and not a mom. Before you yell at me for being sexist, think about who your clients are. If they are not overwhelmingly women, you are tricking me and not actually a baby photographer. Because the people we are targeting are moms, are women. And last I checked, my husband was neither. He just doesn’t think like women do, men tend to think with their heads while women think with their hearts. So while his advice and ideas are always practical, they are never emotional – and that’s what we need to tap into to succeed in this particular business.

Not sharing and not caring. I am not a private person. I have a big blabbermouth and I love to talk. Back when I was still listening to him, my husband was constantly telling me to stop telling my photog friends (online and in real life) all the awesome things I was doing. That I needed to keep it to myself, or someone would come along and steal it. And guess what, people HAVE come along and stolen stuff. And I got bent out of shape, I got really mad, I even once yelled at someone on the phone. Gross. Being afraid of sharing, being afraid of friends and being afraid of people in general is not how I want to live my life. AT ALL. So now I share, and I share as much as I can. This blog, and the mentoring we’ve been doing has been such a gift to me. I love thinking up all the things I can share, and I love seeing other photographers grow. And now no one can steal anything from me. Because I give it all away and that’s MY choice.

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  • Melissa - Thank-you, thank-you, thank-you! I really needed to hear this today. With starting a new business I have felt and still feel all of this emotions and find it overwhelming at times. I appreciate your willingness to share and mentor. I can’t wait to meet you and Danna tonight!

  • denise olson - a good read with my morning coffee….thank you!!!!! šŸ™‚

  • - wow~ loved this post! thanks so much to both of you for being so giving!!!!!!! I feel the love šŸ™‚

  • Vanessa Day - Wow! Excellent post Brandy. I see my own mistakes a little more clearly now. And you are a rockstar.

  • Chantelle Turgeon - I hear you Melissa! And Brandy….. WOW, you are an amazing person to have gone through what you have gone through and now to share it with us, is truly a gift! I have felt and feel so many of your 25 things BUT to hear that someone as amazing as you has gone through it too, gives me confidence that I too can do it! I just wanted to Thank-you from the bottom of the heart for sharing this with us! You are truly a giving person….. and I look forward to all your wisdom in the future!

  • Marla Carter - AWESOME post!!!!

  • Alisha - Thank you SO much for this post!! I am new to the business and still have a lot to learn and I am guilty of doing several of the things listed above. Glad to see I am not alone and I will be able to grow from this. Thanks a million!

  • Simone - THANK YOU SO MUCH for this post. I’ve have been feeling so discouraged and overwhelmed lately. A lot of what you said has made the light go on and will now change my thinking and bring some confidence back. Thank you for being so open and generous with your thoughts and business sense. Totally appreciate it.

  • Shannon - really great advice. A lot of it hits home. A lot of it.

  • Brandi - Fab post – can identify with each of your points! Thanks for sharing šŸ™‚

  • Jennifer - Guilty as charged with most of these. Thank you very much for sharing these with us.

  • Virginia Booth - Brandi, thank you for sharing your mistakes. Now I know I’m not alone. I’ve made quite a few of the same ones you have! We all appreciate your willingness to share!

  • Cara - I think you may have read my mind. Crazy.

  • Shona - Oh how I can identify…I know you’re doing mentoring, but how ’bout therapy? ha!

  • Martha - Brandi, this is awesome! It’s so nice to know that I’m not the only one who’s had issues like this. You rock!

  • Lacy Dagerath - First of all.. LOVE your logo… and I love that you took the time to sit down and write out what you’ve figured out works FOR your business and works against you… About the tins.. Im not sure what size your tin is… but I just ordered rep cards from millers (not my main lab but i thought these little cards were super fun) for a show I did and they were a HUGE hit… they are smaller than wallets… Look into those and see if they will fit your tins! šŸ™‚

  • Susannah - Brandy, I totally agree on #22! A bunch of my ballet photos were tossed in the trash by a well meaning volunteer and I was devastated. They were taken 13 years ago. The photographer is going to make a mint if he can find them- I’ll do just about anything to have them back. Plus it means so much to your clients if they have lost their memories and you can restore them!

  • Danielle - Yup…I’m also glad to know that I’m not alone with a lot of these!! Great post!!

  • jasmine johnson - Oh it’s so sad that we ALL live through so many of these mistakes. Love this post, thanks!

  • Becky - Everything you said was spot on!!!!Thank you for your willingness to share your wealth of knowledge about the good, the bad and the ugly! šŸ™‚

  • emily - thank you!!! nice to know i am not alone. thanks for posting it.

  • Teresa - Brandy, your honesty and willingness to share make you a rock star! Thanks for this post.

  • Carrie Owens - seriously…I could have written this ENTIRE post. Word for word.

  • Robyn - Thanks Brandi! This is a fantastic post. Makes me see a lot clearer and feel a bit better about how I am doing!!

  • Kyla Gibson - Perfectly put,it made me laugh and I know all too well these same mistakes have and are being made by myself,maybe you have saved me from some of the others,the tree is the one that me laugh the most,not the dangerous part of course but the fact that sometimes we try to outdo the norm ending in “tree sessions”!!

  • Carrie Owens - well…maybe not the tree and the taxes šŸ™‚

  • Shannon S - Great advice and so true (most of it nailed me on the head!).

  • Katie Mosley - Awesome post! Thanks for sharing!

  • Lisa Turner - Stop it. That was the best darn post EVER! Every.single. one rang true for me. For reals.

  • Sarah Anderson - It takes a lot of courage to be vulnerable Brandy, your post is inspiring!

  • Sam - Holy cow, this post was awesome! I am so amazed at your openness. I appreciate the sincere “warnings” and also feel good knowing that I’m not the only one to make some of these mistakes. Thank you!!

  • Heather Rivlin - Love it Brandy, gonna go and link to it on FB cause I think others should read it too!! Can’t wait to see you in Vegas šŸ™‚

  • Stacy W. - Awesome, Brandy!!!!!

  • Jennifer O. - Thanks for this awesome post! I’m not a photog but I took a lot of great things from it to apply to my own business! šŸ™‚

  • Jana Kunz - OMG, I could have wrote this!! It is so nice to see people thinking like you once in a while, I don’t feel so alone anymore, LOL.

  • Leah Kirin - Great advice. Thank you and thanks to Heather Rivlin for posting on FB!

  • Season Moore - Huzzah!

  • Jennifer Stafford - Holy crap! I could have written that WORD. FOR. WORD. Except I’m still IN all thos situations. I haven’t yet passed them. Thanks for such an awesome post šŸ™‚

  • joy vertz - You are fabulous! Thanks for your honesty.. (and vulnerabilty and humility) You rock.

  • Kristi Larson - Thank you for your honesty. Awesome post.

  • Tanja - Thank you so much.. love reading this.. and just have to say, you rock girl šŸ™‚

  • Dawn - This article came at the right time. I am passing it on to my other photog friend because it is the type of encouragement we are looking for.

  • Kim K. - This was an awesome read! Thank you for sharing!!

  • Karen Gowen - Thanks – I am in complete agreement with your list of don’ts. I especially believe in sharing and caring! You are awesome.

  • MaryAnn T - This is awesome!!! Thank you for your honesty, and I totally agree with everything (except the taxes, ouch!)

  • laura - FABULOUS read! i loved every single one of ’em and can mark off I’m not alone in them anymore either šŸ™‚ i saw use those wallet tins for cute candy containers you can gift at Easter!

  • kenya - Been there, done that! Great post!

  • Kim - Wonderful.. this was awesome..thank you..

  • Ali Mocabee - Ditto Kim K….awesome read! Thanks for sharing! I think I will find a way to post and share it too.

  • Sari - I can relate to so much of this. Thank you for sharing!

  • Brooke - This was really neat to read and I can relate to every single one! Thank you for sharing!

  • Peggy Stroh - Really great post Brandy! I can relate to a lot of your points.

  • Jules - so well said and so true! thank you!!!

  • Kassia - Can I just say thank-you… thank-you for your honesty and for posting this šŸ™‚ I received this link from no less than two photog friends… we’ve all LOVED reading this šŸ™‚

  • Erin S. - Fabulous insight and advice. Thanks so much šŸ™‚

  • Joyce - Pure awesomeness and so true!!!!

  • Michelle Stone - Thanks for the awesome read (and some laughs too). šŸ™‚ Really though, thanks for sharing!!!

  • Lisa H. Chang - Wow ~ this is a great post! I found your blog from “Hey Girl, Nice Shot” and look forward to spending more time on here. šŸ™‚

  • jackie - great post, thanks for sharing, makes me feel so much better as i can relate to every one of those you posted!

  • Laura - Love this post, thank you for sharing!! I’ve already made a few of these but I think I can avoid a few now too šŸ™‚

  • Michele (Pinkle Toes) - outstanding!

  • Je Neuhaus - You seriously rock. Your candor and your sharing are such gifts, thank you.

  • bree @ breeze designs - Thank you for your honesty! xo
    Fantastic pointers and well written =D

  • Jen Jesseph - What an awesome post! Thanks so much for being so honest and open, it feels great to know I am not the only one who has made these mistakes. I love your outlook and attitude, it will carry you far!

  • TaraMc - What a great post. I can so relate to many of these.

  • Myla - i just had this overwhelming urge to back up my computer. . .while waiting for it to do so, i was reading your blog. . .wow! really great lessons to learn! thank you so much for caring enough to share!!! much much much appreciated for those of us just beginning!!! šŸ™‚ . .and i won’t ever delay in backing up my stuff! šŸ™‚

  • Stacy - Perfectly said!

  • Elise - WOW!! Not only did I actually laugh out loud at times, I continually shook my head, “yes” almost the entire time! It’s nice to know I’m not alone in all of my “mistakes!” And I love the part about listening to your husband and all the hype. So true! And oh, I have spent soooo much time procrastinating! Once, when I had less than a day to finish editing a session, I spent OVER AN HOUR on Tiffany’s website putting together my own unique “right hand ring” combinations! (By the way, if you haven’t tried that, you should! It was a lot of fun and a great way to waste time!)

  • Julie Zackery - Such a great article!! Thanks for sharing!!

  • Carrie S - Oh wow…awesome post! So many things I was nodding my head to saying “yup, that was me”

  • Jeri - Thank you so much for this post! I had to chuckle at a few since I’ve been there, done that! šŸ™‚

  • Christina P. - Buying too many actions and templates, putting a baby a newborn {per parents request} in an unsafe situation, {real estate} business savy hubbie thinking he knows how to run a photog business giving lame advice and wasting way too much time on message boards {clickinmoms}, I think you wrote this post for me! Thanks!

  • Alison - Love It!!!!! You hit all 25 right on the head!!!!!

  • CC - We are exactly alike! I had so many light bulb moments!
    Thank you – I need to read that!!!

  • Vinita - Thank you for being honest and sharing so much!

  • Christina - LOVE this! Thank you!!

  • lynda - i love this post! and thank you for this post! it’s so relieving to know that all the fears and doubts i feel are shared and someone else has been here before. now the task is to get past it and believe in myself! šŸ™‚ thank you for this, so much!

  • Beira - awesome post! thank you for sharing your wisdom.

  • Susan - I so needed to read this today. Thank you for sharing. I can honestly say that after 3 years I’ve made the same 24 of your 25 mistakes (the only one I didn’t make was the taxes thing… but I won’t mention it to anyone else). It gives me hope that we all can bounce back from these issues and become successful! Thank you for sharing!!

  • Tasha - Love your post! I laugh because I see so much of myself in what you write. Thank you for sharing, and allowing the rest of us to see the “weaknesses” of the business that I think we all experience at one time or another :o)

  • Ashleigh Wells - Thank you soooo much!!! The past few months I have totally been coming to the realization that I have been making these EXACT same mistakes. Except for taking on too many free sessions. I took on WAYYYYY too many and am backlogged from MAY…yep. May! I really needed to read that I’m not alone and that things can be changed so thank you thank you thank you!

  • Lisa Youngblood - Thanks so much for giving us this! You can put jellybeans in those tins and wrap with raffia, give to kids for Easter sessions. Just and Idea! šŸ™‚

  • Kathy - A W E S O M E ~~
    Thanks for sharing!!

  • Emily - LOVE love love this!!! I laughed out loud through this whole post. You are awesome and I so relate to all 25 of these!! Thanks for sharing šŸ™‚

  • Marcene - Wow, thanks for sharing! I know I’ve done some and/or many of those things.

  • gina@kiwistreetstudios - ok, i am totally new to your blog, and i LOVE what i just read! totally awesome and i’m sure a complete refection on you!
    kudos for sharing and telling and giving…because it’s YOUR choice!!!!!

  • Pam Powell - Wow, I could have written half of that! Thanks for sharing. I don’t feel so bad anymore. I am not alone! šŸ˜‰
    And, please keep sharing!

  • Kylie - Thankyou!

  • courtney - Wow. Just amazing article!! I’m embarrassed to admit how much I can relate to so many of these at one point or another in my career!

  • Jade Sheldon - Wow, thank you for all the awesome tips!!

  • Becca Doughty - Thank you SO much for sharing! Seriously…there is SO much to relate to in this blog and I can’t tell you enough how much I appreciate the honesty. I couldn’t help but giggle every time I read something that has weighed heavy on me! Thank you … thank you!

  • Domenica - Thanks for being so candid. Great points, and I appreciate you sharing them. šŸ™‚

  • Angie - Thank you! I am new to all of this, not even sure how far I’ll even attempt to go, but it is so inspiring and a real confidence booster to know that there are people like you that actually want others to grow and succeed. Impressive stuff!

  • Angie Higa - Very well written, thanks for your insite šŸ™‚

  • brandi t. - GREAT post. I really needed to read that!

  • Jackie Hutchinson - I love this post! Thanks, and I can’t wait tp meet you if you come to the Calgary meet up!

  • Carrie - This was a great read! Thank you so much for sharing!

  • Robin - wow wow wow! Thanks so much for posting this! You hit the nail on the head girl! I think I could have written this list myself! šŸ™‚

  • Michelle Tanner - Did you write this post about me???? šŸ˜‰ Thanks for this post!!

  • Kim DeLoach - I think I’ll take this list on a canvas wrap, please…needs to be in my face over and over again! ALL soooo true! Thanks for sharing!

  • annmarie - Thank you SO much for making me laugh. It’s like you read my mind. The tax part especially cracked me up. Thank you for sharing.

  • Heather Messmer - Awesome post, thank you for sharing.

  • Petra King - Wicked and AMEN…many thanks for how to stay focused. A lot rings true for me as well. Thanks for helping to keep things simple!

  • Jennifer - OMG! I REALLY needed this read!!! Thank you so much for taking the time to write this! I would LOVE to share this link with others i know! Thank you for this!

  • Amber - I am slowly coming out from under my desk because I am ashamed that I checked all 25 things…I am right there with you!

  • Melissa Dunstan - Wow, it’s like we’re long, lost identical twins! Thank you so much for sharing this, it’s been such a relief to know that I’m not the only one that has made mistakes!

  • Meaghan - Awesome post! Totally perfect!…. Almost like you were inside my head diagnosing all of the things I struggle with! Each point totally resonates with me. šŸ™‚

  • joy stclaire - Wonderful post! It brought smiles, nods of my head and some new insights! Thanks!

  • Stacey - THANK YOU! I needed to hear that so badly this morning. Everything on your list I sat here and nodded “yes, I do that” to. I appreciate the share and now I’m going to pay it forward!

  • Harold - Thanks for the great advice and bearing your soul. All things we have and or will face in our own work. Sometimes it was like looking in a mirror. This could apply to all creatives.

  • Dawn Norris - Ahhhhhh – The truth shall set us all free! Love this – and with more gratitude than I can express in a comment – Exhaling over this:) Thank you:)

  • Gisela Olsson - so,so right. Thank you for putting it so bluntly and correct! its so easy to get carried away and not listen to ones intuition.

  • Liberty Nobles - WOW!!! I am reading this and it’s me! All the mistakes and insecurities. Especialy about comparing myself to others,not enough confidence, and giving things away for free to get business. I always thought “things” were holding me back but all along it’s ME. Thanks so much for this!!

  • Jennifer Howell - WOW, thanks for being bold and posting this! Very encouraging, and believe me, I needed that right now…So many of these relate to me as well…again, thanks! :O)

  • Jen Madigan Photography - Thank you so much for sharing your insight, it has been so helpful!!

  • Justina - It is so refreshing to be able to read and share things in such a candid way. Sometimes it feels lonely in such a competitive field, but I agree that sharing and building relationships with other photogs is super healthy. I also loved reading about the baby in the tree…Isn’t it funny that we can go to extremes to push the envelope creatively. Good reminder to not!

  • Candice - I am a Grande Prairie Photography and haha i have to say besides putting a baby in a tree – You and I sound an awful lot alike – down to the husbands! This was a GREAT article!!!!


  • J'Lynn - What a fabulous post. I LUV #8….I too find at random times cruising the aisles. HAHA

  • Stephanie - What a fabulous read. Thanks for sharing. I was shaking my head in agreement and smiling with ever line. I wish I had had this to read 2-3 years ago!

  • Kelli Kalish - Loved this! I felt like I was writing it..great and to the point! Thanks for the info and for sharing!!

  • Leya - Thanks so much. You are a wonderful writer. I too feel like we have too much in common.

  • Victoria - I think I’ve already had my 25 and your #1 is also on my list (as well as the other 24)! I should have my husband read #24…..soooooo true! Thank you for sharing this. šŸ™‚

  • Jessica - Just fabulous!

  • Sheri - What a great post! Thanks for sharing!

  • Sabrina Bowen - Wow…every one of these speaks to me! Thanks for putting it all out there! šŸ™‚

  • Amy F - You should’ve seen me, I looked like a bobble-head doll the entire time I read this. IT’s so me! Thanks for reminding me that I’m not a freak for these!

  • Marcia - I have been so afraid to write like this because I figured that I would piss people off. However you will only be happy when you are being yourself. You had me cracking up and it is such great advice!

  • Laura - What a GREAT post! I love your lessons and have made many of them myself. I am smack dab in the middle of many of them so reading this was a nice reminder of some of the things I need to improve on in 2010.

  • Melissa - I am going to print this and put it in my office. GREAT GREAT advice! Wish I had an idea for your tins!

  • Becca - AMAZING post! šŸ™‚ This was my favorite part: Iā€™m Canadian, therefore I am a nice, polite, person . . . so true! I live in GA now and people are just not as polite for sure (Even though it’s in the south!)

  • Trude - Such refreshing honesty! Thank you soooo much for posting this. I’m just dipping my toes in the water and needed this kind of advice! šŸ™‚

  • SarahB-Photography - Thank you so much for this fantastically inspiring post. I definitely feel like I have gained knowledge from your experience – and I want to thank you for that. I am all about sharing knowledge. I am so sorry you have had ideas stolen in the past, but it happens to all of us and we can’t afford to let it make us bitter. Kudos for being you.

  • Trish M - Very good reading I must say and I have experienced many of the same issues! Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

  • Lori P. - WONDERFUL!!! This really hits home on SO many levels!!! Thank you so much for sharing AND for your candor.

  • Amy (3 Peas) - I could 100% relate to EVERY one of these- we must be brothers from other mothers šŸ™‚

  • Carrie Vines - Best blog post I’ve read in a long time! LOVE your honesty!! I can’t believe you actually admitted to #24. I still do that in secret, by just acting like I’m listening… lol

  • Michelle - I just came across your blog and I am already in love with you guys !! I am a pretty new photographer (2 yrs) and still learning lots…For you to share something like this to new photographers is HUGE to say the least. If nothing else, it helps me to know I am “normal” and that most photographers go through these types of things. Again thanks for being so brave to be honest with the world !!!

  • Heather O - Love this post! Thanks so much!

  • Emily - What a great post. Thanks for being so candid and honest. I’m getting sucked in by the “free photo sessions” because I just moved back to my home state and all my friends and family are asking.

    It’s stressful. There is a very fine line between doing the right thing and being taken advantage of.

  • Abby Benedict - Blessed Life Photography - I LOVED this article. It’s so comforting to know that other baby and child photographers have these same issues. So many articles are geared toward wedding photogs, and I’m just not one. Their issues seem totally different than mine. Thanks so much for your wisdom and insight!

  • Kristen - lol.
    so awesome. love this post!
    i can relate to a lot of this A LOT and truly appreciate reading what you have to say.
    thanks so much Brandy.

  • Fiona Ogilvie - Fantastic read. Thanks for taking the time to share..

  • Sam - Thankyou so much for sharing this! I can relate so much to just about everything you have written *mwa*

  • Brandi-lee - Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant…Thankyou for the insight, so many helpful things to keep in mind.

  • bryan/college station photographer | more snow & internet love » Bryan College Station Texas Photographer | Shauna Maness Photography | Destination Wedding Photography - […] for photographers, i found this article yesterday and thought it was really great- i think it is so important to share our mistakes!Ā  […]

  • Amanda - Thank you so much for taking the time to share this post with us! It is awesome!!

  • Jennifer Finch - Bravo! Your tips are wonderful and I enjoy hearing other’s mistakes, it’s like medicine when I’m not brave enough to cough up my own.

  • Cinthya Mar - Great post! I almost identify with all of them… A good reflection that help us all to see our mistakes Thanks!

  • Jenay - Hands down the best post i have read in a loooong time! Love it, I can relate to so much of it.

  • Krystal - Wow! I’m printing this, laminating this and reading this as my mantra when things get really hard!!!! It’s everything that I think about with the buisness and photography (and with husbands šŸ˜‰ – don’t you love them!) Thanks for posting – I’ve only just found you and will now follow with a keen eye!
    Regards from Oz!

  • Kendra - That was very good, thanks for sharing and posting, had a few chuckles along the way too.

  • karen gunton - a great post, thanks so much for sharing with us. i am going to make my own list as i think it would be a good thing to think about, and then i am going to print this out and read both again in a few months. cuz i just know i will go back and make the same mistake again. =)

  • Amanda B - This rocks! You rock! I laughed out loud when I was reading this. Thanks so much for these tidbits of advice that I’m pretty sure I knew, but just needed to hear someone else “say” them.

  • bec - You are reading my mind!!! I think about these things all the time. Particularly comparing myself to others. I always think “i’ll never be as good as them” and it’s crippling.

    It’s good to hear someone with such success and obviously outstanding work could have felt the same as me at some stage.

    Thanks for the advice.

  • johnna brynn - Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You

  • Kim Schleicher - Thank you so much for sharing all these awesome tips. I am totally uplifted to hear that someone as talented as you has felt the way I feel about my business and work. I am definitely saving this one. šŸ˜‰ Keep up the sharing and not being afraid of people, you know what goes around comes around and I can tell you must have some good things coming your way.

  • Kansas A - #16!!! More people should read that! I thought maybe there was something wrong with my pics because I just couldn’t brighten my children’s faces that much but it’s not me… it’s not me!! I was starting to think the colours on my monitor were off LOL! Thank you šŸ™‚
    Ps I can relate to #13… I’m Canadian too! Excellent article, just darn perfect, eh. šŸ˜‰

  • jennie gaskins - GREAT post…I needed all them!!!

  • Thank You. » Two Photogs - […] interrupt our WPPI series to write this post. I have been completely BLOWN AWAY by the response to My 25 Biggest Mistakes article. The amount of comments posted here on the blog, on Facebook, in message boards and to me […]

  • Mindy - THANK YOU! this was so much fun to read and really REALLY helpful šŸ™‚ I love reading this blog over my morning coffee!

  • Melissa - Thank-you for your honesty… I am sure every photographer can relate (including myself of course)!

  • Stacey - Well, I’ve obviously stumbled on this post a little late, but I still wanted to say how awesome it is! This is SO TRUE and how so many photographers feel, including me. I struggled with all of this in the beginning and some of it still after years. It’s not a “rainbows and lollipop” industry as some may think-it’s really challenging and often hard to find your way. Thanks for posting it.

  • Jen Molander - What an amazing blog write up. I am floored at how you’ve jumped into my and many of my colleagues head. Thank you for your honesty, really appreciate it.

  • Gabby - Wonderful post!!! Something every photographer can relate to. I know I have read it more than once and will probably read it a few more times!

  • Stacey - Awesome! Love this!I have not done my taxes for two years, and I am so scared. They did not come after you with torches? You did not get audited? How did you do your taxes in 2 hours? If you could do one really kind thing this week/month/year, it would be to email me about this-I can’t sleep over it.

  • kimberly coombs - Oh my gosh!!! You are describing me with almost every one!!! I am so glad that I am not the only one! LOL I am almost have given up and closed my business, but it is my passion and I vowed to make huge changes this year but not giving free sessions anymore, but answering my phone, have confidence in my work and myself, I want to quit hiding too!!! I want to become the business person and save my business and start making money, after 25 years of photographing I want to stop struggling financially! I pray it isn’t too late! Thank you so much for sharing this, I really needed the extra boost.

  • Mindy Moore - i loved this. i loved your RAW honesty (hhehehe) and I so appreciate it. I’m just starting up and so many of these rang true to me and will help me moving forward. THANK YOU! =)

  • Heather - This was so wonderful and great to read! I saw so many parts of myself and things that I either have done or currently do. The item about your husband is mine, hands down! Words cannot thank you enough for this list that stressed we are all human, talented and determined. Sometimes it is easy to lose our way. This is definitely going to be pinned up so I can refer to it, time and time again.

  • Stephanie Cooper - WOW!! I can’t tell you how relieved I am to hear that another photographer/mom out there is human and makes mistakes! Most photographers only talk about what they have done right and it sort of makes the rest of us feel substandard. After reading this I feel like it’s o.k. to make mistakes and that I will learn and grow from them. Thank you Thank you Thank you!

  • Amy Siniscalchi-Shades of You Photography - Thank you! I can not begin to express how much this has helped me. How much of myself I see in it. And how much it will help me moving forward. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  • Lisa - My hard drive just crashed and I’ve had to wait a whole week to get “my” computer back – lots of time for reflection….this is so true to my life!!! Thank you so much for sharing.
    Signed, another BlabberMouth

  • Gina Ayanna - It feels great to know that the mistakes that I would beat myself up over are actually a part of the process.

    Thank you for this post.

  • Karine Huard - Wow like many others here I could have write it myself, even if I start photography with black and white films 10 years ago. šŸ™‚
    But for sure, I know my personality and my work would not have be the same today if I didn’t make those mistakes in the past.

    Like you I’m sometimes to good with people to make sure they are happy and just forget to apply this to myself.

    You sounds like a great woman and I’m happy I discovered you blog this morning.


  • teresab - Wow.. thank you ! I’m speechless.. thank you for sharing!

  • Vicki Putnam - Thanks for your honesty. Totally renewed my spirit to hear some of the same issue from someone a few years ahead of me on the photography road. I am a flight attendant to pay the bills and I just printed this to carry with me on my flights to help remind me to keep it real. Thank you!

  • Cindi - Wow, Brandy. I am just now getting to some posts from a few days ago and read your comments about how a lot of people have responded to this post before I actually read it. But I can certainly see why — you have shared what many want to keep hidden. Namely, (shudder) mistakes! Maybe the list will help some others not make those, but even better — since we all should learn from our mistakes — maybe it will just make us feel better that we are not alone in making them! Thanks for your honesty and sharing with us.

  • Kristen Duke - This was awesome and hit home to me on several points. Especially giving free sessions to friends. I LOVE to give. I WANT to give and share my talents with those close to me, but it is beating me down.

  • Dennis Bullock - What a great post! I think we have all suffered some of these. šŸ™‚

  • Eliane Filho - Thank you so much for taking your time
    in writing this.. This was awesome
    May God Bless you and all your projects šŸ™‚

  • Tamara Kenyon - THANK YOU! I’ve just made a big decision to quit my day job to really pursue my business as my career. This post was JUST what I needed.

  • Gareth Robins (Auckland, New Zealand Wedding & Portrait Photographer) - Thank you very much for publishing these candid thoughts. I’m sure every photographer experiences most, if not all of the same issues.

  • Judy - This is awesome and you’re pretty funny šŸ˜€ I think I’ve done half if not more of the things on this list lol.

  • connie - The tins? Dump them if you can’t use them and get some cold hard cash – somewhere there is a crafter who “needs” them. Try or somewhere similar – or ebay for that matter! Thanks for sharing your honesty – it is good advice for those in many businesses.

  • Faye Williams - Thank you so much for sharing. It was a great “read”. My husband tho said “I can’t join” because he is a male. lol. I told him yes he can because he has that wonderful fem side of him that I was impressed with from the beginning. He really does have the knack for the “emotional side”. I will look forward to hearing and seeing more of your work.

  • Sarah Henderson - You have no idea how many light bulbs just went off for me, how many times I just felt convicted of things I am doing wrong, and how many times I wanted to reach through this monitor and kiss you! THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Kerri - AWESOME article, loves it!
    Thanks so much for sharing.

  • jacqui - i wanted to thankyou for this blog ,you really are a wonderful person and you dont know how youve blessed my life reading this.

  • Tammy - Smiley Eyes Photography - Holy doodle!! That is some great advice !! I am glad to be affirmed on some of my beliefs and some of my fears!! You rock !!! Thank you !

  • kathyp - GREAT post! i think i can personally relate to almost all 25 of these! it’s nice to know i’m not alone! i especially love #25! it’s all about sharing and caring!

  • Cindy Irene - You have NO idea how much this helped me today!!! I am so blessed to have read this, shared on Flickr’s Natural Light Child Photography, which falls along the lines of #18! LOL What a wonderful, real and honest post, thank you for your candidness and making us all feel like human beings when we read this! šŸ™‚ This needs to be made into a list I will hang next to my office for daily inspiration!

  • Thaine Manske - Never take a job for less than you think that it is worth. Whenever you do everything in the world that can go wrong will.

  • Hallie Westcott - I laughed myself right down to MY box of too-small-silver-tins on this post! I could have written each line myself, which is why this is such great advice. And personally, I’m glad I’m not alone in some of these mistakes šŸ™‚ Thanks for making my day!

  • Melissa - Thank you so much for posting this. As a new photographer starting out in the business, I think we all try to “out do” the competition with all the bells and whistles. It’s nice to know that we can keep it simple.

  • Kimberly Thiessen - thank you so much for posting this. I started my business about a month ago because family said I should. Well, I have only had my camera since January. So as you can imagine, I am facing sooo many obstacles, and too many sleepless nights. My own fault of course. This made me feel like I’m not alone. And you are Canadian too!!!! Even better. šŸ™‚ Thank you again for sharing this.

  • Echo Day Photography | Tipton County, TN Photographer - […] My 25 Biggest Mistakes, Two Photogs This one’s been floating around the web this week. It’s really a great insight into the biggest mistakes photographers make, mostly in business practices but also in being too risky and not making good, sound decisions. […]

  • Heidi - This was great! I am new to the business … and I will keep these in mind as my journey begins. Thanks! : )

  • Jessica Richter - Thank you for taking the time to write such an inspiring article. I can’t believe how much I can relate to it. From this day forward, I am going to believe in myself, my business and know that I can only learn from my mistakes!

  • Bennett Nellums - as I website possessor I conceive the subject material here is really fantastic , thankyou for your efforts.

  • Vicky - Aw, you are now really actually making me cry ;-D. I have only just started out as a professional photographer and up until now, I think I made 24 of of your 25 mistakes already (didn’t yet buy all the fluffy stuff…). At the moment I was in a particularly low point because after two days of comparing what I could do to top photographers who have been in business for 10 years or more in some cased (good comparison huh, for a starter ;-D) I felt like I was a cheater. I feel so much more at ease and confident. I AM NOT THE ONLY ONE…

  • Life with Kaishon - This post is simply amazing. Thank you for sharing your biggest mistakes in hopes you can help others. Wishing you the most wonderful 2011!

  • Cathy - Guilty of some of those! But hey, my father was Canadian so I’m automatically too nice. Great blog post, thank you.

  • Emindee Images|Stephanie Hickerty|West Palm Beach - Awesome post! I just now found this thanks to a friend…wish I’d seen it sooner. šŸ™‚

  • Melissa Hassey Photography - this is such a fabulous post! as so many others have said, i can relate to all of it. thanks for putting yourself out there and sharing! it is so wonderful to be reminded that we are not alone and that we all make mistakes and continue to learn. thank you again so much!!!

  • silvia - thank you so much Brandy. I will continue to refer back to this, so many things hit home and I appreciate your honesty. I definately have made a lot of these mistakes, and I will keep them in mind for next itme! I follow you on twitter and fb and admire your photos. You are an amazing photographer and I am so happy I found this blogpost! thank you thank you! I am also Canadian, and laughed about the niceness….I am soooo like that!

  • {Tips} My 25 Biggest Mistakes | I Heart That Shot - […] it over and over again. I know I have! Every time I read it, I learn something else. Thank you twophotogs for writing […]

  • Linky Love :: 25 Biggest Mistakes : The Photog's Helper - […] via Kathy on […]

  • jamie - thanks so much for sharing. I will def be learning from your “mistakes”

  • Rachel - I was nodding along for so much of this post. Can totally relate! Especially to the hiding, procrastinating and sitting on emails. Thank you for sharing!!

  • Angela Connell - I enjoyed reading this and I am not even in the biz. Good luck and stay true to those things.

  • Denise - I’m not sure if you even read this comments anymore, there’s so many of them! But in the case that you do read them, I thought you’d like to know that your advice works for other kinds of bussiness too!! I’m a 23 y.o. pastry chef and I’ve seen myself making so many of those same mistakes!! And I appreciate deeply that you shared your experience with us (yeah, I really do, no jk) because I’ve been needing that kind of advice for a while, and it’s nice knowing so far away from where I stand (all the way down to Argentina!) there’s someone living (in a way) what I’m living, and growing from it, like I wish to grow. So thank you, loads of love, and good luck!

  • Sam - Except for putting a baby in a tree…I could have written this! Thanks for making me feel kinda normal xox

  • Cassandra - maybe you should be a physic! I swear you read my mind!!! Thanks for this.

  • Jenn - I can relate to this so much! This new photographer is deeply grateful to you!

  • Andree - A little late with this comment (found this on Pinterest) but LOVE this list! Found myself in a few posts (thankfully most are from the past *me) and glad to see another Canuck! Bookmarking your blog!

    Andree from Quebec

  • Megan Bryant - Thank u so much for your honesty and open-heartedness!

  • Jill Samter Photography - BRAVO! AMEN! Great post and job!!!! I’m glad you didn’t listen to your husband on sharing because many will be blessed from this post!

  • emily malmgren - This was an amazing post. I am a hobbyist and don’t plan to go into business, but this was still really good info for all photog types.

  • bobbi jo - What a fantastic post! Thank you for sharing.

  • Morgan - Thank you for sharing this….photographers never seem to share about mistakes or how things were early on in their career. Since I feel like I can relate to just about everything you said, it is encouraging to feel like someone else has been there and that I can push through! Thanks again!

  • Karen - I just wanted to say thank you! I haven’t yet started my business…I am still dealing with how to deal with rejection. I have LOTS of ideas of what I ‘want’ to do…just don’t have the gumption to do it yet.

    I am really enjoying your blog and have checked out your FB page. I will soon venture forward, one step at a time.


  • Sharing:) | Newborn Photographer Florida | Newborn Photographer | Baby Photography - […] My 25 Biggest Mistakeswww.freshsugarblog.comI’ve made many, many more than 25 mistakes in my 5 years in this industry, but these are some of the ones that affected my business the most […]

  • Jessica - Thanks for the amazing post!!! I’m a new photographer in Ontario and can relate to most of your list. It’s nice to learn I am not alone. It makes it a little less scary when taking on a big project and something so precious like documenting a families new adventure.

  • foina kelly photography - What a fantastic blog post, thanks so much for rethinking your number 25 and sharing this with us. Its just too easy when youre in your first few years of business to think that everyone else is sailing by and doing wonderful things without making the tiniest of mistakes…apart from you of course!! Its great to know that others have done the same and more importantly learned from it. I will be taking some of your advice too.
    fiona x

  • liz snedker - Oh so beautifully put. Spot on!

  • Sarah - This is 100% spot on! Amazing and very honest post. Thank you for sharing and making me realise that I’m not alone. The best post I’ve come across – high five girlfriend!!! xx

  • Katie Jones - Thank you for such great advice! šŸ™‚

  • Jenny - thanks for sharing…im recently started so nice to know

  • Chris Cummins - This biggest mistake I ever made? Online proofing and not projection sales. Huge difference.

  • Marina Solana - Well, all I can say is I could have written this myself. I am starting and have made all of those apart from hanging a baby from a tree… lol!!
    I think I might get on with the backlog… and then the editing… and my accounts… Oh! I have stopped the free shooting… Which is good… Only 23 more points to address.
    Thank you!!! It is a great relief to feel I am not the only one…

  • Sally - I related to SO much of this, and so very pleasant to read with the perfect balance of wry humour. Thanks for sharing, loved it!!

  • Krystal - I LOVE this! Your’re honest, helpful, unbelievably witty… love it, love it, love it! I’m just starting out as a photographer and I can tell you how much this is going to help me. Thank you for sharing!

  • Erin - You Sound just like me! Love your tips, they are right on, and I’ve been throught a lot of the same stuff. I give you a ton of credit girl! Keep it up!

  • Sage Advice: Admitting Your Mistakes « - […] customers and balancing life amidst all the responsibilities. Today’s post was originally published last year but is still totally relevant and helpful today. It made me think more critically about […]

  • Lindsey - THANK YOU.

  • Nancy Center - crazy. I feel like i wrote this myself. You really nailed what a lot of us must experience starting out. Thank you for your honesty and for taking the time to put this on paper and encourage others. God bless you and yours.

  • Karen Cooley - Just came to this today from a fellow photographer in a photography group on Facebook. You know, one of those crazy places where photographers share with each other. (Insane, right? haha!!) Loved this post and it comes at just the right time. I’m getting started in the biz and it’s wonderful to read what you’ve learned over time. ESPECIALLY #3. I’m struggling with this. But little by little, the confidence will come. šŸ™‚

  • Erin - I’m a graphic designer and I have the a lot of the same tendencies as you…thanks for sharing your vulnerabilities…makes me feel better about mine šŸ™‚

  • Lisa - This was a great post. I found it through Pinterest and could relate to most of it. I’m starting out in this business and found what you had to say very helpful.

  • kassey - Thank you SO SO much for posting thing blog. You have no idea the weight that i feel has been taken off my shoulders. I have been in a major funk lately, last night it even made me feel literally sick to my stomach because of the stress. Reading this has put a whole new perspective on things. I see that I’m not alone and its all going to be okay. I need to enjoy what i do, let my creative juices run and have fun with photography, I dont want it to be something bitter like you said, and i was so nervous thats what it was turning into. My night is complete. This page is one of my bookmarks now, so i can revert to it anytime I start to feel like i was. Again, THANK YOU! šŸ˜‰

  • rachel - thank you for such a simple, honest reflection. so helpful and kind of you to share not only the ‘hype’ but some of the ‘downs’, too. it can be hard to keep perspective, and this is such great encouragement. what a blessing!

  • Barrie Photographer - Well done, great post! We all need this type of reminder that others share the same types of mistakes. For a beginning photog it’s so refreshing to read this list of mistakes as I move forward. Thanks so much for sharing!

  • Toni - Thank you for this incredible post! In just about all those points you could have been describing me! It’s such a comfort to know that I’m not a freak, and alone!

  • Kelly Thurman - WOW!!! I some how feel you could be my sister from another family…lol This is exactly what I have thought and been feeling. especially #25. I just had a chick actually call to “book a session” so I sent her my information. To find out she was a mom with a camera and took my welcoming statement and posted an ad on craigslist. Thank you for being honest and absolutely spot on with all of these. You are a rockstar!

  • Meagan Baker - Langley Photographer - Thank you so much for your honest post – the information you shared is so relevant in many ways. You’ve given me many things to think about. Thanks for sharing!

  • Kristyn - Thank you for sharing! As a new and up-comming photographer I thought that I was the only one with all of these problems. I find it overwhelming somtimes and try your “hiding” mechanism too! I have shared in all 25 things, feels great to know i’m not alone! Thanks for being so honest.

  • AP Mommy - What a great list of things to keep in mind – even if you’re not in business. Thank you for your honesty and lessons learned.

  • Elizabeth Pruitt - Brandy-Thanks for sharing your lessons learned. I’m guilty of almost all of them, too (and I’ve been in business for five years). Nice to be able to relate.

  • Nikki - My goodness, did some of these absolutely hit home. I’ve had so many of these same realisations over this last year and it was great to see them here.Ā 

  • Ash31photo - Amazing how many of those I can relate to, so glad that I am not the only one, especially the guilt one as I have only been in business for a year and a half and I get so down on myself but reading this has helped to know I am not the only one!! Thanks so much!!

  • Nikki J Mckenzie - thank you for posting this. I am in the process of starting my own business and I greatly appreciate your honesty and advice!!

  • Janellgraham - Love it

  • vktinez - Enjoyed your blog and can benefit from a lot of the information that you have shared here. My hubby offers his opinion, but respects that I may go with my gut. Although my business is not photography “per say” I do use a photographs to exhibit my work. I still consider myself a novice in this self-owner business venture, but you gotta start somewhere.

    Thanks again.

  • a suburban kitchen - Love the honesty. You say what most of us feel. Thanks.

  • Harrisonmichal - I absolutely love this! I believe I have experienced almost EVERY SINGLE post as a photographer that is listed here! Not backing up properly, the taxes, the files….alll of it! Wish I would have found this back when I first started! LOL! And by the way, did you remember to go write the check for $23 after the post? šŸ˜‰

  • Lisa - LOVE THIS! I feel like I should re-read this every week – almost all of it is exactly like me. Lots of the posts helped and many of the items I have done myself. Thank you thank you.

  • Patty Glassford Horton - Absolutely perfect blog posting – Thanks! Especially the husband item – now I can say “see I am not the only photographer wife who does not and should not always listen to her husband.” šŸ™‚

  • Christiana - This is probably my most favorite blogpost. Ever. I LOVE your humor, and feel like I’ve known you forever from just reading this! You are phenomenal, and thank you so much for sharing things you’ve learned.. You are an inspiration!

  • Laurie - I felt like I was reading about myself in a lot of your mistakes. It really brings things into perspective when you read that others have made the exact same mistakes you have!

    Thank you for deciding to share your knowledge with rest of us that also make big mistakes =)

  • Amy Lindsey - Thank you for sharing this! n It makes all my thoughts and actions seem normal! As someone new to starting a photo business, I’m taking in all the advice I can get. Big thanks from the neighbor to your south!

  • Abel V. Riojas - Thank you for posting this. I’ve had a lot of fun shooting and I finally have my own business, but since i’m still a start up often I don’t even know where to begin. EVERYONE has videos (that they’re willing to sell you at quite a price) but not enough people give a god honest evaluation or recap of their journey. Thanks for looking out for the little guys, it is appreciated.

    Good luck to you!

  • Danielle Benoit Yarborough - First of all THANK YOU! everything you said is what has been holding me back and the thing about your husband is right on target. You seem like a really talented, awesome person, keep it up. šŸ™‚

  • Danielle Benoit Yarborough - First of all THANK YOU! everything you said is what has been holding me back and the thing about your husband is right on target. You seem like a really talented, awesome person, keep it up. šŸ™‚

  • Rebekah Sapp Photography & Design - wow I needed to read this so badly! I am afraid I have been guilty of almost all of these…and am sad to admit am still guilty of a few! Seriously though I could have been reading about myself. I need to print this out and read it daily! I have SO MANY good intentions….and than sadly somehow those good intentions fly out the window…I need to be more disciplined with myself. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR POSTING THIS. This is the first time I’ve been to your blog and I will definitely be back!

  • Renee Harris - This was so refreshing to hear! Many of your opinions & experiences a LOT of us go through, although people/ photogs don’t want to admit it. Thank you so much for being genuine. šŸ™‚

  • Jenn Bigioni - Really great article. Thanks for being so honest.

  • Azadeh Rahmani - omg! This was an awesome article! I AM a photographer, eventhough I am just starting out and still need to learn alot about the workings of my camera and EVERYTHING about photoshop. I always hesitate to call myself one because I feel I am not good enough. Your tips are extremely helpful and unbelievably relatable…especially the part about hiding when overwhelmed and spending more time on pinterest than advertizing my business and learning photoshop ( not to mention being Canadian I live in Virginia now but originally from Edmonton) As I said, I am just newly starting and still don’t feel confident enough to charge and instead feel like I need a better portfolio. Thank you for the great info and the tips!

  • Patti - THANK YOU!!!
    As I was reading your blog, I thought to myself. “SELF! THIS IS SOOO YOU!!”
    Thank you again
    I know I am not alone out here.

  • Jessica Aves - This was heaven sent. I’ve been so down about my photos and editing. I am a Filipina, and knowing that you have some Filipino friends makes a sort of connection. He-he. Good job on this blog! God bless your business, family and you! šŸ™‚

  • Jessica - I just wanted to say how much I could relate to this article. I am just starting my “business” and it seems you are writing about me. I have been doing portraits for about five years for friends and family and I let everyone talk me into starting my own business. There is so much competition in my area, and I find myself looking at all of their work and comparing mine and thinking how horrible mine looks compared to theirs, but my husband told me one night I was really doubting myself he said “Jess, photography is an art and there is really no wrong or right way of doing it. It’s just a matter of being creative and thinking up new and different ideas than all the others.” Thank goodness for an amazing husband to give me those kind words. But reading this whole article really made me feel good about what I do.

  • Gayle du Preez ( - Great post!! Love the advice and can see myself in SO many of your points!! Well written!!!

  • Elana Sharrett Halvorson - OMG. Loved what you said. We could be twins. LOL. I am guilty of most of that stuff. Although I have been photographing for years I am only now giving weddings and paid photo shoots a go. Thankyou for your honesty it has given me a little boost and the confidence to believe I can be more disaplined with my time. Saying that I better stop procrastinating and get back to editing my travel shots taken in March. šŸ˜‰

  • Lori Oliver Bitely - Love this post. I was fortunate enough to receive a lovely Canon 5D Mark II camera last Christmas, but being a total amateur, I’ve yet to take it off of the auto setting. Can you suggest some good INTRODUCTORY books to help me? Thanks!!!

  • Priscilla Bosma - This blog post is fabulous! Thank you for sharing!

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