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This Year

I’m going to be transparent with you all. I don’t love every shoot I do.

In the past year I’ve scooped up every photo job offered to me and I definitely think that’s a good thing when you’re first starting your photo business. I learned a lot, I gained tons of experience, made some money, and most importantly I’ve figured out what I love to shoot and what I don’t love to shoot. But now that I’m experienced I think it’s time to pare things down.

I’ve been told by articles and other photographers that it’s good to have a niche. You should choose one type of photography and then market the hell out of that one type to your target audience. If you’re a wedding photographer, market yourself as only a wedding photographer, showcase only your wedding photos, etc. Make your website all about weddings!

And I agree with all of that to a certain extent. But see, I’m kind of a rebellious person anyways and when I first heard this advice, I just said in my head, “you can’t tell me what to do, I’ll shoot what I want!” And I still kind of think this way. It’s my business, why should I play by the rules? Right?

But I realized that I was thinking of this all wrong. I don’t need to find a niche just because someone said it would be better for marketing or business. I actually should do it for the exact reason I said above …
“I don’t love every shoot I do.”

So I had to do some soul-searching because lately I’ve felt really burnt out. There are some shoots I go to where I really just don’t want to be there. All I think about is all the editing I’ll have to do afterward and the hours I’ll have to spend slaving over this project. And then I get freaked out and think, wasn’t this supposed to be my dream job?? I thought this was my passion…why am I dreading my own passion??

Sure, photography is my passion…but maybe not ALL types of photography are.

I made a two-column list to help me figure things out. One column shows all the types of shoots I’ve done in the past and the other column is the shoots I LOVE doing. There are more that I LIKE doing, but I wanted to get it down to the ones I actually LOVE.

And boy, was this a wake-up call.

What I love to photograph is women, creative fashion, and couples. That’s the conclusion I’ve come to. I like making women feel beautiful, I like themed shoots, and I like getting creative and capturing the personality of couples.

So this year I’m going to cut down. I’m going to change up my marketing and my target audience. I’m going to start saying “no” to things. I’m going to make my business more about the shoots that I actually love. And it’s not just because that’s a smart business tactic, it’s because I don’t want to get burnt out fulfilling my dreams. I don’t want to shoot just for the money. I don’t want to shoot just to please others. I want to make this my lifeblood. I want to be excited for the day every single morning I wake up. And if I keep allowing myself to do shoots I’m not passionate about, then what is even the point?

I know I’m talking about all of this in a very serious tone, but real talk, I’m super excited about it all!!
So if you are interested in some couple’s photos, some pretty photos of yourself, or interested in being part of a creative vision of mine, shoot me an email. I would love to get the ball rolling, even before creating my whole new business plan. :)

ashleywashburnphoto@gmail.com

-Ashley

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