Reflecting on a Year in Business


Here's a little story.

Yesterday I was running down a sidewalk and each of my shoes started to fall apart simultaneously. Literally metal sticking out the bottom and me, barely able to stay upright. It felt like a very cheesy metaphor. 

I was running from one shoot to another, the second of which the organizer had mistakenly told me was for another day, but I had decided I could still cover last minute. 

Context: About a year ago I shot photos of an event for free. I had cold emailed the organizers asking if they needed photography after finding the event online, knowing it was a nonprofit and they might be on a budget. I thought it would be good experience for me and a chance to see if I liked shooting private events after working in journalism for a while. They already had a photographer but they agreed to have me anyway. I rented a better camera, got some business cards and started taking photos of fancy strangers at AT&T park.

I spent last summer and fall draining my savings account (which I was fortunate to have after living with my parents for a year) to buy the minimum gear necessary to start really taking clients in earnest. I remember going to the bank at a particularly desperate time and having a teller condescend to me as I was trying to open a business account. I can't say I was, up til that point, at all versed in personal finance. 

Since then, I've had the opportunity to work alongside some really talented people, most of whom knowingly took a chance on me for events that were extremely important to them personally or to their businesses. 

I've also taken on "sharing economy" jobs to fill the gaps (which can be about as demoralizing as you think they are, btw). I have had interviews for "real" jobs I applied for in moments of doubt, but none of them felt right and I guess they weren't because they didn't pan out. 

So it felt like a little victory to have my shoes break yesterday. I arrived at the event, hugged the panicked organizer, and shot as fast and as well as I could, without tripping, for what was left of the event. And I'm doing it again in a few days. And for the past few months, magically, I'm paying my expenses with it. I'm hoping I can keep it up.

I haven't totally unabashedly reached out to my personal network of friends for the lame reason that I thought if I was going to fail, at least I could do it privately. I have made most of my business so far out of making scrappy use of the internet. 

But the fact is, the people I want to work with most are all my friends and all my friends' friends. I think all of us here can agree those are the best people. So, here's my elevator pitch: I photograph events and portraits of all kinds - weddings, galas, conferences, engagements, etc. I also dabble in video. Basically, my ADD brain likes a diverse workload. People ask me what I like to shoot most. The truth is, I like shooting a certain kind of moment, and that can exist in any kind of shoot. I am based in SF these days, but am happy on the move so will consider far flung projects. If you or anyone you know needs any of these things, it would mean a whole lot if you could tell them to call me.