I really want to share more of my personal journey with you all through my blog! I get many questions of how to grow a business and go full time, and every story and system has a back-story and journey. And to be honest, often what we see as glamorous on social media is such a deception of what reality truly is! I wanted to share a little bit of my journey, especially a hard season that I considered quitting (and it might be more recent that you’d think.)
I didn’t hold a camera in my hand ever since I was little. None of my close friends were into photograph growing up. But something about it sparked my interest in late high school, and I found that I enjoyed trying to edit photos with the free software already on my computer (super advanced am I right? ;)) My freshman year of college, I used all my Christmas money and some extra, and walked out of Best Buy with a camera kit and huge knot in my stomach SO hoping I didn’t just make a huge mistake!
Fast-forward 3 years (yes, we’re skipping quite a bit of time, but I wanted to get to a specific time!)! It was the summer before my senior year of college. I started questioning my purpose with my work, staying in Greenville, and what my life would look like in the years ahead if I kept pursuing photography! This may sound crazy deep for a 22-year-old, but I had just been through a breakup after dating the same guy all through college. I felt like I was walking into a new school my senior year, I felt really insecure, and was trying to reach for anything to feel complete and successful. I’d have little pity parties and look around at everyone with their life mapped out, and I frankly felt like mine was falling apart (I can be a little overdramatic ;)) I now look back at that time that felt so dark, and feel God’s grace all over. I learned more then than I honestly feel like I have before, and I started re-evaluating! And I thank God now for bringing me through that so I could be blessed with better.
I remember talking to my dad and in tears telling him I wanted to be able to look back in 10 or 20 years, knowing I made a difference and impact! I wanted to inspire people. I wanted to be able to sincerely show God what I did with the talents He’d blessed me with. And even if my business was crazy successful and did well financially, I knew that wouldn’t be what I wanted to look back on and wouldn’t bring true fulfillment!
That was a hard season! I struggled with questions about relationships, school was extra demanding, and I overbooked myself that fall and felt completely burnt out.
I thought about quitting. After all, what was my purpose?
At the beginning of that semester, I invested in going to Katelyn James Photography’s workshop. She’s unlike any other person I’ve met, and really reshaped my business! I saw the love and passion she had for her business AND clients, and how she created such an amazing client experience that truly impacted her couples! I thought long about this, and decided I wanted to model my business the same way!
Instead of shooting a wedding, emailing a gallery of photos after, and sending clients out the door, I wanted to be different. I wanted to offer something different only I could offer- a personal relationship and amazing client experience! No other photographer is exactly like me! We all have personalities, and even if multiple photographers can create the same beautiful photograph, they’re different people! So what I could offer with a personal experience would be different from those around me! I wanted to be able make this incredibly exciting time just a little more special.
After all, I get to be there on one of the best days of their entire life! I get to provide the client with the only thing from their wedding that will last 50 years into the future!! So maybe because of what I can offer through an amazing experience, couples could look back on their wedding day with a smile since they felt so at ease, and the photos could just remind them of how amazing they felt and what a fun experience it was!
This change in my thinking- of making it about my clients rather than myself – gave me a new drive. I wanted to show so much love and serve my clients however I could to make this exciting time even more relaxed and enjoyable!
This was almost two years ago. I can honestly say this change of focusing on client experience has transformed my business, and myself. I never thought I’d be able to love the girls who book me this much, have such an amazing time during their engagement season and wedding getting to walk them through this process, and feel so fulfilled getting to serve them!! This is why I send out welcome packages, make sure they’re completely prepared and relaxed for their engagement session and wedding, and even send a little surprise gift after their wedding!
So yes, there was a hard season, and I wish I could say that was the only hard season in my business. But I’m SO glad I didn’t quit. I’m so glad I re-evaluated what I was doing. And I’m so glad this business isn’t about me!
I’m so beyond grateful for where I’m at with this business I’ve been blessed with, and can’t wait to see what the months and years ahead bring for Christa Rene Photography! Thanks for follow along on this journey!