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Starting A Photography Business: Conversations with a Start Up - Ep. 36

Updated: May 22



In this episode I'm bringing on my good friend, Kaye Roldan, who is in the beginning stages of getting her professional photography business off the ground. We learn about her passion, struggles, and aspirations within our conversation and if you're in the same boat, I hope you're able to see that you're not alone. If you want to hear more about her story with starting a successful photography business, here are some the questions we went over and a short summary of what we talked about.





1. What's Your Idea For Your Small Business?

Kaye: I'm passionate about photography and like to focus on capturing those candid, unforgettable moments. Having the chance to second shoot for weddings has really been eye opening. I'm planning on offering event photography and creative portraits. These portraits aren't just pictures; they're a celebration of self-love and confidence, I want to showcase the true essence of the person in front of the camera. I also want to try brand photography and bring the unique story of a business to life through images. I'm inspired by the idea of capturing moments that truly represent individuals and businesses, making each photo authentic and filled with emotion.



2. Why Do You Want to Start Your Business?

Kaye: I crave the freedom that comes with not being chained to a 9-to-5 job. The idea of being my own boss is incredibly appealing. I love the chance of building my own brand, and creating something that's uniquely mine. I'm motivated by the desire to work with people who appreciate my unique style and what I stand for. It's about connecting on a personal level, sharing what I love, and hopefully, making a difference through my work.

3. How Far Along Are You in Starting Your Business?

Kaye: I've been dabbling in photography since 2013, but it wasn't until 2023 that I officially got my business license. I'm still finding my footing in these early stages, but I've recently put together a pricing guide for my services. Up until now, a lot of my work has been experimental without a contract in place. It's been a journey of exploring, learning, and figuring out how to turn my passion into a professional service.



4. What Are Some Roadblocks That Have Stopped You From Moving Forward?

Kaye: The biggest challenge I've faced is imposter syndrome. Overcoming self-doubt, fearing that I'm not good enough, and constantly comparing myself to other photographers has been a struggle. It's a battle against my own thoughts, questioning my skills and place in the photography world.


5. What Are Some Future Goals You Have For Your Business?

Kaye: My goal is to establish a clear business flow, like creating a website, figuring out my process, and clearly defining my services. I dream of having a fully booked calendar, which would allow me the flexibility to work from anywhere. The freedom to choose my own schedule and work environment is incredibly important to me. I imagine myself working in a coffee shop with my laptop, truly enjoying being my own boss and growing my business.


6. Is Anything Unclear in the Process of Starting a Business?

Kaye: After getting my business license, I wasn't sure what to do next. I've started using HoneyBook to manage contracts and learned about the importance of having clear agreements with clients and potential clients, especially around copyright details.


Should I focus on building a website or develop my branding? Rizza: Starting with something as simple as a logo can be a practical first step. Even a template is a great first step. That way you have some sort of visual presence while you're figuring out your target market and services.

7. If someone wanted to genuinely understand personal branding, where do you suggest they start?

Rizza: Starting with understanding your target market is key. Your brand should humanize your business, and act like a bridge between your services and your clients. Knowing who you're helping will help build an intentional brand.



8. Would you suggest working with a graphic designer and building your brand aesthetic before starting a website? Rizza: Ideally, yes, but it depends on your business stage. If you're in the early stages you might not be able to afford custom design, so using templates is a great jumping off point until you're ready to scale your business.


9. Should someone wait to have a team or partners to do hair and makeup before offering a branding photoshoot? Rizza: I don't think so. But it would be cool to offer these services as an upgrade. Kaye: I heard providing referrals is a good place to start if you don't have a team.


10. What kinds of questions should be asked in a branding questionnaire or inquiry form? Rizza: Questions should dive into understanding the business, its goals, and its vision. Asking about what their business is, why it was started, and future goals is great for brand strategy so you can think of their business with the big picture in mind.


11. Is the amount of branding meetings or consultations determined by packages or by requested deliverables, or should there not be a limit on meetings when working with a brand? Rizza: It varies. I definitely think discovery calls should be free but I understand that you should respect for your time as well. You can the meetings into your services to so you can help manage expectations, maybe you can add these meetings into your price as well.


12. If you could go back and give yourself advice when you first started working with brands and businesses, what would that advice be? Rizza: I would say business takes patience, you might not make enough money in the first or second year. But create a marketing plan or plan to do some networking. Understand that building a consistent client base takes time and that marketing is more than just paid ads—it's about making genuine connections.




 

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Z Squared Studio is a Brand and Web Design Studio based in Juneau, Alaska. Check out www.zsquaredstudio.com for custom brand design, Alaska logo design, or web design.


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