2017. Here we are.
10 years ago I was a teenager with a camera and a pocket full of dreams. I dreamed of art school, starting a photography business, and creating a name for myself. In 2007, that is exactly the road I started running down.
My first gig in the photo business world was a horse show the previous year. In 2006, I was noticed by an equestrian photographer in South Carolina who decided to take me under his wing and teach me the ropes of horse show photography (and give me a paying job!). I don’t think he realized how much he was teaching me about self motivation, organization, and basic business operations. After watching and learning from his workflow and set up, I decided to start my own business for our little local horse shows in the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina. I was “Beth Cole Photography” – and all I had was an entry-level DSLR and two kit lenses. But, I also had a dream – and that is what I built my career on.
For the first two years of my college career, I photographed any horse show I could. I had connections at a local riding club, and I used that foot in the door to shoot any local shows that I could. Most of these horse shows had less than 100 competitors, lasted well over 9 or even 10 hours, and took place in the glaring sun. I’m very fair skinned – so most days ended with me looking like Elmo with a camera. Happy, bright red, and excited for everyone to see their photos from that day. I barely made any money from these events, and that money went straight back into supplies for school. Once I transferred to a four year college with an art program, my mind was blown. I didn’t have to shoot horse shows. I didn’t have to shoot just horses. I could shoot anything I wanted… and since a horse isn’t allowed inside the art building at Brevard College, I started shooting people… and discovered I was more than a one trick pony with a camera.
Fast forward 10 years. Here we are in 2017.
I couldn’t be more proud of how far I have come with this business. I’ve learned so much about the nature of business, marketing, advertising, and records keeping. I’ve devoted myself to serving my customers – to making sure YOU are happy. That is what matters to me… because after all, these are YOUR photographs we are creating. Running a photography business full time is challenging. I tried to make it a part time job that I would juggle with other part time jobs. I spent several years with on and off part time jobs – my favorite being an associate in a fly fishing store. I gained valuable insight into business operations and above all else – customer service. My fellow associates (and the best manager I ever had) opened my eyes to the fact that without you, the wonderful person reading this, there is no “us”. Meaning there is no business without you. I couldn’t have made it ten years in this field without you… and I couldn’t have grown this into a full time business without you. So thank you for that.
So what is next for us? I’m happy to hint that here is where it gets good!!
This blog is one of my new adventures this year. I receive emails, phone calls, and texts all the time asking about advice on equipment, how to take better photos, and other various things related to photography. Most of my friends and customers know that I am an open book – I love to help. So, if you ever have any questions or topics you want to see covered – please let me know!!
More great things I am implementing this year are “Mini-Sessions” – condensed photo sessions for the discerning budget. Because hey – I get it. You don’t always need a full session of photos at full price. These Mini-Sessions will be short and sweet, with a limited number of spaces available for each session. Look for more information on these sessions within the next few weeks. I’m hoping this one helps everyone out!
I also have a few give-aways planned for this year as well – which I can’t wait to reveal the details on those as well!
And last but in no way the least (actually the BIGGEST one in my opinion) are the introductory Guided Photo Tours with me! I am so excited to finally go public with this, as I have been chewing on this idea for a long-long time. I love going out into the field and taking photos. I also love sharing knowledge on how to make your camera do what you want it to! I love teaching – and I’d love to share my passion of photography with you. There will be only TWO Guided Tours this year, with very limited spaces available. I’d love to keep these “classes” small, so I can give everyone the attention they deserve. Special introductory prices will apply this year, as this is my 10 year Celebration year! I will be posting more on these tours next month, so stay tuned!
2017 is going to be great – so let’s have some fun!