Happy New Year
…I can still say that 12 days in, right?!
There is nothing like the end of one year and the exciting, anything is possible, start of a new one to get me in a reflective mood. Today I’m reflecting on why I started my own business.
Picture the scene
I worked for a blue chip bank that hired me as a graduate and for over 20 years promoted me, trained me and paid me VERY handsomely for what I did. I had a team of fabulous people working for me and influence over many more. BUT…I wasn’t happy. Well, that’s a lie, I was happy developing my team and watching them grow but office politics, pushing paper about, attending meetings about meetings and never actually creating anything worthwhile was taking its toll on my health and relationships. When I was younger, I thought that climbing the corporate ladder and earning more and more dosh was the key to happiness but eventually it dawned on me that a lot of the money I earned was being spent on ‘things’ to try and make me feel happier.
I was happiest when I had my camera in front of my face. Weddings, Christenings, holidays, pets, you name it I loved capturing moments in peoples lives.
But I couldn’t start my own photography business, could I? There are loads of photographers in the central belt of Scotland where I live, how could I compete with them? I certainly wouldn’t be filling a gap in the market!!
The moment it all changed
Then a friend, a wonderful, gorgeous friend asked me to take her wedding pictures. I was invited to the wedding anyway and she and her lovely husband-to-be felt they would be more comfortable with someone they knew. This was to be the first time I was the ‘official’ photographer. Wow! Someone trusted me to take their wedding photos! They had seen the pictures I’d taken before and liked my style! I had a style!
On the wedding day itself, I had an absolute blast. My husband, Mr JB, said he hadn’t seen me that happy in a long time. I was in my element. When I gave the couple their finished photos, their reaction and that of their friends and family gave me the most amount of job satisfaction I’d ever felt.
When I got back to my desk at the bank afterwards I couldn’t stop thinking about it. My work felt even less satisfying, I wanted to break free, I wanted to be ME!
It didn’t matter that there were lots of photographers…Photography is a creative process. Ask ten photographers to photograph a wedding and all ten will create completely different images. People chose you based on your style and because of that, there is enough room for everyone. Plus I did have a USP* – I can put people at ease and get the best out of them (I’d already been doing that for 20+ years at the bank and was the one part of my job I enjoyed!).
The legend that is Mr JB talked me into going for it. He was willing to take on extra work to tide us over the painful start-up years (he took his ‘for richer, for poorer’ vows seriously!). I will find a way to make it up to him 😉
So…during one of the banks many restructures I opted out, I pulled up my big girl panties and JB Moments Photography was born. Seven months in and I still leap out of bed every morning excited to start work! I get the MOST satisfaction when clients are genuinely moved by the memories I’ve captured for them. Every day I am learning something new about running my own business and all the different hats you have to wear. AND… I am getting to write again. Something I loved doing when I was at school but had forgotten all about.
When I look back at my friend’s wedding there are loads of things I did wrong… My camera equipment wasn’t as sophisticated as it is now and my post-processing certainly wasn’t as polished…BUT I did loads of things right too! The above picture is still one of my favourite wedding pictures to date and the one everyone comments on when they come into my studio. It will shortly be gracing Hampden Stadium for the Glasgow Wedding Exhibition as well 🙂
The picture below from the wedding has also been featured on Tie the Knot Scotlands website.
The beauty of hindsight
If I could and go back in time talk to my eighteen-year-old self I would probably tell me not to study Economics at University but to pursue my true passion and do what makes me happy. Although everything happens for a reason, right? If I hadn’t have gone to Uni I wouldn’t have met Mr JB. If I hadn’t spent all those years at the bank I wouldn’t have learnt how to present to audiences, project manage, use spreadsheets, develop people and make amazing friends. However now that I am doing my dream job, I plan to do it for as long as possible!
*Unique Selling Point