Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in photography but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Claire Binks, founder of Claire Binks Photography, located in Toronto, ON, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Hi all! My name is Claire, and I am a newborn and family photographer based in Toronto, ON, Canada. I primarily photograph newborns, babies, and families with young children. As a mom with two young children myself, I can really relate to the early years my clients are experiencing. It's chaotic and messy but also so beautiful and fun! I get so much joy from being able to document these special times for families. It is my hope that my clients feel the same way I do about printing and hanging their photographs in their homes! Photographs are meant to be shared and seen, not solely hidden away on a hard drive.
Tell us about yourself
When I was a small child, I would spend hours going through our family photo albums. It was like I could place myself back in the moments captured. As I got older, I got more interested in taking photos myself. I would save up my money to buy some disposable cameras and take photos of the neighbourhood kids. It was so exciting to me to get the developed film back (even if the photos were horrible!). I was the friend in high school that brought a camera everywhere. I forced family photos during holidays and birthdays. In my early 20's, I took a film photography course at a local college, and I was hooked. I spent years studying, practicing, and learning from my peers. In my late 20's, I made to leap to photographing paying clients part-time. I worked part-time while working as a project manager full-time. After my first child was born, I lost my job, and instead of looking for more corporate work, I decided to take the leap and do photography full-time. It was scary but also so exciting to be finally doing something I truly loved full-time. I'm a hugely sentimental person, and I feel like my job allows me to translate that into something special for my clients.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Not giving up during tough times. Being in business for yourself can be hard and lonely at times. I have made sure to surround myself with like-minded photographer friends who support me and push me to be better every day.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
Realizing that talent doesn't translate into a successful business. It takes a lot of work and sometimes putting yourself out there, realizing you may be rejected. Growth doesn't come from perfection! I'm still a work in progress and learning every day how to balance my creative side with the business side.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
If someone were interested in starting a photography business, I would say:
- Study, learn, and practice a ton! Make sure you have a solid understanding of light and how to use your camera. Don't be afraid to make mistakes. Learn from critiques people give you. Invest in quality education that can help you grow your business.
- Stay true to yourself. Comparing yourself to others can start to be harmful if you think that you need to do what others are doing. Sometimes it takes a while to truly find your groove in terms of style and approach, but you will do yourself a disservice if you think you have to be like everyone else.
- Have a solid business plan. Work out a proper cost of doing business. Don't sell yourself short in terms of pricing! If you want longevity, you need to make sure you are working smarter.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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