June 18, 2020

Top 10 Smartest Decisions of an Alabama Photographer

I have been a photographer for over twenty years, and I’ve owned my own photography business for five years. Bang Images just celebrated its five year anniversary, so what better time to reflect over the top 10 smartest decisions of an Alabama photographer! I’ve been really fortunate in life to love both careers I’ve had so far. (I say “so far” because I try not to think in absolutes. You just never know where life will lead you!) I started teaching in 2000 and resigned at the end of the school year in 2015. Bang Images was founded in 2015; I can hardly believe it’s been FIVE YEARS since I took that gigantic leap of faith. I couldn’t be happier with the decision!

I’m going to share some of my favorite photographs from the past five years to celebrate this accomplishment! I’m so grateful for all my subjects: families, brides, grooms, seniors, and people who identify as women who have hired me. This wouldn’t be possible without you!

Let’s talk about the Top 10 Smartest Decisions of an Alabama Photographer.

1. Founding Bang Images- I have to start with the obvious- I am so happy I began Bang Images in 2015. It was well-thought out and not something I took lightly. Resigning from a dependable income, retirement-saving job to start my own business was a big decision.

2. Accumulating equipment- It was smart to purchase most of my camera gear while still teaching- a variety of lenses at different focal lengths and multiple flashes, cameras, SD cards, and batteries.

3. Identical Backup Camera- I’m happy I bought the same backup camera as my first. I like consistency. Sometimes I photograph with two cameras at once, and it is much easier to move between two identical cameras.

4. Networking- I never thought I’d even use this term let alone try to enact it, but it’s been invaluable. I’ve met many local photographers through meetups and social media groups.

5. Second Photographer- I think there are many really talented photographers in Birmingham, Alabama, and I’ve had the pleasure to work alongside several of them. At the start of my career as a photographer, I connected with someone that I’ve continued to hire for most weddings as my second shooter. It was a sound decision to find someone I admired and could trust and to work with them consistently to form a relationship. We’re a team and it shows in our work.

6.  Not Compromising Myself- In the beginning as a small business owner, there are so many uncertainties. One of those is about how much of your personality you should share with the public. I think my decision to be my true, outspoken, liberal self was a good one. I think it has drawn more people to me than it has repelled; although I’ll never really know. I’m happy to have stayed true to myself. It’s a reflection of how I conduct my life as much as a reflection of my brand. Authenticity is important.

7. Mentoring- I think once a teacher, always a teacher. Either you have it in you to begin with or it’s a change within you after doing it for a while.  I have always enjoyed helping others and sharing my experiences if I feel they can benefit someone else. I really enjoy leading Facebook groups for photographers and answering questions if I can.

8. Volunteering- I have donated to auctions on many occasions, but I would much rather donate my time by volunteering to organizations I feel deeply drawn to. One of those is Heart Gallery of Alabama. I’ve been working with them for about 8 years. It’s a wonderful way to give back.

9. Aiming to please- I honestly want my clients to be pleased. I really want them to be ecstatic! I will go out of my way to make someone happy. If I make a mistake, I have no trouble admitting it and I will do my best to make amends.

10. Hiring an Accountant- Within the first six months of owning a photography business, I hired an accountant. It’s been one of my smartest decisions. You may have heard, creatives aren’t exactly the most skilled in bookkeeping, nor do we want to be bogged down by it. It’s a well-worth-it expense in my opinion.


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