That One Time I Thought About Quitting

You may be thinking… why would Michelle post a picture of herself covered in mosquito bites and slightly sunburn? Maybe she put the wrong photo in? Nope…this photo is gold to me. That’s because this photo represents a whole lot of growth and was one of the highlights of my career. I was in Hawaii with amazing vendors doing my dream shoot. The shoot wouldn’t have been a reality if I didn’t start taking the driver’s seat in my business.

The Oh SHOOOT Moment

It was the end of booking season and I had way less weddings than anticipated. I’m talking WAY less. Not even halfway booked. I remember frantically refreshing my email hoping the clients would come in while posting regularly on instagram. I remember seeing all of these photographers who were “fully booked!!” and people who were traveling to my dream destinations all over the world. This was supposed to happen to me too! I wanted to celebrate on social media with all of these amazing weddings I had booked. What happened? Last year the bookings came so quick for me, so much so that I was regularly turning down work. I seriously couldn’t figure out what went wrong.

What Changed?

That was when I remembered…. I had just raised my prices, and quite a bit too. Add to that price raise was the fact I was having less and less friends get married in my late twenties. I had priced myself right above the middle-end mark for San Diego wedding photographers and into a more high-end market. I thought that these prices reflected my worth, the fact that I had been doing this for 7 years now. I truly felt like a has been. I felt like maybe the industry got too competitive. Maybe people no longer found value in this work that I did. Maybe they wanted the newer, younger, trendier photographers.

Taking Ownership

Over the course of time, it hit me- I needed to take ownership of where I was at. It was no one else’s fault, not the industry, not the other photographers, it was my problem. I needed to be honest with myself about why my bookings weren’t coming in like they used to. I couldn’t just raise my prices and not add any value to my services in this incredibly competitive market. So what did I do? I hustled and didn’t let my business take the back seat anymore. I asked questions, I did research. I started showing up. You better believe I went when my friend Jamie invited me to a retreat with the San Diego Wedding Photography group. Meeting them was the biggest turn-around point for me. To any SDWP members reading this, YOU GUYS ARE THE BIGGEST BLESSING, the real MVPs. They cheered me forward and spoke powerful encouragement over my work. We became cheerleaders for each other in this industry. I left that retreat and knew things had to change.

Moving Forward

From that retreat, I learned I was missing out on some valuable steps in my business. These were: posting sneak peeks after every wedding I shot, posting regularly on all my social media outlets (Instagram, Facebook + Pinterest) sending out a Welcome Guide, and showing up more in my own brand. Beyond that, instead of taking a backseat to my business and just letting things flow, I stepped into the driver’s seat. I networked with vendors and wasn’t afraid to ask for opportunities. It’s because of this new attitude I took towards networking (shout out to Stylish Details…they’re the best!) that I ended up doing a dream shoot in Hawaii.

Where I’m At Today

I’m beyond STOKED, like I could cry, to say that my 2019 has filled up much quicker and I’m traveling to dream destinations this year. I’m grateful too that this comeback story hasn’t been all about me, me, me. I wouldn’t have taken those big steps forward if it wasn’t for my very own dream team: the Father’s consistent love, deep soul work done with my counselor, the sweetest friends ever reminding me of the value of my work, and the San Diego Wedding Photographers crew for helping me step out. I’ve learned that it sometimes doesn’t even take a whole lot to re-invent yourself. A little bit of hard work, some brainstorming, the best friends ever and you can be back on track.


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