This month we’re featuring another one of our new board members, Linda Dow Hayes of Hayes Photography! She’s our current Secretary and a very valuable asset to our group. Her focus is on high school senior and family photography, and creating a very unique experience for each one of her sessions. We’re honored to show her off this month!
How did you know you were successful?
Am I? I guess that depends on how you measure success. Am I known in my community as a good photographer? Yes, and that awareness continues to grow. Do I have clients that appreciate my work and are willing to pay me what I feel I’m worth? Yes. In my mind, those are key elements to feeling successful.
How did you get into photography?
I started shooting in high school and decided to attend college for photography. My time there helped me to determine that I loved working with people and photographing them. After college, I worked as a photojournalist for a few newspapers, did several stints as an assistant and finally opened my own portrait studio.
Where do you want to be in 5 years?
I’d like continue to grow and have my studio be known as the place to go to for senior portraits in my location. I don’t want to compete with the “big boys”, but I know there’s enough of a need for all levels of photography businesses for people to have choices. I certainly offer the public some things that the larger studios can’t such as truly great customer service and an opportunity to really collaborate to create a unique experience.
What has been your greatest achievement?
To finally be at a place where I feel that I know what I’m doing, what I’m about and the confidence to sell myself.
How do you stay fresh and creative?
It’s not easy. Usually, I’ll work with my clients to come up with some unique set-ups based on their needs and interests. Sometimes I get a client that is ready for anything and then we really start brainstorming. On my own, I do a lot of visual research, collect images and create files that I refer back to for ideas. This year, I’ve taken on the 365 Photo Challenge where you force yourself to take at least one image a day. You can follow other people’s suggestions for ideas and themes or do your own thing. Some days I’m so busy with life that it can be 11:45pm and I’ll think “Oh no, I forgot!” Other days, it’s hard to choose just one because I’m so into an idea that I shoot way beyond. My Summer and Fall are usually busy so I anticipate really having to force myself to remember to choose one a day and get it posted. Having that accountability for making yourself post it on social media helps you stay on track.
What is the best piece of gear in your camera bag? I’m not a gear head so normally I would say it’s my creative brain, but if you want a specific item…I’d have to say my sweet newly acquired Nikkor 24-70mm 2.8 lens. I’m looking forward to using this a lot with my seniors.
What do you wish you knew when you began?
I wish I knew a whole lot more about what it means to own and operate a business. The accounting, marketing and everything else that goes into running my studio has been really difficult to learn and manage, but I’m getting there.
Worst day on the job and what you learned?
Having a client who is not excited to be in front of the camera and brings nothing to the table. Then I really have to dig deep to get that session going, be creative and come up with some great images that they’ll love. Every time that happens, it helps me prepare for the next time it happens so I know how to handle it, and it will happen again, no doubt.
Best day on the job and what you learned?
When I have a senior and a parent that are so excited to be working with me and at the end of the session, they have happy faces and hugs all around. I’ve learned that I have a lot to offer to potential clients and if I stay true to who I am and what I do, people will love me and my work.
3 favorite non-photo hobbies? Watching movies, baking and gardening
Best piece of software? It’s a combo…Lightroom and Photoshop
What is the best business tip you have been given?
People in our industry have been so helpful to me and have given me so many tips and advice. I guess if I had to choose one..Don’t give it away for free! Your time and creativity is worth something and even though you may be new to the industry and aren’t confident in your abilities, you need to do your research, educate yourself and price your time and products accordingly. Low pricing may get you clients early on, but it won’t enable you to sustain your business for long.
To learn more about Linda, or contact her for photography services visit her website at: http://www.lindahayesphotography.com/ or give her a call at 585-738-6685.