It’s surreal for me to be sitting in Arizona writing this blog post. I never thought I would live anywhere else but Tennessee, let alone move across the country and pursue my dream job of becoming a wedding photographer full-time. The time of year that Mike and I showed up here is a little chaotic. I had heard that there was something called “monsoon season” here, but I wasn’t sure when it was exactly. Well, it started a couple weeks after we arrived and lasts for the next couple of months. Perfect timing (she typed sarcastically)! That’s ok though; even though I may be indoors a little more often that I would like right now, there is always… ALWAYS… something for me to do.
I knew that becoming a business owner was going to be a challenge, but I’m not quite sure if I really knew how huge of an undertaking it would be. At first, the only thing I concentrated on was learning my camera. I mean, that’s what photographers do, right? They take pictures. So I took some online education after my day job, I practiced on anyone that would let me in my spare time, and I studied my little heart out. I saved money away when I could and I did tons of research on every equipment purchase I made. Every penny counts! Uh oh, what if something happens to my equipment? Time to sign up for special insurance! I can’t afford to replace it all!
But then wait… how do clients find me? Oh, I have to make a website. Ok, lets mark that off the list. Someone wants to pay me for my work? Awesome! But hold on… how do I collect a credit card payment from them? There are fees to do that? Well, I have to set it up. Next! Oh, I need to decide how I’m going to deliver their images to them. Should I mail them a USB drive? Or do I want to deliver their galleries online? How much online storage do I need if I’m going to do it all online? It seems like there was some new question to figure out at every turn!
Even as my business grew and I got more of the boxes checked off my list, I knew there was one daunting to-do that I didn’t even want to remotely think of. Taxes. Yep, can’t leave that super fun adult responsibility out of the equation. Ugh! Eventually I got the hang of what I needed to provide my accountant and what to expect when it came time to file… in Tennessee. Now I’m in Arizona and *drum roll*– things are totally different!
I’ve been lucky enough to find some amazing local resources to help show me the legal ropes for Arizona and get my business fully and legally registered. It’s a little time consuming and costs a few fees to get it done, but it’s done. And it’s definitely not something I would ever want to scrimp on and deal with the consequences of later.
Throughout this whole process of becoming a photographer, and then deciding I wanted to specialize and be a wedding photographer, there is something that never changed. I still absolutely love what I do. Plain and simple. Yes, there were a few things (ok, a lot of things) that I maybe didn’t fully anticipate needing to take on. But I never let those obligations take away from the fun and excitement that I have for the bride and groom on their wedding day. I still get super pumped when I start uploading photos to edit and excited to see which images are my clients’ favorites. Being a wedding photographer came with a lot more responsibility than I originally thought, but it also came with more joy than I could have ever imagined.
Christy Hunter is a wedding and portrait photographer based in Seattle, Washington.
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