Friday 14 April 2017

Local Love | Sarah Bryn and Her Make Wild Studio

Sarah Bryn with her beloved Canon 5D Mark III
Being Her Own Boss

Sarah Bryn was the first photographer I ever worked with on a photo shoot. Believe it or not, I was actually her first real client that she did a photoshoot with! Since May 2016, I have watched Sarah go through the ups and downs of establishing a photography business in Vancouver. At just under a year into business, Sarah knows what it takes to be a true business babe. 

Sarah has always wanted to be her own boss. Beginning her photography journey in the Winter of 2015, Sarah hit the ground running with a Canon 5D Mark III and Sigma Art 50mm lens in hand. She immediately discovered that she wanted to work with people - capturing connection and the human experience. She loves shooting couples and portraits, and always wants to challenge herself to make new and creative art!

“I’ve always wanted to own my own business, and to be my own boss. The sky is the limit! There’s always something to learn, and an aspect of either my business or my craft to work on.”

I have seen Sarah’s company evolve extensively in the time frame of only a year! There is a lot that goes into starting your own business and Sarah can definitely attest to that. 

Captured by Sarah | Winter 2016
Building a Successful Photography Business 

Off the top of her head, Sarah rattled off just a few things she has to do as a business owner:
  • Creating a brand/website/marketing strategies/client experience
  • Deciding on what you want to offer as a business and who your ideal client is
  • Managing leads, clients and all of the info for each person, including where they are at for payments, sessions and print orders 
  • Creating pricing packages that cover all of the business costs while still being reasonable for a potential client
  • Figuring out a workflow and organization for photos, clients, invoicing etc
  • Researching new products and tools to improve your business. For example, image delivery options and finding products and prints to offer
Make Wild Studio was not something that came together in a single night. Numerous months of work have been put into developing the brand as a whole. I find it very smart for Sarah to be thinking long-term with her branding. She made a deliberate decision to not include “photography” in her business name because she wishes to have the freedom to expand her business in the future - perhaps into design or blogging. 
"When building a business, it's important to put the time and energy into setting it up the way you want to before you launch. NOW is when you are able do things like decide on the products and services you want to use and offer, the small touches that make you unique as a creative service, as well as set up a rock solid business plan and workflow. You want your clients to have a flawless and branded experience, so make sure to take the time to really figure things out and deal with potential problems before they come up with a client!"
Captured by Sarah Bryn
Part of setting up a business is establishing your market, and setting up packages and pricing. Sarah explained that with photography, the shoot time is only one aspect to consider. There is also the time you put in for post production, client communication and anything thing else that comes with delivering images or products to your client. Sarah made a good point that your creative skills are worth the money you are charging. However, when setting your rates, you also need to take in consideration your past experience and the local market for your industry. 

After deciding what packages you want to offer to your clients and your rate, then the real hustle begins - building your clientele! Social media is an excellent tool for reaching perspective clients, so this is where a marketing strategy comes into play. Meeting with other creatives (in and around your field) also gives you the opportunity to share clients and cross promote. 

Most importantly, always, always, ALWAYS continue to do your own creative shoots! This gives you the opportunity to challenge yourself artistically and further showcase your own personal photography style. It also helps keep your clients and potential clients interested in your work as you are producing new and unique to you work. Craigslist advertisements and Facebook groups are also a great way to find people who are interested in collaborating on a project. 

This picture is literally my favourite photograph of me!!! Captured by Sarah Bryn | Spring 2016
What I Wish I Knew

Sarah never imagined being behind the lens as she had always been a performer, so photography was an unknown for her. Whenever pursuing something unfamiliar, it is helpful to gain some insight from industry professionals. I asked Sarah to share what she wishes she was told before establishing Make Wild Studio. 

Ultimately, do not be afraid to go slow, so you can put together a solid business plan and more importantly to learn your craft and gear! The creative work you create is definitely worth the money; however, it is good to do some shoots for free, so you can build your body of work. Decide what you want to offer as a business and do NOT feel pressured to offer everything. Learn and grow and become exceptional at doing what you love, but also understand your style will not be everyone's cup of tea. Lastly, if you passionate about your work, it will reflect in the final product and help you create an exceptional business. 

Captured by Sarah Bryn | Winter 2016
It was so interesting to learn the ins and outs of running a photography business from Sarah. Check out more of Sarah's work on her website: and Instagram @makewildstudio 


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