One Year of Neesh Photography!
As of this week, it’s been an official year of Neesh Photography. It’s the website’s birthday! (say happy birthday, don’t be rude). I’ve had a year of taking my work seriously and exploring the possibilities of a career in photography, balancing all the trials and tribulations that entail. Looking back, it’s been a steady up and down hike toward growth and learning. To celebrate, I’d like to take a moment to reflect on the year that’s been – please sit tight as a recount the many peaks and valleys.
1. Learning the Art of Marketing:
One of the biggest challenges I faced was learning how to market my photography business. I’m in a social media degree, and I’m no stranger to the big wide online world, but even as an avid social media user, it was challenging to pivot from posting silly memes and cool photos toward business content. Finding my feet in a business persona that felt genuine and rewarding was hard. I didn’t want to sacrifice personality for successful marketing. I think I’ve found a balance now, but also learned that the most successful marketing campaign I could run is just meeting people and talking about my work. Word of mouth still goes a long way, as fun as Instagram can be.
2. Refinery29 Street View:
Shortly after kick-starting my business, I had the incredible opportunity to work on the Refinery29 Street View series for Wollongong. A friend sent me their post calling for free-lance photographers from around Australia, and as a long-time lover of the street fashion series, I was nervous and keen to apply. I didn’t think I’d land the job, but I did. I was in a hotel in Sydney where my university had put me for the night, so that I could photograph a conference the following day – and sat a Zoom meeting with the managing editor of Refinery29 Australia, Angela Law, to brief me on the project. There I sat, a month into taking things seriously, hands shaking and heart rate spiking every time she emailed. It felt like an enormous deal, and it still does. It’s one of the coolest things Ive done in my life so far, and I’m still really proud of the work I did on that project. With shooting, this experience pushed me out of my comfort zone as I approached stylish strangers on Crown Street and sheepishly explained my gig. It made me so much more confident in my ability to talk to people, and it really taught me to trust my creative instincts, which I hadn’t yet had the chance to test out. I’m immensely proud of the work I produced during this project, and it set a positive tone for my business right from the start.
3. The Power of Support:
I’ve been fortunate to receive unwavering and overwhelming support from friends, family, and loved ones. Their mentions, tags, recommendations, and compliments have helped to grow my business and keeping me going through moments of insecurity. I feel so warm and fuzzy when I receive such beautiful, genuine testimonials from treasured clients who exclaim how comfortable they felt during our session and how much they adore my work. Early on, I offered free portrait sessions to add to my portfolio and gain some experience. Some of my friends scooped up those sessions, and strangers snatched some up. The connections I forged through these sessions have been incredibly rewarding, most notably my good friend Sammie Quaver and the incredible Nicole Papadimas. It’s heartwarming to see my work featured on their social media, and their encouragement has been a driving force behind my continued efforts with Neesh Photography.
4. A Friend in the Industry:
One of the most beautiful aspects of this journey has been the friendships I’ve made. Sammie, whom I met through the aforementioned free portrait sessions, became a dear friend. She later invited me to second-shoot weddings with her, a task I never thought I’d undertake, but enjoyed. She has taught me so much and our collaboration has been a delightful experience, as we navigate the world of photography as young professionals. I’ve formed connections with a hefty handful of incredible people in and around the local arts sphere who’ve not only been an immense support professionally, but often close to my heart on a personal level. I want to extend the most genuine thanks to those people for all you’ve said and done in the last year or more. You mean the world to me.
5. The Role of AI:
Over the past year, I’ve witnessed how AI has revolutionised photography and content creation, making various aspects of my work more efficient and accessible. Any photographer will tell you that running your own business means you’re not only a photographer, you’re a marketing manager, copywriter, publicist, stylist, receptionist, tech expert, website engineer, social media manager, and full-time researcher. It’s remarkable how technology has simplified many tasks, allowing me to focus on the creative aspects of photography.
6. Memorable Opportunities:
Throughout the year, I had the privilege of working on diverse and exciting projects, from capturing the essence of Green Connect for their annual report, to covering palliative care conferences, to unexpectedly shooting weddings, fundraiser nights and incredible locals bands like The Sweaty Betty’s. These experiences opened doors to rooms I’d never have ventured into otherwise. I’ve learned from experiences, people and environments in the last year that I might never have come across otherwise, and the direction that photography gives me to engage with the world around me is the most incredible thing. Photography can open the most unexpected doors and one thing always leads to another. It’s always really thrilling to see my photos on a poster around town, or a flyer in a shop, or floating around on the internet somewhere. It makes me so proud to do the work that I do.
7. Overcoming the Fear of Trying:
One of the most significant personal growth experiences has been overcoming the embarrassment of being seen trying. It’s natural to feel vulnerable when trying new things, but it’s essential to push past that fear, and it’s made me a better person in every area of my life. This year has taught me that every effort counts, and every attempt is a step toward improvement. The right people will back you up and encourage you, and those who might talk down to you are just as insecure as you were.
8. Coping with Dry Spells:
While celebrating the successes, I also want to acknowledge that dry spells and quiet periods are part of the journey, especially when balancing university and two other jobs. It’s essential to recognise that the output is directly proportional to the time and effort invested. Sometimes, factors are beyond our control, and it’s okay to take a step back and regroup.
As I celebrate one year of Neesh Photography, I can’t help but feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude and accomplishment. This journey has been a rollercoaster of experiences, challenges, and growth, and I want to express my heartfelt thanks to all of you who have been a part of this incredible year. I’ve learned to cherish the highs and lows, as each experience contributes to my growth as an artist and business owner. I’m excited to see what the future holds, but I’ve taken the matter into my own hands and I’ve got some pretty exciting announcements to make soon.
Thank you for being a part of this incredible year.