It’s Been 1 Year – A Studio Update

I did it. I made it one full year in the new studio space. My first shoot was on March 24, 2019 with a member of my newly-formed Senior Model Team. I was still operating under my previous name, Brian Black & White (see the rebrand here), and entering into The Great Unknown. There was a loose plan in place with an idea of what the new space would be like and I had the full support of my wife to venture into this new area. In fact – she’s the one who pushed me to get the studio, mostly to get all the “stuff” out of the house and into its own, dedicated space. She is so wise and beautiful, and I’m lucky to have her as my champion.

As I look back over the past year, it’s hard to see it as a “success” sometimes. I still struggle whether it was the right decision or not and I’ll be honest, I wonder if I’ll be able to keep the lights on another full year. One thing I want to remind myself of is the growth I’ve experienced thus far.  As I reflect, I want to share my top 5 experiences with you. 

1. Finding my style

I went into the year not really having a style or identity. I had good photos and knew what made them good, but when you looked at my work – it was a representation of someone else’s. My goal was to make it immediately apparent that when you saw my work, you knew it was me. The only way to find that was to shoot more until I found it. 

Looking back on the year I would say that I have accomplished this goal. Having the studio helped tremendously in this effort because I was able to shoot rain or shine in a controlled environment. I’ll still continue to refine my work (as every great artist does) but I definitely feel more comfortable with the product that I’m producing. 

2. One Full Year of Senior Photos

Transitioning into the senior market is hard, especially in this area of the country. There are just SO MANY senior photographers in Southwest Ohio with some big followings. This past year I was fortunate enough to have 4 amazing girls on my model team who were around for A LOT of photos throughout the year and really talked up my name at their schools. I booked 2 sessions from these efforts and achieved my goal for the year of having some paid senior photos. 

It’s almost a rite of passage when you’re a high school senior to get photos taken. It’s the last opportunity for many to get professional photos before their next big event, their wedding day! My business model is less volume (not a whole lot of shoots), but a custom / boutique feel with a custom feel. I’ve committed to only taking on a small number of seniors a year to ensure the highest quality service in the most unique locations. I can’t wait to see what the next year brings. 

3. Continued Family Shoots

I love family photos. And I love babies, too. Having the studio has helped offer a different feel to family photos as I felt like I was always stuck outside and completely dependent upon the weather. Smash cake sessions were always tough as I was bringing everything into a client’s home. None of that is an issue anymore! 

The volume of family shoots has fallen off a little – but my goal for 2020 is to get back to more families and more babies! I’ve even added maternity photos to my offerings and you can see a full list on my sister site, www.littlebellylaugh.com. I keep most of my family work on this site and will continue to update it as much as I can! 

4. Attended My First Photography Conference 

Jumping out of my comfort zone is hard and being around industry experts is intimidating. There was a wonderful opportunity for me to attend PUSH (a conference focused on senior photography) in Indianapolis last June. I immediately jumped on the opportunity and was extremely happy to have made that leap. I met a lot of new friends and learned from so many great people.

5. The Rebrand

The new name is simply “amazing.” The logo really represents me (the name helps, too!) and when you look at it – it’s fun, bold, and easy to read. I won’t go into great detail about this because you can read the blog post here, but it’s a great way to start 2020.

2020 is going to be a great year for Botos Photos and the studio. I made new goals for this year and can’t wait to achieve them with everyone. I really appreciate all the support from my friends, family, and clients who have helped make this studio and my new business a success.