It’s pretty normal to have this idea that you’d like to have pictures made for one reason or another, and then end up sitting on it for months (or, even years—you know who you are). I mean, it’s not like a doctors appointment where you might die if you don’t do it. It can take some time to decide that you want to do it, and then even more time to finally make it happen, and that’s okay.
The problem is that even if you know you want to do it, not knowing what you want to do exactly can make it hard to know where to start. When you don’t know where to start, you can end up in this frustrating cycle of remembering, and then wanting to do it, and then feeling overwhelmed with getting started. There’s a zillion different styles, and practically as many photographers, and so so many places you could potentially go to take the photos. The thing is, you don’t need to kick yourself every time you remember that you still haven’t gotten started, you just need to make something productive out of that time and those moments.
I have a lot of this kind of experience in my life. As an artist, there are endless things I want to do, and as a business owner, I know that I have to make whatever baby steps I can until I eventually do. So my intention here is to help you identify some of the useful baby steps you can take before you even fully decide you want to have some pictures made. By doing these things, you’ll feel good about making a little progress here and there, and then when the day comes that you feel inspired to pick up the phone and talk to a photographer, they’ll be impressed and the whole thing will feel super easy.
So lets check it out…
Save up some images you like
One of the easiest baby steps to take, not requiring any serious effort, is just to look around at what other people are doing, and go one step further by making a folder, or an album, or a Pinterest board of images you find compelling.
Pinterest was designed for this. As you browse around the internet, you can quickly add images to an easy-to-share board that collects all of them together and makes a great starting place for a conversation with a photographer. Of course, if you’re not already using Pinterest, I wouldn’t blame you for not wanting to get into another social media-esque thing. So, you can also just save images you like into a folder on your computer, or an album on your iPhone or Android device.
You don’t even need to look through these images again, at least not until you’re actually in a conversation with a photographer. The idea is just that you probably come across images you like fairly regularly, so make that a productive thing and save some of them for a later reference.
Think of some places that matter to you
Another place people get tripped up is thinking about where to do the photos. Of course, if the images you’ve been collecting are all studio style images then, well, you probably ought to end up in a studio, in which case these baby steps won’t matter. But all a lot of people know about the “where” question in photos is just someplace outside.
Instead of getting tripped up, just take a few minutes once in a while to think about places you went recently that you really liked for some reason. Don’t worry about whether it would make a good spot for photos, you can leave that up to a discussion with your photographer. The idea here, much like the Pinterest board above is to be able to remember places you liked and why, so you can have an easier and more productive conversation with a photographer.
The easiest way to do this is to keep a handy list you can quickly add things to on your phone. Whenever you’re out and about and notice you’re thinking “boy this is such a nice place”, go ahead and jot it down on your list. Again, you don’t even really have to look over it again, but when the time comes to talk with a photographer, that list will make it very easy to recall things you’ve liked and make it much easier for your photographer to make good and relevant recommendations.
Consider your priorities
This is the tough one, but also the only one that doesn’t actually require you do anything. All you have to do is think.
Here’s the thing, for a lot of people, the decision to have portraits made ends up bumping into other priorities, some that may feel bigger than they are, and some that are bigger than they feel. The kids have sports and recitals, work gets busy sometimes, you might be carrying a little more weight than you want, groceries have to be bought some time. Just sorting out the priorities can get in the way of getting what you want.
So, much like our baby steps above, all you need to do here is try and notice when normal day to day plans change. Try to notice what happens when things get shaken up, the kids miss school, or you stay at work later than expected. Was it a really big deal? You can write it down if you want, but it’s probably not necessary.
In all likelihood, when you have that inspiration to finally go ahead and talk with a photographer, actually scheduling with them might end up requiring you prioritize what should happen in the limited time you have, and having to do that all of a sudden can be stressful. But, maybe it’s not a actually big deal for the kids to go into school late, or for you to leave early, so long as it isn’t a common thing. Maybe you can miss a book club, or skip a poker night. When you talk to your photographer to finally schedule something, having some idea of how your life can be flexible without too much discomfort, will make it much easier to land on a date and time that fits your life and gives you as much of what you want as possible.