2015- A year of changes for this Arkansas Photographer
On this last day of the year, I thought I would make my final blog post a reflection on the changes in my photography business. There were a lot of phone calls, emails, photo shoots, miles traveled and friends made along the way. My regular photography clients expanded from Northwest Arkansas into Little Rock and I put a lot of miles on my car with regular trips down south. Luckily I found podcasts this year to keep my self entertained and hopefully a little bit enlightened. I think I can officially call myself a binge-listener.
Let’s start with the biggest change… I decided to stop photographing sports. This was probably one of the hardest career decisions I’ve made because I absolutely loved being a sports photographer. For the last almost 15 years, I shot sports for the Arkansas-Democrat Gazette, the Associated Press, USA Today Sports Images, the University of Arkansas Athletic Department and numerous colleges, universities and newspapers throughout the county. I stayed really busy and absolutely loved working for wire agencies because I loved seeing how my images were used through out the year. I’m going to admit it, I had a google alert set on my name and I looked forward to receiving the email each day to track down where photos were used.
So, why did I quit? I basically got really organized with my accounting and realized that time vs. money vs. investment wasn’t worth it for my business. I spent three years watching the numbers go down and I realized just how few commercial photography jobs it would take to replace that income. I also knew that I could take the time spent photographing games, and all of the editing time, and put it into promoting my business get more of the work I desired to shoot.
Photographing a football game would require me to arrive 3 hours before kickoff, shoot for 4 hours, and then edit on site for another 2 hours following the game to put up 20-25 images of peak action. In the days following, I would then spend probably another 2-4 hours editing, color-correcting and putting cutlines on anywhere between another 50-125 images. Each game took up easily 10-12 hours of my week, and it took a lot of juggling to keep up with my work and my 9-year-old son. Work wise, it just made sense. What I didn’t realize is that quitting also made sense life-wise. I didn’t realize just how much time I would gain to spend with friends and family. I even went to several football games this year, though I’m still not quite comfortable “calling the hogs.” I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to get rid of the media mentality of not favoring a team.
My most received question of 2015 was, “What are you doing now that you’re not shooting sports?”
This was such a great question because it made me realize that most people only knew me as a sports photographer… and that wasn’t good for everything else that I shoot. So, I spent 2015 working on promoting my work as a food photographer, commercial photographer and a editorial photographer. I made a lot of new connections, new clients and gained some new work this year, and I am hoping to continue pushing in those areas again in 2016.
I love photographing food; I absolutely love it. I have photographed food for magazines in Northwest Arkansas for several years now, but this year I jumped into the world of commercial food photography. I had such a great time putting together a team and working with an amazingly talented local food stylist on a recent shoot for product packaging. Those packages should roll out after the first of the year, and I can’t wait to share the look of the final product.
I would have to say my busiest area of work is portraits. I’m not really sure when it happened, but it became one of my strong suits. My portrait work began with shooting for magazines and newspapers, but it has expanded more and more into the world of commercial photography. My work is being used for promotional materials, marketing, advertising and websites. 2015 was a year of portraits of mothers, gardeners, musicians, college deans, executive portraits, gardeners, business owners, employees, chefs, outdoor enthusiasts, actors, lawyers, architects, and creatives. Each person was unique with their own story to tell, and I walked away with a little bit richer of a life for listening.
Although I am not really an event photographer, I do shoot events for corporate clients, editorial assignments or advertising. I always have fun trying to capture the moments and also create images that can be used to advertise and promote an event for the following year. Photographing an event is kind of like being a fly on the wall… I’m not a participant, but I get to witness almost everything. I really enjoy watching people and anticipating the moments that make great photographs.
2015 also brought a lot more work in product photography. Majority of that work has been on location, and I like to call it environmental product photography since I am photographing products in locations where they might be used by a consumer. I have had so much fun during the shoots because I get to tap into my creative side and work with stylists to create a final product. It can sometimes be really slow work, but the outcome is worth it. I look forward to shooting more products and hopefully expanding my client list in this area of photography in 2016.
This was not as big of a year for interior photography as it has been in the past, which is a little disappointing because it’s another area of work that I really enjoy. For as long as I can remember, I have looked at myself each year and looked for ways to improve. Whether it’s learning to drink my coffee without sugar, or working on my patience with my child, I am always trying to better myself… this goes for the same for my business. Hopefully by this time next year I will have more images to show in this category of photography.
So that pretty much sums of 2015 for Beth Hall Photography… well, except for all of the fun! A huge thank you to my clients, mentors, assistants, stylists, friends and family. I wouldn’t be anything without every single one of you. Happy 2016!!!