Welcome to the site! I want to tell you a story about the worst day of my photography career in hopes that you will continue to read and not make the same mistakes I did. This event will live with me forever. This story illustrates so many different aspects of the business that I had built that I feel like it is the perfect way to kick off this new project so you can learn how to build a strong business that highlights your talents as a creative professional.

Delivering the news

Think of a time in which someone told you really bad news, I mean the really bad news that makes your toes hurt because your stomach has dropped so far that your toes are being squashed. That was the news that I had to deliver to a bride when I lost a part of her wedding day. These photos included the ceremony and some candids of the family that had traveled long distances to see their special day. If that wasn’t horrible enough, when I called to tell the bride this horrible news, her mother picked up the phone and let me know that she had been in a car accident over the weekend. Did you feel that? Did your stomach just sink too?

How did you lose all of the images?

There were so many learning opportunities that occurred during this otherwise horrible event. First off, I learned the value of having a camera that uses both memory card slots. At the time, mirrorless was very new and I was using the Sony A6000 which only had one memory card slot. That day it was REALLY hot and I think the heat got to the memory card and caused it to fail. Also, I learned the value of not putting all of your “photo” eggs in one basket. What I mean by that is I should have used both of the cameras that I had with me instead of one. That would have further insulated me and allowed me to rebound a little bit better. Saying I lost a few images is much better than having to explain that you lost the whole ceremony.

What happened with the client?

So first and foremost I had a contract in place that resolved my business of any liabilities with images not being delivered. My business was also an LLC which protected my family should anything would have happened legally speaking. I refunded the couple everything they had paid me. I also paid for the bride to have her hair redone so we could do a bridal shoot with the couple. Finally, I let them pick out whatever album they wanted and had it printed for them. In my mind, I was doing everything I could to reduce any stress that came from me losing their images.

So why share this failure as the first post on your new website?

As I mentioned during the intro, this story illustrates so many of the things that I am going to write about on this site. I want to make sure other photographers build strong businesses that can weather tough storms like this one. There are so many things that I changed in my business after this event to make sure that it never happened again and those are all changes that I plan to walk you all through. Finally, during this time I almost quit. I was done. I didn’t want that stress and I sure as hell didn’t want to put that stress on any more clients. But a close friend and fellow photographer told me to stop, regroup, and get back at it. If it wasn’t for him I would have closed my studio and probably would have taken a totally different career path altogether. Having friends in this industry is paramount and you will be hearing a lot more about that friend as he has built an amazing business and I am super proud of him.

What can you expect from this site?

Someone that is here to help. To answer questions. To watch you thrive.

It seems simple, but that is why I am building this site. I want to help creatives who are starting their businesses get started in the right direction. I want a place to offer advice and give back to a community that is near and dear to my heart. I want to use my background in business and everything I learned in business school to help others. I want to be the voice that says “stop, regroup, and get back at it” when a creative is about to quit.

Tj Houston

TJ Houston MBA, is a photographer and educator located in Northern Ohio. Tj has worked in several different industries and brings those experiences into the creative world to help other creatives succeed and thrive.