As I approach the first anniversary of my most recent business venture, Colleen Scott Photography, I have decided to reflect on and share my progress as well as the challenges I have faced and continue to face. The way I operate has significantly transformed within the past year and I am continually making adjustments to better my craft.
First and foremost: To address the most common question I receive: “How did you decide to get into real estate photography?” The answer is super riveting. Are you ready? My dad suggested it. Trust me, I wish I had a cooler story. I had recently moved back home from living in Rome for a year and I didn’t know what on earth I was going to do for a living. I’m not an extremely conventional person, so there has always been appeal to the idea of making my own schedule and working for myself. With my background in photography and love for home design, which developed by watching endless hours of Chip and Joanna Gaines on HGTV’s Fixer Upper, this idea my dad had seemed relatively feasible and potentially fun. I took to the internet and watched hours of video tutorials before photographing a family friend’s house for practice. It didn’t take long to realize that this type of photography was a completely different beast. There was gear and equipment involved that I was not familiar with and Photoshop tools I had never touched, which made this all feel a bit overwhelming. After tackling the first house, I was hungry to do more. I landed my first paying gig with friend and realtor Garrison Fuller shooting a beautiful custom home in Lumberton, Texas. (Shoutout to Rick and Joanna Edgeworth with Acadian Dream Homes.) I was incredibly intimidated upon arrival and it took everything in me to keep anxiety levels at a manageable rate. Go big or go home, they say. Well, I went big, and shockingly enough I was extremely satisfied with my results and realized that I had an actual chance at making a career out of this. It’s funny to look back at those photos, which I’m still impressed with considering it was my first legitimate shoot, but my current shooting and editing knowledge base would have produced a completely different set of images.
#blessed: I fortunately was able to talk a few other local realtors into hiring me and began to build a portfolio. (Shoutout to realtor Amy Chance for helping me gain momentum by booking me again, again, and again.) Now, almost a year later, I have booked shoots with realtors, custom home builders, interior design firms, and even a catering company. I have shot everything from beach cabins to a company’s break room. I feel extremely blessed when I think about the amount of jobs that have fallen in my lap out of pure luck or random connection that led to a referral. All of my marketing has been either digital or word of mouth. I could not be more thankful for social media and how easy it is to share my images in hopes of booking that next job. I am constantly blown away by the support of my friends and family through simply liking or sharing posts of mine. This is how it happens, people!
Real talk: With all that said, it has not been an easy journey. It has been a challenge to establish and prove my worth as a photographer and it continues to be an uphill battle to educate others about how professional images can be an intensely powerful tool for improving the quality of their brand. Help me help you. I still wake up some days terrified that this is all going to crumble in front of my face. I have had weeks when I literally turned down jobs because I was too busy to take on any more and I have had weeks when I did not have one single job. I know the sporadic work comes along with building a business, so I am trying to keep it all in perspective, continue to hustle, and cross my fingers that year number two will prove to be fruitful enough to keep pursuing this dream.
Shameless plug: If you know any realtors, interior designers, home builders, architects or anyone else that could benefit from hiring me, please send them my way! You can view my full portfolio of images via the 'Portfolio' tab on collscott.com.
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