We have a weakness for phenomenal photographers and Elizabeth Stone, owner of Elizabeth Stone Photography, definitely falls in that category. Elizabeth has worked incredible hard to develop her talent and capture the special moments in her clients’ lives. She has a knack for capturing the details, often overlooked.
Tell us about yourself.
I am twenty three years old, a child of God, wife to an amazing husband, mom to two little boys and pregnant with a little girl. I am a stay at home mom and wedding/portrait photographer. I find myself enjoying the days when I feel productive and spend extra time playing with my boys.
I love dark chocolate, ice cream and snuggling with my hubby while watching TV shows on the couch. I used to be a runner, but that doesn’t happen very often any more. I love people and just want to serve them well and make friends.
How did you get into your business?
I decided on photography from a purely business standpoint. I had just had our first child and I knew that I wanted to stay home with him but wanted something creative on the side. I also wanted to make money off of it. So I decided I would try out photography!
I stayed within my means and bought a used camera off Craigslist for $250. I immediately jumped into it and started devouring all the information I could find on Google and Youtube. It wasn’t long before I started charging for my services and quickly paid for my camera and lenses.
What has been your biggest challenge?
Keeping up on posting new material consistently. I tend to go in spurts of making my presence known on social media and then being silent for a while. I say it’s because I get so busy, but I know I could budget it into my schedule. It’s something I am still working on.
What do you wish you’d known when you started?
I wish I had heard about Amy and Jordan’s online photography classes earlier. I ran across them later and they were still a huge help to me, but they would have really gotten me going quicker. I was learning things by trial and error. So far they have been the only ones to offer a class packed so much useful information in it, that I felt like I was underpaying them for what they had to offer.
If you could narrow your success down to one thing, what would it be?
I would have to say it would be determination to continue. I felt frustrated often when I first started because my images were not turning out how I was envisioning them in my mind. I never considered quitting though. I knew that practice makes perfect and if I continued to work, experiment and take chances I would reap the benefits in time. It turns out, it took less time than I thought it would! That being said, I don’t ever plan on coasting through and not continuing to invest in education and pushing myself.
Where do you see yourself in a year?
I see myself taking on less weddings and sessions than I do now. Mostly because I will have three kids three and under. I will be charging more for the ones I do take on so I can invest that into our family, on things like updating our house and family vacations. I see myself plugged into higher end venues and photographing high budget weddings.
What are your top three tips for women starting a business?
- Find a mentor. I wish I had done this and I have heard from so many people how inspiring and encouraging it is. We aren’t meant to run a business without support.
- Do your research. Know exactly what your goals are, how much you are going to need to invest up front and what market you want to appeal to.
- (This applies to women with families) Keep your family as involved as you can. Share your dreams with your spouse and include him in your ups and downs. Let your kids accompany you or help wherever they can. You will probably need time to yourself to work as well, but making it a family affair will help prevent resentment about the time it takes away from the family.
What is a typical day like for you?
I don’t work on photography every day right now but I set aside days to spend a good amount of time on it. I think I am more efficient when I work in larger amounts of time with little distractions. So, I will edit a full portrait session at one time. On days that I have sessions, I usually upload all the images as soon as I get home and post a sneak peak within 24 hours. I also budget in client meetings as they come up and stay very caught up on all emails and inquiries.
My days are more structured around my families needs than photography, so I do a lot of editing and marketing work during the two hours when my boys are down for their naps. I try to stay flexible but very focused when I do have an opening to work.
What is your business motto or quote you live by?
“Love people and serve them well.”
It’s a pretty simple statement, but if you truly live by it, then everything will fall into place! Over-deliver, don’t take advantage of others or let them take advantage of you and always show joy and interest in those you come in contact with.
If you were starting your business over again, what would you do differently?
I already mentioned it, but I would have invested in the right education right off the bat. I also would have waited to charge people until I knew what I was doing and could produce consistent work. All of my early clients were very kind, but I ended up gifting the first few with another session later on because I was so embarrassed by my earliest work!