Monday, September 17, 2012

Lesson Learned

Through life we learn lots of lessons.  The same goes for owning your own business.  Here are some lessons learned since I started my business.

1.  As soon as you upload images from a session, not only save them on the computer, but back them up in a separate location.  For weddings, also burn to disc.  You may also want to keep the memory card until all editing is complete and discs are in the bride/groom's hands. 
2.  Keep all original image files until customer is satisfied with final images.
3.  Require payment prior to ordering customer prints - I've been stuck footing the bill before...OUCH!
4.  Require a nonrefundable payment for scheduling mini sessions.  If someone doesn't show up for their session that means I just lost the opportunity to earn $100+ and sit around with nothing to do for 30 minutes...
5.  Have a charged spare battery or battery cartridge to hold AA and AAA batteries.
6.  Bring extra memory cards to a session.
7.  Have an extra camera for weddings.

8.  And now another lesson I've learned...have an extra camera handy for ANY session.  All of these lessons and the last one I mentioned I've learned first hand.  I was in the middle of shooting an engagement session.  For a couple who drove to Lexington, KY from Pennsylvania.  And they only come into town 2-3 times a year.  And my camera stopped working.  In the middle of the shoot.  Heart racing, sweaty palms, I'm sure I was fire engine red from embarrassment.  I followed the directions prompted on the screen to remedy the problem, but my camera still didn't work.  Fortunately my parents live near by and have the same camera I have.  Whew...a 5 minute trip to their house to borrow the camera.  Swap out my battery (but not my battery, lens and memory card.  Fortunately I already save my personal settings on their camera as well so I was ready to shoot!  This mishap set me back about 15 minutes, but we made up the time for the shoot.  Whew...I was able to finish the shoot without a hitch! 

It felt good to get the shoot completed, but I had some trouble-shooting ahead of me.  Apparently error 099 could mean a few different things.  I browsed through photography chat forums to see if anybody else had been given this error.  There were a few things to try to eliminate certain problems, but none seemed to work.  I gave up and decided it was time to take 'er into Murphy's Camera.  I had printed off the images when the camera started to malfunction, perhaps the images would help to diagnosis the problem.  It did, their staff thought it was a shutter blade which had broken.  Such a little piece, but a BIG bill to swallow.  The store would have to ship my camera back to Canon to have it serviced.  It would cost a few hundred dollars AND I'll be without my camera for 4 weeks.  Double OUCH! 

A few hundred dollars and a camera gone for a month. Boo!  There's the option of upgrading my camera body...because as you know models are pretty much obsolete as soon as they roll off the assembly line since the next bigger and better model is already in the works. I was going to upgrade at the end of the year.  Looks like I'll be doing it sooner.  So I guess this is my way of figuring out I waited too long to have that extra camera handy for ALL occasions. 

Lesson #8.  And here are the images.  Oh, it makes me cringe when I see them!

No, it is NOT my shoulder strap.  :(

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