What Comes Next?

The big question, the almighty dilemma, the one thing I’m always focused on is “What comes next?!?” I think as photographers this daunting question effects us all, especially those of us just starting out. whatcomesnextWe are thinking what lens should I buy next? When can I get that new camera? What software should I buy and what can wait? We hear about all these wonderful products and of course we would LOVE LOVE LOVE them all but that’s not exactly feasible right out of the starting gait. I suppose a small business loan could do the trick, but my mind says 100% no, nope, not happening to that idea…. So lets forget that exists for a moment.

I decided the only way to get this tornado of ideas out of my head was to write down my exact plan. This is how I did it, and I highly recommend the method if you are in the same boat!!

First: I added up all the wonderful things that I already own. I find it helpful to remember what I DO have when consumed by all these new products. I am thankful for:

My wonderful Canon 6D, 50mm 1.4, 85mm 1.8, 24-105mm L series, 600 Ex-RT flash, MacBook Pro, two external hard drives, Lightroom, Photoshop, Kelly Moore camera bag, BlogStomp, plenty of class 10 SD cards (these get changed out every year), website and website design, and Canon 60D, 18-135mm 55-250mm, 430 EX II flash.

Also, I have Will for 100% support on all my computer issues!!! Not to mention an awesome second shooter! 

Second: I wrote down exactly what I would LOVE to have right this moment, even if it is not feasible just yet. I have included items that are an ongoing cost such as album design.

For me: The all mighty Mark III, 50mm 1.2, 85mm 1.2, 35mm 1.4, 100mm macro, additional 600 Ex-RT flash, ShootQ, PASS galleries, a Drobo, album design, studio/work area, education, and PhotoMechanic.

Third: I broke the list of items from the second step into two categories, items that can be built into the cost of my services and those that cannot. For example, I use PASS galleries that can easily be built into my fees, where as a new camera is a one-time large fee.

Can be built into the price: PASS galleries, ShootQ, album design, education

Large one-time fee: Mark III, 50mm 1.2, 85mm 1.2, 35mm 1.4, 100mm macro, additional Ex-RT flash, a Drobo, studio/work area, PhotoMechanic

Fourth: I sat down with Will and decided what percentage of our profits will go back into the business.

For Us: Since we both have other full time jobs currently, we decided that a large portion of our profits should go back into the business. Our final numbers were 75% back to the business and 25% back to us. This might sound straight-up crazy to you, but it will work for us.

Now, when I go full time in photography (and if you are full time) those numbers will probably be reversed and might be closer to 85% and 15%. Recommendation: NEVER put 100% back into the business. You are a professional and deserve to be paid!

Fifth: This is where is got really dicey! For my fifth and final trick, I will make the list!! See the list below with some explanations of why each item is where it is.

Be aware that this is my list and I don’t expect it to work for anyone but me but that I hope it gives some insight into how to put together your own list.

  1. Any items that can be built into my prices: PASS galleries, ShootQ, album design, etc.
  2. 100mm macro. Why is this before the other red-ring-gods (L-series lenses)?? Well because I already have the 50mm 1.4 and the 85mm 1.8. While those two don’t have the exact same quality as the red-ring-gods, they do some awesome work!! In other words, I would rather have a new focal length to create diversity in my images before upgrading those two. DISCLAIMER: If I did not have the 50mm 1.4 or the 85mm 1.8 the 50mm 1.2 and 85mm 1.2 would ABSOLUTELY be the first two lenses on my list!! 
  3. Drobo. File storage is so important in this industry and that is why this baby is up near the top! I have a wonderful solution with my external hard drives and network back up drive, but the Drobo is next on the list!  
  4. PhotoMechanic. This software greatly reduces your overall time culling, which is one of my biggest time expenditures. I argued for the longest time that Lightroom worked just as well after hearing the overall idea, but when friend let me test it out I realized it’s worth. It’s worth looking into at the very least, if you haven’t before.
  5. Education. Now continuing education is far more important than I can say and it seems unfair to put it at number 5 BUT I recently was able to go to the KJP Workshop Experience with Katelyn James! Before going to my next event, I would like to upgrade some equipment and workflow, which is why this is at number 5.  
  6. 35mm 1.4 for the same reasons as the 100mm macro.
  7. 50mm 1.2. My favorite of all the lenses! It will be hard to wait for you but one day we will finally be together. Omg – so dramatic!
  8. 85mm 1.2. You will notice both the 50mm and 85mm come before the Mark III. I do this because I believe it doesn’t make sense to shoot with the Mark III without the “red-ring-gods.” Maybe this is a silly thought, but it’s how I feel.
  9. Additional 600 Ex-RT flash. This is one of the last since we already have one already. This additional one would be for better off camera flash at receptions or other events in addition to the one on my camera.
  10. Canon EOS 5D Mark III. This will be an insanely awesome day!!

As time goes on, I will come up with plenty of other items to add to this list but as long as I fit them in and rearrange accordingly, I will be able to have some peace of mind.