Back to Business Week 2017: Victoria Wright

Back to Business Week 2017: Victoria Wright

What was your road like to becoming a photographer? When and how did you make the decision to pursue a livelihood involving photography, not just as a hobby?

I grew up in eastern Washington and moved to Seattle in 2007 to finish my degree and finally live in the city I loved. My interest in photography started when I was very young, inspired by my grandfather’s ability to create and share a beautiful moment with brushes on canvas. However, I didn’t pursue photography seriously until after I had moved to Seattle, finally turning my passion into a profession in 2013, when social media began opening doors which allowed me to share my work with a much larger audience.

Can you share with us what your business goals are? How do you go about accomplishing goals you’ve set out for yourself and your business?

My business goals have changed a lot over the last few years. This year, my hope is to work on a handful of commercial projects with companies I believe in, and to carve out more time to work on personal projects. Both are important, but I believe growth and your creative voice is developed when you let your imagination run free without the constraints of it being “work.”

How do you find that “work-life balance”?

I created structure in my business, so I wasn’t spending all my down-time in front of a screen.

Over the years I also learned to be a checklist person: Not just someone who writes lists, but one who actually follows them. I block out times in my calendar for personal activities, just as religiously as I do for my work projects. If you don’t make time for something, it won’t happen.

What keeps you motivated?

I’m not always motivated to do the busy work that comes with being a freelancer, but I’ve realized that like any other job, there are the less-fun tasks that are still very important. I always try to do the more tedious work first, then reward myself with the things I love most. If I chip away at the tasks that actually feel like “work” (and remove all other distractions), I can make a lot of progress, freeing up more of my time to spend time with friends and family, and to be outside chasing the light.

What are your 5 must-have business tools for running a successful photography business? Why?

Business admin isn’t the thing I’m most passionate about, so finding the right tools helps simplify my life and minimize the distractions. Some of my favorites are:

  1. TeuxDeux - My favorite to-do list app — it’s my homepage whenever I open a web browser on my laptop, and it helps that it’s easy on the eyes, too.
  2. Quickbooks Self-Employed - Automatically tracks mileage (super handy), makes it easy to track receipts and expenses, and connects with my bank so I always know how my business is doing.
  3. Dropbox - This is where I keep everything from documentation to receipts to final deliverables for clients — and being able to access it wherever I am, on my laptop or iPhone makes my life so much easier.
  4. Pixieset - How I present images to clients matters almost as much as the images themselves — the folks who make Pixieset know this, and they make it an easy and beautiful experience.
  5. Fantastical - I’d like to think I can remember everything I need to do, but that’s not reality — putting everything on my calendar keeps me sane.

 

What’s your day-to-day workflow like? How did you develop a system that worked for you?

Because I work on a lot of different types of projects, my day-to-day can vary wildly. Instead, I have a workflow for each type of shoot — studio, travel, editorial, portrait, etc. — which allows me to stay organized and plan accordingly for any situation. This sort of system evolves over time, mostly by learning from mistakes and refining how I approach every type of project at every opportunity. Checklists play a big part, and I’m always adding or editing my lists during and after every shoot to make them better.

What’s your favorite thing about running your own business and being your own boss?

My favorite thing is having the freedom to create whenever I’m in the mood, or pausing “work” when an irresistible pocket of light appears. As a creative, there’s nothing more important than being able to practice your art whenever the inspiration hits you.

If someone was thinking about leaving their 9-to-5 desk job to pursue a life as a creative business owner, what advice would you give them?

Freelance life is hard. If you’re considering working for yourself because you think it’ll be easier and carefree, don’t quit your job. It requires a lot of discipline and structure, and you will spend a lot more time running your business than you expect, not just running through fields of flowers with your camera. Is it worth carrying all the responsibility and stress? For me, yes — but it isn’t for everyone: You really have to want it.

Victoria Wright is a commercial photographer based in the Pacific Northwest, working with clients around the world. She specializes in portrait, lifestyle, and travel photography and wholeheartedly believes that the story is what matters most. Victoria helps global brands — including REI, AMEX, and The Wall Street Journal — tell compelling stories through photography. To see more of her work, visit veekster.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 




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