Lindsey Christensen | Photo Native Featured Instructor
Q: When you think of yourself as a photographer, do you feel like you’re more business-minded or more art/creativity-minded? Or are you a mix?
I am definitely a mix but I would say that I push the mix. Naturally I could just be a free bird and roam and run with my creativity, but when you are wanting to get paid for that roaming . . . You learn the lesson that we are also in the business of customer service and there are responsibilities that you have to fulfill if you are going to claim yourself as a business.
I have molded my business into a place where I can push my creative boundaries and still find satisfaction in my own ideas, all while running a business and getting paid to do that.
Over the years I worked hard and honing my skills as my own accountant (which if you can source this out, DO IT), schedule coordinator, epic communications specialist. Hahaha, These things I have to push myself to focus on, the creativity is a much more natural process for me. There are times and seasons during the year where I have to shift from that easy creative and push myself in the business direction and make sure I am accomplishing the business end tasks and goals. And I will say this . . . over the years and with lots of practice I have learned to enjoy the business side now too! ;)
Q: What do you think is one of the biggest challenges photographers are faced with right now?
Oversaturation and not trusting yourself. We ALL have our own unique perspective and we have to trust that instead of trying to create something that we "think" will be on trend, on point, or will get a gazillion likes. Trust yourself, trust that creative soul inside of you and do things that inspire YOU.
Q: What’s been one of the biggest hurdles you’ve had to overcome in your business in order for it to continue to thrive and be successful?
Oh man.... staying relevant. Transitioning from film to digital, from single lady to married mom, from few to many photographers.
I think we are constantly faced with hurdles and we just have to push through. You can't give up because eventually you get the other side and are grateful you went through what you did because you became a more beautiful and refined artist. The key is staying true to yourself while you go through these hurdles so you aren't lost when you get to the other side. :)
Q: What is one of your best tips for running a successful business?
Don't give up, and give your all. When I say don't give up . . . that can mean a variety of things but specifically, its hard work so keep at it! Most business' don't start generating profit until year 3, 4 or 5! It also means if you start to feel irrelevant, push through, don't throw in the towel . . . FIND YOUR RELEVANCY. You can do this time and time again, I promise. I can attest to it. Give it your all . . . and I seriously mean GIVE IT YOUR ALL. Don't do things at half level and expect the world at your finger tips. You have to give it your very best shot, with your very best energy, and your best foot forward. If you fall down . . get back up and keep giving it a go over and over with ALL of who you are.
Q: How do you deal with burnout? What do you do to boost your creativity when you’re in a slump?
I put the "paying camera" down as I call it, and jump into a project or task that allows my brain to open up and start absorbing again. Last year, I see some time aside and read the book BIG MAGIC . . . life changing. Another year i planned a getaway that was just for me and friends, and I shot a project with all of them. Not paid, no pressure, just my own ideas and plans. I think doing things like that feed your creative beast and helps you break into new ideas.
Q: What’s the best part about being a photographer and doing the work that you do?
Hands down the relationships I form and the incredibly important moments I get to document for these client. It becomes such an intimate relationship when you invest everything into your art and clients . . . KEY WORD AND because you have to marry those two things to really achieve that high level of gratification!
Q: When do you feel the most creative?
Honestly . . . sometimes I feel the most creative when I have maxed myself out and feel overwhelmed. I know that might sound strange, but at those times its like my brain is so tired that it starts wondering and thinking of things that it will enjoy and what it wants to spend time on. Now I am not always maxed out and overwhelmed so the alternative is books. I am NOT a big reader either so its kind of crazy I am saying this, but the last three books I have read I have found INCREDIBLE inspiration and drive from. I think I am so bombarded with life, electronics, social media that its hard to SIMPLIFY inside . . .and when you read you naturally simplify to the story at hand.
Q: Describe your perfect work schedule where you are free to create yet be financially successful?
15 Weddings and 30 Families a year . . . hahahaha Is this what you mean?. . . because really this is MY magic number. It allows me time to focus on each of my clients with full detail, allows me to be a mom, but gives me time to breath, stay grounded and find inspiration.
Q: Have you ever felt that running the business side of things mentally overwhelms you? How did you overcome that?
2 things here that go hand in hand. 1) take the time to learn whatever you are overwhelmed with or stuck on until YOU GOT IT 2) be open and candid with your clients to let them know you are working on or learning something new. (sometimes this can be an even bigger payoff then just good communication because you might have a client who has experience and can help you too!)
Q: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Do you know how OLD I am going to be in 10 years! hahahah HOLY SMOKES! Pursuing my passion and documenting people and their lives is so meaningful and a part of who I am so I really hope to be doing this exact same thing. The creative field is where I belong!
Q: If you are a parent, what’s one tip you have for juggling a super crazy photographer’s work schedule with parenthood?
Knowing that you HAVE to be flexible. There may never be a perfect schedule, because in all reality you can find perfect balance in life because things are always moving. You can have an idea or a plan to always work towards, but be flexible and adjust to what is best for your family at each and every moment. and . . . GIVE YOURSELF SOME DANG CREDIT!