This year, the book everyone’s raving is about getting rid of things. Marie Kondo’s bestseller, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, has become a go-to guide for modern folks who are hankering for a more simple, minimalist style. And while that’s great for peace of mind in your life and your home, clearing out old things you don’t really like can also be extremely powerful in your photography business.
Minialism in photography is having a real moment right now, but tidying up isn’t just about what’s in your images – newborn photographer Kelly Brown says it’s also what’s in your studio. Because when you outgrow props, costumes, or even lenses or other gear, the inclination might be to keep it around. But why?
“I got an email once from a photographer I’d mentored, and she was like ‘you know, I’m having a really hard time editing this image.’ And I looked at the image and I said ‘well, what’s the problem with it?’ and she said ‘it’s the blanket…I just don’t even like it.’ And I said ‘then why is it in your studio?'” Kelly explains.
We all have the tendency to hold on to items, either because they’re sentimental or because we think they just might come in handy some day. But if you’ve got clients who are choosing what they want – and this could even be as basic as a location for a shoot that you no longer like to visit, or a pose that you think is hopelessly outdated – you want to make sure they’re choosing only from things that match with your current style, not your style from previous years.
“Remove everything that doesn’t fit with what you love,” says Kelly.
Take the time to clear things out of your photography business, whether it’s photos in your portfolio that no longer represent you and your style, or props or costumes that you simply don’t like as much as you once did.
You can also tidy up your branding. Do you have multiple logos, several Facebook pages, or a lot of mismatched marketing materials? Clean them up and opt for a more streamlined approach. By tidying up both your physical space (and making some room in the studio!) and your online presence, you’ll be sure that no matter what yours clients choose, you’ll be happy with it.
This may also include vendors you work with. If a particular vendor has traditionally been a bear to work with, or simply doesn’t operate in your favorite way anymore, remove them from your list. It may seem cruel, but think of it like this: Everything and everyone is right for someone, but that doesn’t mean they need to be right for you. Anything that doesn’t fit perfectly for you might be a great fit for someone else.
When all else fails, remember the immortal words of Coco Chanel: “Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take one thing off.”
Then, apply them to your business. What’s too much? What can you take off?