5 Things I Learned From Moving My Photo Business to NYC
Photos Courtesy of Travis Curry
Toward the end of 2015 I took a big leap of faith and moved my photography business to NYC. The scariest thing was the actual move. Moving to a brand new market; especially a heavily saturated market like NYC is risky but also very rewarding. I’ve been successful in my move: I’ve revamped my portfolio, I’ve met a great network of other creatives in the fashion industry and I have started to make great business connections. I know that the hard work will never go away, but I’m happy with where this experience has taken my career.
1. Opportunities present themselves in the most surprising ways and times
Being a freelancer means I’m always working, even if I don’t have work, I should always be open to meeting a new person, going to an event or helping a friend out with a project. This city is run by relationships: if people know you or recognize you, they will be more likely to remember you for jobs. You also have to act quick on opportunities because as soon as they can present themselves here, they can quickly get taken by someone else who’s acted faster than you. Always have your work available and ready to show. I update my digital portfolio on my iPad and make sure to have it with me when I’m out; you never know who may want to see your portfolio. If I don’t have my iPad with me, I’ve created a portfolio album on my iPhone that I can show to someone if I’m out in a social setting.
2. Be open to new ways to make money
Your income in a new market may not be fully on your photography business. I’ve been able to survive thanks to savings and picking up new work; I’m always open to being a production assistant or digital tech on set. If I open myself up to new ways to make money, they can also lead to new connections and leads on photography clients. The more I’m working within my industry, the more I learn and the better I become! I also don’t say “no” to things like portraits, weddings & engagements, although that may not be where my career is focused, I can still do those jobs great within my style and it’s additional income for me.
3. Great shoots can happen in small spaces
Studio rental spaces can really add up, so shooting in your apartment is a huge plus! I’m so glad that I have some collapsible backdrops that have helped me create some of my favorite new images for my portfolio! Since I no longer have my studio in Maryland, I’ve had to really push myself outside of the box when it comes to photographing in new spaces. I’ve shot in my room, in a kitchen and turned my living room into a studio. This has been a great way for me to see spaces differently and stretch my creativity.
4. Invest in great cases & bags
I often have to travel for a shoot or a gig. It’s important for me that I get a durable case to carry my equipment in and an awesome bag to take around the city with me. I usually grab a Taxi or a car service like Uber, because subway travel can be a bit unpredictable with all of my gear. Even if I’m in a car; I’m carrying my gear around the city and never know if a building will have an elevator or not. I almost never leave my apartment without a backpack that has essentials like a snack, hand sanitizer, extra chargers, my wallet and my iPad.
5. New Yorkers are really awesome people!
In every industry you have those really horrible people (ie/ “Devil Wears Prada”) but I’ve been fortunate to meet some amazing people in the fashion & photography industry! Many of the New Yorkers I’ve met have been so welcoming and excited for me to be in town.
I hope that these will help anyone out there who is considering moving to NYC or making a big change to a new market soon! I absolutely love living in this city!