Day 13: The Value of Slow Growth

Photographers have some of the most incredible stories. Especially the ones you see up on stage at big photography conferences. I hear things like, “I booked 35 weddings in my first year!” and “I booked three years of weddings off of referrals from my very first wedding!” My story isn’t like that. My story started in 2007 with a Canon Rebel I got from Best Buy at a Black Friday sale. I didn’t shoot my first wedding until 2011 and that entire year I booked one wedding. The next year I booked two. You can guess how this story goes.

One of the reasons my journey developed so slowly is that in 2007, I had a one year old boy. By 2010 I had become a single mother. My own mother lived with us and it was up to me to take care of the household. I couldn’t quit my day job and I couldn’t spend the time I needed to grow my business. Something had to suffer and it wasn’t going to be my steady income and it wasn’t going to be my role as a mother. So it was my business.


In 2014, I went to a conference here in Arizona where I saw Mary Marantz speak for the first time. She talked about slow growth and the notes I have on her talk are by my desk and I read them often. She compared photographers to plants… stay with me. She said (and I’m paraphrasing) “There are weeds… they sprout up so impressively high overnight but when you pull them, they come up easily. Their roots are shallow. You have annuals which are pretty but they quickly die and need to be replaced in a year. I want to be a tree. Before a tree sprouts, it roots itself. It grows slowly and when it’s full and tall it provides shade… it provides fruit… it is full of value.”

Later I found a quote by Henry Fielding that says, “Success is a fruit of slow growth.” How fitting, right?

If you’re feeling like your business is growing much slower than you expected, don’t worry, you’re going to root and you’re going to grow. Keep going… look back at your old work and see how far you’ve come. Create a folder of favorites and see how many people you’ve given the gift of photography to. Another quote by Seneca the Younger says, “Real improvement is of slow growth only.”

It doesn’t matter how slowly you go, as long as you keep going.

As always, I’d love to hear from you in the comments down below and I hope I’ll see you here tomorrow for Day 14: Client Gifts.

Day 98 is currently reserved for any questions you have throughout the next 100 days. To submit a question, please click here!  If you’re interested in supporting this project, please share, PIN and comment! Any other questions, comments or ideas, please feel free to email me at denise(at)denisekaris(dot)com

Denise Karis is an Arizona photographer who enjoys musicals, Doctor Who and breakfast burritos. IG @denisekaris