Going Full Time Month 8

If you were to strike up a conversation with an Arizona Photographer from the months of June to September, you will almost certainly hear them say the following:

“Summer is slow.”

Because it’s wildly true. Summer IS slow. No one is getting married. No one is getting engaged on a mountain top. No one is wanting to take their family outside for some 112 degree family photos. And if those things aren’t happening…then income is slow too, boo boo.

So for June, AKA month 8, I decided to do something different for some extra income… and it was so much fun!

I finally did what all those social media gurus have been telling me to do from their condos in Maui: look at your existing audience. So I did…and you know what? Most of my followers are other creative’s like me. Most of them are other Arizona creatives…¬† and like me, they need to show up on their feed more. I mean, we all do! Especially photographers who never find themselves on the other side of the camera.

In April, my friend Chelsi hosted a workshop at a cute Air B&B in Gilbert and I spent an hour taking branding photos of her and her two friends who both owned their own businesses. When I got home to edit the photos, I was thrilled. The images were gorgeous and carefree and effortless. Simply put, that house was magic!

So for three days in June, I rented the house and hosted a branding shoot out where creative’s could spend an hour in front of my camera and get fifty images so they can finally show up on their feed. Genius, right?

Well, yes. In the end, it was a success, but let me tell you…. it was a lot of work! First, the house cost me $600 to rent which was kind of scary since I had to book at least enough shoots to cover the cost. That stress didn’t last long because I booked that amount in a day but then, come hell or high water, I had to fill those other spots. I knew the value was there… and the quality was there…. it was just a matter of getting in front of people because, I don’t know if you’ve heard, we are on information overload. Everywhere we look there are ad’s and webinars and freebies. It’s overwhelming so our brains naturally filter out the majority of it.

At the same time, I thought about the recent efforts of a certain social media superstar who was selling a course for photographers and I realized something:

She has about a billion and a half more followers than I do. And when it came to promoting her course, she was all over it. She didn’t just drop a “Hey! I got a new course if anyone is interested! Hit me up!” No. I got a daily email from being on her email list (sometimes twice a day, not kidding), I saw countless Facebook posts, Instagram Stories, Pinterest Pins, all to sell this course. So it occurred to me: if someone as popular and successful as this awesome sauce woman had to post endlessly about her thing, what made me think I didn’t have to do the same for my thing?

So I got obnoxious. I got REALLY obnoxious. I posted ten times a day on stories. I promoted a PIN and an Instagram post. I Facebooked all over the place. I even DM’ed a few people! And wouldn’t you know, 3/15 people I messaged wrote back and said, “How did I not know this was happening?!” and they signed up that same day.

Something else happened during all this… I didn’t feel self conscious. And I ALWAYS feel self conscious. I didn’t worry if someone was on the other side of my feed thinking, “UGH. She’s being so annoying about this shoot.” I didn’t worry about everyone else’s opinions, I only worried about getting in front of the people who would benefit from this shoot.

So, friends, in month 8, I learned two things:

  1. You will make money when your goal is to make money.


  1. In order to be successful, you need to be willing to make a little noise.

Those are two truths that I don’t want to say out loud. Because I am someone who has always said, “Just focus on good work and serving and the clients will come.” and “The right people will find you, don’t worry.” But in reality, going for it really means going for it.

Month nine, I’m ready for you!

Click here to catch up on previous months from the first month I left my full time job to today!

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