If you’ve asked about my photography business, you may have heard me say “I never meant for it to turn into a career.”
Between graduating from midwifery in 2008 and getting married in 2009 I guess I kinda started a photography business? I was passable at taking photos and people seemed to want to hire me, so, OK, I thought, this could be fun for a while.
Fast forward 8+ years and it’s time to set that unexpected career down, for the time being.
It was never in my heart to grow it up into a real lady-boss business, so the success I’ve had has always been surprising! While I have invested a lot of myself in growing the business and developing my skills as a photographer and businesswoman, I never deeply identified with being a photographer the way lots of my peers do. So it’s with bittersweetness that Claire Dam Photography soon packs up her gear and indefinitely stays home on weekends. (Except, of course, besides anyone who’s paid a deposit for an upcoming shoot!)
Thank you to everyone who believed in me, ESPECIALLY in the early days, and continued to hire or refer me year after year.
Thank you to the couples who trusted me with their (secret) engagement, (surprise) wedding, pregnancy (announcements), baby #1, baby #2, baby #3 etc!
Thank you to leaders in the city who trusted me and my work. Thank you to all the assistants and 2nd shooters who worked so hard with me.
Thank you to all the friends I pester(ed) over the years for help with computers, websites…basically anything technical.
Thank you to all the places & people who incubated my business: 270 Sherman/Cotton Centre, the Spice Factory and lastly above Mixed Media.
Thank you to friends and family who let me practice on them with new skills or gear – to varying degrees of success.
And Thank you to my husband who was my accountant, chef, very occasional pack-mule, cheerleader, therapist, and maybe, sometimes, my emotional punching bag as we awkwardly grew this business from a little hobby to a full-time monster.
I may keep on the odd commercial client, and will probably have a random shoot here and there, but by and large, Claire Dam Photography won’t be active by 2018.
This job I made for myself in Hamilton was a privilege – and that reality isn’t ever lost on me. I had a lot of advantages starting out and it’s true that it’s all about ‘who you know’. I hope I wasn’t stingy with my knowledge and that the newer photographers around me felt like I supported them.
There’s a lot more I could say about the past and future – but I know I’m running the risk of getting a lot of “TL;DR” remarks.
I’ll end with the #1 and #2 Rules I give clients as they prep for their upcoming shoot:
Be yourself and love each other!
(Photo credit: Dorothy Kuc)