Reflecting on one-year as a headshot photographer

The Year I Launched Julia Nance Portraits

Julia Nance Melbourne Photography StudioI can’t really believe that we have entered into 2019!
2018 seemed to go so quickly, yet a lot happened for me in that time.

It was just over one year ago that I touched back down in Melbourne after travelling Europe.
I felt like I was stepping into the unknown.

Previously in 2017 I had left my job to travel. Whilst overseas I made the decision to put everything I could into my photography business.

While I had always run a small business ‘on the side’, at my website, I had always supported myself with part time work and I hadn’t ever really truly pushed myself to settle into one area of photography.

So 2018 for me was the year I launched Julia Nance Portraits. It combined my love of studio photography and portraiture, as well as shooting people out in nature. It was really me pursuing what I love – capturing people in a beautiful way and allowing them to see themselves in a new light (pun not intended!).

January, 2018

In January 2018, I landed on the 3rd of January, and launched Julia Nance Portraits on the 14th of January. I had actually already set up most of my website while I was travelling overseas. I got to work as soon as I could when I was back in Melbourne, doing up my studio to make it more presentable, and working on developing my brand.

It didn’t stop there – building a business is a never-ending to do list.

I had a lot of work to do that I progressively spread out throughout the first half of the year. Most of it was documented by taking snapshots on my phone as I went.

My first task for the studio was repainting the exterior. I sat on top of a ladder on a 40-degree day sanding and painting. There was a breeze so it wasn’t so bad, but a bit of a contrast to the snow of Scotland that I had left a few days prior.

On a whim I decided to paint all the trimming red – as it would link back to my logo and key brand colour. So I painted up all the trimming, pulling off the flyscreen door, and doing coat after coat. Once it was finished I couldn’t be happier with how it looked – you can really see the difference between the old and new.

The next tasks were to neaten up a pathway (for the entrance), create some garden beds, re-pave some sections of the bricks, and solve some plumbing issues. Luckily for me, I had some help with these things from my lovely partner and his Dad.

A section of the pavement was a little bit….all over the place. Our process involved tearing it up, digging out the soil, re-plumbing the stormwater drainage, adding crushed rock, compacting it all….and finally re-laying the bricks. It was a bit of a long-process, but in the end it came up nicely.

Then it came to plant life.

The garden beds are a bit of a constant battle I will admit.

I wouldn’t exactly call myself gifted with plants – even though I just really love nature and gardens.

I created a few different gardens and planted up some pot plants to give the space a bit more life. Since planting a few of these are no longer with us. But I have found that succulents are the key….as long as they are protected from wild rabbits (who took it upon themselves to dig up, and eat the roots of most of my freshly planted garden beds!).

The ferns have managed to keep trooping on though, and a small section of ground covers are happily starting to grow bigger and bigger now. All good things take time, right?

Inside the studio:

While the outside of the studio definitely needed work, there were things about the inside that I wanted to improve too.

The first thing was installing the theatrical black curtain (which doubles as a blockout as well as a handy black backdrop).

Next was to liven up the interior walls a little, by printing some headshots and portraits for the space. They looked nice and definitely created some interest, but I still wanted to freshen up the whole look of the space, and make it more modern.

Previously the room was carpeted, so we pulled it all out and painted the floor with grey concrete paint. I then repainted the furniture, removed anything that was creating clutter, and had this bright, fresh new space. I finalised it by purchasing some new year, and creating a series of colourful backdrops.

The end result of everything was this:

Then there was all the nitty-gritty stuff…

Taken by Kathie Thomas, Dandenong Ranges Photography

Other than the physical works on the studio, my past year has been a lot of behind the scenes work.

All business owners realise that holidays and time off isn’t really a thing. It is hard to shut off, when there is always something you could be doing. It is enjoyable though, building something and watching it grow.

I’ve spend hours blogging and creating articles aimed at helping people prepare for their headshots, or tricks on lighting, photography, or personal branding.

I’ve tweaked my website, added text, images, pages, and resources.

Created booklets to distribute to business owners, to help them understand the benefits of headshots and personal branding.

I’ve networked online, chatted to people about their needs and how their images would work for them.

My process from booking to final images has been tweaked along the way, as I’ve seeked feedback and conducted market research to further understand what people’s’ pain-points are, and what they would really love out of a session.

Because business is all about growing, adapting and understanding clients.

So after my first year in business (almost), I’m excited for the next.

I’m excited to meet new people, learn about their careers and passions. Understand their goals. Create images that speak about their personality – that help them get more work, and improve their web presence.

So if you want to learn more about how I can help you, visit my pages for actors or business, and let’s create your professional image.


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