1. Can you tell us a bit about yourself? When did you start photography? Where is your location? What type of clients do you have?
My name is Janet Kwan and I’m a lifestyle commercial photographer based in Toronto, Canada. My clients range from small business owners to large companies who need professional lifestyle photos to elevate their marketing and branding.
I started photography as a hobby in 2009, but I usually carried a camera with me even before that. I started my photography business in 2016.
2. Did you have any training or was it self-taught?
I like to say that I’m self/peer/Internet-taught. Without the help of others, it would have taken me much longer to learn completely by myself.
3. When you started did you always know your style or did it change over time?
I didn’t have my own style when I started. I was just learning how to reverse engineer the photos I really liked. Over time, I gravitated towards a more clean, minimal and bright style so I focused on developing that. I don’t limit myself to only shooting in that way, but it is what I intentionally work on.
4. When starting your journey did you have any challenges? Like finding clients? Keeping yourself motivated? Creating your website and online portfolio? How did you overcome those challenges?
Yes, I definitely had some challenges! Like many creatives, the challenge I faced was the imposter syndrome, being able to own the fact that I am now a professional photographer. Another challenge was the fear of not getting work on a semi-consistent basis. Being self-employed, finances are always on my mind, but that motivates me to connect with people and create new work which opened the door for opportunities.
5. How do you connect with your target audience? And how do you find your clients?
Because I had been doing photography on the side before turning it into a full-time business, I had already cultivated relationships with clients and word of mouth played a huge role in getting new clients. This also helped to lay the groundwork and build my portfolio.
Besides word of mouth, social media (especially Instagram) has been a great tool for potential clients to find my work. I also get inquiries through Google. I don’t use paid ads but I write with SEO in mind so that’s helped to boost search results.