How a Crowd Surfer Completely Changed My Photography Business

The other weekend, I decided to really go back to my high school roots and see one of my favorite bands in concert: Reel Big Fish. I haven’t been to one of their concerts in over a decade!

In true Molly fashion, I pushed through the crowd so I could stand front and center, right below the stage. Only I forgot all about how much Reel Big Fish fans like to crowd surf.

“Oh well,” I thought as the first crowd surfer rose up from the crowd. “I’m sure it will be fine!”

Famous last words.

Sure enough, not long into the concert, one of the crowd surfers fell right on my head!

I kind of shook it off and forgot about it for the rest of the night it was an amazing show.

reel big fish

But then when I woke up the next day I was in loads of pain. I ended up going to the emergency room and turns out I sprained my neck.

Seriously, who sprains their neck?

I know this sounds really morbid, but before I knew it was just a sprain, I was lying in bed and my mind was racing with “what if” scenarios.

All I could think about was how my life would change if something was seriously wrong and I would be stuck like this for the rest of my life.

You really take things for granted until they are taken away.

One of the things I had been taking for granted was my flexible business. While I was in that emergency room, I was supposed to be doing a boudoir shoot, but I was able to call and reschedule. My business wasn’t ruined because I was injured and needed time to recover.

In the past, I’ve had jobs where I would have been fired or, at the very least, passed up for promotions, if I had not been able to work due to an injury.

Even when I did other types of shoots, things are not always so flexible for photographers. (I don’t have to tell you that, right?) I couldn’t have asked someone to reschedule their wedding because I was in the hospital. I couldn’t have told a baby, “Stop growing until I recover and can do your newborn shoot.”

I’m not saying that you should quit doing other types of photography if that’s what you truly love (though I did, and I love it). But adding boudoir to your offerings means that you have another avenue for revenue. You aren’t relying on shoots that are time-sensitive and, frankly, grueling work for the money they bring in.

That crowd surfer made me realize that I’ve been thinking about my photography business the wrong way.

Here, I’ve been thinking how awesome it is that I can make my own schedule and take time off whenever I want to.

What I should have been thinking  was how awesome it is that I can make my own schedule and take time off whenever I need to.

Because scheduling boudoir clients around vacations is great, but scheduling clients around illness or injury will save your business.

One of the biggest fears I consistently hear from people is this:

“I’m afraid that doing boudoir photography will hurt the rest of my photography business.”

I get it. That’s actually a really valid concern. You don’t necessarily want to market your boudoir business in the same breath as you market, say, high school senior pictures or baby pictures.

So let me tell you what I did:

I went out of my way to understand marketing and now have put in place the techniques that help me earn six figures (and growing!) every single year. The key is to find what you love and to have the most flexible schedule possible…just in case you are kicked in the neck by a drunk crowd surfer at a ska punk show. 🙂

Make it your goal this year to start marketing to potential boudoir clients so you can build your flexible photography business.

Let me ask you… IS your photography business flexible? What is your plan if you end up needing time off? Write in the comments below what you’re going to do in the next 24 hours to add flexibility to your business … stat. 😉

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Molly Keyser

Boudoir photographer and business coach, I am dedicated to changing the world with the power of a camera. Originally from Wisconsin, I'm now in Texas, but I help photographers around the world learn how to go full-time with boudoir photography.