We had the good fortune of connecting with Leo Gonzalez and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Leo, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
I did not anticipate my photography to evolve into a business. Initially, there wasn’t a thought-out process to get my business going. All I did was take photos that piqued my interest before taking my photography business seriously. Naturally, whenever I wanted to get better at something I enjoy, I do my research and practice, practice, and practice. Once I felt good about my photography, I started to ask people if I can do work for them for free to build a portfolio. A portfolio that helped build my credibility to then be able to charge people. Then, I went through a euphoria phase after realizing I can earn money from this skill I put so much effort into. THIS is when the thought process started. Four points are made below with the first one being the most important.
1. Making sure I am still having fun while taking photos and enjoying my life before I think of it as a business.
2. I calculated how much I wanted to make each year to continue to take photos while working during the weekdays as a social media manager (I would break it down in months since it was easier to reach a goal that way).
3. How many sessions or weddings will I need to photograph each month to reach my goal.
4. The time I am not taking photos or editing, I am thinking of ways to market myself and efficiently scale my business.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I always thought to myself that I can find someone whose art is similar to mine or a combination of many melted into one. We all learned from somewhere else. It’s not original. What I decided to do was to set myself apart by marketing myself. I am my brand–“my pictures are only a bonus that comes with me.” One of my goals is to give every person/business I photograph a memorable experience.
I was able to get to where I am today by being consistent. I did a great deal of free work for multiple people and businesses. I shared my experiences and work on social media. This resulted in my work being marketed via word of mouth. Being consistent was not easy, but it had to be done if I wanted to be top of mind to get my business rolling.
The lessons I’ve learned are that there will be times when it’s hard to keep going or you’re stuck, but that’s only part of the journey that you have to embrace. Embrace failure more than anything. It’s not easy, but I’ve been able to remain positive in every challenge I come across.
I want the world to know that I want to be their friend, not just someone who’s providing a service.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
No matter where I live, I would most likely take them to my favorite coffee shop in town. Right now, that would be Collective Coffee. After that, we would go to Bricktown Tap House & Brewery, my favorite restaurant for burgers in Wichita Falls. At night time, downtown recently opened up The Depot Axe Throwing Lounge, so we would go there and throw a few axes while having their classic prohibition-era cocktails.
I also enjoy anything outdoors, there isn’t much in Wichita Falls, but we most likely go to the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge out in Lawton, OK. The destination is less than an hour away and I love hiking, looking at large to small animals, and taking pictures of course.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Everyone will always be dependent on someone or something. No matter how big or small of an impact they made on my journey, I am thankful for them. If I were to name them individually it would take forever! Most of all, I would like to recognize the resource the internet is. You can learn anything and everything by doing your research.
Leo G Photography