Alright – so today we’ve got the honor of introducing you to Joslyn Crowl. We think you’ll enjoy our conversation, we’ve shared it below.
Joslyn, thanks for joining us, excited to have you contributing your stories and insights. Let’s start with a story that highlights an important way in which your brand diverges from the industry standard.
In a digital world, it is so easy to take a photo, email it off, post it on social media and forget about it. I started photography when it was film. I had to wait two weeks for the photos to come back from a lab (this was even before 1-hour photos). I remember running to the mailbox so excited to see the photographs! Praying that THE “shot” I got would look as fabulous printed as it did through the eye hole of my camera.
That feeling of holding my prints has never gone away. In my photography business, we are a full print photography studio. We offer gorgeous printed albums, wall art, and other printed products that will showcase your photographs for years to come. So you can hold them in your hand and close to your heart. They don’t get lost in a drawer on a “disc” or a USB. While we do offer digitals, those we don’t give away freely, they hold a LOT of value to us.
While many people came into photography after DSLR cameras rolled out, they missed these important steps to providing an amazing service to their clients and giving them printed photos. They lost the value of the photograph because there was nothing tangible for them to hold. They printed them at local print shops for pennies and not at a professional lab to see the quality. Sure I can print a photo off my computer printer, but in 10 years, its not going to hold up; those colors fade.
Our studio loves printing our client’s photos, so they actually get printed and don’t just live in a cloud somewhere and get lost forever.
Joslyn, before we move on to more of these sorts of questions, can you take some time to bring our readers up to speed on you and what you do?
I started doing photography 22 years ago; I dreamed of having a studio one day; I just didn’t know that “one day” would be a lot further away than it was and that the ups and downs through those years would be very hard ones. I lost my ability to have children after fighting a battle with stage 4 endometriosis. I had facial reconstruction surgery and several other things that really forced me to dig deep and find a determination to move forward, find gratitude in the hardships, and build a business.
I became a published author this past spring; the book is called The Seventeeth Chapter. It is a combination of stories to share my journey and help inspire others to keep going. It gets emotional, it‘s a bit of a slow-burn documentary with an inspiring ending. Many people, especially women, have a chronic illness that holds them back from following dreams, and I don’t want them to give up. If I can do it, they can too.
I celebrated 13 years in business this year and am about to celebrate five years in my studio this fall. It has been a long road that hasn’t been easy. We also just launched a podcast and expanding our mentoring. I really want to help others, so it isn’t as hard for them as it was for me.
I have put in many 16-20 hour days for years, and it paid off, but I made a lot of other sacrifices with friends, family, and relationships to put my business first. Not everyone can do that, or should for that matter. I am working on finding the balance between them all.
Have you ever had to pivot?
Pivoting in a photography business has been from film to digital to owning a business during a pandemic where I had to close my doors for months, to have a business with inflation and a recession. It feels like Ross from FRIENDS pushing a couch up the stairs… PIVOT has been the name of the game!
I had to get creative in ways to make income, from how we did photo shoots, the client reveals, and scheduling. We were even doing same-day reveals for a period of time, so clients didn’t have to come back into the studio multiple times. We started doing digital products to help other creatives as well. At the same time, dealing with a lot of cancelations too.
People didn’t really think about the long-term effects having to close a business down took on us. Our clients planned shoots months in advance; they weren’t able to get haircuts, shop for clothes, get nails done, and so many other things that prep for shoots (Especially boudoir sessions). Then we had clients that did groom gift albums, and their weddings were postponed. People were harder on themselves because of weight gain, mental health, and having kids at home. It really shifted things. Our labs were out of state, and they had their own shutdowns too.
Photography is a luxury service, and not everyone values it the same. Having a studio, my overhead is significantly higher than not having a studio, too, so I had to pivot in how I sell my business service to people because it‘s not a cookie-cutter establishment.
On top of those challenges, social media started censoring our photos and putting us on bans. (We had one for a whole year before!) Not being able to run ads or promote our photos shifted us to find other ways to advertise too.
Do you think there is something that non-creatives might struggle to understand about your journey as a creative? Maybe you can shed some light?
I think something non-creatives will not understand about the journey is a lot of artist struggle with feeling not good enough. In a world where we can compare ourselves to the next photographer, the next painter, hair stylist, bakery, etc we can take things personally. Even if someone loves our work, they may go to someone else because they are cheaper. We genuinely love what we do, and if we could do it at no cost, most of us would, but it is our business and how we make income. I see other business owners that set up businesses that is product-based or real estate based and can turn over higher profit faster, or while they sleep, online, etc. Creative businesses take time, and money, to make things. That one great photo a photographer took had a $3,000 camera, a $2,000 lens, and edited it on a $2500 computer that is color calibrated so that it is true to life colors and edited properly; after years of watching YouTube videos, studying editing, tutorials, schooling etc. We just don’t wake up one day as award-winning photographers, it takes years to learn that craft and perfect it, and continue to as it evolves.
I think I was born to be an entrepreneur before even being a photography business, so I like to learn a lot of different aspects of a business. Creative businesses and services base businesses are just simply different and take more time and work.
- Website: www.joslyncrowl.com/links
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/joslyncrowlphotography/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/joslyncrowlphotography
Podcast: https://www. joslyncrowl.com/podcast
Photos by Ian Alexander Photography and Em Christine Photos