When I was first started out really pursuing my photography passion, it was right after I had gotten married and my new hubby had a really great camera. Bonus! It was then that I started getting serious trying to build my portfolio, begging my friends and family to pose for me, and trying to really make a go out of this hobby turned possible career. If I could go back in time those 9 years these are the 10 things I wish I knew when I first started photography.
- The way your photography looks when you fist start is probably not the way it is going to look years from now. It takes time to figure out the style of photography you want to create and share. Its all about looking at photos everyday and figuring out what are the things about those photos that you like and are drawn to. Then going out and shooting until you have found the style. My style from where I started is nothing like how I shoot now. It’s a progression and even now I don’t know if I will be shooting or editing exactly the same today as I am in five years. Finding your style is work but it is also worth it. Photos you think are good today you won’t tomorrow and thats ok it just means your improving.
- Shoot in manual mode and shoot RAW. I shot my first year of photography in aperture priority mode thinking that this was the easier way to get the same type of photograph. Wrong! The real value of manual mode shooting is in how it forces you to understand what’s going on with your camera, and the light around you. By learning manual early on will help improve you images. Raw is also so important because it gives your photos depth but also can help you if you accidentally under expose or over expose your images. By shooting in raw you are able to save these photos and it will save you a lot of headache in the editing process.
- Not everyone is going to like your style, not all of your friends are going to hire you and thats ok! When you are first starting out you will learn early on that photography is an art form and not everyone is going to like your style. Don’t take offence to this, for every one person that doesn’t like your work there will be 10 that do. Just be sure of yourself and be happy with the art you are creating. In the end as long as you are proud of what you have done others will follow.
- Learn your camera backwards, forwards and upside down. Your camera is your artist’s tool and it can be completely overwhelming. Read the manual, learn what the buttons do and figure out how this tool can capture so much beauty if you know how to use it.
- Surround yourself with a strong foundation of like minded people. I have been blessed enough to get to know some amazing photographers local and elsewhere that are so crazy talented it blows me away! These people have helped me through so many business questions, photography queries and grown to be an incredible support system and close friends. No one knows exactly what you are going through or will go through but having support makes everything so much easier. And girlie hangouts once a month never hurt either!
- Don’t buy every piece of gear people tell you you need. Photography is expensive! Can I get an Amen?!? You will hear 100’s of photographers telling you what gear you NEED to be a “professional’. Those are their opinions and not necessarily what best suits your photography style. Go out and test the gear before you buy it and find what works best for you. Vistek in Calgary is an amazing resource where you can rent anything and everything before you spend the big bucks.
- Being a photographer means more then just taking pretty pictures. When you first start your business you think you will just be able to go out and take photos of amazing clients. Wrong! 99% of what you will do is marketing, editing, blogging, emailing, phone calls, book keeping, networking and managing a home work life balance. It is hard running your own business and actually taking the photos is just a small part. Prepare yourself for owning a business first and being a photographer second.
- If you aren’t out of your comfort zone you are growing. Take risks in your photography and also in your business. Some will work and some won’t but you never know if you don’t try. Push yourself to always do you best and put out the best product you can. You will never be disappointed.
- Learn light. By Definition photography is the science, art, application and practice of creating durable images by recording light. The way you can use light dramatically effects how your picture looks. Its the difference between a flat image or a dramatic image. Search for the light and don’t be afraid to use it! It isn’t as scary as it seems.
- You don’t have a business with out people. Yes, you are a photographer but to be a wedding or lifestyle photographer you need clients to trust and feel comfortable enough with you that they will pose for you. You are in the business of people and the better you can work with, and take care of the people you do business with, the more success you’ll see. I found out early on the more you invest into being great with people the more success you’ll have. This could be going above and beyond with clients, sharing and working well along side other vendors or networking and growing the community you surround yourself with. Without the people you won’t have a successful business.
Navigating a photography business or any business for that mart can be daunting but if it is something you are passionate about it will always be worth it. Just remember why you picked up that camera in the first place and never loose sight of your ultimate goal. I also want to give a huge shout out to the incredibly talented Justine Russo for the photo of me.
If your looking for Wedding Photography and are in the Calgary, Cochrane, Canmore or Banff area get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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