Updated: Feb 16, 2019
"I'm in to photography, too!"
I hear this SO often at sessions or when people find out about what I do. I love it. But when I start asking questions I feel like people start to pull back. Fear of judgement? Cautious about their skill? Who knows. But.
That breaks my heart. Especially when they follow it up with "I mean, it's no where NEAR what you do."
Well, that's why I'm here! I have no idea how to do your job, either! You can't compare your chapter 1 or 2 to my chapter 20. This is a looooonnng book of learning, friends. I continually pour SO much time and money into education and developing a style that represents me as an individual. So, I feel like I need to share.
These are some of the best tips I learned as an amateur photographer.
1.) Learn manual.
I can't stress this enough. When you know the way to actually capture an image it is so much easier to produce what you way to portray. For those that are visual learners, check out youtube. Go to Pinterest. There are so many great ways to learn.
Then you have to rip the bandaid off. You're gonna stumble. It's going to be super confusing. But there are 3 things to remember: ISO, Aperature, and shutter speed. You move one- the others are affected. Play with it. The more you do it the easier it gets.
2.) Shoot all the time. Everything. For no reason.
When I finally decided to try to step up my photography I made a commitment to take my camera to our random errands and take at least one picture a week that I was proud of. (Keep in mind I'm not talking like award winning photo...but a picture that I loved that I for sure wanted to keep for the scrapbooks. One that makes you feel proud that you are trying and seeing the progress you're making.) When you have a documented path of your journey it is so much easier to see how much you're improving.
3.)Don't charge until you're ready to go legal. And when you do- get insurance.
It takes one accident at a session, one drop of your camera, one slip up on your taxes...to make your dreams come to a screeching halt. I have heard of this happening more than you would realize. This is not to scare you, it's to prepare you. Have a contract for every session so the expectations of both you and the client are clear and no one is left feeling put out.
I am an LLC but you don't have to be an LLC to be a credible photography business. You don't even have to be full time. Just make sure that you are protecting your dreams and hard work by doing your due diligence.
4.) Know that not everyone will be supportive or even like your stuff.
We are always our worst critics. But....there are always others. And it seems like the negative sticks with us far more than the positive.....
SO! One trick I've heard is to share only with people you know will build you up. The cheerleaders. Not a loving friend who gives good 'reality checks'. She will be for later. Show your friend who is just over the moon excited that you drew a picture or is constantly telling you how incredible you are. We need her. You are doing something brave by learning this stuff. Don't worry about others. Your style may not be their style. Don't bite back in anger. Just focus on your development and it will show.
I love the quote "Don't talk about it-be about it." Let your growth speak for you.
**Keep in mind constructive criticism is GOOD. It may hurt. But look for the truths in what they say. Just don't let it stop your motivation. Use it to fuel that next hurdle.
5.) Don't you dare let fear dictate your decisions.
I can throw all of the inspirational quotes at you that I know...and I have multiple Pinterest boards dedicated to them. Legit. BUT. None of them will matter if you don't take the leap. In order to do something incredible, you have to let go of everything that is holding you back- and sometimes what is holding you back- is you!
If you want to be a photographer, be a photographer. You got this.