Let's Chat About Becoming a Professional Photographer
I'm at this place in my career as a photographer that I OFTEN get asked a heap of questions (everything from camera purchasing advice, how I got to where I am today, what a day in my life is like, do I offer training/workshops, do I take on interns etc etc). It is incredibly flattering (and to be honest, a little overwhelming, hehe!). I feel like I'm still working things out on a DAILY basis, still making mistakes, and still growing!
But it's a fantastic place to be in :)
So, I wanted to draw up a bit of a blog post outlining answers to the questions I get asked most frequently, and as a resource for newbies looking to launch into this crazy exciting fun world!
(Scroll down to the bottom for the info on the workshops - though there's a ton of fun tips and tricks between here and there!)
First up, I am completely self-taught when it comes to photography. I've developed my style, learnt the tricks of the trade, and worked incredibly hard to get where I am today. I can highly recommend spending a LOT of time online - watching tutorials, learning from the experts and reading up about photography - that's how I did it! There are endless resources (and most of them are free!) online.
Some of my favourites are: Creative Live, School of Photography, and Photography Concentrate, but there's heaps more out there - just google it! Sign up and show up for online seminars, talks and workshops - these things are a goldmine of information!
The second best step is to just get out there and take photos! Recruit your family and friends to be guinea pigs, and snap away! If you'd like to get into the world of weddings, reach out to industry insiders (florists, dress designers, venues etc) with a gorgeous reference board and ask them how they would feel about collaborating on a shoot with you for the images (this shoot and this shoot are two examples of how I did just that!). Join instameets, or make your own photographic crew and all head out into a gorgeous spot on a weekly basis to snap pics of each other. The more you shoot, the better you get! Experience is everything!
If you want to be a natural light photographer, learn everything you can about magic hour, download the app, and learn to love this fantastic time of day. More info here.
Wondering what camera will help you get there? Please read over this blog post.
The third thing I would recommend is spending a lot of time focusing on the business side of things - marketing, advertising, financing, accounts and client service/management. This stuff is crazy important!!
Do some research into the stuff that will make running your business easier, like apps/software programs to streamline and simplify the daily admin needs, from invoicing, client management and file sharing.
Always keep in mind that as a photographer your reputation is a crucial part of how you run your business, and a fantastic client experience must therefore be at the forefront of everything you do. Treat your clients like gold, because they are!
Fourthly, get inspired! Fill up Pinterest boards with images, paintings, and references. Find artwork that inspires you, and really spend a lot of time working out why it inspires you! Visit art galleries, pop-up events, musical performances - anything to get those creative juices flowing!
I really loved this quote I stumbled across on Instagram this morning -
"Success is not a one trick pony and you can't reach it with a get rich quick scheme. Success is a slow journey that starts with putting one foot in front of the other and doing the dang work. Success is following through on your promises. It's being a kind person. It's going above and beyond what people expect of you. It's failing soooo many times before getting it right. And yes, its being strategic, crafty, and smart and those are not bad things. When your heart is aligned right, and you are doing hard work with intentionality, you will be successful. But that success NEVER happens overnight."
- words of wisdom by another amazing photographer, Lindsey Roman.
So what is a day in my life like? Busy!
On admin days (through Monday-Friday), I usually aim to be at my laptop by about 8am (preferably after an exercise class of some sort most mornings), and generally don't step away from it until about 10pm. In that time I'll be sending endless emails, doing invoicing and scheduling (though my office manager now helps with a LOT of that, so that's amazing); creating online content - like this blog post you're reading right now; updating my social media accounts; creating marketing campaigns for the next few months; editing a LOT of photos and managing my amazing team!
Meeting days are filled with coffees with clients, meet ups with other suppliers/fellow photographers, sitting down with my team to chat about upcoming shoots/projects and running errands.
And then of course, there's a fair amount of photo shoots thrown into the mix there! Currently myself and my team are averaging about 14 photo shoots in a week!
My plan for the second half of 2018 is to start offering workshops, talks and courses, so that means I'll be working like crazy over the next few months compiling content, slideshows and online seminars! It is insane how much prep goes into these things!
Currently these workshops are being shaped around the following topics:
- a workshop/course on the ins and outs of taking better family photos (designed for amateur/pro photographers)
- a workshop/course on better photographic business skills for amateur and pro photographers
- a 5 step guide for parents to take better day-to-day pics of their kids
If you feel you may be interested in attending one of these workshops/talks, please pop me an email (let me know which workshop topic above appeals to you the most, and any specific issues/queries/obstacles you have) and we'll add you to our subscriber list so you're the first to know once these are released.
Please note that I am not currently taking on interns - as you've read above, my days are insanely busy, and to fit in training someone and talking them through my processes on a daily basis is just a step too far for me. I do love empowering young photographers, and growing this fantastic industry of ours, which is why I have created numerous blog posts such as this one, and why I keep developing and growing the skills of my associate photographers.
Thanks for reading, and best of luck! The photography world is an exciting place to be in :)
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