'What if?' - 3 part Series | What if you decided to become a photographer? Part 2

September 15, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

{photo taken by Adina Brown-Selner in my studio of my cameras - ps, professional business tip? ... hire photographers to photograph YOU with your cameras}

Part 2: How do you jump into photography?

The fixed answer for this question - it is somewhat multi-faceted. Here's my 2¢.

There's no clear-cut direct path for each person, it's such an individual journey. But one of the first ways you can start is to make learning intentionally part of your focus. Obviously - photography is a developed skill set, so you have to learn the skill. You can do this in a variety of ways. You can go to school for photography. Take classes or workshops on basic photography skills to start. Read books. Watch tutorials on youtube. The internet? It's SO overwhelmingly rich in resources for training. Find online courses through photography education sites such as creativelive.com - these are just a few ways you can learn!  Check locally for photographers who teach courses! {ahem! *raises hand* I do! I do!}

Yes, I offer DSLR workshops that teach you how to shoot in manual, about lighting, equipment, composition... you know, photography related stuff. Yeah! I teach that! And I've taught it a lot over the last 7 years! Teaching people to love what I love and do this job too? It makes my heart happy! But you gotta catch them when I offer them which is NOT during wedding season typically. I offer a Manual workshop - which teaches about shooting. Annnnnnd I offer an Editing workshop, which teaches about post-process! Every now and then people will ask me.. do I get upset when people have taken my workshop and they start shooting and offering mini sessions too. Or upset when they start a business {and, in essence, become my competition} It is a good question - and something that maybe might seem odd from a business perspective to some. I have maybe a different view of photography and running a business... and more specifically about helping others to do it too. I believe that my clients hire me for a few reasons. 1. They clearly like my photography style. 2. They value my experience. Been at this a LONG time. I am still learning, but I've got this down pretty good by now. 3. They trust me. If the follow me on IG or on FB, they know me a bit, they know my heart. {they may like me! I like to think I am likable, and not just b/c of my cute dogs.} They may know a little about my style and personal life. I'm a pretty open book. This takes being vulnerable. Being vulnerable shows that people can trust you b/c you are putting yourself out there by being honest about your losses, your success and just life in general. So do I worry if a client hires one of the people I've helped educate? No. I am not in my client's shoes. I am not in charge of their choices, their likes, their budget. Nor do I hold a thing against them if they don't come back. I just know this is my path, I am meant to do this and believing that.. I stay busy. I stay passionate. I stay focused on learning and always improving. I don't worry about what others are doing, other than cheering them on to succeed too!

I simply cling to three things: 1. God gave me this passion and talent. He'll keep providing the work for me. 2. The universe is a big place. There's lots of people on earth. There are lots of clients in the client sea. The people who are meant to come to me, will. 3. Community over competition. Why on earth wouldn't I want someone else to LOVE photography the way I do and experience that incredible opportunity and joy? Photography changed my life. If you love people, you want them to find life-changing happiness too. And when you find something you love.. what is your first reaction? To talk about it! Spread the love! Spread the joy. Seeing people who have come through my workshops excel and start running a business? To think I had even a small hand in that, {bc they are the ones doing the work it takes to create and sustain a business not me, I only gave them a beginning push out the nest} YOU GUYS >>> IT BRINGS ME SUCH SWELLING PRIDE AND HAPPINESS that these people trusted me to teach them ANYTHING... and that they RAN WITH IT! <3 YESSSSSSS! YOU GO!

So, I digress... back to learning:

One of the best books I have ever read on photography and learning to shoot in manual, learning about exposure and light, settings is Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson. This linked book is the EXACT book I studied with after my college courses - it brought all of my learning back and has huge amounts of large photos in it {let me be honest with you, I am about as interested in reading about photography as a second grader. I want big photos and lots of pretty colors - and if I have to read anything technical, I want it to be something I can grasp, this book does that, I promise!} {PS, I also read each camera manual I get with each new camera - it does require a large glass of wine, but I get through it. DO what you have to... no judgments.}

Read and apply. And repeat as many times as necessary until you get it. Photography requires a lot of practice. But if you fall in love with it like I did? I promise the practice side of it? It's nothing but a fun learning adventure. 

So there's no right answer to when do you jump into photography. You just find yourself falling into it more so to speak. Falling in love with it. You will WANT to constantly be researching things when it's truly going to be your niche. You will be come slightly obsessed with it, to the point where when you wake up and go to bed, it's the first thing on your mind. Alas, and the life-long love affair begins. 

Fall in, jump in - just don't sit poolside. GO do it.

Practice, practice and practice some more.

After you have done your due diligence studying up about photography, cameras, lenses, lighting, composition, lots of practice etc.. Find your friends and tell them you want to photograph them. For free of course b/c you are portfolio building and learning. Only way is to jump in! I do NOT recommend offering wedding photography right away however. I honestly don't recommend even charging right away - shoot for a month or two for free, then start charging when you see some consistency in your work. I recommend practicing photography for atleast a year or two just really learning each lighting scenario so that you can jump into any given challenge and know exactly what you need to do, where you need to place your client, etc. Weddings are a no do-over kinda day. Really want to know what you are doing before jumping in to those. And when you do, make sure your client knows that you are just beginning in weddings. {also have a contract! You can purchase contracts - just google professional wedding contract - and find one that has been legally approved. Here's a link to help you if you don't know where to begin with that. I didn't jump into weddings right away - too much to be responsible for. Take your time, ease into this. Figure out what you love and follow that. A good way to get lots of practice in shooting details and in general? Join a photography group and shoot every.single.day. Two of my personal favorites that I did? Bench Monday on Flickr and 365 Project, also on Flickr. 

Yes, there is a lot of business to learn too. Start where you can with photography and a mindset to learn something new each day. Your first year {or atleast several months} should be really learning to build a portfolio and about the technical side of shooting - after a lot of practice and developing a consistent style with consistent exposures and good compositions, solid editing style - it's time to truly consider the business aspect of photography: creating a logo/brand, website, marketing materials, legal contracts, hiring a good accountant that specializes in small businesses, buying equipment, insurance, a studio/in-home studio and/or locations for shooting. There's a lot to chew on - but take it one day at a time. Do you want it? Then go GET IT. <3



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