Roger here to talk about photography. When I first decided to officially pursue photography it was a bit daunting. I didn’t have a step by step manual to follow. I didn’t have a direct mentor on how to start a photography business. I had a passion for the medium, a burning desire to get better and the goal of sharing the joy of photography with others. Oh and yeah…and I wanted to get paid too! Those bills aren’t going to pay themselves.
I’ve learned some things along the way. From asking the question aperture and f-stops (Found out I’m not alone this one), to understanding when and where a tripod is an absolute must. It has been quite the experience. But a great one I assure you. The feeling of creating something other people appreciate just can’t be beat. When a client smiles at your work it just motivates you that much more.
Along the way I’ve learned some things about photography. I wanted to share 10 of them with you today. Some of these things may apply to you in your own photography journey.
1. Keep shooting because practice makes perfect
We all think our favorite photographer or artists can just wake up and create a masterpiece. In some cases this may be true. But how did they get there? Practice, practice and more practice. Just get out there and take pictures of ANYTHING!!! Try new settings, new angles and even take 20 pictures of the same subject. Just do it. As you become more comfortable with your camera you’ll figure out your personal preferences. Eventually the number of your shots will decrease as the quality of your shots increase noticeably.
2. Always have an extra battery or two (and charge them please)
I learned this the hard way. I was covering a Christmas party. It was only going to be a shoot that lasted a little over an hour. No big deal right? Well here’s where charging your batteries and having extras comes into play. I was halfway through the shoot and my battery indicator started blinking. At the time I only had one batter pack and a charger. Through crafty charging in between shots I made it through that shoot on a wing and a prayer. Lesson learned. Now I have two chargers and four battery packs.
3. Keep a small toolkit in your bag
I was doing an engagement photo shoot. It started out with handheld shots. Then I saw a great vantage point to capture the couple from a distance. I just needed my tri-pod. If only the…third…leg…would…extend. Oh NO! It’s stuck! The leg on the tri-pod was stuck! I had to finish that portion of the shoot balancing the tri-pod on two legs. We all had a good laugh at my expense. Now I have a small toolkit in my bag and three tri-pods…which leads to the next point.
4. Check your local thrift shops and Goodwill for gear
When I decided to pursue photography I was doing so on a budget. This being the case I stumbled upon a gold mine for any photographer, thrift stores and Goodwill. You’d be surprised (as was I) at the amount of gear being donated to these places. The back-up tri-pods I mentioned above, I purchased for a total of $12. Bags, backdrops, cases, you name it I’ve found it there. Also, check out the app LetGo. I’ve found great used lenses there.
5. If you are going someplace off the beaten path—charge your phone
I love outdoor and landscape photography. Sometimes I can get carried away with it. Early mornings, late nights and remote spots seem to be a theme. This being said you need to be able to contact people. One night I was out photographing a moon rise. Time passed and I needed to call and check in. Pulled out my phone…it was dead. Good thing is I was close to the car. What if I had hiked miles inland? Charge your phone and let people know where you’re heading before you get there.
6. Be flexible with your clients
Be flexible. There’s no set script for a photo shoot. Weather may change just as quickly as outfits. You need to be relaxed and keep your clients at ease. I talk to my clients and get them to laugh. I then start snapping pics and eventually “suggest” they turn this way or that. Makes for a fun shoot. Your clients may have great ideas too so pick their brain.
7. Don’t over think the shot
Paralysis by analysis. I suffered from this majorly when I started out. I would think so much about a shot before taking a shot that I would miss the shot entirely. Then I’d kick myself in the butt for missing the shot. If you’re a photographer you already see things visually. With this you have instincts. Trust them, follow them and you’ll be okay. Just take the picture.
8. Correct as much as you can in camera before shooting
Photoshop is a great tool. I love it and I use it on my photos. But a mentor gave me valuable advice. “Correct as much as you can in camera before the shot. This will save you valuable time in the post editing process.” This stuck with me because it is absolutely true. This also applies to checking the subject’s appearance too. If hair or clothes are a bit askew, fix them.
9. Be confident in your ability and network, network, network!
If YOU don’t believe you can take great pictures why should others? If you don’t believe you can pursue this for a living then others won’t bother to hire you. You have to believe whole heartedly in what you’re selling. You don’t have a million dollar PR Firm backing you. You just have YOU. So be your best marketer and network with family, friends and other photographers. You’ll see your client list grow.
10. Have Fun!
I can’t stress this enough. I LOVE what I do. My whole goal even beyond paying those pesky bills is to have fun. I try my best to convey this to my clients. When you are having fun, your clients are having fun. This in return shows in the resulting pictures. Don’t sweat all the little details all the time. Have fun and you’ll never feel like its work.
I hope you’ve enjoyed my list. Maybe you’ve had some of these same experiences in your photography. If so, please leave a comment below. Until then have fun and keep shooting.
Check out my previous blog entry here.
For more of work view my website photosbyrogerg.com