Updated: Jan 30
photographers - consider this a love note to you. a push and a shove. that last random sign that its time. whether you've held a camera or are just browsing your local camera shop trying to convince yourself, here are the steps that i took that helped me turn my passion into a business.
now, here are the inside tips. the same tips that i gave when i started capture milwaukee, a photography based club where all types of camera users can have a comfortable space to explore the arts.
1. please, please, please. get off auto.
oh yes, you heard me right. its a big step for some, so feel free to take baby steps along the way. BIGGEST tip i can give you. i did it the unconventional way. i didnt know what shutter speed, f-stop or ISO was. i just kinda played around with my camera until i figured it out for myself. so grab a friend or a family member, make the switch from auto to manual and just mess around.
but, start with shooting in the shadows, thats easier.
now that brings me to my next tip-
2. ditch the kit lens. A S A P.
not to be harsh, because most kit lenses are pretty good. however, one of the best things that i did for myself was upgrade to a 50mm. that lens is AMAZING. in fact, so far, i have built my career on it. yes, im sure one day i'll upgrade, but for now my nifty fifty is doing me all the good in the world. the 50mm is also a fixed lens, meaning that there is no zoom. which i admire in a lens as i get to be all up in my clients business and get the cheesy smiles im looking for.
i know you have been hearing this your whole life, but its true. practice makes (alsmot) perfect. you can know everything about your camera and all the technical aspects, but you may be missing how to pose a client, connect with them and create the money shots that youre looking to get. thats what i mean by practice.
i never took a photography class.
i had no idea how to use my camera.
i didnt know what apature was or shutter speed.
i still had a kit lens.
i didnt even know if i liked photography.
but one day i just jumped in. i charged $75 for 500 photos. i watched a ton of youtube videos. did a bunch of free shoots with friends. started to slowly become familiar with my camera. and id say that now we are a love affair. practice makes it natural.
its kinda like driving stick. at first its a bit bumpy and you stall a bit, but then its a smooth ride.
ahhhhh yes. "can you do the shoot for free? it would be good exposure." no no no. its a trap. photograph your grandmas bday for free but dont you dare think about shooting that corporate event for free. UNLESS you give out a free shoot. free things are a marketing strategy. free things are also how you get your practice in. BUT a job should not be free.
with that being said, i mentioned early to grab some friends. do that. become friends with your camera too. because you, your friend and your camera are in for a wild ride as you figure out how to pose people and make them look good.
5. find your filter.
well, technically its called a preset, but for the ring of the title, im gonna call it a filter. BUT its very important to have a style. your style of photography is what separates you from your photography peers as well as shows your clients what to expect. its okay to take a bit in the beginning to figure out how you want your photography to look, but eventually one must create a look that is their own.
for me, i started out by "shopping" for presets. meaning, finding photographers whose work spoke to me (at least the coloration of their photos) and seeing if they had presets for sale. this allows one to have a "one click" fliter that alters the coloration of your photos and allows you to tweak the photos from there. for beginners, this is what i would do. this means you may have to search the internet quite a bit and you may also have to dig into your pocket. but its worth it.
WHAT I DID: i decided to buy a preset pack. i had the option of buying a buch of $4 presets that were for purchase on etsy and going crazy with those, or buying a quality package for a bit more, which is what i opted for.
watch those youtube videos and watch a lot of them. jessica whitaker was my life line. conisder her channel your new netflix. so make some popcorn and enjoy.
7. phone a friend.
see a photographer you like? dm them. we're friendly. and we're happy to help.