Advice to Photographers
Some quick words on photography business.
- Ask Lots of Questions
The best sources to start gathering info for your photography career are other photographers. Some photographers may let you down, they may even be rude, but most photographers will kindly chat.
- Get Shot
In order to best understand your clients you need to get in front of the camera at least once a year. And not just any camera, you need to hire a fellow professional. Why is this important? If you don’t put yourself in your client’s shoes you might not realize that some of your requests are confusing, or that their questions actually aren’t stupid, and that maybe you need to change your direction during a shoot. This is crucial research for your business. Besides, you’ve gotta have some good pictures of yourself anyway right? My husband and I do an anniversary photo shoot every year and I often have portraits done every now and then as well.
Not only is getting in front of a camera important but reading some books, blogs, and essays is also of the utmost importance. You need to know how to fairly price yourself for your skill level, how to put together effective and balanced packages, how to invoice, how to build a fail safe contract, how to properly correspond to clients, how to build an effective and beautiful website, how to prepare for taxes… and that just scratches the surface.
- Invest in the Good Stuff
Almost every photographer starts out with a starter DSLR and a kit lens. But when you are thinking of launching a photography business plan to upgrade as quickly as possible. And, until you do, price yourself accordingly. Better equipment gets you a higher price. More importantly though, better equipment delivers better work. But lets be clear, a better camera doesn’t make you a better photographer. The framing, posing, and editing is all up to you but the equipment makes the difference in image quality.
- Professional Branding
Hire a professional. I got my branding wrong the first time and had to do it all over the next year. The second time around I actually hired a pro to help me put the pieces together. Branding is a lot of work, don’t do it twice! So, in order to do it right the first time, hire the professional who knows how to brand and have them help you, even if it’s just with the concept.
- Do Work for Free
This is perhaps the most important thing you can do for your photography business. Getting paid for doing what you love stifles creativity. Going from session to session like routine produces stagnant material. You want each of your clients to have fresh, creative material that they will cherish for a lifetime, not the same shot you’ve done a hundred times over. It is so important to fuel your creativity. I just recently started doing this again and the change I’ve seen in myself and my work is insane! However, it’s important to note though that the free sessions to be doing are those that you request the models for, rather than gifting an originally paying client their session. Why? If you ask for the models you have all the artistic freedom. And artist mind needs room to wander and experiment so that artistic freedom unleashes creativity. One of the other ways I encourage my creativity is by doing “A Photo A Day,” makes me pull my camera out every day 🙂