When you’re just starting out on the journey of learning Photography it can seem almost overwhelming at times when you’re trying to figure out exactly what you’re supposed to be doing. The questions are endless. How do I choose the right settings? Why don’t my pictures look bright and airy? How can I get repeat clients? How can I even find clients in the first place? If you’re reading this, even if you’re a seasoned Photographer and you’ve asked yourself any of those questions anytime in the last month or so… STOP! I’m going to share some of my favorite lessons that have guided me over the years and I hope that instead of doubting yourself when you’re done reading this, you’ll feel empowered to get out there and tackle your sessions with more sparkle and spend less time worrying about the quality of your work, and more time producing quality work.
1.You are going to have off days.
Everyone has “off” days. EVERYONE. The first step to getting through those “off” days is to stop overwhelming yourself. Focus on what you need to accomplish and keep it simple. Photos not turning out like you wanted? Stop freaking out. Sometimes the best thing you can do for your creative flow is to just stop thinking so hard about perfection and focus on what you’re trying to accomplish without over-complicating things. I’ve had many sessions where I just felt crummy about certain shots and I felt that it wasn’t the best I could’ve gotten out of that session. However, my clients were still over the moon and sent rave reviews. So why did I think it wasn’t “good enough”? Because that is what our brains tend to do. We tend to me a million times harder on ourselves than on anyone else. So, when that overwhelming feeling strikes… STOP. Breathe. Reset. Focus and do your thing.
2. Take the time to learn as much as you can.
Every single session provides an opportunity for learning. You are never finished learning. Throw away the idea that you’ll reach a point where you’ve learned everything there is to know about Photography because it’s not going to happen. Composition, posing, lighting, camera modes… learn learn learn. There is a wealth of information out there specifically for Photographers and most of it won’t cost you anything but the time it takes to read an article or watch a web seminar. In the coming weeks you’ll find more learning resources here and I will be sharing some of favorite resources from others as well.
3. Value your work, your time and your talent.
It’s important for both Photographers and clients to understand the value behind having someone professional provide a creative service. This is not like hiring a plumber or a mechanic to fix a leak or install new brake pads. Creative services are different. You could put two photographers on location at the very same session, photographing the very same thing and the end result will always be dramatically different. So it’s important to understand the value of your time and talent and how it translates into every session you book. It’s also extremely important that you understand how to translate the value of your work into something your client also values. Everyone’s style is bound to be different. So explore versatility in your work. But remain consistent in quality. Some Photographers stick specifically to only one “style” of shooting and post-processing. Others enjoy versatility in their work. I tend to fall into the latter category. I prefer to cater my style to each individual session. What’s most important is that you figure out what works best for you and stick to it.
4. Don’t become discouraged by the little things.
When I first embarked on re-opening my business, I remember coming across ads for photography sessions for ridiculously cheap prices that were not the kind of quality I would want if I were booking a session myself and really underwhelmed the value of the photographers in the area who WERE seasoned and DID take the time to clearly learn that there’s more to this business than a few shutter clicks. I remember feeling like there was no way someone was going to book me instead of them because of the price difference. Discouragement abounded. Although this ties back into valuing your work, it is also a lesson in having that certain “je ne sais quoi” to move forward. There are lots of Photographers out there. Most of them are pretty awesome folks who are happy to connect with fellow Photographers. I’ve found that if we function as a community we all benefit anyway. It’s easy to become frustrated in a saturated market. But things like this should not discourage you. Your style is bound to be different from another Photographer, even in the same pricing bracket as you. How your present yourself, your consistency and your own particular sparkle is what will draw a client to you over another Photographer even when there’s a big price difference for the client to choose from. I once had a client tell me they picked me from a handful of other local photographers because I seemed fun and they liked my red hair. So really, don’t be discouraged. Just be yourself. This is supposed to be fun, remember. 😉
5. Attitude is everything.
I say this all the time but I feel like I could probably say it about a million more times and it still wouldn’t be enough. I believe to my very core that how you approach every single situation whether in business or in personal life will directly affect the outcome you receive. Your attitude towards yourself and your clients will dictate the outcome of your success. I have found that even in the bleakest of situations, a positive attitude really does make a difference, especially to those around you. If you radiate good vibes, people can’t help but notice.
Are there any other tried and true lessons you’ve learned as a photographer or client that you think belong on this list? Comment below, I love feedback. 🙂 <3