Years ago I never would have dreamed I would have made it this far successfully to even be able to provide professional tips. LOL, seriously… I have come a long way in my career and craft and I know I have so much more to learn but not only do I have a passion about my photography, I’ve always had a heart to help people too. Today I dedicate my blog post for my fellow photog’s who may be interested in my tips that help me personally and may help you too. 😉
1) You do not always need the most expensive equipment to make a quality photograph. Yes, it may help, but then again it might not. If you don’t know manual mode inside and out than a $3,000 camera is not going to help you anymore than the paintbrush automatically making the artist. My first camera was a Rebel T3i and I still use it as my backup. I’ve slowly upgraded my equipment throughout my photography journey.
2) Learn manual mode. If you are still shooting in Auto Mode then your first assignment is to start finding resources in a class, book, or internet to get the hang of Manual Mode. Manual mode gives you complete control of your photograph and you will immediately notice the difference once you give Auto Mode the boot!
3) Find your own self and style and be consistent. It took me a while to do this. I started out my journey loving other peoples styles and trying to mimic them when the whole time I should have been finding my own self and style. Yes, I do get clients who want to mimic something on Pinterest but it’s always nice to put my own spin on it too.
4) Are you a baby/child photographer? Invest in props. The complaints I hear the most from my clients is that their previous photographer made them buy ALL of their own photography props. I do give my clients the option to buy their own props if they want too because they want to keep it afterwards as a keepsake or something like that, but I do go out of my way to find the perfect props to fit my clients needs and then I keep it in my stash afterwards. Clients go through my website and I’m often asked to replicate a previous photograph. I’m not going to be able to do that if I do not have the props handy ready to go. My prop stash is impressive and growing all the time and clients absolutely love coming into my studio and seeing all the neat things they can use in their photograph to make them special.
5) Only show your best work on the internet. Do not show blurry or out of focus photographs no matter how cute you think the set up is. Do not show clients with their eyes shut. Do not upload your pictures sideways or upside down. Do not show photographs that have a terrible white balance and looks so completely unnatural. Just don’t do it no matter how tempting it is.
6) Marketing is the key. Run campaigns all the time around the clock and let people know that you exist and you are ready to take on clients.
7) A Jack of all Trades is a Master of None. This one really stuck out to me and to be completely honest, I didn’t start booking and filling up my calendar until I sat down and decided I wasn’t going to shoot everything anymore. If you want to shoot weddings then market yourself as an exclusive engagement and wedding photographer. You love newborns? Then be an exclusive newborn and family photographer. Train, do webinars, go to workshops. Pick something and be the master of it. When someone needs a specific photography need then generally they are going to go to the specialist first.
8) Streamline your process. We live in a time of instant gratification and this is important when it comes to our clients. My current turn around time is 1-2 weeks. Weddings would take be between 6-8 weeks. No client likes waiting months (or sometimes even years, yes… I’ve said years). Get to know your digital darkroom and train in it. Utilize batching and actions to your advantage to effectively streamline your process to be quicker, but still produce beautiful quality photographs.
9) Do you shoot weddings? Have a contract. I’m not sure why but most of the photographers that come to me asking for advice has to do with weddings. Most of your heartache and pain will go away if you have your client sign a contract before hand and make sure that it has your studio policies, payment terms, guest behavior, and your turn around time for the finished product. A contract is supposed to protect both you and your client and is supposed to answer all questions before you are hired.
10) If you are a business (exchanging money for services)….. then be legit and get a sales tax permit. Please pay your taxes.
11) Brand yourself. Pick a logo, specific colors, font and stick to it. Clean up your website and make it a professional clean looking experience. If you are not savvy in the way of web design then recruit help. Your website is your first impression and it needs to be good one. I also personalize all my products including my USB’s. Don’t just give a blank CD, but do something cute and personal and putting your logo on your product makes you even more professional. My clients love my USB’s because they are sturdy, of quality, and personalized with my logo giving no doubt what is on the thumb drive.
12) Be kind. Be kind to yourself, your clients, and fellow photographers. Being kind to yourself gives you confidence and people are drawn to confident people. Being kind to your clients and meeting their needs ensures that you are looked up to as a professional, even during speed bumps and disagreements. Happy clients give you referrals and word of mouth is everything. Being kind to fellow photographers helps you grow your network and friendships. Fact is that the demand for photography is big and you can’t do everything all the time so it’s good to have someone you trust to refer your clients to when you can’t meet demand, plus, you will make a new friend. <3
13) Be clean. When you go on location like parks please be a professional do not leave behind a mess. This includes cake, glitter, balloons, clothing tags……
Hope some of these help. 🙂 Enjoy your week everyone!