Over the past year and a half I’ve noticed a trend in the photography business. It’s not the fact that cameras are so accessible but that camera operators are wanting overnight success. I get a lot of messages on a daily basic asking me questions that should be asked after the first few years of putting in work.
The problem with wanting success too soon is you neglect the fundamentals. There are key things you have to learn during the journey into being awesome. You can not skip the process. Yes everyone will learn differently however you must take your time.
Imagine selling yourself as a wedding photographer and have only photographed 2 weddings. I can not imagine the hell you will have to pay when you screw up their big day. A couple weeks ago I received a facebook message from another photographer shooting his first wedding and wanted to know what settings he should use on his flash during the reception. I told him if he has to ask me then he should not have taken the job.
Just this evening I got a facebook message asking how much they should charge for a myriad of services. Everyone wants to earn the money but no one want to grind hard in the trenches. My first 6 months of owning a camera I was finding models and regular people to photograph to learn the basics. Yes I earned while I learned but I knew there was a process and I worked on it. There were times when I spent hours in a day practicing and still didn’t know what I was doing. Five years later I’m still learning things I didn’t know before. This takes a lot time.
Earlier today I was talking to another experienced photographer about the new photographers. We realized that they want the fame now. They are doing what they see us do instead of focusing on their craft. I was fortunate to tap into the corporate headshots genre and now I see others talking about doing corporate headshots. PLEASE TAKE YOUR TIME AND STOP RUSHING!!! Photography will always be here (for most of you that is).
Here are my 3 tips to help with the process:
1 – Put in the time. I shoot water bottles at home all the time when I’m not on assignment. I practice different lighting situations and focusing in the dark. Mastering your craft is key.
2 – Find an experienced photographer and help them. Humble yourself and don’t worry about what you’re getting out of it. See how they can benefit from you. Send them a referral every now and then if they are available. Givers always gain!
3 – Solicit honest and constructive feedback. Yes we can be prideful and get into our feelings but if someone knows more than you, solicit their input.
If you plan on having a successful career take your time. Be methodical and intentional. Don’t be the photographer who was hot for 6 months and then fell off.