I think it’s easy to assume that a career as a photographer might be pretty simple. It seems like they are always on vacation, they can work from home, they are always on Instagram. I mean, how hard can it be to point and shoot a camera right?! 😉
If you’re choosing to be a full-time photographer, you will play every role you can think of as a business owner. You are your own CEO, social media creator, customer service, website developer, financial advisor, marketing manager, branding expert, receptionist and any other role needed to run a business. Phew! It’s a lot of work.
I didn’t fully realize this in the beginning and different roles would come up unexpectedly. Thankfully, I had the support of family and friends to help me complete certain tasks. Being organized and planning out the tasks at hand helped me get these roles in order! If you’re looking to go full-time, you’ll need to hone in your skills for these roles as well!
WOAH! This one was a serious game changer for me. When you first get a camera, the standard factory settings for focusing is to halfway press your shutter button, the camera will focus, then you fully press the shutter button to snap your photo. Since this was the default setting, I assumed this was the only way to take a photo. Boy, was I wrong!
My style of photography and interacting with my clients includes a ton of MOVEMENT. With the standard way of taking photos, I missed focus on nearly 40% of my photos because I wasn’t able to focus quickly enough. That’s where back button focus came in and saved the day.
The way back button focus works is that it removes the focus action from the shutter button and assigns it to a button on the back of your camera. This allows you to use two fingers simultaneously vs. doing two things with one finger. It sounds confusing, but it was such an easy transition for me + now I rarely miss focus!
Here’s an article explaining how you can do it: Back Button Focus Explained
This one is important. I have been and will always be a saver. I really don’t like to spend my money on things unless I absolutellllyyyy need them. Unless it’s Free People clothing (but let’s keep that on the down low). When my photos weren’t coming out how I wanted them to or my business wasn’t running as effectively as it should have been, I quickly realized the importance of investing in good equipment and programs.
An excellent camera is a start – you and your clients deserve the best quality and your work will only improve by using the best of the best. Go for a full-frame. Rent some lenses from your local camera shop to try them out and see what you like best before you buy! Spend money on a seamless Client Management Software (I love HoneyBook!) to be able to better respond to your clients + avoid any headaches. These things can add up quickly, but are worth it in the long run.
Now I’m not telling you to splurge on anything and everything or you won’t be successful. But when it comes to necessary things, like ones mentioned above, your business will not blossom without it.
Like finding your photography style, this too is a process. At first, I was targeting anyone and everyone who was engaged. Realizing that not every bride was my client and making sure that we were a match before booking was a huge milestone for me.
In a nutshell, my ideal client is someone who is in love with my work + my style and can envision me being their wedding photographer! I want to work with people that have the same perspective of beauty as me, who care more about the authentic moments of the day than the “extras” or posed shots and genuinely trust me and my process. Be selective – you and your couple will thank you for it in the long run!
I’ve found myself so engulfed in work at times that I was forgetting to actually live. The work/life balance is a real thing that I, and a lot of others, struggle with.
It can be easy to spend all of your days and nights working or thinking about your lil business. I get it, there is a lot to juggle! But at the end of the day, it’s important to realize that you aren’t defined by your job. Getting burnt out can quickly kill your passion. Get outside, take a vacation and leave your camera at home, do personal projects to fuel your creativity. Try to do something unrelated to photography every once in a while to give yourself a break! I’ll be coming out with some tips on how I’ve been able to maintain a better balance of this very soon… stay tuned!
Lighting!! I would love to learn about shooting with speed lights. I have watched video after video and still don’t feel confident. I’m a natural light photographer, and want to expand. Where do I start???
Hi! Thanks so much for this. I’m dying to know how to get those authentic moments/ get clients comfortable!
Hi! I am in love with your photography style & your words were so helpful, I’m trying to startup my own type of business but I’m a senior in hs, how did you start getting your photos & brand some exposure?