It is very common in our industry to look at another photographers work and think “I wish my photos would look like that…” or some other self-depreciating statement. This can cause a sense of failure and create thoughts of giving up.
It’s hard to start being a photographer and it’s even harder to keep going sometimes. Unfortunately it is all too common to find a photographer that inspires you but unfortunately refuses to give advice or even answer questions. These photographers tend to believe their business information should be top-secret. That’s fine, we can respect that, but it’s easy for a new photographer to feel discouraged as a result.
Without knowledge and encouragement a passionate flame can go out quickly. Without dedication and persistence a dream can not be born. Without struggles and challenges one can not grow. You will not become an artist because it’s easy, you will become one because you accept the process. – Stacie Jensen
Make Easy Goals for Yourself
As Henri Cartier-Bresson said, “Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst.” It’s true. Even Ansel Adams didn’t innately know how to set his camera settings perfect every time – especially when he first started. Remember not to set your expectations too high your first year in business. Make goals to improve, but make them ones you can afford and attain easily with time and practice. At the end of the year even if you haven’t met all of your goals, you’re still successful at achieving most of them! You can decide your own goals and measure your success by succeeding at your goals instead of measuring your success compared to those around you.
Focus on Yourself
Don’t worry about if your area is crowded with photographers and what they are charging or doing. Do what works best for you when you are just starting out. As you grow you can then consider what might be average for your market area in prices or start looking to network with other photographers. Sometimes the best way to keep your spirits up when it’s tough is to work alone and keep your awareness of other photographers in your area at a minimum.
Sometimes Clients Won’t Choose You
It’s true. What makes each photographer different from another is not how we photograph, our amazing equipment, whether we do JPEG or RAW or shoot Nikon or Canon. Being a photographer isn’t just about the gear and how good our photographs are. There’s so much more that goes into owning a business. Be yourself and don’t be afraid to let clients get to know you. There is room for all types of photographers because the world is full of all types of clients. It’s more important to find a client that matches your personality and your style than it is to get them all. One client who really loves you and your personality will bring you more referrals than 10 that don’t click with you as well. If you do a meeting with a client, give them all your info and get to know them and they still don’t chose you remember that it’s more likely that they just don’t match with you than your work. If they inquired or met with you in the first place it means your work was good enough for them.
It’s Not Easy
Being a photographer means you own your own business. It’s something that takes an abundance of time and effort. At first you might have to make some sacrifices. You will sacrificed some finances and more importantly a lot of your time. My first year I worked full-time all day and would come home every evening and do whatever I could to practice, network and book sessions. My family definitely got overlooked during this time and it was a sacrifice. It’s important to know ahead of time that if you want to do this and do it right that it will take a massive amount work and dedication! Thankfully all that work will pay off and your time will be much better spent when the balance of your business comes. Be prepared to put in a lot of work while you’re getting there.
Your time, hard work, effort, and goals will help you succeed as a newer photographer. Don’t be afraid to ask for help even if you get refused!
by Carrie Swails
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