I am so excited to be able to share a few more answers that I recieved from some of the best photographers around when I asked them “What is the one thing that you wish you knew when you started your business”. If you missed part one you can see it here. Stay tuned for the next set of responses…there are so many great ones to come. And I have to add a HUGE thank you to all of the photographers that participated and sent in thier response. Enjoy…and check out the sneak peak of an awesome engagement session at the bottom of the post.
Zach and Jody Gray of Gray Photography
We would say that where you will be in five years is dependent on two things, the books you read and the people you meet. Even though we did learn that early on, that has been the one piece of advice that changed our business and that we would give to photographers starting out. So, be sure that you are reading business books! At least one every month. Then, spend time getting to know people that are doing what you want to be doing one day (those that are successful at what they do) and act like them. You will become like the people you surround yourself with, so surround yourself with success and you will become a success!
Put away your credit card! In the beginning it is easy to become overwhelmed with all that is available for photographers. In an instant you can get sucked in to buying posing guides, templates, actions, custom framing samples, backdrops, filters, light meters and pretty camera straps when in reality you really don’t need any of those things to be successful. They may be helpful at a later date, but not when you are first starting out. Before you know it, you are working only to pay off all of the “necessities” that you purchased that are now collecting dust. I encourage you to spend your money on actual investments. My greatest investments have been education, a quality website and blog, a 5D Mark 2 and top notch lenses. There is also so much to gain by giving your time to others in the industry. This may not cost you anything financially but will bring you a lot in return. Good luck in your adventure. Hugs!
Corey and Jackie of Ada Photography
When we first started our business we were always comparing ourselves to those around us. If we weren’t as good, or if our business wasn’t growing as fast we would get discouraged. It’s great to look at other people’s work and to be inspired, but you really have to be careful not to allow yourself to get discouraged. Know that success takes time, and just because one person succeeded a certain way doesn’t mean you can’t if you do it differently.
To work really hard at being a photographer before you tell people you’re a photographer. Starting out, I was reluctant to tell too many others I was a photographer. I wanted to PROVE I was a photographer who knew how to work her camera before I was telling people that was the case. I think hubris is a downfall for a lot of people in this industry. If you keep your head down and work hard, study the art of photography (both your manual and the masters whose names you should know), practice a lot (and by practice I mean, photograph as many friends as you can and second shoot at LEAST a handful of weddings before you shoot your own solo!), and stay humble, you can go far in this industry. Just by being yourself.
To add to that (because I’m long-winded-haha), I thought I might say that you really do need to LOVE doing this. Because if the love isn’t there, you won’t have the gumption to slog your way through the work of building a business for yourself. If the love is there, than that’s what that business becomes — a true labor of love.
And here is a sneak peak of one of this weekend amazing engagement sessions!