I’ve been a photographer for about 5 years now, you learn A LOT of things along the way, and I’m sure the education isn’t over just because I’ve been in the business for a long time. It’s how you grow right? And make sure you don’t make those same mistakes again.
Here are the top 5 things I wish I had known before becoming a photographer.
1. Invest in education classes.
I think the biggest part of investing in education classes, would be how to set up my business. How to run it, using contracts, how to create a great client experience that keeps clients coming back for more or to even refer them to their friends, etc. I think I tried to do all the things at once and it became a big mess.
I honestly wished I had someone, a mentor, someone who has been in this business longer than me, to teach me how price, and why. I had no idea what I was doing. Now I think I have a pretty good handle on how to do this, but I still ask my bestie – who is also a photographer- what to do. LOL.
3. Said no to weekend shoots
I know it’s not as easy for some people to do their family sessions on a weekday. But I am ever so grateful I implemented this “rule” of mine last year. I would be gone on almost every weekend doing shoots in the fall, and that didn’t allow for freedom to hang out with my family or catch up on work from earlier in the week. It also allowed me to not be stressed out as much over how busy the more popular parks in my area were going to be with other photographers doing their fall minis or fall family sessions.
4. Set limits and boundaries
When you start out with this business it’s hard to find people to hire you. Especially in a saturated market like where I live. Anytime someone emailed me to hire me for their photography needs, I said yes 100% of the time. It didn’t matter if it was in my skill set or not. I needed the experience right? Probably not a good idea looking back on all this.
Also, knowing how much you can handle and when to stop and say no. I wasn’t fully prepared on how busy the fall season was until 2 years ago. It was ridiculous. I spent almost every week doing at least 2-4 shoots, this past year wasn’t any better, if I’m honest. I worked 2-4 days a week shooting, I still had to edit those sessions. So that took up more of my time. I’d also answer emails in the evening when I needed a break from work to hang out with my hubs. I know he was probably annoyed at that.
Know how much you can handle in a busy season like the fall photo scramble. Make it a point to only do the 2 sessions a week. And learn to say, “I’m sorry that week doesn’t work for me, how about this one?” And set hours for yourself, if you’re like me. Call them office hours if you need to. Put your phone, watch, computer out of reach when you’re done for the day.
5. Take an editing course and nailing down my style.
Each photographer has a style or aesthetic that defines who they are and sets them apart from other photographers. It’s SO hard to find that style that speaks of who you are as an artist. I knew I didn’t want to do very trendy edits, like the dark and moody or matte edits. And if that’s your thing, great, but not me. I’m a classic kind of person. I mean, look at my wardrobe and my how I style my home. I really don’t want things to be “outdated” or “out of style” in 10-15 years.
Same goes with my editing. I didn’t want my client’s pictures to look like they were definitely of a certain period of time. With that being said, I wish I had figured out how exactly I wanted my photos to look like. I dabbled in a light and airy for a bit and went back to trying to make everything classic looking, but not really old fashioned.
If anyone reading this, is new to photography or wants to make it a part time job, I hope these are helpful for you. I’m sure I’ll come across more things as I go on with being a photographer as the years go on.