We see this all the time: someone decides that they want to become a photographer and dives in head first without any direction or purpose. They try to learn just about every genre., yet they don’t know what they ultimately want to do. This can lead to a clouded purpose, no bookings, and most of all, frustration. The world of photography isn’t like crafting. It requires skill and most of all, a few questions you have to ask yourself.
1. What do I want to do in photography?
This is the most important question every photographer has to gripe with. Often times, it takes years for a photographer to find what they really like to do.It’s very normal to not know. Do you want to be a portrait, wedding, sports, or maybe commercial photographer? All of these fields require their own specialty and should be treated like that. Pick the one you most enjoy, find a niche, and conquer it. Learn about it. Learn the in’s and out’s and strive to be the best in it. Think of it this way, if your pipe broke in your house, who would you call? The Handyman or Plumber? The Handyman is the jack-of-all-trades, while the Plumber is the specialist. Granted their price points reflect that, but what results is that things won’t get things done correctly. People will always pay more for the specialist.
2. Do I have a mentor? Where can I find one?
Mentors are pretty helpful when it comes to helping you find what you like to do. They can provide you insight and sometimes even work. We hear a lot of mentors will pass on editing work to their “interns” and you gradually become one of their shooters. When you edit other people’s footage, you learn the whole process of whatever you’re shooting. From there, you’ll know how that industry works and how to shoot it.
3. Do I have a business plan?
Business plans are necessary for everyone. You don’t have to be a Fortune 500 company to have one. Jumping into a business without a plan is the best and fastest way to fail. List some goals you want to achieve and work out the plan from there. What steps are you going to take to achieve those goals? Start with some long term goals and fill the gap with short term goals to help you reach your destination. Set a budget and stick to it. Analyze your strengths and weaknesses personally and in your market. Work off of your strengths and find out ways to overcome your weaknesses.
4. Do I have the time to pursue it the way I want to?
The chances are that you probably have a full time job and you’re thinking about pursuing photography part time to see where it goes or as a little more income. Sadly, it’s not rainbows and butterflies. It’s really a second full time job, only you don’t have to report to someone. The problem with photography is that your part time gigs will turn into late night editing, posting, lunch break meetings, and early morning deliveries. Be prepared to spend a lot of time in photography. With that, if you have a family, you need them onboard with you as well. Support or a lack of it from a spouse can either make or break your photography career. Your family should be okay with not seeing you on the weekends as much. Consider how much time it will require of you and a time budget. It’s easy to get tied up in something you love just as it is to make your significant other feel neglected.
5. What gear should I buy?
This questions requires a lot of research because once you post this question, your social media feed is going to blow up with ‘experts”. Look around at some lenses online, go to your local camera rental shop and try them out. Ask for advice. See how they shoot, feel, and work for you. If the job you’re shooting can’t pay for the piece of equipment you want to buy, rent it. Renting is always the best option because you get a feel for all kinds of lenses without having to commit to them. Some of you are fortunate enough to be able to buy whatever you want right off the bat, however, renting is still a good option to make sure it’s a good fit for you before you slap it on Craigslist.
Being prepared is the game. Having a plan is great for photography. The life of photographer can be the most rewarding if it’s handled properly. But it can also be one of the most frustrating. People are all watching. Goodluck!
IE Photo Rentals
558 W. 2nd St, Unit B
Pomona, CA 91766
Camera and Lens Rental Service for Inland Empire, Los Angeles and Orange County Areas.