Whether you are a die-hard digital or a funky film photographer, a beginner or a pro, we all like to receive some advice sometimes. I have studied photography since GCSE and now I am about to graduate with a BA (hons) degree from Coventry University. It’s safe to say I don’t know everything there is to know but a lot of learning has taken place in the past 7 years. The reason I want to write this post is because I’ve been fortunate to meet photographers from all different levels and exchanged many fascinating discussions with. However, I especially enjoy teaching those who are new to photography and have taken it up as a hobby or those who just starting out in their photographic education journey.
Before I get started, I just want to mention that although I am offering this advice and it’s purely based on my practises and what I observe; there is honestly no wrong way to be a photographer.
- Get some experience- Studio or not, experience is vital in making sure you are taking a peek into the current working world and how you fit into the equation. This is also a good way to take some time out to think about what your end goal is and whether you’ve enjoyed this kind of work or not. It sucks to be the tea-maker I know, but if you nip in some questions whilst you are there then you are guaranteed to learn something new.
- We all work differently- As I have mentioned, there is no wrong way to be a photographer, I say this because you are bound to look at the practises of others and start to question yourself. Don’t do this, you are on the path to becoming your own unique artist.
- Find your editing style- Steady on with that editing matey, you do not want to over edit your images. It’s fun at times to play around but really its best to find a style and go with it rather than lots of random effects. Also, I find no shame in using the auto-options (unless it comes out in weird colours).
- Working for free- I’ve heard the phrase “If you are good at something, never do it for free” and whilst it is agreeable to a certain extent, personal experience inclines me to say this isn’t always the case. Being “good” at something like photography is subjective so unless you’ve been praise from those in the know, you shouldn’t just assume you are good enough to charge people. Wouldn’t you be a little bit pissed if you paid only to receive average images in return? If you want to get good then absolutely do some jobs for free (as long as it’s within your means) to get that practice in. This will also give you time to build up a portfolio and client base for when it’s time to charge, which leads me to getting paid.
- Money- If someone offers to pay you, ten say yes. If you’ve got the skills and practiced enough (see above) then go for it. If they’ve said they will pay then surely means they have the funds for it? So hold them to it and make sure to get paid.
- Build up that portfolio- So many of my portfolio images have come from working with body artists or event managers. It’s important to build up that client repertoire and ask permission to use their images in your portfolio or even on your business cards. It’s a flattering thing to ask and I am sure they will agree. A portfolio, online or physical, is a must have for job applications and meetings with new potential clients to show off your skills.
- Marketing- FYI business cards and a website/Facebook page is a good thing to have.
- Read- If you are going to study Photography at university or A-level then I encourage you to give theoretical reading a try. Not ‘How To’ guides or books on photoshop but real books by Susan Sontag or David Bate, it opened up so many doors for me.
That’s all i’ve got for now folks but feel free to message me for anymore advice and opinions, I have a lot of them apparently. Stay tuned for my next post, where I will be offering advice on the model-photographer relationship.