I think it is easy to assume that a career as a photographer might be pretty simple. It sure looks like we always having a great time, we can work from home, we are always on social media and keeping up with the new and fresh trends. I mean, how hard can it be to point and shoot a camera right?! 🙂
Well let’s start of with who may be reading this now, are you thinking of becoming a full-time photographer? If so.. you will play every role you can think of as a business owner. You are your own CEO, your own: customer service, administration, filing clerk, receptionist, secretary, organizer, day planner, diary keeper, branding expert, marketing manager, financial adviser, social media creator, website developer and any other role needed to run a business. Shoo! It’s a lot of work!
I, myself didn’t realize this in the beginning of my journey when I started snapping for a living. Thankfully, I had support from family and friends to help me complete certain fears and tasks.
If you are having thoughts of doing this for a living, you will need to hone in your skills for these roles as well! This was a serious game changer for me. When I first got my first camera, the standard factory settings for focusing and snapping was the way to go, or, well so I thought, until you get a moving subject and missed nearly 60% of the photos because the focus is completely off (this was before I realised there is much more when I studied photography, IT WAS OVERWHELMING, but phew! Am I glad I did! – Invest in yourself and your career if you have a true passion for photography. That’s when I learned about back button focus and saved the day. The way back button focus works is that it removes the focus action from the shutter button and assigns it to a button on the back of your camera. It allows you to use two fingers simultaneously rather than doing two things with one finger. It was very confusion for me in the beginning, lots of self-training with that little button and now I rarely miss the focus. Then came the upgrade, I soon realised that business wasn’t running as effectively as it should and knew it’s time to invest. The importance of investing in good equipment and programs were essential in every need, especially when you want to provide good quality photographs. There I was, felt like I was back in school and it’s going to take me another 12 years to learn the ins and outs (not really, but it can feel like a lot in the beginning) “, So all I could do was to research and research and more research on lighting, cameras, batteries, external hard drives (we NEED backup), memory cards, usb’s, lenses, even a camera strap and so much more.. the list seemed endless. But I went to settle for the full frame Canon and I’m still in love with my cam. Then we must invest in editing programs, such as Adobe Photoshop – which is a must for doing professional photography, oops I left out, I need a website too and a email where clients can find me, I need business cards, and pamphlets and have to create a social page to display my work, phew! Are you tired of reading this by now? It’s a lot more than anyone realises. 🙂
BUT it’s all worth it in the long run, because it’s not something that will make you successful overnight, it takes many years to reach the top. I know it feels like I am discouraging you, but trust me, I’m not. When it comes to the necessary things, like the ones I have mentioned your business can’t blossom without it, your photography business is like a plant (a very expensive and pretty plant), it needs to be watered – a lot! It takes lots of practice, care and patience.
Okay, now we have all that out of the way, and I am here, saying that not all and you go “really, what, there’s more” O yes! Now you have to find your niche, define your ideal client like finding your own style. This also, is a process. At first, I was targeting anyone and everyone, I wanted the couples, the models, the new-born babies, the little ones, the graduates, everything except weddings (I first need to find what I love and why I love doing it). And soon you realise what works for you and what don’t. Rather than targeting everyone, I found that my ideal client is someone who loves my work and my style and envision me being their photographer. It’s a milestone when you find what you love and what style, poses, moments you want to capture for life. But also remember, after you found your ideal style and client, that you need to take time back and focus on what is important for you. This whole journey can get overwhelmed and so busy that you forget to stop and breathe.
The work and life balance are a real thing that I and a lot of other photographers struggle with. It’s like a new baby, you want to nurture it – the whole time, you don’t want to let your eyes wonder of and have sleepless nights worrying about the next day’s schedule or your upcoming photoshoot. You sit for hours after you pc trying out new and different ways of editing, you go hours of thinking “am I good enough, is this good, will this work for my business, what will people think, etc” we always see our own faults first in this industry and it’s very lonely job, you and only you are the master behind your work and you have to find consistency and positiveness every day within yourself to keep the love of your lil’ business alive. As you progress, you will start to meet other creatives in this industry and things will become a little bit easier when you make friends with other career women and/or photographers who supports each other. I am blessed to have found wonderful women in my industry that will go beyond to support you and others, even though it took years to where I am now, and I am not as yet where I would ideally like to be. I still have a lot of mountains to climb before I can say – I did it, every day is a new step and with each step gets closer to achieving your dreams.
At the end of the day, it’s important to realize that you aren’t defined by your job. Getting burnt out can quickly make you second guess your passion and profession.
Lastly, once in a while, take some time off and do something other than your career that you love to refresh your creativity. Leave your camera at home, do personal project, sign up for a fitness challenge, try to do something that is unrelated to photographer to give yourself a break!
If you are passionate about photography, whether it’s lifestyle (like me), weddings, wildlife, landscape or whichever, go out there and get your name out. Find your niche and strive for your dreams!
This covers it for my journal today, thanks for reading and remember:
DON’T DREAM YOUR LIFE,
LIVE YOUR DREAMS!