I haven’t worked as pro photography for about a year now. To me an amateur is someone who does it part time so for about a year now I’ve been an amateur. That doesn’t mean I don’t know how to be a pro. It does mean I picked up a few bad habits.
1. Pro’s take control. If you are the one holding the camera and only you can see what is in the frame you are the only one who knows what is being recorded on the digital sensor. The model can’t see what is being recorded. If you’re working with a stylist they don’t know what you are recording. Only you do. So you the one who is responsible. When you let there people tell you what to do your results head south. If you know your lighting, you posing and how to work with people, which every pro photographer should excel at, why would you let someone who doesn’t know these things run the show? The truth is you can’t.Pro photographers pay attention to details. Hair, Makeup, lighting, color theory, Aperture, Shutter speed. Lens selection, Location selection. These are all parts of a great image and as a pro photographer you have to limit the opportunity of failure and maximize the opportunity of success. It’s common sense the opposite of common sense is stupidity.
2. Math is important in business and when you are a pro photographer you have to quantify your business. No photographer can live off photo shoots under 300 dollars for long. Most photographers haven’t built their brand, haven’t honed their craft, and don’t do the right things so they can’t charge enough and they price themselves out of business. How may photographer have business goals or a business plan. How many have a book of set procedures? How many have found an way to monetize their work? Do you even have a budget? Guidelines? Marketing strategy? The truth? Very few! Some of them get carried away in side projects and they don’t focus on their niche. They take jobs out of desperation and they survive for the moment but there never lasts. I realized this morning when I woke I was about to do this. My niche is nudes and fashion, fine art, and Boudoir. For me these all intertwine and I work well in these areas. I’m not going to focus on weddings or portraits and I am not your normal Boudoir photographer so my clients are not your normal clients. I woke up this morning wondering WTF Im I doing? If I have a site that sells portraits, weddings, fashion, boudoir.. everything I am setting myself up to be a Walmart. There is nothing wrong with Walmart but I’m not a Walmart. Being a jack of all trades and master of none is bad business plan.I don’t know any plumbers who have dog walking businesses. The best business practice is to do one thing really well. You want to be the best of the best. If this upsets you I am sorry but it’s now a reality. In 1955 things were different. This is a different era and if you want to do well you can’t do the same things your parents and grandparents did. To be successful you have to be in the 1 percent of your field. As Seth Godin said, You have to be a linchpin.
4. The truth is the world is over saturated with photographer and we don’t need anymore. What we do need is artists. People who put passion into their work. People who take time to connect and make images that stop people when they walk down the sidewalk. When everyone in the art world is trying to be the same it’s time to do something different.
5. Most photographers use to many filters and overlays and they get locked into a style. It’s cool for now but soon that filter will go out of style just like those jeans I bought from Gap 5 years ago. The other problem with over edited work is magazines and models agencies won’t hire you or publish you when you work has filters over it. When is the last time you saw Vogue publish a cover photo with the nice looking Brown tone preset you payed 15 dollars for. Nope. Good quality photos is about the stuff I talked about earlier in this post.
All I’m saying here is if you’re gonna be a pro photographer you gotta act like a pro photographer. You have to have a plan and you have to know business and you gotta hold to your guns. So go get your dreams but do it the way it works. If you gonna get advice get it from someone who made it. Look at photographers like Sue Bryce, Zhang Jingna, Nick Brandt, Annie Lebowitz, Timothy Allen, Peter Lik, Study these people. Study their business practices. These people made it. They made it because they are artists who believed in themselves and saw the value of their work.
These are my rockstars. Be a rockstar!
Text or email me to talk about working with me.
My website is up but not ready yet. You can check it out though.
Ikon Republik- I live and travel in a frickin van and I love my life! I founded a magazine, VEGA Magazine. My magazine is full of beautiful nude women and its based around the idea of respect and soon it will include amazing articles on how to improve your life! Out of the last 8 months, I have spent 4 of them living in the desert, under the stars and cooking over a campfire that was made with two sticks and a bow. I believe in self sufficiency and integrity. Now you know a little about who I am. I’d love to know more about you! My plan to tour the USA and teaching a workshop in every state is almost finished and I’m excited to start this big adventure! It’s almost done!