Many amateurs wonder if they will ever make it in to the big wide professional world of photography, and to be perfectly honest…. if you have a good eye and take nice shots, I don’t think there is any thing that should stop you.
For example let me tell you my story. I am still very early days yet, but it is a venture I am enjoying.
At the age of 33 I had my first ever decent camera, I instantly fell in love with it. To be honest the poor thing was wasted on taking pictures of my kids, and items I needed to list on eBay, I used the auto setting ALL the time. I didn’t have a single clue about F stops, and Iso settings, and to be truthful I am still learning now. I got a little fed up of not knowing how to work it better, and little did I know the next step of my playing would be the step that has taught me so much.
18 Months ago, I started a 365 project. I looked into it and researched what would be the best way to do it and the best way to challenge myself. How could I use it to learn more about my camera, how could I learn more so I stopped using the Auto function as much (Lets be honest, when you have kids running in all directions, Auto is sometimes the only option) I found that the most useful way was to set themes. Something different for each week. Not only would this keep things interesting, but it would allow me to try different styles of photography I may have not thought of before.
Other people found it interesting and decided to join in too. Some like myself found that they not only had the love for photography, but actually, they are pretty good at it too.
So we tried themes like landscapes, flowers, still life, portraits, street & even stock photography. Exploring rules of thirds, lead in lines, depth of field and loads of other different jargons we had no idea of at the start of the venture.
Fast forward now to today. I have done a couple of wedding shoots for friends, and have a few booked up ready too. The part I found hardest was “Am I any good?” its all good taking pictures yourself and your dad saying how fabulous they are, but what about if you are really any good? Would your friends be happy with your photos or will you have let them down for their special day. The pressure you can put on yourself is huge. The other question is “Do I charge?, If I charge, how much shall I charge?” personally, I have done the couple of weddings so far for free. This is to help me know if its an area I would like to pursue one day, or whether I have what it takes to organise, and mingle with strangers for a whole day. Also, if things go terribly wrong and you only end up with 5 decent pictures, at least you hahaven’tipped your friends off for a couple of 100 quid and lost a friendship over it. Always express you are not a pro, but you will try for them. There are lots of couples that simply cant afford a photographer, and if one of these couples are friends then it might be worth asking if you can take the pics for them.
My 2nd bit of how to start is…. take pictures of other peoples children, with permission of course… LOL please always make sure the parents are present. Its all good taking pictures of your own kids, you can threaten them with an early bed, or lose out on the xbox if they don’t sit still, or just so I can take one more shot. Other peoples kids are unpredictable, and you cant threaten them either…. Damn !!! Again, start for free to see if it is something you want to do.
Most important, listen. Listen to the feedback. Listen to the friends of friends when they see your pictures. Those are the ones that don’t care if they hurt your feelings. If its a crap picture, you can bet your ass they will be the ones to say so. And trust me, you will take some crap ones…. but don’t show those ones to the client 😉
Obviously you wont stay free forever, but don’t jump straight in and expect to be earning £1000 every weekend. Photography is a hard enough skill to learn, and even harder still earning a reputation that matches the pictures too. Start small and build your reputation, if you are worth paying for, people will.