Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Beginning...

Where did it come from?..

I never thought about photography growing up, I mean I loved to be in photos (because I was, and probably still am, a little vain). It was Sam that had the nice (film) SLR and it was super intimidating to think about using it. I had never used anything but disposables up to then. It wasn't long before that bug bit and I was hooked though. Of course, it didn't flourish right away. I stuck with my little point-and-shoot camera (not doing anything other than just capturing my life).

It wasn't until the summer of 2009 that we decided to go ahead and get our first Digital DSLR. It was so pretty. I had no idea how to use it, but it was heavy and expensive (which of course makes everything 'the best'). I knew I wanted to learn to use it, and because Sam had the knowledge of cameras, he was my new instructor. It wasn't easy to learn, I stayed in Auto mode for everything and thought, 'man, I take some really good photos', but I wasn't sure why (with such a nice camera) I wasn't producing anything like I saw online. What was I doing wrong? Shouldn't it be as easy as pointing my camera at something and pressing a button?
So, I did some research, and joined my local college's photography course. There I learned the basics of ISO, Shutter Speed, and F-stop. I learned what happened when you used histograms, and How to white balance my shots. I felt like I was on a roll! Okay, after one course, I was ready to take on the industry and become 'professional'. 
So, I did what all 'professionals' do, I made a facebook page, and selected the 'professional' button. There, now I could just sit back and watch the clientele come to me...
I was flabbergasted that no one was coming to knock down my door for a chance to be 
photographed by me them. I had great prices. I could take photos, so what was wrong? 

That's when I realized I didn't have a portfolio, and I wasn't very skilled at what I did. I still was having issues with lighting. Some of my photos would come out more blue, and some more orange, and I couldn't figure out how to control that. I didn't really know very much about posing, so I just tried to keep my shutter going and out of the 1000 photos I would take, surely there would be a few that were usable. I tended to have a lot that were blurry. Of course I wasn't charging very much so that 
made it 'okay'. 
So, I went to the web. I scoured the internet looking for forums that would teach me why my lighting was off (white balance), I looked for examples of poses that were fun, I tried to get an idea of even the time of day that worked best. You will be shocked at the amount of information that the web has to offer. Photography is a network that is ever expanding and ever learning. So many are willing to share their horror stories in order to help someone else not have to go through that. It's such a great network to belong to, and to learn from.
Wow, did I have some learning to do. I decided to take a step back and reexamine my 'business'. Was I really a business? Well, not technically cause I hadn't made any money. Did I have enough experience to be in business? Obviously not, but don't you get that while in business. There were so many questions without proper answers. There are so many things you have to do in order to be a business. I don't have a degree in business, but I do have resources to helpful photographers who have shown me that what I was doing was wrong, and illegal! That was scary.
Without a business license you can't legally work. And if you aren't paying taxes on your income, then you are legally working. Here are some amazing blog posts by a business consultant/photographer who is so willing to share her talents and know how. She has really opened my eyes to some legal things as well as some helpful tips in business.

(this is a more recent photo... I can't seem to find one of my original 'professional' photos)

I have recently been focusing on the marketing and branding of MY PHOTOGRAPHY, which is not easy. Since moving to Georgia and establishing my 'business' here, I have only had a handful of clientele (who are the best people in the world). I haven't really been putting myself out there, yet I was still hoping for the same kind of crazy 'knock down your door' business that I waited for in the beginning.
I am hoping to start things off right this year, with taking the proper steps to starting a photography business, and hoping it grows into something greater than anything I could imagine.
With everything I have learned, I know I am no where near where I want to be. I want to keep learning, and growing... I have some great sources that inspire me to be a better me and then to be a better photographer.
*Jasmine Star - A great source for inspiration, business direction, and photography motivation
*Rachel Brenke - A great source for business direction, photography know how, and inspiration
*Digital Photography School - A great source for basics in photography, in-depth learning, and equipment knowledge.
*Katelyn James - A great source for business direction, organizing your business, and photography motivation

If you have any questions about other motivation I get from fellow photographers just leave a comment, and I will add them to my post, but these are the top 4 I use all the time.


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