Aug 10, 2011

So you think you're ready to "go pro"?

Think again.

"But I've got a great camera, and my family and friends LOVE my pictures!"

We've all been there.  You want to make some extra dough and photography seems an easy way to make a few bucks.  But before you consider hanging out your shingle, please consider what it really means to be a professional photographer.  A nice camera is just one teeny tiny factor.  Do you know that camera inside and out?  Do you understand how to shoot that camera in full manual mode and do you understand the exposure triangle?  Do you even know what an exposure triangle is?  Do you understand good composition?  Posing? Do you have an understanding of light, and how to best light your client for the most flattering portrait?  Do you understand how to use a flash?  (and not the pop up on your camera... if you're using that you have NO business calling yourself a photographer!) No?  Ohhhhh but you're a "natural light" photographer!!!  Dont even get me started.  You may PREFER natural light... who doesnt???  BUT, if you are going to put yourself out there as a pro, what do you tell your clients when your "great camera" cant go over ISO 800 without your images becoming a gritty mess?  Are you really going to try to shoot an evening wedding without knowing how your flash works and how to balance flash and ambient light?  And while we're on the subject of weddings... do you have backup equipment?  Please please please don't even THINK about it unless you've got at minimum a backup body and flash, and a good supply of lenses!  Murphy's law tells us that if you don't, your camera will choose that particular day to die.  It happens... don't think for one second you can get by without backup equipment.  These are moments that this couple cannot get back... you MUST be prepared!!! 

Can you figure out how to make this happen?  This is a balance of ambient (sunset) and flash...

So, have I scared you yet?  Good!  You need to be a little scared.  Are you legitimate?  Are your business ducks all in a row?  You need to register your business and pay your taxes.  You also need to know how to price your photography.  There are plenty of resources out there to help you figure that out.  Check out Served Up Fresh to learn how to get all your business ducks in a row and properly price your photography.  You can also check out forums such as I Love Photography  where you can have some real pros critique your work and help you learn the ins and outs of being a professional photographer. 

Check out Improve Photography, for a great article "20 Myths About Becoming A Pro Photographer (And their Solutions!).  There are loads of resources out there, many of them free, that will help you become a better photographer and business person.  Take advantage of it and LEARN before you decide to go pro!

I hope that as "That Pixel Chick" grows it will become a great resource for you as well... and we will certainly be delving deeper into the points I've made above.  Becoming a photographer doesn't happen overnight simply because you bought a kick-ass camera!  A great photographer can make a beautiful photo with a toy camera.  Remember the camera does not make you a photographer!   Please check out You Are Not A Photographer.  If you see work on there that looks a bit like yours, then you really need to step back and LEARN the craft before you start charging people. 

I would love to hear from others on this subject... please feel free to leave your comments here on the blog!

1 comment:

sherry boles~ said...

Wonderful post, Denise! I see WAY too many people who think the camera makes the photographer...and that couldn't be further from the truth! This is a wonderful REALITY CHECK for everyone to consider.

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