My growth as a Photographer has been a very fun journey! I am a person who loves to help others in any way that I can! I wanted to write about some of my successes and what has worked for me as a Photographer. My hope is to help someone starting out in photography, or even a senior Photographer, grow in their career as well!
When I first stated out, I thought that all I needed was the fancy equipment. Little did I know, that there was so much for into making an image a piece of art. It had EVERYTHING to do with lighting, a LOT to do with camera settings, and a free mind. What you I mean when I say free mind? I find that I am most creative when I am not stressed, having fun and my mind is clear of cluttery thought! Is that even a word?!
When it comes to equipment, I find that whatever camera you have, KNOW IT! Know it inside and out. I actually learned a lot about my camera through Lynda.com (I learned Adobe Lightroom here as well). I personally shoot with a Nikon camera. You do not need a ton of lenses. In my opinion, if you are just starting off, having one 50mm portrait lens will take you far. I have ventured out for fun and am loving my 85, and my 35mm lens as well.
Knowing where to place my subject is key when it comes to a great shot. When I am shooting outside, I am making sure my subject is in open areas with the sun behind them. When I say open areas, I mean that when they look directly above them, they should see sky, not a tunnel or a huge tree. What this does is creates beautiful even lit lighting on the subjects faces.
When I first started out I struggled with white balance (the color tones came out too cool, or too warm, or too green etc). It was a pain to fix them in post production (Lightroom) because it took so much of my time. Since I am very family oriented, I wanted something that would help speed up my editing process by getting it right in camera right away and have more time with my family.
BOOM! I found: THE EXPO DISC!!!!! Life changing when it came to my photography career! I would say this was the biggest thing of all, thus far, that has helped in my growth as a photographer! It was by far the BEST investment ($50 on amazon) for me! The Expo Disc is like a grey light filter type of thing that attaches to the end of your lens and it actually meters the light filtering in. It gives you almost a perfect exposure AND white balance (pictured below). What I have found while using it, is that you need to stand and point the camera at where you WILL BE standing as the Photographer. You then set your settings, and then go back to where you are going to shoot and then shoot. BOOM! DONE and DONE! It takes about 5-10 seconds longer than it would to set your settings with the Expo disc. It may feel awkward standing there those extra few seconds, but I promise, for me it is totally worth it (and you get used to it)! Looking at the bigger picture, it actually can save you HOURS of editing in the end. Yes there is some minor tweaking in post-production, but the main thing was that it cuts editing times drastically AND every image in the gallery looks consistent with the others!! This is HUGE because every client wants to know that your work is consistent. They also want to know that they will get the same style of results as every single client. In my case, light and airy!
Dun..dun…dun…BLOGGING!!!! This is actually a fun part for me! I blog on EVERY client! I found BlogStomp which has changed my blogging experience! It is a very easy to use drag and drop system that takes your gallery images and places them in a pattern or grid of your choice! It then creates one “big picture” and optimizes the image (shrinks the pixels without disturbing the quality of the image.) By shrinking the pixels, it creates faster load times on your website, and actually ranks you higher on google! Here is a short one minute video in my “Education” Story Highlight on Instagram creating an image in BlogStomp.
Alright, lets talk about websites. Many people are not a fan of creating their own websites or even forgo a website all together, but let me tell you, his is home base for all of your clients. With all of the social media platforms changing and you not having 100% control of what your potential clients can see, having a website was very important to me.
I used ShowIt to help me build a website. It took some time getting used to how to drag and drop, and make things consistent to my “brand” but it was worth it in the end and very much helped my growth as a Photographer and in my business! What I like to do is to work on my website once a week. Small tweaks can make a huge impact in the end. By updating my website often with new images that represent my brand just a little better, my potential clients will know me a little better. They will also know what to expect for a final product delivered to them. Remember, to your potential clients seeing your website for the first time, you are ONLY as good as what your website portrays. This is their only reality of you, so make sure it is representing you and your brand!
What was next for my growth as a Photographer? SHOOT SHOOT SHOOT! Practice and never believe you know enough. A photographers BIGGEST downfall is thinking they do not need anymore education on anything. Even if you’re a senior photographer, you can ALWAYS learn and become better. How can you share your love and knowledge around you? Maybe you want to help other photographers in your area! I am grateful for those who have educated me and guided me throughout my journey! I have taken that info and tweaked it into what works best for me and my flow and I am loving sharing it with you!
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