Anyone in the photography business knows that we all had to start somewhere.
Sometimes, though, we veterans tend to forget that when newbies join our midst, the questions they ask are the same ones we had to ask. The same knowledge we had to learn to become who we are today. In an industry where making it big and getting your name out there is the norm, we all need a little reminder from time to time that we all began this journey when we picked up a camera for the first time and even though we had no idea how to use it, we knew one day we would.
Sometimes it’s just beginner’s luck! . Some of us happened to have that natural gift, the eye for the shot. And that sparked a passion deep inside that you now keep with you whenever you leave the house for a shoot. When we start out, we’re so hungry for the experience and the knowledge that we use our family and friends as guinea pigs. Feeding the beast is what we had to do to make sure we were constantly growing in our work. To build up our portfolios, most of us charged little and gave a lot! So much work is poured into the session, editing and selling, but we were so excited about getting started that we didn’t consider putting pen to paper and figuring up just how much we were making verses our expenses. This is the beginning for everyone! We’ve all been there! But we sacrificed in order to build our business and ourselves. To save monetarily, though, we took to Youtube and Google and other various sites like the proverbial kid in a candy store. We ate up the knowledge we needed to get us where we needed to be.
From there, we began to pave our way forward, turning our luck into habit and making it grow. The one thing I’ve learned from my experiences starting out and getting where I am today is that you will never know enough. You are constantly learning and growing in this industry. There’s always something new to learn and someone new to learn it from! Workshops were our new way of networking with other photographers and business help books became the norm on our coffee tables. By the time you’ve reached this stage, a realization hit. A question began to shadow you everywhere you went and when you visited every photography page. What’s my style and where do I fit into the grand scheme of things? In order to figure this out, we really had to dig deep to learn more about ourselves. Are we mothers? Daughters? Wives? Best friends? Christians? What defines us? What makes us who we are? And from that, what style best describes who we are? What style best showcases our work to our clients? Making these major decisions change the course of our business, curves the path we follow on our journey.
Once we’ve figured ourselves and our business out, once we’ve laid out our master plan, we begin to take note of just how far we’ve come. Those then/now shots where you look back and make a face at the newbie inside all of us. Everyone starts there. The lack of knowledge that slowly became this wonderful masterpiece for the world to see. These shots help you to realize… wait! I’m no longer a newbie! I’ve grown into something more. A professional photographer. A respectable member of this massive group in the world of artists. You look around and notice that your clients and your fellow photographers like your work! They genuinely like what you’ve produced and you settle into this stage of security and comfort. Your work is good. You know what you’re doing and that alone is a huge reward for all the hard work you’ve put into yourself and your business.
But, take heed! We can always learn more! The photography world is ever changing. Those tacky vignettes and sepia prints are long gone now, but boy were they ever popular once! What we produce today won’t be the norm tomorrow. We are constantly changing our work and those who don’t need to take a good look around and realize they’re being left behind. Now that you’ve reached a stage in your career where your work is amazing, your clients are frequent, and your workload has been streamlined, figure out what you want to specialize in. Weddings, Couples, Children, Families, Newborns, Maternity, Births, Seniors. You name it, there’s a slot for it. Instead of doing everything, find out which of those you love best and run with it! Follow this new path on your journey, if you haven’t already. Not only will you get the clients you’re wanting, but you’ll be more happy in doing what you love best. No longer will you make a face when you book a senior session, knowing you’re really not interested in shooting it! Or those children’s sessions where you get tired of constantly chasing after someone else’s kiddos. No, you’d rather do what you love and not only does it help you, it helps your clients! Your work will shine only if you love it.
From this day forth, you should know that you are valued. You are appreciated. You are loved. What you bring to this world, what you’ve set on the table before mankind and said, “look, I did that. I can give this to you,” has set you apart from those around you. Your hard work and passion is a beacon of light for those around you and you give a gift to so many. When you hear someone say, “Oh, your camera takes awesome pictures!” or “Can you edit out my jelly rolls?” you can breathe easy. You know your work is amazing and you know that you, not your camera, is what got you to where you are today. If it weren’t a camera, it would have been something else, because everyone in this world has something special they can share with everyone. You just happen to be an amazing photographer.
To see more of Bliss’ work, be sure to check out her WEBSITE!
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