One of the real struggles I’ve experienced as a beginner photographer was to work with people. My lack of confidence, fear to do a bad job and inability to accept the fact that someone is going to pay me money for taking their photo had really slow me down in making any progress at that area. It was a hard barrier to overcome but you have to do it if you want to be a photographer that make their income from photographing people.
I’ve decided to share with you 10 tips that helped me to overcome this problem and that I think you need to pay attention to when you are starting to take money for your photography:
- Self Confidence – As for me this is the most important aspect in any area of your life and it is very important at a profession as Photographer. You have to show your client that you know what you’re doing, be assertive, show them that they can trust you, that you are going to give them the best result for their money. Your client shouldn’t have the feeling at the session that you’re lost or you’re not sure about your own actions. If you, as me for example, have a big problem with self confidence then there is a simple rule that almost always work – “Fake It till you Make It”, it means that even if you not sure that you’re doing a good job you have to act as if you do,especially in front of your client. It will take sometime but in the end, you will feel a boost of confidence during sessions that you didn’t had at the beginning and you have to remember, your client have chose you, saw your photos and asked you to be their photographer, that means they like your work and ready to pay money for it, don’t forget that. Another thing to remember is don’t afraid to take money for your work, value your time and your work (I will expand this theme later).
- Portfolio– Portfolio is an essential part of your photography career, make sure you chose the best photos you’ve taken, make sure they are different from each other and show different aspects of what you are capable of. It can be a site, a blog or even Facebook page, but you need to have a place that people will enter and will have an impression of your work, what you present should be the best of your work. When I just started, I-n order to create a portfolio I’ve asked my friends to be my models and did it for free, when I had a good amount of nice photos I’ve started to post them on my business Facebook page and tag my friends in order to expand the amount of people that will see my page, after sometime people started write to me about photo sessions.
- Good Equipment– that sounds silly but it is actually important, I’m not talking about buying the most expensive equipment that there is, I’m talking about a professional camera with professional lens. First of all the results will be much better and more people will be interested in taking your service and second photographer with professional camera looks much better than photographer with not professional camera or with cell phone (I’ve seen someone who offers “professional” wedding photography for low price with cell phone camera). So if you want people to take you serious make sure you have an equipment for that.
- Knowledge – If you know what you’re doing it is much easier to boost your self confidence. Read photography books, go to photography seminars\workshops, try out new styles whether it is in photography or in post processing, never stay on one place. The more knowledge you gather the better are your results, of course it is important to practice all of the new things that you learn. Make sure you know perfectly how to operate you camera, your post processing (if you use any) and that you know everything that your camera has to offer you. Photographer with that knowledge look more confident and will not be surprised by some technical issues.
- Patience – People mostly don’t understand what it is to be a photographer, mostly people think that you just click on the button use some “easy” Photoshop and there you go. They don’t understand the hard work, the time you have to spend on every photo and composition. Sometime you will hear thing like: “What? this is very expensive, you just click on the button why the price is so high?” or “What? two weeks? why is delivering photos taking so long? all you need is to move them to the computer and send me”, so be patient, I try to explain politely why the process is taking so long and why the price is so high, after that it is their decision weather or not they want my services, try to be as polite as you can after all it is you name as a photographer that stand there.
- Be Active – There are two parts for this one: A. Be active during the decision making, if you making photoshoot at the studio it easier but if you going to do the shooting outside make sure to explain to your client where and when it is better to have the session, what hours are preferable, what conditions are the best to make more out of this photosoot, after all you know better how the light, the weather and so on affect the photo session. If you have any accessories that are good for the session bring them with you, try to explain for example why is taking a photoshoot at the beach at 12 PM is a bad idea and it is better to wait for the sunset, for example. Your results depend on you making the best choice in choosing the photo session place and time. B. Be active during the session, don’t expect people to know how to stand, where to look, they are not professional models (unless they are:)) they don’t know how to act and it is in your hands to make them move and take poses that will complement them.
- “Home Work”– After you have chosen the place and the time for your photo-session it is a time for doing some “home work”, for me it’s to check this place out, think what kind of compositions and poses I would like to create, of course during the session there will be unexpected things, client can cooperate with you or not, but it is better to be prepared. Another thing I check out is the person I am going to shoot (or family) what does they like , how they look, anything that will help me to create a session that will complement them the most, I check some poses ideas, maybe some accessories, I ask the person\family, does they have any ideas or they want me to operate and so on, it is much better to be prepare at the session than being surprised and having less confidence because of that.
- Contract – Highly important – correctly written contract with all the aspects that will protect you from anything. While writing contract it is very important to include all the aspects, it is not enough that something was “said” during the meeting, you must write anything! Weather it is the amount of photos, the last date when you committed to deliver the photos, advanced payment(if there is any) and how is the payment is going to happen, does the client allow you to use their photos at your portfolio, the amount of days before the session that the client can cancel and so on, it is highly important to protect yourself and your time. Payment – Check out the photography market, what are the prices at the area you live and sphere you are photographing (wedding photography, portraits, family, pets) create a price list with your offers and even if at the beginning it looks like high prices don’t be afraid to offer it. There will always be people who will think that this is too much, it doesn’t mean you need to value your work less that it worth, or work in loss at your income, don’t forget the price of the equipment, the time you spent to process the photos, to get to the place and so on. Don’t be ashamed to offer prices that you think you deserve.
- Good Mood – It is sound funny but this will help you a lot. Having a good connection with the client and creating a good mood will let you do your job less stressed and your client will look more relaxed on the photos, which will give you better results and a happy client afterwards. Don’t forget that happy client will mostly recommend you to their friends\family and you will get more clients.
- Make the client be part of the process – It is sort of sums up what I said earlier, but it is important to let the client feel like an active part of the process. Yes you are in charge there, but after all it is your client and it’s important for them to be satisfied even if you think that some photos\poses are not the best, they pay you money for your work so make sure they are fully satisfied. Ask them what they want, show them previews of photos, listen to their ideas and so on. This way you session will be more comfortable for both of you.
I hope this personal tips will help you to overcome the obstacles that restrain you from advancing at the photography sphere. Thank you for reading and good luck:)