What advice would I give my young photographer self 40 years ago?
Becoming successful in photography, whether personally or professionally, can seem like an uphill slog sometimes. So, how can you make it easier when starting out in photography?
The main thing to remember and concentrate on is your mindset! Think like a photographer for long enough and you will become one.
Sounds strange? Well, your mind is the most powerful asset you have and can also be the most destructive. If you continuously think you cannot do something, you won't...period! When you truly believe in yourself and stay persistent in your efforts, you can achieve anything.
Don't be put off by naysayers or beautiful portfolios that you come across, be inspired and motivated by them.
Fear not the competition
Try not to be put off by the sheer number of photographers out there doing business all around you. Especially if you are in a built up, busy area. Just understand that it is a huge market and you can easily grab your own share if that is what you want.
The more working photographers in your area, the more work that is probably available, see it as a positive thing!
All the technical jargon, buttons, features, accessories, upgrade, updates and software out there can be a distraction. Photography is fundamentally simple in its basic form so don't let it worry you.
The quality of your poorer shots shouldn't get you down, it MAY be the equipment you are using and NOT you!
Don't think that you need to invest a fortune in all the latest equipment, you don't! All you need to start is a camera and a lens.
When I got back into (digital) photography in 2003 after a long break from film photography, I was as confused as anyone as to what kit I would now need. This is because I was used to medium and large format film cameras as well as the good old 35mm film SLR's.
I decided that before I bought any more kit, I would have to earn the money for it by just using what I had. That worked well and I soon built up a huge arsenal of cameras, lenses, computers, printers, studio kit etc and still use that principle today.
Using a DSLR
Learn to control the camera and start to really enjoy photography for what it essentially is...art!
When you first get hold of a DSLR (digital single lens reflex) camera, it can be mighty confusing:
What will you shoot?
There are so many avenues you can take with photography these days. Whilst on a certain "journey" you may discover a new love and talent for a different area such as:
This certainly happened to me years ago in the early 1990's when I first got started out in photography with my business.
I was happily travelling around the UK taking photos of villages for a postcard company when a young lady called us. She used the contact details on the back of a postcard in her local village and asked us if we shot weddings. We didn't at that point but still said yes.
After a few training courses and a ton of practice, we shot that wedding. This led to more weddings and even a private shoot with the Princess Royal, HRH Princess Anne. What a buzz and all from the back of a postcard.
We will help you to shoot the best photography you can in whatever area(s) you choose to pursue. We'll also to help you to get your work and business seen to ensure that you get the best possible start. ATP is here to help!
Stay focussed and start to create your own style. Don't think that just because www.iamthebestphotographerintheworld.com (not a real site at the time of writing) gets a ton of work, EVERYONE likes their style and that you should imitate them.
The great thing about photography is that beauty is in the eye of the beholder and the beholder is your customer. Find your OWN market and style.
Get out and practice
Start out by simply practicing as much as possible and don't worry if you make mistakes, even the pros make mistakes believe me! Take your camera everywhere with you and shoot as much as you can, after all, digital is free!
Don't just take hundreds of shots and delete the poor ones. Analyze WHY they are poor and learn from them. Look at the settings used, look at the light, what went wrong and ask yourself how can you correct it?
The more you practice, the better you will become, guaranteed, and the day will come when you know finally your kit inside out. Then you will also know how to deal with any situation that arises by making the right adjustments to your camera, lens, composition and lighting. That day is a great day believe me!
I have seen beginners come to our site at All Things Photography with very little knowledge indeed. Then in just a matter of months, I have seen their work improve dramatically. I have also seen students from our courses (DSLR, Weddings and Stock Photography) go from complete novices, to full, working professional wedding and portrait photographers in just a year!
Starting out in photography
We are hoping to make ATP Members a friendly community where you will receive as much information and guidance as you need to get you going. Once you have that confidence and ability, we want to help you get established in whatever area of photography you decide to pursue.
The buzz for me is to see people succeed. I have been told far too often that people cannot find a photographer in their area who will help them get started. That is why the ATP and ATP Members websites exist!
I can see a fundamental shift in the way people want to work and live their lives. People are starting to wake up and realise it doesn't have to be "this way". Photography is now, more than ever, accessible to everyone and there is no reason why you cannot make a living from it if you so desire.
Whether you want to get out of the rat race and do something you love for a living, or you simply want to enhance what you already know by learning to capture your world in the best way possible, just get out and practice.
The best place to start is over at our members section where we also have a ton of professional advice and tips too.