Six Tips For The Budding Full Time Photographer
I was asked recently if I had any advice for a young girl looking to be a photographer full time. She asked the right person. Not that my career is so successful that I know the right path to take but because I love to tell people what to do (I kid, I kid.) Here are the six things I told her.
1) Stay true to your rates. If they try to haggle, they aren't clients you want anyway. If you're unsure on what to charge, start high and work your way low. Trust your gut. If you don't feel right about it, don't do it.
2) Contracts and invoices are scary but necessary. Have stipulations set on when you get paid and when you deliver images. Research contracts online and there invoice templates available for download.
3) Don't advertise that you are doing free shoots. You do not want it to get in people's heads that you will work for free. Unpaid testing is fine but but go directly to who you want to photograph and offer a free shoot.
4) Stick to shooting what you love/ what you're good at. If you say you shoot fashion/bands/pets/families/food/architecture/cars/weddings/etc you will never excel at one genre of photography and no one will know what to hire you for. Being a Jack Of All Trades in photography is not a good thing.
5) Be tough AF. Don't let anyone walk all over you. Clients will try to get anything and everything out of you but be firm and stand your ground. You may be doing something creative but this is still a business. You don't want to die from exposure.
6) Remember that this takes time. I'm six years in and finally at a place in my career where I think things are going well and I am happy. This is not an easy career by any means so make sure you're in it for the right reasons and that you're in it for the long haul. Being a photographer sounds really sexy but in reality it is hustling for your money and spending too much time sitting at a computer.
Really I could go on and on but I feel like these are the basics. People forget that photography is a business. "Oh photography is your passion so you'll totally shoot this campaign for me for free." Um, no. I'm not passionate about anything that much. Time, patience, and dedication will get you through and help your grow as a photographer.