A little help, please?

While chatting to a couple of people in a photography group that I manage, I realised that they're doing what I was doing ten years ago and that it was really interesting to listen to them and hear myself as a photographer starting to find my direction. 

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The main theme that was repeated throughout the conversation was that they needed more gear, something new to do a specific task, a new lens because they couldn't possibly get any photography work with the lens they had, an extra set of memory cards or perhaps a monopod... 

I'm not going to bluff the facts, I wanted those things too, and for the most part, I got them - but the reality is that all I did was spend money on gear, didn't get anymore work as a result, and so I'd just cost myself cash and not made any - that's a fail, if you're trying to start some sort of (even an "on the side") photography business. 

So I'm sitting here with maybe ten tips for you to have a think about, to see if they will help you get through that sticky first "I really want to do this" photographer stage. 

1. One critical friend is better than all the super-supporting family members when it comes to doing good stuff in photography. 

2. You 'only have a kit lens' Great! Learn how to use it properly, let it teach you the shortcomings of a kit lens and then, and only then, upgrade in the direction you need to go.

3. A 50mm lens is the 'must have' in many people's opinion. Mine too. But maybe not the ideal starting point of you're looking to primarily photograph landscapes or sports or... point being, not everything every forum of Facebook group says is going to help you.

4. Digital photographs, despite what people say, are not free! (And I don't mean in the "I Googled it, so I can use it?" sense) I mean, each time you make an exposure on a digital camera there is a nominal cost - storage, camera wear, your time, etc... Don't just spray and pray when you're learning, wait until you know what you're doing to machine-gun your subjects at 1/1000th

5. You want to learn to lighting but you don't have a model to practice on? Look in the mirror. Now buy a cheap trigger and go wild. 

6. You don't need the most expensive lighting gear in the world to get started. One good 'less expensive' flash I'm using is the Godox v860 (I use the Sony version, it's very good and the trigger works well, too) 

7. Maybe it's important to know what you want to specialise in when you start, not sure who to, but maybe it is... Try lots of stuff and see what makes you 'tick' the most... What excites you? Landscapes? Food? Portraiture? Weddings? 

8. If you're going to photograph things that involve people that pay you, make sure you know what you're doing. Not just with your camera, but how to deal with people, how to manage your files, how to structure an invoice, tax, backups... Yes, it can be overwhelming! point is : learn it first, don't just start and then fail because you didn't plan.

9. Forums for photography, for whatever damn stupid reason, can be brutal - everyone is an expert from behind a computer keyboard... Take advice, don't be disheartened... 

10. Be inspired by people doing great work, make a list of favourites, here's one I started a while ago... Inspiration on Pinterest

11. Don't be afraid to always try to do a little more, if you do what you always did, you get what you always got. An extra image, an extra call, an extra social share, and extra assist.

You're encouraged to comment below!

 Because we all know you gotta have a $2k light to shoot your coffee!

Because we all know you gotta have a $2k light to shoot your coffee!

Next post we'll start looking at how you can help get the word out once you've nailed down the photo side of things - has anyone ever really nailed down that side of things? 

More to come...