When it comes to photography mistakes to avoid, there are plenty! Most people pick up a camera to document their daily lives, or photograph their little ones. After showing their work to family and friends and receiving rave reviews, the next step for most people is to “open shop” and create a Facebook page, start a blog or build a website to show the world their images!
I got my start photographing in a portrait studio, but the camera settings didn’t change, so I didn’t really need to know how to use a DSLR. I’m embarrassed to say that when I first started taking on clients, I wasn’t shooting in Manual mode, my camera dial was definitely on the little green box. Eek! However, I quickly realized that it was like playing russian roulette when shooting for clients: some of the images would be amazing, and some of them would be poop. I didn’t know how to consistently produce good images. That’s when I decided it was time for a change, and I started delving into Manual settings.
Often we (myself included) start out without a specific purpose or direction. We know where we are now and where we want to eventually be, but don’t have a plan in place to get there. And since it’s so easy to get caught up in seeing what other photographers are doing, reading information in online forums, trying to follow the advice that others give you…. things can quickly head in a different direction than you were initially intending!
My advice to you? Lay out some goals that you want to achieve and outline a plan and timeline to help you get there.
Get You Ducks in a Row
Have all your paperwork, contracts, brochures, etc already designed and printed before you get bogged down with work. This will save you time because you know that when it’s time for a meeting, you can simply grab the appropriate paperwork and meet with the client. Not spend the last few minutes before your meeting running around like crazy trying to get it together! I always have between 5-10 bridal packets put together so that I am ready to meet with a bride whenever she wants to schedule a meeting. This eliminates a lot of stress on me, and I can really focus on the brides needs and wants.
Shoot What You Love
I get it. When starting out in your photography business, we take on any job that people are willing to pay us for (can I get an Amen?!). But when you are taking pictures of things you truly have a passion for, it will show through in the images that you take and will consistently be better! Plus, if you are shooting authentically, you will attract the kind of client who is best suited to work with you. Win win!
Find YOUR Style
It’s so easy to look at a zillion photographers and love each of them and want to emulate their style. However, you run the risk of being a copy cat and never really getting a chance to develop your personal photographic style. It took me a while, but I finally feel like I’ve found my style: soft, warm, romantic and fun!
Finish With A Flair
So you’ve met with the client for a pre-consultation meeting, rocked out an amazing session for them, gone through and edited all the amazing images, the client is super excited to get their pictures… and you hand them a plain CD in a paper sleeve. (I’ve sooo done this!)
If you’ve done an amazing job throughout the whole process, it doesn’t matter as much if you trip at the finish line. Make sure to present your images in a professional way (custom CD’s or USB drives), pretty packaging, etc; and I’d really recommend doing a viewing session with your clients. I absolutely LOVE sitting down with my families and couples and seeing their reaction when they see their images for the first time. Priceless <3
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