5 Lessons Learned From Walking the Road to Professional Photography

1 – Gear Should Come as a Need, Not a Hobby.

There’s a shoot happening and you’re missing an essential piece of gear that you didn’t realize you needed. Yes, at that point in time I look around and I’ve got thousands of $ worth of gear that I won’t even use for this shoot, but the $50 piece I need right this minute … I don’t have. This happens once in a while and it goes to illustrate how important it is to buy what you “need” and not what you “want”. As a professional, these priorities are fixed for you pretty quickly as it becomes clear what is a result of your un-necessary shopping addiction and what is essential gear.

2 – Social Media Matters

Whether you like it or not, social media matters. The powers that be are impossible to ignore because there are hundreds of millions of users (combined) that access social media, and there’s a good chance that many of them are your target customers. So if you aren’t already social-media-friendly then it will only benefit you to start learning, posting, tweeting, and connecting with people online to spread your brand. Your peers and competitors are already on social media, shouldn’t you be?

3 – Know What You Want

Before the industry and your customers decide to change this, sit down and think about what you really want to be doing. Did you start your business wanting to take pictures of families and social events? If so, then great. Or maybe you wanted to do artistic lifestyle shots? If that was your goal, maybe you’re not any closer now than when you started. Be brave, get your thoughts together and follow the path that You want.

4 – Brand Yourself

Sure, you take great pictures, so does my nephew. Why should I hire you instead of him? You need to build your brand, your name, your style and get it out there. As #2 on this list already mentions, it’s important to connect with others. Having a strong unified name or brand will make it easier for people to understand who you are and what you do. Do you have 6 websites? 6 names? Is your marketing focusing on 40 different types of clients just to make some revenue? Consolidate your brand and be efficient.

5 – There is no Right or Wrong Path

After all is read, said and done, understand that what works for me or for some other photographer doesn’t necessarily guarantee you any success. We all take different roads throughout life and sometimes get to the same exact place we all want to. Do whatever it takes for you and your comfort zone and your personality to make it happen. The most important thing is to have a drive, a passion to want to be successful.