I think I’ve been asked 3 times this week if I went to school to be a photographer. The answer is no. I did go to Hickey College in St. Louis and received a Specialized Associates Degree in graphic design so I’ve always been a creative at heart and graphic design was the right choice for me. It’s kind of nice being my own graphic designer for my photography business. I get to design my own website, business cards, stationary, etc. It saves a TON of money and I can change things when I want. I love print more than web though. I used to say I wanted to be a 1-stop shop for brides and design their save the dates, invites and programs, etc. as well as take their pictures.
But I’m getting off topic. The real reason for this post is to let you all know how I got into this business in the first place. I did talk about this before but I’ll go into the real details of how I learned how to shoot manually, find the light, etc.
After taking a few photos for a friend and posting them on Facebook, I started getting people asking me to take their photos. Now, I only agreed to taking them for my friend because she never had a photo of her and her 2 daughters before. She said I had a “nice” camera and that I could surely take good photos. What I’ve come to find out is, yes, I did have a “nice” camera but I shot the whole thing in auto focus and they turned out kind of dark. The pics aren’t bad by no means, but certainly different than what I’m doing now. We all had to start somewhere, right?
When people started approaching me to shoot their sessions I kept telling them no. I knew other photographers in the area that were way better than me and I had no idea what I was doing. So… I started Googling everything. And I mean EVERYTHING. I started reading blogs, watching YouTube tutorials and I even read my camera manual. I know right, who would have thought to ACTUALLY read that thing. Trust me, if you’re just starting out in this business, do yourself a favor. READ that manual and learn how to work your camera. It’s the best tool you have. If you can work your camera in manual mode, the rest will come together for you.
Once I learned about aperture, ISO and shutter speed, I started going out into the yard or using my nieces to practice on and I just shot a lot of things. If I had a family who HAD to schedule something around noon (the worst time of day for pics) I would Google how to shoot in direct sunlight. I didn’t agree to start shooting weddings till about 2 years ago. I wanted to get going first and really learn my camera before I committed to doing weddings. It’s an important day and I was nervous about messing it up for couples LOL. Now that it’s the main thing I shoot, I LOVE IT and it’s what I want to eventually do full time. It’s definitely what I’m meant to be doing. I love weddings and I love meeting my clients. They all ask me if I went to school for photography and when I tell them I Googled my way through it they seem confused but amazed at the same time. I’m still paying for 1 college degree, I didn’t want to pay for another if I didn’t have to LOL.
Even if I would have went to school for this I would have to still continue to learn. Technology is always evolving and cameras change, etc. This industry will be so different in the future (heck, my senior pictures were taken with film and that was 12 years ago). I’ll continue to learn new tips and tricks and the internet is my best tool for that. I will say though, that I recently went to a workshop in Virgina with the amazing Katelyn James Photography and I believe my business has boosted up a millions notches since then. Besides Google, I hope to attend more workshops in the future and keep taking my business to the next level.
Happy Friday the 13th everyone. Have a happy and safe weekend.