Making the leap into photography as a career seems not only risky, but feels overwhelming at times. When I decided to pursue my passion I wasn’t sure I’d survive.
It has only been six months since I’ve started the professional journey, but that initial scare is over and I have a whole different type of pressure, too much work and not enough time.
Here are a few steps you can take that may help with the process of starting your career or just enhancing your passion.
1. Take pictures. Seriously it’s that simple. Nothing you do will trump getting out and taking pictures. You always hear people who are just starting out, myself included, worrying about having a “style” or a “look”. Constantly taking pictures will not only help develop your technical skills, but will enhance your ability to see the world through your own lens. As your body of work grows you will be able to see your own style emerge. For starters and creative challenges check out Capture Your 365.
2. Read, Read, Read. One thing I’ve learned is there is no substitute for reading. Books pack way more information than any website, video, or blog. Go to a book store, buy a coffee, and browse the photography section. Snatch any book that grabs your attention and do some light reading. Pick one or two that seem right and buy them. One thing to keep in mind is focusing on the areas your least familiar/comfortable with. Maybe you know you’ve got portrait photography down, but you’re clueless on how to run a photo business, there are plenty of books on that exact subject. Such as Best Business Practices for Photographers by John Harrington.
3. Join the community. There is no single photographer who knows everything about photography. If someone says they do they’re lying. There are, however, photographers who know a lot about their specific line of work and are willing to share their knowledge. Twitter is a perfect way to find the guys or gals who write about their experience and work flow. Not sure how to use that new fancy flash you just bought? Youtube has countless hours of video on everything from technical camera knowledge to large-scale photo shoots. A huge part of being a photographer is using the internet and online communities.
4. Study photos. Just being able to take well composed and correctly exposed images won’t always be enough. The technical aspects of photography are a given and should be mastered quickly, however the art of photography can take a lifetime to command. Look at images online and keep track of your favorites, a site like 500px is perfect for that, but don’t stop there. As often as you can return to those images and study them. Why did you like it? Was it the use of color, the lines, textures, shadows? Was it the context of the image? Collecting photo books is another great way to force yourself to study images. Viewing the printed images is a completely different experience from the screen and allows you to really sit with an image. Make time for that.
What types of things helped you take the next big step?