Over the past few months my photographic work and international sales have boomed. One would say that I have hit momentum at 200km/h, so much work it coming in I don’t know what to do with myself. As a photographer time management is absolutely key and living a balanced life I feel is also extremely important.
I have had a few people ask me how I achieved all this success as they are also photographers and are finding it hard to make decent money out of it. Starting out, as a photographer is really great and exciting at the time, when you realize just how far it could potentially take you. Unfortunately I have seen so many people become photographers and slowly fail at making it a full time income or reaching that pro level. To be honest I was everything I’m about to talk about. This post is not to discourage anyone but rather to ignite a spark inside them.
Most togs think that working for yourself means you get to choose your own working hours. No ways, when most clients want you to shoot on weekends and at evenings. For example I used to shoot weddings/ family portraits etc but when I realized it would take up all my weekends & evenings and I would have no time to really focus on anything else. I made the choice to rather stop shooting all that and focus my energy into things I wanted to shoot. Things that really pushed the limits as a photographer. Nothing against togs who shoot weddings/families, just a personal opinion.
Getting loads of compliments from friends and family does not mean you are ready to go pro, when family for example compliment you and give you positive feedback on your photographs they are comparing your photographs to their happy snaps, not really something you want to rely on. When clients compare your work, they are comparing it to the things they see in magazines and on TV.
Some togs need to realize that they are not ready to go pro and it take quite a bit more time to really get yourself established. Don’t leave your day job unless you are 100% sure you are ready to make the jump. Persistence. Perfection. Patience. Power. Prioritize your passion, you will know when the time is right, people will start offering to buy your work, commission shoots etc. Going on your own as a pro really goes down to timing, knowing when that times comes or is right, comes down to that individual and their needs. Patience is a big factor in success.
Another thing I have seen over the years is that togs don’t follow briefs from clients, thinking that clients will love your creative shots and the “boring” or average shots will not go far, is a big mistake. Well let me tell you I have lost a few clients due to this. Shooting what you think is better is not always the best thing to do. When a client commissions a photographer they already in their minds have a predetermined use for the images and not sticking to a brief severely affects not only their use of the images but ultimately destroy your chances of future work. I have learnt from my mistakes, lets face it no one is perfect but its what you do with the lessons learnt that counts!
Procrastination I think most photographers have a problem with. Its great to have all these amazing ideas and images in your head but if you never pick up a camera and go do it, I’m sorry to say but you not going to get very far. I often get people telling me how lucky I am that I get to shoot the things I do, I can confidently say that there is no luck involved at all! I was once a dreamer, always going on about how amazing it would be to shoot that and how I wish things would just happen already. I literally went mad just sitting around waiting for things to happen, to cut a long story short, I decided to pull finger and make things come to me, rather creating opportunities than waiting for them. Never doubt your own ability in making something happen, try it you might be surprised. It’s a choice at the end of the day, to open the door to success you physically need to get up and turn the handle.
I don’t have the right gear is something I hear ALL the time!
Lets compare photography to a law firm when you start off as a junior associate you get given a polo as a company vehicle but when you progress, put in the hours and produce results you become a senior or even naming partner and you then get to drive the latest BMW. Maybe not the greatest example but I’m sure you can see what I’m getting at. My first camera was a Pentax K100d and all I had was the standard 18-55 and 70-300mm kit lenses, I made a living off that 6mp, 3 frames a second camera. Make what you have work for you. I know guys who are traveling the world as photographers with just their IPhones, who would have ever thought that would be possible. Yes gear does make a difference but if all you can afford is a polo at the time make it work, the BMW will come in time. O and don’t be afraid to go and sit next to the guy shooting with the D4, just make sure you get a better shot then him hahaha, it’s the best feeling in the world. One image I will never forget off my Pentax was the Chameleon catching a grasshopper, classic example of making what you have work.
Posting hundreds of photographs on social media, guys unless you are paying to promote each pic individually you are doing nothing but spamming peoples timelines. I get it, you want people to see your work but things have changed on all social media platforms. If you are not paying to promote your images/blogs/ tweets etc online the total reach on that post will be minuscule. My advice would be to post selective and targeted images, if you are not posting images with purpose then they just become meaningless and the post will do nothing for you in return. I could ramble on all day about promoting online but I will leave that for another blog. Word of advice it’s not about now many likes or followers you have its more online presence and people engaging with your images/blogs etc. Forget about impressing the thousands of people online and focus on making a difference. If I can inspire just one person with each post I’m happy!
Making it as a photographer involves sleepless nights, endless admin, frequently shooting, vision and a strong mind to keep going. Trust me you will have days were you sit back and go” what am I doing”, photography is a difficult career to really succeed at but if you get it right there are no word to describe just how awesome it is. People will envy your lifestyle.
Photography has made me the person I am today, it has opened doors that would have never in a million years been possible. Just always remember, who you surround yourself with is who you become. If you have 9 friends that hate their jobs/life sucks etc, well guess who the tenth person is…………..
Self reflection is necessary ask yourself, ‘who am I, where have I been and where am I going?” Be harsh with yourself at times. And what ever you do, do not chase the money, if all you are after is money and you think photography is a way of making a quick buck, you are very wrong. I will let you in on a little secret, the fastest way to get rich and stay rich is to work on developing yourself as an individual forget about the money. There are many things in this world like passion, loyalty, respect, love and responsibility that money will never be able to buy.
If you do not go after what you want you will never get it.
If you do not ask the answer will always be no!
If you do not step forward you will always be in the same place.
Good things come to people who wait, but better things come to those who go out and get them.
I live such an amazing lifestyle, why? Because I chose to!!!
I am 24 years old and I never have to work a day in my life!