Post # 1
I was reading another thread about a photographer earlier this evening and I posted a photo I took of my friends wedding. As I was commenting I realized I spend a vast majority of my free time going through blogs and just admiring the work. I spend hours each week photographing flowers and nature. I absolutely love photography and would like to give it a shot. I have read about how difficult the job is and everything that goes into being a photographer. I know that its way more than just taking photos, you have to work with people, timing, coaching, etc.
But how does one get started? I’ve never taken a photography class. I don’t have a DSLR. How could I go about getting more experience with my limited equipment? How much should I expect to save for the minimum equipment? Right now I have a Panasonic lx5. Here are some random photos I took, no particular order. I just quickly chose some since I’m getting sleepy. I do not have editing software either lol. Is it even worth it for me to try? Thanks a ton for any advice!
Oh and I didnt really include photos of people because I want to keep their privacy.
Post # 3
@sheepandbear: I have a friend who has only taken a limited number of photography classes and doesn’t have her degree in photographer. But she works for a company like Lifetouch Photography which does school pictures, etc. Her company encourages their employees to further their education and will often send them to conferences, etc. to help them hone their skills. That might be a thought, getting a job with a studio to start out with if you are really serious about persuing this as a career. Would it be possible for you to go to a community college or something to take higher level photography courses? Courses in lighting, flash, etc.? 🙂 I would also look into purchasing a DSLR if you can manage, there are a lot of online photography stores that will sell decently priced gently used DSLRs in a package that will include a basic starter kit. 🙂 Not bad pics for not having a lot of experience! 🙂
Post # 4
i think it’s important to get connected with professionals out there. i know one photograper we interviewed interned for another photographer and she got a lot of experience that way
Post # 5
I agree with PPs about interning. You can learn so much that way! Also, I would try asking friends and family members or even people on Craigslist if they’d like to have “free portrait sessions” to bulk up your portfolio.
Post # 6
I think you have a good eye for composition, but could use some improved skills. Sign up for some local classes at a community colleget, etc to learn photoshop and other editing skills. Take some seminars on light and general composition to help nail the basics. And interning/apprenticing, like PPs said, is definitely a place to start too!
Post # 7
@sheepandbear: I love the squirrel and the musical instruments. You have a great eye. Maybe sign up for a class at a community college or something. Once you have some “technical expertise” under your belt you can bulk up your portfolio like PP said. Create a website and maybe some business cards. It’s all word of mouth really.
Post # 8
Yes I agree, you naturally have a great eye it seems. Just do invest in some lessons to learn how to use equipments, lighting and editing.
Post # 9
I think you have the talent and knack for it, but some things in these photos feel very “amateur”.
I think with the right equipment and knowledge for lighting, equipment and editing, you could take amazing photos!
Post # 10
I just do photography as a hobby, but I have to say that editing software is absolutely worth it, and there is free software out there that will help. It’s best to always try to get the best shot as far as lighting and whatnot goes, but post-processing can turn a good picture into an amazing picture. A couple of these photos here would look fantastic with some post-processing.
Post # 11
@sheepandbear: I had a friend who did it as a simple hobby (she currently works two other jobs). She started a facebook page and now books family portraits/childrens portraits on the regular. It is a matter of expanding your fan base. Your photography shows that you have talent and as you get more experience and more income you will be able to afford the more expensive equipment/photo editing software/photo classes. If you love it don’t ever get discouraged keep at it (:
Post # 12
Photography as a business in 10% photos and the rest is business savvy.
You can easily get an entry level DSLR for $500 or less. Even go for used. I started with a used camera. There are some very reputable places to buy like B&H or Adorama. I taught myself everything, you dont need to go to school.. If you do any schooling take some business classes. Taking the photos really has so little to do with a photography business.
There are some random classes I have taken over the years and still do. Its ever evolving and you always need to keep up with your skills and new tricks.
Learn a DLSR in manual mode inside and out. Never take it out of M mode. Also understand how light works. Photography is all about using the light. Do this before you start doing any business. Once you have the camera skills just do it. See what you need to start your business. Like in my area I needed a DBA and obviously a tax ID number.
Please just dont wing it and start a fan page an call yourself a professional like so many do without the first clue about professionalism or running illegally taking money paying no taxes etc. When your there make a website before a FB page, a website will ALWAYS trump social media. Social media is just an added tool to use.
Also never call anything free. Give it as a gift or ask to TRADE. Just because no cash exchanged hands does not mean its free. Nothing is ever free! lol You put time in and so did the person you photographed. You traded time instead of money. You dont want to start your career being known as the cheap free photographer.. it will follow you and not in a good way.
I highly recommend Lightroom as a program to get started. Its VERY affordable and is a great program. You can get 30 day trials of almost any program. Also Adobe offers a monthly plan (Creative Cloud)and you can use All their programs. I think its around $50 per month. You get all the latest versions and it thousands worth of programs. Full Photoshop alone is close to $1000. I think it sits at about $800 last i checked.
You can PM anytime with questions. 🙂
Post # 13
@sheepandbear: First, ask yourself how badly you need this as a source of income. If you can’t survive on lost income or at best no income for at least the first two years, photography isn’t really going to be an option. It’s the same for any business start up. Most new businesses lose money their first year and maybe break even the second before they start profiting. Unfortunately, due to digital, the photography market is already so extremely oversaturated, that even then only the lucky, REALLY talented people manage to pull a profit. There will always be newbies on Craigslist and a friend of a friend with a DSLR undercutting the people who actually charge what they need to in order to make any kind of profit.
If you can do without the income, as Styles suggested, take your time and do it right. Don’t run the risk of ruining anyone’s memories and bare in mind that weddings are totally different than photographing rings and dresses or couples that are posing just for you. You can’t rely on always being able to control the light or how fast the action moves.
Don’t get me wrong, I think you do have somewhat of a natural eye, but since these aren’t edited and shot with low grade equipment they don’t look professional. Invest in some equipment and take some classes. Have some fun with it, but at the end of the day, realize that not everyone who enjoys photography can and SHOULD make a professional business out of it. People just go from “hobbyist” to charging immediately and that’s a huge mistake, especially when they aren’t paying taxes, have insurance or running legitimate businesses.
ETA, did you shadow the professional at this wedding? It looks like these shots were set up by the pro and then you nabbed a couple quick ones of your own while everything was still setup, or while the pro was photographing.
Post # 14
@sheepandbear: oh my gawd I love the squirrel! Makes me want to hug him!
i finally got a canon t3i this past Xmas. I always wanted to do photography but was too poor to buy a camera. And now, we can finally afford one and I can’t wait to learn how to take pictures. I wanted to take pictures because I love to capture beautiful moments.
I always believe if you make your hobby into a money making tool by choice, you will lose the passion. But if your hobby turns into a money making tool by itself, then you are forever lucky to be in a field that you love and never lose your passion.
Post # 15
- Wedding: November 2013 - St. Augustine Beach, FL
@sheepandbear: Set up a website and a blog and put up a craigslist ad with competitive rates (or even free at first) so you can expand your portfolio. Then as you get more experience under your belt and your portfolio expands, you can increase your fees. Pay mind though, at some point you will need a business license and you must claim your income and pay taxes on it. The taxes part can be difficult so I highly recommend saving at least 20-30% of your fees in an interest bearing account so that you can pay your taxes at the end of the year; you might also want to look into paying your taxes quarterly.
Post # 16
@PassionatePhotoLady: wonderful advice! I dont need this as a source of income and wasnt actually thinking of charging money for a few years since I’m so critical. I think I more want to have fun with it and have chance to actually take more photos of people. If I end up loving it, I would like to see myself charging in the future…but again, I dont know if I would be cut out for it.
And for that wedding, nope, the photographer didnt get there until family portraits before the ceremony. Should I take that as a small compliment then? haha :-p I wish I had more of the wedding to upload but Im not on my home computer.