i've had a few things come across in blog comments that i wanted to touch on and then continue a bit on the basics and skill assessment. first, anyone who knows me, knows that i whole heartedly believe that everyone should follow their passion, whatever it might be. if photography and starting a photography business is your passion, go for it...but the business portion does not have to come in three months, six months or even 12 months. and personally, i don't think any aspiring photographer should start the business any sooner than one year. again, this is my personal opinion and i know others opinions will vary (that's okay), but i think that at least one year of shooting, editing, learning, growing, gaining confidence, etc. is essential in providing a good, solid foundation--to then move on to learning how to start and manage a small business.
i also don't want anyone to think that mistakes won't be made. even with mentoring, guidance, etc., you will come to bumps in the road and make mistakes. that's what learning is all about. they'll be times where you'll fall down and that's okay...just get back up and start again. so while mistakes will be made, i think it's best to make most of these mistakes pre-business and there's certain mistakes that can be avoided.
and just know...photography is a roller coaster. oh yes it is! you're an artist. our photographs are our personal work. what we create with our camera is a part of us. some days we think we're damn good. some days we're *really* damn good. and other days, we're doubting ourselves completely. we all go through it. just keep plugging along because what goes up, will also come back down. hang in there through those days of self doubt.
so, for this post, i'm going to backtrack a bit. let's talk about some...
BASICS lighting. understanding lighting is huge, huge, huge! throughout your photography journey, play with lighting as much as possible. there's window light, outdoor light, hard light, soft light, direct light, reflected light, side lighting, front lighting, back lighting. there's quantity of light. there's quality of light. and that's only the beginning. i'm predominantly a natural light photographer but one of the most rockin' workshops i went to was the one light workshop, where we played with the power of artificial light. always keep your mind open, to see, learn and grow. there is so much power in light alone.
i can't stress enough how important it is to learn aperture, SS and ISO...and how they work together. you must fully grasp this step. this book was one of my favorites when i was just starting out. it is a basic book and an easy read, so it was good for me in the beginning. i would read something and then go practice it. i would read...and re-read...and re-read.
once you have a good grasp on how aperture, SS, and ISO work together and you can consistently get good exposures in the varying lighting conditions, begin... shooting from different angles. shooting using different apertures. try varying distances from your subject. work on getting good exposures in camera. and when you don't, try and figure out why. do you know how to meter? are you consistently getting in focus what you intended to get in focus? do you know how to change your focal points? do you know what makes a well-composed photograph? posing versus not posing--what works best for you? maybe a little of both. really look at and work on recognizing and developing your style. use this pre-business time to experiment and work on your creativity. know that sometimes it's okay to break the rules but do so purposefully. begin to build your portfolio.
in speaking of portfolio building... remember that throughout your journey (and not just PBing), your style will continue to evolve; your portfolio will be very fluid--adding and deleting on a regular basis. try to always stay true to yourself and show photos that are you--that represent your style. don't show images because it was your best friend's favorite or your client's favorite or because you think it's a correct image to show. show images that truly show who YOU are as a photographer. through your portfolio, you want to give your client a complete and honest representation of your style, what you have to offer and what makes you unique.
also, i have a high-res portfolio folder b/c you never know what size you'll need for web use and having them in one location makes them easy to find. since started my business, i've gone through two websites. my second site used different size file sizes than my first, so i had to go back and find each of my portfolio images, which was a tad painful b/c i had to do a lot of searching.
remember that all of this takes time and tons of practice. it doesn't happen overnight. there's so much to learn, remember and think about...and we haven't even begun to incorporate managing the small business.
and again, i'm not saying my way is 100% the right way; it is simply the way that i have come to do things over the years. these are just my thoughts and practices and you can take whatever part(s) of this you choose. my goal is simply to help others and that is all.
i'm off to yuma today to shoot this family and another, along with their pigs, chickens, bunnies, cows, horses, etc. i wish i could bring her with me, to guide me with the animal stuff. should be a very interesting and super fun weekend.