What advice would I give photographers just starting out? LEARN YOUR CRAFT! There is no magical pill in photography or heck, in life, besides hard work. Sure you can pick up a camera and make decent images today as the cameras are so powerful. However, the camera still does not make the image, you do.
Learn your craft, learn lighting, learn posing, do not allow the blinders of ego driven self-pity hinder your craft. Learn from the older photographers. You may not always agree with their approach, BUT they understand the harder part of photography, how to run a successful business.
Youth have a wonderful sense of freedom in this art so share that with the older generation and receive their knowledge in return. When working together, the art of being a professional grows and carries on for the next generation.
Finally (as mentioned a little above) don’t take only photography classes, take business classes. ANYONE can be a photographer, it is not hard to do. Join PPA, to many young photographers the PPA is like life insurance to an 18 year old. They see no gain in joining, only the cost of the membership. It is not until that 18 year old gets older and has friends start dying around him/her they realize the value of life Insurance. Same as young photographers, until they get clients who sue them, do they see the value of the PPA. Don’t mess up and then search for help from PPA. Join early – make lasting relationships which assist you in the learning process your entire life. The most successful photographers I know are often average shooters, but amazing business people. There is a big difference between being in the Business of Photography and the Photography business. Only the first one will allow you to be successful in the long run.
Mike Fulton is a key member of the team at TriCoast Photography and they need to be on your radar. Look for their workshops and programs. Follow them on Facebook too. If you see them teaching at a convention you're about to attend make it a point to grab a front row seat!
Images copyright TriCoast Photography. All rights reserved.
"What advice would I give new photographers? It's a really easy one liner: If you would like to have a long lasting, fulfilling career as a creative professional, my advice is simple..........Sell ART not Pictures!"
Looking for more of Jim's work? Check out his website and galleries in commercial, wedding, family and senior photography. There's a reason why he's won so many awards over the years in competition!
Images copyright Jim Garner. All rights reserved.
Zach and Jody Gray
What advice would we have for new photographers? Well, it starts with one of our favorite quotes...
Jack Trout, writer of the 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing, says that "Perception is not reality, it is the ONLY reality." Meaning, that once we have the skills to do the job, we need to act like any other successful business acts and come out charging! Be a force to be reckoned with, don't be afraid to compete right at the top and never let ANYONE tell you that you can't!
Whether you're just starting out or you've been in business for years, Zach and Jody bring a fresh perspective on the way you'll learn to think through so many different issues about your business. What I enjoy the most is how diversified they are. They're an amazing team with the ability to help you expand your skill set in both business and technology. Take a trip to their website so you can stay on top of what they're doing next. And, check out their blog. It's always loaded with great content!
Images copyright Zack and Jody Gray. All rights reserved.
"What advice would I give new photographers and videographers? We live in a world that is getting increasingly cluttered with confusing messages. We must communicate… motivate… create."
Every now and then an artist comers along with a bio that's simply fun to share. And, since Rich has been involved in so many different SCU projects, and is also responsible for all the great support the industry receives from Photofocus.com it seems appropriate to tell you a little more about him.
When Rich was seven, he was grounded for using magnets to rearrange the picture tube on the family’s 13-inch color TV (it works but don’t try it). He has since gone on to many more interesting adventures.
After a decade of working in the graphic design and video industry, he set off to found his own group, RHED Pixel. His goal was to harness the new generation of digital video tools to bring high-quality media production to a broad audience. In 1999, Richard Harrington Video opened its doors, offering video production, multimedia, and consulting services to a wide range of clients. The company was rebranded RHED Pixel (after Richard Harrington Electronic Design and Pixels, the digital building blocks) a short time later.
He has written and co-authored over 40 books. On the top of the list of favorite things to do, besides traveling and lecturing...teaching his kids the joys of science fiction and comic books. If it involves pop culture, you can bet Rich is plugged in. Gadgets and gizmos? He's your guy.
He's a phenomenal teacher, writer, presenter and artist. He's also a great guy to grab dinner with, but definitely order extra fries!
Eagles Day 1 from RHED Pixel on Vimeo.
What advice would I give a new photographer? Well, I'd like to pass along the best advice I ever received when I was just starting out. The source was John Loengard, a brilliant photographer and author, who was the picture editor for Life Magazine. I had just shown him my nascent portfolio, and he'd said some nice things. But I was confused. Should I shoot pictures like the ones I saw in magazines and ads, or should I shoot some ideas I had in my head, or what? I just wanted to be a success; I wanted my pictures to be in the magazines and ads.
He said, "Well, if you shoot pictures like the ones you see, you'll probably do just fine. You'll get work, and get busy, and have a good career, and in ten years I won't know which work is yours." He paused, and raised his exceptionally bushy eyebrows. "But if you shoot what you can't help but shoot, well, those will be your best pictures, because they come naturally to you. And people will respond to them because they're your best pictures, and hire you to shoot more of them. And since you can't help but shoot 'em anyway, they'll come real easily and you won't have to second-guess your clients, and you'll produce more of your best work, and so on. This process will repeat itself, and in ten years, you'll see in hindsight that you will have developed a style. And I'll be able to identify which pictures are yours."
You can't aim for a style; you can only see it in hindsight. If you try to develop it, then it's probably a technique, not a style. A technique is something someone else could do and come up with a reasonably similar result. But a style is like your fingerprints, like your DNA. It's uniquely yours. It's probably already there. You just have to shoot a lot of pictures to give it a chance to show up.
So that's my advice. That, and this: Be nice to people. People you shoot, people you work with, your clients, your assistants, everyone. And work hard. And never blow off an assignment. Every assignment is an opportunity to make the picture of your life. You just never know. So show up every time with your full game.
In May of 2009, after years of knowing each other, but never getting any quality time together, I had the honor to work with Gregory for three solid weeks doing live portfolio reviews of the graduating class of Hallmark Institute. It was an amazing experience and the start of a friendship I cherish.
Gregory is a phenomenal artist, teacher and author. His book, "50 Portraits" is stunning and reflects his unmatched passion for capturing the human spirit.
If he's on the platform of any workshop or convention you're headed to, run don't walk to grab a seat. You'll never be disappointed!
If you want to see more of his work, check out his website or better yet, just buy his book! It's the perfect addition to every photographer's library and is in stock at Amazon right now. Just click on the book cover on the left to see more of his images!
Images copyright Gregory Heisler. All rights reserved.
What advice would I give photographers just starting out? First, find photographers whose work you admire & work for them. Avoid working with people whose work you don't see yourself doing eventually. Second, do as little "rent" photography as possible. Strive to concentrate only on the type of work that you want to do. Third, while it is tempting to find sustainable work anywhere you can in other fields, do whatever you can to work directly with photography.
Interested in checking out more of Lou's work, keep tabs on his website and his blog. He's always got something new going on and you'll find three great videos of Lou in action in the Video Library here at SCU, including one from his 1980's appearance on the old World of Photography TV series.
Images copyright Lou Jones. All rights reserved.
What advice would a I give a new photographer coming into the industry?
Becoming a really great professional takes real dedication and an ever deepening love of the craft. Education and direction from qualified and accomplished instructors is one of the very best ways to help you reach your goals in photography. You’ll need to practice, practice, practice and yet remain “teachable”, willing to accept constructive criticism no matter how good you think you already are. You’ll advance much more quickly if you remain open minded, and your eyes may just be opened too!
Photography can be so exciting and it’s easy to be influenced by the comments of your Facebook fans who love your work. My advice is to enjoy the journey, but remember that advancing the art, the science and the business of professional photography never really ends. So, don’t just be waiting for the next great shot. Expand your skills and sharpen those photographic chops and go make that next great image.
Tim Kelly definitely needs to be in your network and his advice couldn't me more on target. You'll find more of his stunning work on his website at http://www.timkellyportraits.com.
Images copyright Tim Kelly. All rights reserved.
What advice would I give photographers just starting out?
Understand the boundaries and limitations of human vision. It’s no small task, but it’ll have an impact on more than just your photography.
Human visual perception creates a completely different view of the world compared to a camera. Have you ever taken a picture and later explained to people “the picture doesn’t do it justice, you just had to be there”? Understanding this difference and bridging the gap can be a recipe for success.
When exploring a landscape with your eyes, you only look at one thing at a time. You might look at a thousand things in the scene, but you’ll never see it all. Your mind pieces together a memory of the scene and fills in the gaps; Twigs, clutter, and uninteresting elements are quickly forgotten. A photograph captures the scene completely differently, revealing every flaw and distraction that you hadn’t noticed. This is true for nearly all genres of photography. Training your eye to see beyond the obvious is essential.
It can also be valuable to step beyond the limits of what we can see to create curious and thought-provoking work. Extremely wide angles, long exposures and macro photography all offer views of the world that we cannot see with our own eyes. There is a certain sense of wonder and fascination in the world that a camera can capture but which you cannot see.
I couldn't be more proud of the diversity of the SCU faculty. Each member of the team has a different level and area of expertise, but there's a common denominator, their passion for the craft! You can check out more of Don's images on his site, follow him on Twitter and check out what's going on over at Google+. Interested in Don's new book? Check out his guest post on the SCU site.
Images copyright Don Komarechka. All rights reserved.
“You need to learn the Technology so well that it becomes an asset that allows you to focus on the creativity and ideas behind the content.”
I've been hanging out with Julieanne for a lot of years, or maybe I should say I've been trying to hang out with her as much as possible for a lot of years. She's without question one of the busiest people in imaging. She's an artist, an incredible educator, a writer and over the years has become a great friend.
On more that one occasion I've tried to get her involved in a project and she's just had no time on her schedule. As a result she's credited with one of my favorite one-liners, "I'd like to, but I'm just out of bandwidth!"
You'll typically find Julieanne at most of the major conventions. Her personal site is incredible and will leave you feeling like you just walked out of your favorite gallery! Also check out her educational site for the latest in her teaching schedule.
Images copyright Julieanne Kost. All rights reserved.
"My advice for new photographers: Project yourself.
Over my 20+ years as a pro photographer, I've seen my business and enthusiasm for photography grow in direct proportion to the amount of time I spend incorporating personal projects in to my life-stream. New photographers often ask how they can attract quality clients when they don't yet have a strong portfolio. The answer is to go create one! You don't need to wait for paying clients to create portfolio pieces. In fact, it is often better to create your own shoots that perfectly capture the style and technique you want to be hired for. Then, when you show these in your portfolio, you draw the appropriate clients to you.
Conversely, when we start out and shoot only for paying clients, the tendency is to play it safe and give them whatthey want instead of what your true vision is. It's natural to do this at first because you are just getting started and certainly want to have happy clients. The problem, however, is that you can tend to become undefined, or too broad in your appeal. The goal is to develop a strong and identifiable style and have clients who love that style come running to you. The only way to do this is to clearly show images that represent that style in your portfolio – which often means shooting personal projects until you have a strong enough body of work to draw them in.
In the long run, personal projects also keep you fresh, inspired, and excited about what you are doing – which is undeniably important to your business success and longevity.
Finally, personal charitable projects with your photography are essential to any business. We need to share our gifts with the world and finding an organization you can contribute to, or starting your own charitable project, is the perfect outlet. There are many fantastic established projects you can contribute to, like Help Portrait, and Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep. Get involved and make a difference, it could turn out to be the most important thing you do in your entire life."
Looking to see more of Kevin's work and check on his workshops and where he's speaking? Check out his website!
Images copyright Kevin Kubota. All rights reserved.
"My advice to photographers just starting out? Put a strong business infrastructure into your business immediately - seriously, as soon as possible. It will save you much in the way of hassle, time, money, and client goodwill.
Recognize that although it's great to outsource tasks, don't necessarily trust blindly when it comes to your finances. Not everyone has the same idea of fair play that you may possess.
And, lastly (as far as a short list goes), get everything in writing. Sometimes it has nothing to do with someone breaking their word; it can have more to do with two different interpretations of the same agreement. If you get everything in writing upfront, there will be more upfront clarity about what business you are doing together. And clarity is a wonderful thing."
She's an artist, a photographer, an educator, a motivator, commentator...you name it she's done it or she's about to. Tamara Lackey's diversity seems to know no boundaries. She's one of the few photographers in our industry with a solid background in business long before she started her studio, but my favorite topic is when she helps photographers establish their priorities. While I know she hates the word "balance", it's still the most easily understood and establishing your priorities between your family, clients, business and life goals is no easy task.
You'll find everything Tamara is currently working on with a visit to her site. And, you'll never be disappointed!
Images copyright Tamara Lackey. All rights reserved.
...and my advice for photographers just starting out.
There are several important elements to getting your business going and all are necessary.
#1 Learn good business practices. You could be the greatest photographer ever, but if you don’t know how to market, sell, research, price, and be organized, you will be eating macaroni and cheese instead of lobster! SCORE is a great and free resource, as is the SBA and they will help you with business plans, marketing and organization.
#2 Keep your photography skills current both technically and creatively. Study with the best, with people who are still shooting and are aware of today’s market. Get feedback and critiques on your work from those that know, not just your mom and friends!
#3 The best way to learn is to shoot, shoot, and shoot some more! I give my students the challenge of making 10,000 images in a month, which seems daunting but it’s an incredible learning and growing experience on many levels.
All of the above points to being a part of an organization, like SCU, where you can meet your peers, learn from the masters and get inspired!
Keep track of Bobbi's latest adventures, workshops and images with a trip to her website. It's only a click away.
Images copyright Bobbi Lane. All rights reserved.
Justin and Mary Marantz
We once heard it said, “If you have a strong enough Why, you can endure any How.” So our advice to new photographers is always to start with Why.
Ask yourself these questions: Why do you want to be a photographer in the first place? Why do you want to be a wedding photographer (or portrait photographer or senior photographer) in particular? Why is it that you want to do this thing that we are all lucky enough to do? What drives you?
A few years ago we had cause to pause and take a hard look at our own Why, to ask ourselves the hard questions, and to say with certainty for the very first time why it is we do what we do. We started asking the really hard questions, and then we did something even harder: we sat down and wrote out the answers. This is what we came up with:
"We recognize that what we do is about preserving life, preserving love, and preserving history. It is to provide the very proof that this love existed in the first place. Therefore, in reverence for the gravity of that which we do, we choose to exercise the restraint to only tell those stories through the veil of authenticity and to capture the meaningful images that will record that history for the generations yet to come."
To put it another way: there are a lot of things that we as photographers can do, but that doesn't mean we should do them. And the good news here, is that our Why doesn’t have to be the same as your Why. In fact, they can be very different and lead to very different images from ours. As long as you know what your Why is in the first place and you start shooting in a way that draws you closer to that purpose, then we will consider this a win. So starting today, begin writing out what you believe your Why to be. Sit down and ask yourself the really hard questions. And then take the time to write out the even harder answers. Trust us, you will be a better photographer because of it.
The very best "about" video we've seen to date in the wedding industry is all thanks to Justin and Mary Marantz. They're excellent teachers, writers and photographers, but at the top of the list is their passion for the craft and their clients. Looking to follow Justin and Mary? Just wander over to their facebook page.
Images copyright Justin and Mary Marantz. All rights reserved.
Charles and Jennifer Maring
"Our advice to new photographers is try and focus on what you are passionate about in photography rather than what draws income. Time after time we have proven to ourselves that personal work evolves into paid assignments in the long run. Resume building is extremely important, so get out there and put your camera to use on personal growth even though you aren't getting paid.
Also, never become satisfied with your past success and consider further effort unnecessary. Now that photography and technology are married, the pace of change has ramped up dramatically. Find comfort in the fact that the industry is ever changing and evolve with it… In fact lead it whenever possible. If you are doing just what is easy and comfortable, then chances are you aren't growing as an artist or business person. Make sure to spend time on ideas that push you to learn and evolve."
There's a whole series of short great lighting tips in the Video Training center of the SCU site thanks to Profoto and Charles and Jennifer. As one of the NYC areas most dynamic and diverse couples you should be following their site and where they're speaking.
images copyright Charles Maring. All rights reserved.
My best advice to young photographers is to shoot what you love. It sounds tried and true, I know, and certainly this is not new or earth shattering advice. But it remains, for me, an absolute mandate. You have to find an emotional, imaginative release in the midst of the pressure and hectic nature attending the running of a photographic business.
You have to make decisions, at least sometimes, based on survival, strategies for branding, and the advancement of your photographic enterprise. This may involve shooting jobs that are worthwhile on many levels, but don't necessarily speak to your soul as a shooter. Too much of this can slow the creative heartbeat of any photographer.
So, in the midst of all the business of making a photo career work, you have to carve out time for your own photographic endeavors, and find that which you feel to be so beautiful that you can't help but shoot it. These types of assignments, be they from a magazine, another type of client, or a self assignment, will keep you alive photographically, and remind you, always, of why you wanted to do this in the first place.
Regardless of your photographic expertise you need to follow Joe and pay attention to his images, posts, workshops and the inspiration he provides to an industry so often caught in the perfect storm between technology and the challenges of the economy. Check out his website.Follow him on Twitter.
And, definitely follow his blog. In fact the introduction of "Meet Joe" says it all:
"The thoughts, notions, and ideas here come from thirty years in the field as a shooter. Twenty plus on the road for National Geographic. LIFE staffer. Sports Illustrated contractor. 54 countries. 50 states. Read on, and welcome to my blog."
Images copyright Joe McNally. All rights reserved.
What advice would I give photographers just starting out?
Passion can make or break a beginning photographer. We all think of passion as this driving force that will elevate us to success. And in many ways, it can. However, blind passion in your creativity is not enough to place you ahead of your competition.
Education for photographers is the strongest investment we can make in our careers. Many photographers start with the initial desire to profit from their photography. But it’s true passion through education that keeps you committed to stay afloat and stay above the rising waters.
Our industry is constantly evolving, and if we are not flexible with that evolution, we will break. This means learning new techniques for shooting and lighting, developing communication skills for clients, adapting to an ever-changing market, branding your studio in unique ways, amplifying your marketing voice, pricing your products and services for a thriving business, and more...
This is true passion - admitting to yourself that there are always more ways to learn, more ways to develop, and more ways to grow.
Based out of Austin, Texas visit Dustin's site to see more of his work. Follow him on Twitter too. He's got a lot of great information he shares on a regular basis.
Images copyright Dustin Meyer. All right reserved.
"What advice would I give new photographers just starting out? Photographers always ask me what I would do differently if I could start over. Here are the top 5 things I wish I hadn't done:
# 1. FAIL TO PLAN It's said that when you fail to plan, you plan to fail! So true. Make a plan and stick to it.
#2. BE TOO EAGER FOR A STUDIO SPACE So many photographers go through this whole idea of "I'll finally be 'for real' when I get a retail location!" Instead, really look at the value of what you have to offer right now! Find your value and then learn to communicate it to your client.
#3. HIRE EMPLOYEES WITH NO JOB DESCRIPTIONS This was a biggie for me. When I opened up my first studio in 2000, I jumped in big. I bought a large building and I also went digital that year. It was a huge time of crash and burn for me. I was up all night working and was just dying for help!! So, I started hiring people, and basically the only thing that I said was, "Help!!". I've always heard "Hire the personality and train the task", and I totally believe in that! However, you have to KNOW what you NEED and have job descriptions put together before you can train someone.
#4. GIVE AWAY THE FARM We've all been guilty of this. Establish what you need your session average to be, based on what you need to profit for the month/year. Set your prices so that you will reach those goals. In the beginning, make your prices known and allow for a discounted period if you absolutely must while you "portfolio build", but don't give it away for nothing. Don't hand all of your images over on a cd. Don't de-value what you are giving them - which is memories and moments built not just in the images, but in the experience itself.
#5. THINK LIKE AN ARTIST INSTEAD OF A BUSINESS PERSON I know this sounds like blasphemy to many of you. I think it's great to be an artist, and even for that to be your first love. But when the time comes to run your business and run it profitably, you have to start thinking like a business person. This is SO hard - for 99% of photographers out there! (you're not alone) We love what we do so much that we just think it's all going to fall into place! But being a business person, and each and everyone of you are a business owner, you've got to start thinking like a business owner. Putting systems in place, planning and scheduling, managing workflow and knowing your numbers are going to change your business and your life dramatically.
When our faculty was asked for what advice they'd give new photographers, little did we know that Lori would take the time to put together a full seminar. Seriously, if you don't agree, go back and read her five points again. She's given every new photographer, and for that matter seasoned professionals, the five basics to building your business.
Hear more about what Lori would do if she was starting over, plus the top ten things that have made her studio one of the most profitable studios in the country! Keep tabs on what she's doing by following her studio page.
Images copyright Lori Nordstrom. All rights reserved.
What advice do I have for photographers just starting out? Photography is both an art and a science. You must study, practice and master the fundamentals of exposure, lighting, posing & composition to the point where they become second nature. Your equipment & skill sets need to become a mere extension of your vision. Only then will you be able to instinctively and consistently create art during those fleeting moments of great photographic opportunity that you are presented with.
After thirty years as a professional photographer, Michael has clearly defined a niche that sets his work apart from so many other artists. This is all about classic portraiture that bridges his passion for fine art and portrait/wedding photography. You need to follow Michael's work on his website and Facebook page.
Images copyright Michael ONeill. All rights reserved.
"In the world we live in today, where everyone owns a camera, it may be easy to succumb to the idea that there’s no value in our occupation. Don’t fall prey to this way of thinking.
Photographers are every bit as valuable as they’ve ever been; we as a community simply have to believe that and demand it, too. Simply because everyone has access to a camera doesn’t mean they know how to use it. I could rent a crane, but that doesn’t mean I can operate it. It’s our job not only to be consummate professionals, but also educators. We have to be able to articulate to clients why we’re a good investment, and we have to believe in what we’re selling—our creative talents, technical skills and professionalism."
I first heard about Stacy from my buddy Scott Bourne who heard her speak at the Maui Photo Festival. The next year, based on his suggestion, she was a keynote at Skip's Summer School in Las Vegas.
Yes, she's received some of the highest honors as a combat photojournalis, but what's even more impressive is the way Stacy walks the talk. She never stops giving back. She'll never be too busy to help another photographer or for that matter another human being in need. I couldn't be more proud to have Stacy involved with SCU.
She needs to be on your radar! She's got two books out and here's the link to her site. Make sure you check out what's going on in her own special project, the Charleston Center for Photography!
Images copyright Stacy Pearsall. All rights reserved.
What advice would I give a photographer just starting out today?
I think the most important thing you can do in business and in life is to constantly choose happiness. Life will give you breathtaking highs and then bring you back to your knees in humility. The only choice we sometimes have is how we react to the chaos of it all.
I have traveled the world and have seen children who do not have shoes, proper clothing or even food to eat and yet they radiate love and happiness because they make the choice to do so.
Happiness is not a state of mind. It is a conscious choice and one of the few things we can control. Happiness takes work and sacrifice so no matter where you are in your career take a moment, ponder your blessings and then share a smile with someone you love.
Chose happiness and it will serve you the rest of your life.
Sandy is definitely somebody who should be on your radar. As one of the industry's leading children and family photographers and educators, you can stay on top of what she's working on through her website, her tour schedule, Facebook and Twitter.
Images copyright Sandy Puc'. All rights reserved.
Check out "Why?" one of the most popular features on the SCU Blog. It's a very simple concept - one image, one artist and one short sound bite. Each artist shares what makes the image one of their most favorite. We're over 100 artists featured since the project started. Click on the link above and you can scroll through all of the episodes to date.