"What advice would I give new photographers? Ok, How much time do you have? Hang on to your hats kids 'cause it's a long list.
First and foremost I'd say the most important lesson I've had to learn is to think of myself first "a person who sells art" and second as an "artist", rather than the other way around. Think about it, absent the selling part there won't be much full time art-making. That mental shift took some hard work and recalibrating, but it's paid off big time and I recommend it. Attack the things that intimidate you the most and that you want to do the least - business fundamentals, sales strategies, marketing plans, pricing, etc. These unsexy, non-art minded, left brain things are critical for your long term success and pay huge dividends. The trick is to shoot like an artist but think like a business person.
Think hard about where your time is best spent and what your strengths are. Just because you're a crack Lightroom editor doesn't mean that's the best use of your skills or time. Are you a business owner or a production person? You see where I'm going with this? Outsourcing the lion's share of my post processing has played an important roll in transforming my business for the better. I'd recommend looking at Outsourcing as early as possible, I wish I had. It takes a leap of faith, but once you're there there's no turning back.
The next thing to tackle is technique and the good news is it's a life long pursuit! Differentiating yourself through a solid and continually improving skill set is essential. For me that means location and studio lighting, posing, incorporating video, learning new software, reading, viewing instructional videos, etc. etc. etc. The list never ends but that life long learning process is the fun part!
Master the technical aspects of your gear. Learn how to get it right in the camera first. This will save you a ton of time in post. Then spend time learning to create amazing finished prints using the myriad of digital darkroom tools at your disposal. Work hard to develop your own visual voice and signature. Nail down a streamlined and consistent workflow, so consistent you can hand it off if necessary. Surround yourself with inspiring people, people more talented than you are, people who leave you wishing you created something as cool as they did. I feel this way all the time! With all that said don't ever be afraid to fail, be afraid of not trying hard enough.
Are you feeling overwhelmed yet? Don't sweat it, we're all on the same journey. Everyone involved with SCU shares the same passionate commitment to helping others achieve their goals through quality education and working together. I can't wait to see you all this summer. Keep up the great work!"
Take the time to look at more of Michael's work on his site. You won't be disappointed. He's got a great book out on Canon Speedlites worth checking out and at least two more that I know of in the pipeline he's working on.
Images copyright Michael Corsentino. All rights reserved.