There is the traditional route: You buy a photo and shoot it. The main difference is the lighting. Most photographers, and many of the pros I know, use film in conjunction with flash because it’s a more consistent source. This often means a flash-only workflow; it’s the same light every single time.
There is a much less conventional route: You buy the equipment, get the job done, and then find a photographer to work with you. You have to get to know them, learn what sets his/her style, and then learn some of his/her own special talents and how to apply them to your own style and your own shot. This can sometimes be a lengthy process, from researching a client to actually finding a photographer.
Both of these options come with a steep learning curve. Even if you are lucky enough to have been employed by a photographer before you get into the real meat of the job.
I’m in my 40s, and have seen it all. But, what advice can you offer to young photographers looking to get their first jobs? How do you learn the trade if it doesn’t go as planned? What is your approach to getting better?
I think the best advice I have for young photographers is to start small and give yourself plenty of time to work your way up. I recommend an initial month photographing every single client you’ve met and to follow their social media accounts for any updates. From a business perspective, this will help you build a reputation as someone who knows how to do the job. It also might help you get noticed by your next client that is interested in the same industry. Start small and build from there, even if it takes a while – you’ll have more confidence with each and every client you work with and this also builds your confidence throughout your career.
One of my favorite tips I’ve been given is to shoot at different times throughout the day, and be flexible with what you shoot. You can have fun with your work, but be consistent. Don’t overthink it or rush into anything. Take photos on the weekends, work on your lighting, and focus on composition at night.
What I hope everyone reading this gets from this article is that photographers are professionals; they just happen to live that is in different industries. The journey is one filled with ups and downs, but there’s something about working with people with the same goal in mind that leads to so much better results. The world revolves around our photos