Advice for New Photographers

Congrats on starting your photography journey! You just conquered the hardest part: starting! So I just want to start off by congratulating YOU for going for it! My professional photography career began Fall of 2016 when I was gifted my first camera by my husband's step-dad. I was ecstatic since I had been really wanting a camera but didn't have the funds for it. It was such a blessing! It's been a joy to meet and connect with awesome photographers all over so I wanted to share with you some tips if you just said YES to pursing photography! Let's get into it! :) 

What are you passionate about? What do you want your work to portray? What stories do you want to tell through your photography? There are soooo many different avenues you can explore with photography: weddings, portraits, pets, landscape, travel, families, newborns, seniors, bloggers, maternity, couples..the list goes on! Maybe you don’t know right off the bat what you’re interested in and that’s completely okay! One of my favorite things about photography is exploring those different avenues. For me, I know that I don’t want to get into weddings- I focus on portraits & lean more towards lifestyle family sessions. Eventually I want to go more into documentary photography and travel photography- that’s the #DREAM. Make a list of the things that excite you. What interests you about ___________ photography. Fill in the blank!

Golden hour is when the sun is the warmest. This is usually during 6-7am and 6-7pm. This gives your clients/subject a “glow.” I don’t always shoot during golden hour, but strongly recommend Golden Hour for new photographers. Your photos will be warmer and more crisp and your subject won’t have to worry about being blinded by the sun or having squinty eyes hehe.

Ya heard. I think it’s easy for new photographers (myself included) to just think “well I’m not good yet and I need the practice so I don’t want to charge people.” Wrong! First, don’t undervalue your work! Just because you’re starting out doesn’t mean you’re “not worth it.” When people pay you, they are paying for your TIME and the experience. It takes time to take photos, cull through photos, edit the photos and send them to your client. Your time is valuable, therefore your WORK is valuable. A good way to think of it is calculating how much time you think it will take you to take the photos (about 1-2 hours), X how long it will take you to delete the bad photos and (1 hour) how long it will take you to edit the photos (about 2 hours) by how much YOU want to make an hour. So let’s say the whole process takes you about five hours…and you charge $12 an hour…that’s $60. Which isn’t too bad! Determine how VALUABLE your time is. Make bundles too with pricing. I try not to give any more than 50 photos a session. I can do another post about pricing if you’re interested.

To be honest, I wouldn’t describe myself as a “detail oriented person.” Last week our kitchen table came in, which was suuuuper exciting. But here’s the catch: we had to put it together ourselves. Yikes. Luckily it came with all the tools and [lengthy] instructions. I looked at the instructions, put the paper down, and tried to do it on my own. After putting on ONE chair leg, I said “Okay this is hard. I don’t want to do this anymore” and handed John the tools and got us dinner pahaha! Soooo details are NOT my thing. BUT when I shoot, I make sure to pay close attention to the details- is my model’s hair all cray cray, what’s going on in the background (i.e cars, people, & other distractions), making sure spaghetti straps aren’t twisted, your model doesn’t have lipstick on her teeth, your client isn’t doing something awkward with their hands haha all that good stuff.

When I was only a couple months into photography, I reached out to a TON of other photographers in the area to meet up! And still do! We chatted about all things photography related and got to know each other which was HUGE! It’s so encouraging to have people by your side and who are willing to help you out! I’m all about community over competition! Make a list of people you know who are photographers: Instagram followers, family members, friends, etc. Join photography community groups on Facebook- it’s so awesome to be apart of a community of other creatives who can give you advice and helpful information. Take advantage of YouTube! Yep, ya heard! When I first got my camera I had zero idea what settings to shoot in, so I went to YouTube and watched videos of what setting to shoot in. When I got LightRoom, I hopped on YouTube and watched videos how to edit. When I had my first couple shoot/family shoot, I hopped on YouTube for ideas on how to pose my clients. There is NO shame in using YouTube for help! Use your resources and don’t be afraid to ask questions! // Some of my favorite YouTubers: Jessica Whitaker, Peter McKinnon, Jessica Kobeissi, Kayla Esparza

Julia Mann