New Dog, Old Tricks

I've been a photographer at heart since 1997. I was 9, cameras had film and people still used pagers. But as I've only honed in on wedding photography the past 9 years, in the grand scheme of things I'm still a "New Dog" to the industry and the competition against people who have been doing it for decades is tough.

In this blog I'm going to go through 5 old tricks of the photography trade to keep you ahead of the game:

  • No dog is too old to learn new tricks

  • Confidence really is the key

  • Good artists borrow, great artists steal

  • It's not what you know

  • Always mix business with pleasure

1. No dog is too old to learn new tricks

In a world where you can pay for your shopping with your mobile phone it's hard not to notice that times aren't only changing but changing fast and it's not always easy to keep up to date.

  • Forums. There is a plethora of online forums and blogs you can find which will give you helpful hints and tips on pretty much anything to do with photography (not unlike the one you're reading now)

  • Books. Call me old fashioned but I still love reading books and there are all sorts of great reads you can get. I recently bought The busy girls guide to photography & A beautiful mess photo idea book which are full of great hints and tips!

  • Invest in a class. For me personally this is the best way to learn, with someone physically there to bother with loads of questions. I recently did a course through Jessops which was great, It was held in Torquay (they also hold classes in Exeter). We were a small group of 8 all of different ages and skill sets and you could really tell the instructor David Brine was passionate about what he did.

2. Confidence really is the key

And I don't mean just in yourself. When it comes to your outward confidence it's easy to"fake it 'til you make it" but when you're not confident in your work that's where things can start to take a downward turn.

Gemma Varney runs a great one to one workshop in Exeter for people starting up their own photography businesses. Gemma gave me the confidence boost I needed to get the ball rolling.

There is so much competition out there it's easy to get disheartened but if you're not confident in your work, don't let it get you down. Use the suggestions in the first tip to really hone your skills, enter contests and post on websites that let people comment on your images. You'll soon see all the great feedback come in which will help you realise that you really are a great photographer.

3. Good artists borrow, great artists steal

What I mean here is that like Picasso who said this (and who may have started out copying someone else, but in the end they completely stole it) there's nothing wrong with looking at others for inspiration.

Wedding photography is a fashion that people pay for. It has ever changing styles and you will find that colour pops go out as quickly as subdued blacks come in.

People wont buy you if you're sporting last summers Lightroom presets so get on Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook and look at what people are doing and not doing. Steal ideas with the sole purpose of using them to create new ones which people will be dying to steal next Summer.

4. It's not what you know.

My first wedding came about when someone I knew from work came up to me and said "you like photography don't you?" and BOOM that's how I started.

Paying for marketing can be great and get you a long way but it can get expensive whereas word of mouth is free and will hold more weight than your business card or leaflet

  • Tell anyone and everyone you're a photographer, they can't recommend you as a photographer if they don't know you are one

  • Join a photography club. Photographers who do landscapes may not like to do portraits and visa versa. For example someone asked a fellow photographer if he would do their wedding but as he only shoots editorial, he put my name forward instead.

  • Agree to the odd free shoot for someone who you know will spread the word on how great you are to work with

  • Create a Facebook page and post post post let everyone know what you're doing and who you are. you could even run like and share competitions

5. Always mix business with pleasure

I wanted to try and avoid the cliche of "but most of all make sure you have fun" but it wouldn't be a blog written by me if it didn't have at least something a little cheesy.

Turning your self into a business is hard and I don't want to lie to you it will be pretty stressful with a high risk of people losing the passion. So remember that you got into photography because in one way or another; be it telling a story, or capturing a once in a lifetime moment, you want to express yourself. Let that passion, that love for what you do be what drives you and never forget to always mix business with pleasure.

#businesstips #toptips


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Devon, England

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