So you’ve been toying around with the idea of going pro…but you just can’t quite leave the starting gates.
Look, it’s scary and there are so many things that can go wrong. I hear ya – trust me. I’ve been there.
The thing is, you can keep shooting for free until the cows come home because when are you really ever ready? There will always be a reason to NOT be ready – “I still need to learn more”, “but what if they don’t like the photos?”, “but my photography skills aren’t good enough yet”, “I don’t know how to deal with clients”, “would someone even pay me that much?”, “am I worth that much?!” – the internal dialogue is endless.
Let me rip the Bandaid off for you.
At some point, you’ve got to take that leap. Just start by saying, “yes”.
When you book that first shoot…
One of the milestones of a career in photography is your very first shoot. When you book that first shoot, you will 100% be riddled with nerves, fear and doubt – at least I sure was!
But once you’ve booked that first job, be prepared to surprise yourself because you will step up in ways that you didn’t even know you were capable of. Because you have no choice; you’ve been paid to deliver! There is most definitely an element of faking it until you make it on your first shoot – be like a duck; cool, calm and collected on the surface but paddle like mad underneath.
Remember, it is your job to make your client feel safe and in good hands so you need to be assertive and clear with your directions. Don’t be afraid to take charge to make sure you get images you are happy with.
Underpromise + overdeliver
Right off the bat, you can set yourself up to win by underpromising and overdelivering. For example, you’ve promised a turnaround time to your client of 3 weeks but you deliver the images after only 2 weeks. Always try to surprise and delight your clients!
On the day, shoot like crazy
When you are starting out, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with overshooting. Get click, click, clickin’!
The beautiful thing with the digital age is that you can just delete unwanted images. We’re not working with precious and expensive film here; so click away.
As you gain more experience, you will learn what’s worth capturing and what’s not (which will make your workflow so much easier with less culling involved!)
Don’t fall into the comparisonitis trap
When you first start out, your style and approach is evolving.
Part of the process of finding your place involves exploring the work of other photographers.
But please remember to let their work inspire and challenge you, rather than intimidate you.
Adopt an ‘abundance’ mentality over a ‘scarcity’ mindset and believe that there is enough to go around and there is a place for everyone.
- Check beforehand how long it will take you to get to the location and where you can park
- Have you got a weather contingency plan?
- Check what time sunrise and sunset is if you’re shooting outdoors
- Make sure you are wearing appropriate attire and shoes for the location
- Have you confirmed with your client the date, time and location?
- Have you confirmed with your client what they need to bring, e.g. changes in outfits?
- If you have a Pinterest mood board for the shoot, print it out
- Prepare a shot list if you have poses/products etc that you must deliver
- Make sure all your batteries fully charged (and yes, batteries, PLURAL! You need more than one on a shoot – you need backups!)
- Format all your memory cards and have spares on hand
You will never feel 100% ready but so the saying goes, “the best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago, the second best time is now”. So back yourself and take the leap!