Things seems to all be falling into place. You have your gear all set, a fancy new logo, a great new set of business cards and your portfolio is starting to shape up nicely.
But you still have a lot of questions – ranging from technical to business. So you decide to seek out the advice from a seasoned professional photographer and hope they will help you with all of your unanswered questions about starting just starting out.
But who is there to help you decipher whether the advice you are receiving from said pro is good or not-so-good?
Here are some great tips to help you filter out the good advice versus the bad when it comes to improving your photography skills and business.
#1 – Consider the source
You have done a lot of research when it comes to photography and even running a business, so take the time to learn a little more about who it is you are talking to for advice. There is nothing wrong with looking at people’s credentials when seeking advice about something so important to you. Look at their resume and portfolio. Ask them how long they have been working in the field of photography, why they got started, why the love it and so on. Seek those out you admire for specific reasons – their technical abilities, website, blog presence, and so on.
#2 – Don’t be scared to ask questions
The worst thing someone might say to you is NO. It never hurts to ask the questions you have in mind. Connecting with others is a great way to become a better photographer and business person. Check to see which photographers you admire offer one-on-one mentoring sessions, workshops or e-learning courses.
#3 – Ask the right questions
You have the undivided attention of an experienced photographer – make sure you prepare some questions before you speak with them. Be specific, not vague. If you are having technical issues show them some of your most recent work and ask how to improve. If you have some business questions, have paperwork and numbers handy (if you are comfortable sharing). The more specific you can be with your questions, the better they can help you with your problems.
#4 – Listen and take advice with a grain of salt
There is no one said all, do-all, be-all, fix for any problem or issue. Just like life, different things work for different people. Certain photographers have different ideas about how to do different things – especially when it comes to business. Listen to the advice and do what is best for YOU. Some photographers sell the rights to their digital images, others don’t. Some photographers do in person sales, others do business online. While some practices might be successful for them, they may not be for you. Consider all the factors before making big decisions and do what is best for you and your business.
#5 – Be prepared for constructive criticism
What is the saying, “If you put yourself out there, be prepared”? While it would be wonderful to think that everything is rainbows and apple pies, you can’t grow from sugar coating things, especially if you want to grow. If you are willing to put yourself out there and ask for advice – you will be able to grow and learn from it. Participate in photography challenges, join a local photography group – put yourself out there. Yes, it might be uncomfortable. You might not like what you hear, but it is much better knowing the honest truth from trusted sources.
#6 – Stay true to who you are
Advice is a pretty powerful thing and can be help solve many unanswered questions – but don’t cast aside who you are as a photographer and artist. Remain true to your core principles, what you believe in creatively and always follow your gut.
Best of luck in all of your photography endeavours.