So you want to take your photography to the next step?
We're in a age where everyone has access to a camera of some sort; this can be on your phone, DSLR, point-and-shoot, or whatever else has a camera sensor in it. Anyone can be considered a "photographer" as long as you can press that shutter button and be content with the results. It's no surprise that many of these new photographers want to take it to the next step. That's how I felt when I started off on my Canon point & shoot camera. However, there are a 3 realities that I've experienced that I want to share to those of you wanting to turn their photography into more than just a hobby. These realities are not meant to be negatives things but just some words of "wisdom" I guess you could say. I'm still experiencing some of these myself so I'm not that far from these realities.
1. There's Nothing Wrong With Using Simple Gear
We all like looking at really expensive gear. A lot of people can get very carried away with looking at different camera options, especially when they see them being used at high profiled sporting events, fashion shoots, and etc. You become tempted to buy whatever just seems to be the "best". But why should you start off with something simple? Well, it forces you to learn how to maximize the capabilities of your equipment and master the basics. You'll also learn to develop a balance between relying on your equipment and creativity. Don't be that guy/gal who has a super nice setup but doesn't know how to use it well. Just because you have that nice camera or super duper expensive glass, it doesn't mean your pictures will be nice too. Experience will always trump equipment!
2. Don't Expect Paid Gigs At First
You'll most likely start off taking photos for people free of charge, especially your friends. It sucks but that's the reality of it. Don't think of it as a bad thing though; it gives you the opportunity to get out of your comfort zone. The feedback from people about where they see your level of photography is another important benefit. It can help you gauge the value you want to charge your services at in the near future. At the same time, knowing where to draw the fine line between close friends and clients will become challenging when it comes to pricing. You might feel bad that you want to start asking for money from your buddies but do remember, your work has value to it and they need to respect that fact. So as cliché as this sounds, time is definitely money!
3. Don't Take Critiques Too Personal, Learn From Them
If someone has something critical to say about your photos, there's a reason why and you should hear them out (unless they're just an asshole). They might not be an expert but everyone has an opinion that holds some value that can help point out areas where you're lacking. Asking for critiques from fellow photographers is also highly encouraged. Photographers who don't take criticism well tend to be unpleasant to have conversation with when talking about their work. You might even receive feedback on how your etiquette is when it comes to photographing subjects or things. But aside from that just remember that not everyone looks at a picture the same way.