JUST a few days ago, one of my students asked me what equipment she will need if she decides to open a studio. She’s one of those students overflowing with interest. Her photo shows a lot of potential. My answer was not something she expected. I encouraged her to shoot more and fill in more experience.
How a photographer computes for his fee is not only based on the cost of equipment – there’s also the time spent learning and all the straight out-of-the-pocket costs of organizing a shoot just to practice. All that time and money spent without anything coming back. Sometimes it even takes years before somebody hires you.
One time, I was shooting for a resort and the client rejected my shots. He wanted to get a better view. To add to the situation, the rejection was not politely delivered, it came with a sting. How I wish I can solve my dilemma with an L lens or the latest full frame in the market today. Maybe a top of the line Elinchrome or Profoto to get a better light.
Nope, all that didn’t matter. It was all me and the skills I developed along the years in getting things done. Of course, handling rejections came with all the experience along the way. At times, you’ll get a chance to work with clients that totally gels with your style. These are not the times where you learn a lot, but it balances the difficult ones.
From the many years of struggling to make a steady stream of photography projects, a newbie photographer must know that just like any other business, marketing and sales play a vital role. Even if you have mastered your craft and an output comparable to the best in the industry, if nobody knows you, nobody will hire you.
In between projects, find time to do some experimental shots. You’ll never know what the client would suddenly ask in the middle of the project. This is also a good time to experiment with your workflow and find out what works best with your equipment given a certain scenario. Maybe a trip to the local camera shop for additional equipment.
Speaking of which, Macy’s Camera Shop is having a crazy sale on Manfrotto products. I’m a Manfrotto fanatic. From my tripod, magic arm, super clamp, boom and other accessories, I use Manfrotto. Yes, you pay more, but nothing beats the built and the well thought of design and functionality of this brand.
Keep on shooting, everyone!
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