Maybe you got a new camera for the holidays, maybe you bought a camera when your first child was born, maybe you have always had a camera in your hand. Chances are if youre watching this video you have a passion for photography and want to grow your skill and maybe even make a few dollars doing it. If thats you this video is going to tell you the next steps to becoming a better photographer. If none of that sounds appealing to you…. GET OUT OF MY LIFE RIGHT NOW
Alright lets get started. Chances are you're on Facebook. Maybe you even have a Facebook page just for your photography? I hope so because thats the next step. Having a platform that people are already on to connect with potential clients is almost a must. And if you're against social media and don't have a Facebook or Instagram, ect you can still make it as a photographer without them but uh… yeah good luck.
So once you have the FB here are the next steps I would recommend to start and take your photography to the next level.
1: UPGRADE YOUR GLASS
You're going to need a different lens other than the one that came with your camera. The lens that came with your camera isn't... The worst. In fact Ive seen some incredible photos taken with the stock lens but there are A LOT of limitations. And to be honest they are mass produced out of cheap plastic. But don't worry it doesn't mean you have to spend thousands or even A thousand dollars to upgrade your kit! If you HAVE to have a zoom lens there are some great options that will immediately take your photos up a full notch… maybe 2? But don't quote me on that.
Theres the Canon 17-55 f2.8, Nikon makes a 17-55 f2.8 that is stupid expensive. Sigma 18-35 f1.8 (Canon Nikon)and the Tamron 17-50 f2.8 (Canon Nikon) All are great lenses but the manufacture versions will hold there value much better than the 3rd party versions. The Tamron 17-50 f2.8 is the cheapest by far and I think a great choice if you want better quality today but know you're going to upgrade to a FF camera in the future and don't want to invest all of your money in a lens. Having a consistent aperture of 2.8 is great because the more you zoom in the more out of focus the background will be. Instantly separating your photos from the people not willing to invest in them self and their photography.
If you really want to step out of your comfort zone and have your growth explode get a prime lens! Both Canon and Nikon make a good quality inexpensive 50mm 1.8. Click the link to get them on Amazon! Canon or Nikon
2.GET A WEBSITE!
I know what you're thinking “But Raymond I dont know anything about HTML, Css, or Java, I have no computer programing skills! The clock in my car is still an hour behind from daylight savings time! I cant afford to hire someone to build me a website! Thats going to cost thousands!” Well good news. You're overthinking it! Creating a website is not hard. “But raymond youre a millennial technology is easy for yo…”
Stop. Its not hard. There are really only two different types of website options I would recommend. Squarespace and wordpress. Squarespace… A monkey can set up. Trust me. I use Squarespace. If you know how to type words on your keyboard and drag and drop images you can make a Squarespace site that looks pretty legit. Wordpress is a little more technical but offers an insane amount more customization and if you ever want to have an online class or host a webinar or something, wordpress is the right choice for you. But you will have to deal with hosting, storage, and a domain yourself. If you have no intentions of leaving your day job and just want to use photography as a hobby and make a few bucks on the weekends Squarespace will be more than enough for you. Point is having a presence online that you OWN is key. We all know Facebook changes its algorithm like every other day and are charging more and more for businesses to get their content seen by their fans. So owning your spot online is essential. Just get one, don't be lazy.
3.GET A FLASH AND A WIRELESS FLASH TRIGGER.
The word “Photography” originated in Greece and means “Representation of Light”. When you take a photograph you are controlling the light. Controlling the amount that comes in the lens with your aperture. Controlling how long the light exposes your sensor with the Shutter speed. Controlling how sensitive your cameras sensor is to the light that comes IN with the ISO. So if photography is just controlling light, wouldn't you want to be able to control it further by being able to add light where ever you want to? Flash sounds like a 4 letter word to some people. It sounds scary.
Its… Its not. In fact I would say not knowing how to use flash and take control of your light is irresponsible to your clients. A flash and a wireless flash trigger can be had for under $100 total and next to getting a 50mm 1.8 its the best purchase a beginner can make Hands down. Here is the Flash and Flash trigger I use at weddings. Flash Flash Trigger
4. GET SERIOUS ABOUT BACK UPS
If someone wants to pay you money, for a service, for your talent, for your time. Its your duty to have their best interest in mind. And part of that is having a solid back up strategy in place. Im not talking about having 100 hard drives, a network attached storage server of Raid Arrays and a team of IT professionals doing constant MD5 hash sum checks on your data (Im not even sure if that’s a thing).
When you're starting out having a simple backup is as easy as one external hard drive. If you have a Mac, Time Machine which is built into the operating system is the perfect solution for you. It requires like 3 clicks to set it up and as long as the hard drive is plugged in you never have to worry about it again. Windows has a similar back up application called… Windows…Backup…real original.
When it comes to hard drives the question is never IF your hard drive will fail but WHEN will your hard drive fail. Imagine you've been shooting for a year or so. You've taken thousands of photos of your kids, you've documented them growing up perfectly. You've been shooting paid gigs for a few months now and your clients are loving you, they are referring you to their friends, you're shooting them, you import the photos onto your computer to edit and the next day after you have formated your card… your computer dies. Your only copy of your kids childhood. Dozens of clients photos gone, including the ones you haven't delivered yet. What do you do? Well you have to get on the phone and tell them they wasted their time because you have nothing to edit and give them. And you also spent the money they gave you on delicious donuts from that one place down the street that also has a line a mile long because they are so good… so you cant give them a refund Because now you also have to buy a new computer. Think they're gonna be happy? Oh Oh Wait! You listened to raymond and bought an external hard drive! Your data is backed up! You kids photos are backed up! Your clients photos are backed up! The sessions your editing are backed up! Man… that whole crisis was averted because you weren't too cheap to spend like $60 on an external hard drive to protect yourself. As you shoot more and your photography grows you can get larger hard drives and better back ups but for now… something is better than nothing. Like THIS ONE from Western Digital works with a PC and a Mac, and it comes with automatic back up software. And 1TB of space will hold about a half million photos. So that should last you a while.
5. KEEP EDUCATING YOURSELF!
Education is the only way to grow your skill and turn your passion into something incredible. You Know this! Thats why you're here reading this right now. In the hope that you will pick up something that will push you in the right direction. But now more than ever you need to take education seriously. Im not telling you to download every photography podcast you can find, subscribe to every photography youtube channel you can find, or bookmark every website that has uttered the word photography. Pick a smallllll group to follow in whatever medium works best for you. Hate to read? Subscribe to the 2 or 3 best photography youtube channels you can find. Chances are between them they will pump out 4 or 5 videos a week. Thats manageable. Want to learn while you're on the go? Find 3 or 4 photography podcasts that pertain to the type of photography that interest you most! I love listening to podcasts while Im at the gym. It's the perfect time for uninterrupted learning. Love to research everything online? Pick 2 photography blogs to follow. Blogs typically put out a lot more content so you don't have to follow as many of them to fill up your reading queue. Or have a mix of all 3, figure out what is going to work best for you and commit to learning!
6. BONUS TIP: KNOW THAT YOU KNOW NOTHING.
Photography is easy. Good photography is incredibly challenging. Thats what I love so much about photography. Ill never know it all. There is always something more to learn. Between how much knowledge is already out there on any subject to how fast technology progresses I will never know it all! And if that doesn't excite you then maybe you are pursuing something thats not right for you. I went to film school to be a cinematographer (photographer for moving pictures) and KNOW THIS! PROFESSIONAL UNION CINEMATOGRAPHERS with YEARS of experience, thousands of hours lighting, and academy awards to their name do camera tests before they start shooting a movie to ENSURE they will get it right on the day! These guys are MASTERS at their craft and they still need practice before every movie. (I know we’re not talking movies, were talking photography but we all control light the same 3 ways with ISO Shutter Speed and Aperture) So NEVER think you know it all. Stay hungry for knowledge.
Thats it. Those are my top 5 tips (with a pretty sweet bonus tip) to taking your photography to the next level. If you liked this video be sure to like and subscribe below and then head over to BPP.com Were I interview some of the worlds best photographers and ask them the questions you want to know like whats the best piece of advice they could give to beginners starting out who want to grow their photography skills or… their bank account. So head over to bpp.com or just search for the podcast in your favorite podcast app on your phone!