First off I just want to send a heartfelt thank you over to the amazing Scott Kelby, Brad Moore & Kelby Training Team for letting me borrow their blog this Wednesday. I have been a HUGE fan and follower for years now so this is quite the honor :)!!!
Today I figured I would talk a little about my journey/approach and dive into 10 tips on how one might begin a career in the wild world of fashion photography.
My Approach/Journey (The Cliff Notes Version)
Beautiful photographs have always captivated me beyond measure. Since a young age I remember getting lost in books and magazines. But not in their words, only in their images… and in these images I saw a world of dreams! The text was always an afterthought to me because as cliche as it sounds, “a picture truly is worth a thousand words,” and you can convey an entire story in a single still image.
I became deeply engaged in photography, specifically fashion photography, the summer after my sophomore year of college while studying abroad in London with a world-renowned fashion photographer. It was that summer in which I learned how to “see” the world and I became enthralled at the idea of creating beauty within the lens. This idea of having the opportunity to bring your own visions to life in a single or series of pictures has captured my imagination and turned it into a full-time passion of making images with soul!
For those of you creative folks looking to break into the biz, here are 10 tidbits I’ve learned that have helped me along the way:
1. Assist other photographers or work in the industry you are interested in pursuing.
2. Study Fashion and find inspiration. To work as a fashion photographer, it is helpful to have some sort of understanding of fashion and what trends and styles are out there.
3. Join Photography and Business Trade Organizations to learn more about the industry. WPPI, PPA, APA, ASMP etc. are all great resources for learning the business and technical aspects of photography.
4. Keep it simple. There is no need to drop a bunch of cash on the best equipment when you’re first starting out. Save that money and start creating with what you have. I began with only the Nikon D70s Camera and 50mm 1.8 Lens. As my business has grown, I’ve updated my equipment to the Nikon D3x and variety of lenses.
5. Shoot what you LOVE. Many new photographers become pigeonholed into shooting a particular niche because it pays the bills. Paying the bills is of course important but there is a way to still focus on where you want to be while still shooting jobs that pay. You do this by only posting and showing the kind of work that you are passionate about in your portfolio and website. This will begin to attract those type of clients and dream jobs to you. It may take a year or two to begin, but eventually you’ll get to a point where people will be hiring you to shoot exactly the kind of work that you love.
6. Develop your style. This comes from shooting A LOT. Set up your own shoots that illustrate your vision and keep building upon that. Inspiration is everywhere.
7. Build your team. Your creative team and your business team. Your creative team consists of makeup artists, models, hairstylists, wardrobe stylists, retouchers, production assistants, digital techs, and the creative people that help make your shoots happen. Your business team consists of your accountant, lawyer, book-keeper, and mentors which help your business run smoothly. Keep in mind that I did not start out with all of these people in place, it started out with me, myself, and I. As you grow, you begin to meet and find these people along the way. Many of them I bartered services with in the beginning to get my business off the ground.
8. Create a portfolio of your strongest work. Your body of work should illustrate the unique way you see the world and show consistency in the way you shoot. That is so clients will have a better understanding of what kind of images they will end up with when they hire you.
9. Network yo booty off. Photography is all about relationships. People enjoy and hire people that they know and like working with. You must get out there and meet people in person for them to remember you and think about hiring you.
10. Create the experience. This one is huge. Creating the experience includes how you talk to clients and handle their direction, how you connect with subjects on set, the type of music playing when they enter your studio, the overall energy of your team and even the basic mundane tasks such as emailing and pre-production. It’s all in the details. The great experience you create is what keeps clients coming back.
Anyway, I think thats about it. I did leave out one important one though…. I can’t remember where I found this quote but here ya go: “The life of your dreams, everything you would love to be, do or have, has always been closer to you than you knew, because the power to have everything you desire is inside you!”
If you read this, thank you very much for taking the time! Let’s all go out and rock it in 2013!!!! Cheers, dd