How to get better prior to doing paid gigs?

Started Oct 1, 2012 | Discussions thread
Marques Lamont
Contributing MemberPosts: 561
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Re: How to get better prior to doing paid gigs?
In reply to Sovern, Oct 4, 2012

Sovern wrote:

I'm just curious as to how you and the pros that you know (namely portrait/event/wedding photographers) got better and hone their skills before shooting paid gigs such as weddings, portraits, and events?

Practice, practice, practice. It's free. Also, read one of David Ziser's books. The one called, Capturing the Light. Get his DVDs too. Ziser shoots everything on f/5.6 and doesn't use L glass, yet his work is consistently great. And consistently simple.

Get to know your equipment until you can use it without any guesswork as to what the results will be. Resist the urge to get new camera equipment, just use the same stuff and learn that well. After a while, you should be able to eyeball things and size a scene up. When you need more capable equipment, you'll know why and what you'll use it for. Rent equipment for gigs, if you can. That way, you'll be able to save money if you don't shoot often.

Also, don't be afraid to FAIL miserably while you're still training. It's how you learn. If you have halfway decent equipment, you won't fail that terribly. Whatever skills you have and whatever skills you don't have, bring them ALL to the table to see where you're really at. If you want to charge for it, go ahead. If you fail miserably, oh well. Life goes on. Apologize to the client if it's a serious mistake on your part, refund them, and move on. After all, the client is taking a risk as well as you. That's the cost of doing business in all honesty. If you're doing a paid gig and you mess up a job, don't take it personal no matter how much the client says you stink, you are a bad photographer, they wasted their money, etc. Just move on. Learn from it if you can. Keep shooting. At ANY stage in any career, each day is a learning experience in at least some degree. But again, if you have halfway decent equipment, and you know it well, what it can do and what it can't, you won't fail too miserably, and it'll cover your flaws well enough. I mean, you can always look at that guy who shot those Olympic photos and say to yourself, "I'm ok."

Don't shoot to please other photographers either, especially the high end ones. If you're a joke to them, laugh with them. Photography isn't life and death and neither is a photography business. It's all just a business. There is no such thing as a perfect business or a perfect photographer.

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