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Five Tips for Newer Photographers

Starting a new photography business is difficult! Everyone finds their own path. But if we can find someone to help us on the journey, it becomes so much easier! We had help on our journey and we would love to help newer photographers to find their way much quicker. So here are five tips that can help you progress more quickly. Different things work for different people, but these things have worked for us and we hope they can help you!

1. Invest in Education

The very first thing we did as newer photographers was invest in education. At the time, my heart pounded as I clicked the button to pay $397 for a course. I had no idea if it would help or if I would regret that decision, but I was having faith. After all, it had a money-back guarantee, so I at least had something to fall back on. Well, two weeks down the road I was already addicted and I had found so much value! I went on to purchase everything those educators ever offered.

I purchased a posing course even though I had worked at Olan Mills for 10 years and thought I knew all I needed to about posing. And it was worth every penny! My advice is to either get online education or to do a mentorship with someone local. You can learn in a few hours what took them years to learn. It may be an investment, but it is worth it. And as you keep growing, keep getting education. The return on investment is immense. Plus, you can write off your education 100%.

Mentoring newer photographers

2. Practice, Practice, Practice

When you learn something new, find a way to practice it. When I was taking my first course, it was in the beginning of the pandemic. We couldn’t take photos of others because social distancing was mandated. So to apply lighting principles and to get more used to my camera, I practiced on flowers, bugs, anything I could. As newer photographers, Kevin and I took photos of each other so we could learn what different lighting, apertures, shutter speeds and ISOs looked like. I also practiced with the stars. Some people photograph their pets or their kids. Even stuffed animals. We all have things at our disposal to practice on before we take it to other people.

Then once the restrictions were lifted, I asked others if I would be able to take photos of them to practice in exchange for the images. The image below was from my very first session. To this day, I’m still very proud of it! I took images for about a year before I charged anyone anything. I didn’t want to deal with the fear of them getting their money’s worth.

First portraits I took for practice

3. Even Newer Photographers Need Contracts

We realized that even though we were doing free sessions, we wanted to be legal and set the expectations. First, we used free contracts that came with a CRM (more on that in the next point). Then we bought lawyer-drafted contracts from Amy and Jordan. They still recommend you have a lawyer in your state go over these contracts, but they are very thorough.

4. Up Your Client Experience

As newer photographers, we did not have the money to spend a ton on a customer relationship management (CRM) program. But thankfully Honeybook was running a $1/mo for six months program. I couldn’t beat that! For $6, I could sent contracts, collect payments and embed a contact form in my website. This gave my clients a seamless experience and I was viewed as a professional. And now that they have new smart files, photographers are loving it! You can upload your own contracts, automate workflows, connect your email, make branded content…all for just a few dollars!

5. A Free Website for Newer Photographers

When I was first starting out, I also couldn’t afford a website. But thankfully Wix has a free plan where you can customize it any way you want to. You can even direct a custom domain to it. And it has a blog on it as well. The ONLY differences between their free and their paid that you’ll notice are: 1. the Wix logo at the top of the free site and 2. even if you direct your domain to the website, it will still say at the end when you’re actually looking at the site.

They often will run 50% off specials, so when I wanted to pay for the site to remove the ad and make it look more professional, I got an amazing deal on a two year plan. We now have a new website on ShowIt, but for the first three years (one free and two paid), Wix got us to where we are today. By doing the necessary SEO, we were even found and hired by brands in other states.

Here are a few photos of our Wix site before we cancelled our plan. I still highly recommend them for newer photographers. ShowIt was hard for me to learn until I bought a course that helped me learn it and bought a template for it. But again, I needed money in my business to get to that point, so I’m grateful Wix was an option for me when I needed it.

Wix helped us have a professional look as newer photographers

Additional Resources for Newer Photographers

I hope these suggestions can help you! We fully understand the fear of investing a lot of money into photography. I did things as inexpensively as I could for the first two years. I’ve learned all the ways to save money but still give an amazing experience. If you apply these suggestions, you’ll be well on your way to a fulfilling career!

Here are a few more free resources linked below to help you out. One is our YouTube video “Our Advice for Newer Photographers”. The other is a freebie “3 Common Mistakes New Photographers Make and How to Avoid Them.” If you want to look into our mentorship program, there is a link for that as well. Have a great day!

Love, Kevin and Reneé


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