ASPIRING ‘togs.

I get asked multiple times a day about how I got my start, how I learned photography, where I went to school, what kind of camera I use, etc etc etc…and unfortunately I just don’t have the time to field all of the questions,  every time they come in! I thought this would be the best way around that!!! It saves me from having to type the same answer over and over, and it saves you from getting a mediocre or NO answer from me!!!  So here I’ve answered some of the questions I get on a regular basis!!

Q: How did you get your start in photography?

A: Unfortunately, my answer probably isn’t going to unlock any secrets or the magic formula to becoming a photographer. I’m an EXTREMELY impulsive person.  Unlike most professional photographers, it didn’t START with a hobby and develop over years and years for me. It was probably only about a year that I was thinking it could be a great idea for me to transition into photography. One day, {literally}, I woke up, and said, I think I’m going to get started today!  I went to Best Buy and bought my first Nikon D-SLR, enrolled in photography school, and never looked back. I’ve poured my ENTIRE heart and soul into my work and have advanced VERY quickly. No, that is NOT typical and you should not think that you will magically turn into a photographer just because you buy a nice camera.  The motivation necessary to start a photography business can only be fueled by PASSION! If you’re unsure if you’re passionate about photography, I recommend renting some equipment and giving it a go before investing too much. This advice comes from a woman who has had more business ventures than birthdays!  It worked out for me, but I’m the minority! Don’t break the bank before finding out if you have a nack for it!!

Q: Did you go to photography school? Take classes? Self Taught?

A: Yes, yes, and yes. I enrolled in courses with the New York Institute of Photography. It was a pretty solid program and I did learn the basics that way. I took a few local classes here and there, and joined several photography associations. I learned a lot at workshops hosted by seasoned professional photographers. But honestly, I learned the very most of my trade from trial and error. I invested probably 15 hours of shooting time and 15 hours of post-production time a week for the first several months…and once I started to get the hang of it, I doubled that time invested. I took photos of family and friends, and did a few random trades with models not only to build up a portfolio and credible website, but to get the hang of it. I LOVED every second of it, and that is why I advanced as quickly as I did. It was probably about 6 months before I started charging for my work. And about 3 months later, I was hardworking and fortunate enough to make photography my full time job. I would say about 75% of what I know about photography is self-taught. And I’m not a very technical person either…so me having a conversation with a photographer that’s been in the industry for 20 years would probably be pretty pathetic. I still use terms like “the knobby thing” and “the whatchamacallit”.

Q: What is a good starter camera? What camera do you use now?

A: Honestly, and you’ll discover this as you progress in the industry, it’s NOT about the camera. Sure—a nicer camera WILL produce nicer results. But if you don’t know how to use the dang thing, what good will having a $4,000 camera do you? I recommend starting with a Nikon {yay} or Canon {boo} D-SLR.  I joke when I boo. Personally I’m a die-hard Nikon fan, but that’s what I started with! Try them both and see what you like!  I started with the Nikon D60, then moved to the D5000, D90, and the D300. And now I’m content with my Nikon D700. Master what you’ve got and try not to have camera envy.  That’s tough to do…for me especially!  Your photos’ quality will also LARGELY depend upon the LENSES you are using…not so much the camera itself. The lenses that typically come on the camera as a kit generally aren’t of very high quality…but they’ll definitely do to get you started. And ALWAYS rent or use a friend’s equipment before you invest money in what you THINK you need. I’ve wasted thousands by being impulsive and buying a lens because I heard another photographer rave about it…only to find out that I had NO need whatsoever for that $2800 lens. You live, you learn.

Q: So I’ve got my D-SLR…now what?

A: Get to it! Don’t even start shooting in Auto, Program, or any other mode that doesn’t allow you to have full control. If you don’t even START in those modes, then you’ll only have to learn to use ONE mode–MANUAL! MANUAL is where it’s at!!! I recommend learning the basics of setting your aperture, ISO, shutter speed, white balance, etc etc by means of a photography class, course, or workshop…and from there just play around until you find your style niche. Do you like your photos overexposed? Underexposed? Extremely sharp? Slightly out of focus and grainy?? Don’t try so hard to be someone else…figure out what your style is going to be and go with it!

Q: Do you allow aspiring photographers to tag along and assist you on shoots?

A: Sure! I do currently have an assistant so I am not in need of hiring anyone else, but I do often let aspiring photographers tag along, with my client’s permission, to quietly observe and lend a hand by helping with lights, reflectors, etc etc. Please note this is NOT a training session or a personal lesson as it would not be fair to my clients for me to take my attention off of them to give someone else a lesson in photography 101. BUT I have found it to be quite helpful in my own advancement to observe photographers with more experience than myself. Also keep in mind that I do have quite a list of people interested in the opportunity to tag along, so for each shoot I have to rotate in a different aspiring ‘tog! I WILL get to you, I promise 🙂 If interested, just shoot me a quick email at Chick@ClickChickimages.com and give me a little info on yourself and what you’re looking to learn!

Q: Do you teach photography workshops?

A: Though I’m not quite ready to take on group workshops, I have started doing private beginner’s lessons including “I got a camera, now what?” which teaches beginners how to shoot in Manual Mode, “Photoshoot basics” for a look at how to handle your photo shoot beginning to end including post-production editing tips and tricks, and also “Marketing your business” on how to get your new business out there and get started. These one-on-one consult meetings range from $100-$300

Any other questions that I didn’t touch on?? Feel free to ask!  I can be reached best via email at Chick@ClickChickImages.com

GOOD LUCK!!!

xx,

The Click Chick

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3 comments

    • Aw well thank you! I still don’t understand why photographers are so stingy with their information. I TOTALLY understand that we all work VERY hard for all that we’ve accomplished and spare time is so hard to come by. BUT nothing but good things can come from trying to make the INDUSTRY more credible, one awesome photographer at a time!

  1. Nancy

    I have looked and looked and many more looks : ) at photographer’s websites in trying to find one for my older daughter’s wedding next month here at a small historic chapel on Anna Maria Island in Florida. My younger daughter is an aspiring photographer and has helped me look as well. Taking all that “looking” into consideration, I must say that your photographs- the styling, artistry, editing, etc. are amazing!! Unfortunately our budget wouldn’t allow us to hire you if even by chance you had an opening. But I would be remiss if I didn’t compliment your beautiful work. My aspiring photographer is currently on her senior trip and I’m excited to show her your website when she returns tomorrow. She will sit for hours on end looking at different photographer’s work. As for our wedding, if you know of any photographers in the Sarasota area (an hour south of Tampa) we are happy to take suggestions. Thank you and best regards to you and your business.

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