What is this page? Why are you so awesome?
I get a lot of inquiries from amateur photographers and other enthusiasts throughout the year asking business or techincal questions. I noticed that some other photographers have this section on their site and thought it might save me some time by just posting answers to some of the most FAQs I get. Okay you caught me, no one actually asked the “why are you so awesome?” question – but come on – there’s got to be someone out there thinking it!
What’s your equipment list?
Canon 5d MkII
Canon 35mm L-Series f/1.4
Canon 85mm f/1.8
Canon 50mm L-Series f/1.2
Sigma 20mm f/1.8
Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8
two 430 EXii Canon flashes
one 580 Canon Flash
Do you offer lessons/classes?
Nope. Although that sounds like a lot of fun and a great idea! I currently do photography on the side from a full-time job – which in reality – Photography on the side is just as much a full time job as my 9-5 full-time job. While I would love to offer one-on-one lessons or even small group classes – right now the time does not allow it.
I do offer opportunities for photographers to tag along on shoots and observe/shoot with me. This tends to offer a lot of that one-on-one opportunity. More on second shooting below…
Where’d you get your website and all your branding done?
Fortunately for me I’m a graphic designer and web designer by trade. While I went to school for Communication – I quickly realized upon graduation that that was going to take me nowhere. So I picked up a little know-how in the Adobe Creative Suite programs (yes, all of them) and became pretty observant to marketing, advertising, and visual arts.
In order to do this site, I got some help to save me some time from the good people at RAWfolio. They are a wordpress template designer/provider – so I started with their skeleton and customized it for my use. You may see small parts of the website changing over time – that’s because I get tired of how things look and I like to see things fresh and exciting.
How did you get started in Photography?
Packed question. Well. Like most photographers these days – it was an accident. I have long had a secret love-interest in photography but never had the opportunity to pick up a camera and try it for myself. When Lauren and I got married we decided it was time to invest in a nice camera to capture our lives together. Fast forward about a year and a friend asked us to shoot their wedding – unbelievably overwhelming thought. I reluctantly agreed and then spent months reading up on everything I could about photography – technical stuff, lighting, framing, business, etc.
I owe a HUGE thank you to our friend and fellow photographer who shot our wedding, Andres Valenzuela, for becoming somewhat of a mentor to me pretty quickly. I shot some weddings with Andres to watch how he worked and see how a wedding day flowed. Despite all the stress of doing my first wedding, it turned out to be a huge success and I really enjoyed it.
Fast forward a year from that wedding and I had 5 other weddings booked. Fast forward another year and I had 12 weddings booked. Fast forward one more year to 2011 when I completed 23 weddings.
As most businesses should, I have since decided to increase my pricing to a more competitive level in the local market/economy in an effort to be fair to other photographers as well as myself. In so doing, my market has shrank a considerable amount as well as business – but these are growing pains and I look forward to a wildly successful year in 2013!
What’s your advice for someone getting into photography?
To be honest, I’m still trying to figure it all out myself. Every time I think I’ve finally got a handle on it I realize how much I don’t have a clue what I’m doing running a business. Running a business is not in my blood and it’s not something that comes naturally to me. I have vision and I create. That’s what I do. When you sit me down with spreadsheets and numbers with dollar signs I start sweating immediately. I say that, though, to tell you that it’s something you cannot avoid. The most challenging thing to me about running my own business is that I get out of it exactly what I put into it. If you want to be an amateur, you can put in enough time and effort to stay at that level. If you want to be a pro, it requires a lot more time, patience, energy, and knowhow than you have at this very moment – and it always will.
If you want to get into photography as a professional – be prepared to make sacrifices. Here’s my basic suggestions:
- 1. Shoot anything and everything for free as much as you can…ask for criticism…and don’t cry
- 2. Read and study as much as you can from as many pros as you can
- 3. Have a good friend who does taxes to answer all your stupid financial and legal questions and give you good advice
- 4. Be a genuine person of integrity
The most important piece of advice I can offer any photographer was #4 on that list. Remember this if you don’t remember anything else – Your clients pay you for your work, but hire you for your personality.