I pride myself on being a lifelong student. I was always that kid who loved the first day of school and I was always eager to learn new things. Heck, I was even voted "Most Studious," by my senior classmates - you know those fake titles they label people with for the yearbook, yep. But it is a fact that I love to learn. As a wedding photographer, I work with not only other creatives such as florists, cake decorators, and wedding coordinators, but I also often work with other photographers. And it is an awesome learning and growing opportunity for myself as well as them.
(Hey look! - There's me.)
I approached starting a photography business from a "I'm here to learn and grow" perspective. In college I took many classes on the art of photography and developed my understanding of light, composition, and of the digital editing side of photography. After graduation, and in between submitting resumes, I found myself being pulled towards photography blogs. I would read about how a photographer used off-camera lighting or laugh with one photographer as a hilariously split in her pants during a wedding resulted in a run to Kmart. They say in life that you should do what you love and not just work at a job. I made the choice to pursue photography as a profession because I love it, and what I have found out thus far is that this is one profession that is not for the faint of heart, but with help from those already in the industry you can grow so so much.
(Here I am working for Fairytale Productions with Angela and Brian. I was a little obsessed with all the leading lines the bridge produced.)
In the whole one and a half years that I have been a working and learning photographer I have learned a LOT but there are some key things that I think are worth noting in this particular post.
1. I recommend attending some photography workshops if you can.
There are a lot of photographers out there who set up discussions for photographers of all skill levels to come and learn from them. I personally have attended one of Bob and Dawn Davis's Real Wedding Workshops in South Carolina last year (read more about that here), I rode the train all the way from Michigan to New York City to hear Fred Marcus and Clay Blackmore speak, and I just recently drove to Chicago to spend two days with Jasmine Star. (More on this particular adventure here!)
I have found this is a great way to hear some really inspiring creatives speak about the art of photography as well as business and an opportunity to practice techniques.
2. Network with photographers in your area, or who shoot how you shoot or how you aspire to shoot.
I have personally worked with a few different photographers and it was a way for me to really get my feet wet with capturing weddings. It was so overwhelmingly mind boggling to me that some one was entrusting me to take images for them on their wedding day. Images that would be looked at one day by their grand children. I did not want to screw that up, so until I got comfortable with shooting a wedding day I decided that I would work as a second shooter or assistant to an established photographer or two.
Over this past summer I had so much fun and great learning experiences with Brittney of Brittney Ailes Photography. Brittney is hilarious and so motivating to be around. It was such a wonderful learning opportunity as we each pushed each other to shoot better to see things a different way to perfect techniques to a new level.
I also currently freelance as a primary photographer as well as second shoot for Tom of Fairytale Productions. Tom is a really amazing guy who runs his company like a champ, and he saw it upon himself to not only invite me to photograph weddings on a part-time basis for his photography studio but to also to give me a job as a photo editor and retoucher during the week for all the weddings Fairytale shoots.
3. Explore the web - or I as I like to refer to it as, my online university - as there are tons of FREE learning resources.
As I mentioned above, the internet is a mecca of knowledge and you can pretty much as Google any question under the sun, but there are also a ton of blogs, websites, and videos dedicated solely to photography.
A few I frequent are Creative Live, an online live broadcast of photographers preaching their photography gospel and business models, Fstoppers, which has well written (and not overly technical) articles on everything from gear to industry innovators, and Sue Bryce's Blog, because well she is just a really driven, mesmerizing woman and she has the cutest little puppy, Cookie.
So hit the books - just don't hit them too hard as that might hurt,
(Beautiful wedding second shooting with Brittney Ailes Photography)
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