Elizabeth Halford Photography {the blog} » photography in plain English

Starting Your Business Vlog Series pt.2 {The #1 thing you need}

Hello and welcome to my 10 part vlog series sponsored by Pretty Presets. Over the next ten weeks, we’re going to be discussing just a few of the different things you need to look into when deciding if you’re ready to venture into charging for your photography and becoming a ‘professional’.

This is week 2 and in this second video, I’ll be discussing the #1 thing you need before charging money for your services.

Note: if you’re viewing this post in your inbox and there’s no video, click here to view this post on the blog.

{Video Notes}

Before taking anyone’s money, you absolutely need to be able to consistently produce the same level of work over and over again. So many photographers are guilty of displaying happy accidents on their website which they aren’t able to recreate and this will snowball into a whole lotta different problems. If you’re going to be charging for your services, it’s not going to be that simple and you have to have consistency! Take pictures on purpose – don’t shoot for luck.

6 ways you know you’re a lucky shooter:

  1. You take way too many pictures.
  2. Your sessions take hours longer than they need to
  3. You feel panicky, nervous and out of control while you’re shooting
  4. You can’t explain to someone later on how you made a portrait or the settings you chose
  5. You either shy away from manual all together or you ‘wing it’ and take the same shot over and over with different settings ‘just in case’
  6. Your clients are confused as to why they spent hours with you, witnessed you taking a bazillion photos but they only ended up seeing 20 of them (note: clients will ask this anyway, but the less you rely on luck, the less they will ask)

There are a few reasons why this can be dangerous to a photographer who is charging for their sessions:

  1. Your clients have gone to your website for a product but when they come to you for their session, you won’t be able to produce the same product for them.
  2. Following on from the above, some of you might know of the story of Jesus cursing the fig tree. He was enticed by the leaves of the tree, but when he approached it, there was no fruit. He cursed it and it died. Being a haphazard photographer is like a tree of leaves enticing clients who later find that there isn’t actually any fruit. A business built on these principles can’t last.
  3. You will smash your own confidence if you rely on luck. You will feel out of control and deep down inside, you’ll know that it wasn’t really YOU creating the images.

When I look back, I can see that I have learned many things from my lucky shooting days. I learned about composition. I learned about self restraint and, most importantly, I learned how to stop shooting for luck and how to start taking pictures on purpose. Here are the things I wish I knew back then to get started sooner:

  1. Learn light
  2. Learn your camera
  3. Learn posing
  4. Try bracketing
  5. Have restraint

See the video for expounding on all of the points above.

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  • Rachelbryantphotography

    Fantastic series so far, as is your whole blog. Its full of valuable advice that has given me confidence in areas where I need it. I have a question which is not directly related to this series – how much time do you spend on your blog posts? I seem to spend my time ‘faffing’ on my posts and as a result I am not posting consistently. My business is just over a year old and time management is definately an area I need to work on (including work/homelife balance!). I am workingon having a number of posts already written, ready for posting at certain times, but as I’m not a natural writer, I find I am spending more time than I need to on these posts. I’d love a post with advice on how to manage my time effectively and to maintain the work/home life balance. I was always bought up that we do our work first before we relax, which is especially difficult when your work from home as its so hard to switch off!

    Thank you again for sharing your experiences and knowledge with us!

  • Kerri_hamilton

     Thanks so much Elizabeth.  I appreciate your every efforts of this series.  It is really making me push myself to dive and become committed to what I really love in life. 

  • Tina

    Thank you! 

  • Adrian

    Thanks! Godbless!

  • Lyndianimages

    Thanks Elizabeth,  I am loving this series & your blog. It is making me really slow down & consider the foundations of my photography business.  It is making me more aware of directing where I want to go, & also how the journey will unfold. thanks again, 

  • Angeline

    Thank you so much for all the time you are spending on those videos. It’s a great way to learn, and you are a great teacher, I really love hearing all you advices.  It’s like we are having a little “skype” session ! I’m definitely looking forward the others to come.

  • http://christydunnphotography.com Christy

    Thank you Elizabeth. I appreciate the time you give helping us photographers.

  • MalinB59

    This series is wonderful and so helpful!!  Thank you for sharing this with us!!!

  • http://karendrakephotography.com/ Karen Drake

    Great video! Thanks so much for all you you do!

  • Dina

    ThanK you so much for ur advice ….I love ur website