As a beginning photographer myself, I asked several professional photographers for Words of Wisdom about all aspects of photography—technical, artistic, business. I thought I would share their advice with any readers who are also beginning photographers, in an ongoing series that aims to provide some insight into the world of professional photography.
Allison Leonard is the owner of Columbus-based Studio 127 Photography, and takes newborn, maternity, weddings, family, and senior photos. Check out Studio 127 Photography’s website and Facebook for samples of Allison’s amazing work. Here are Allison’s words of wisdom:
Every great adventure starts with gathering the supplies you need for your journey. My adventure in photography started much the same way, but the necessary supplies were much more than a camera and some lenses (though I swoon at camera equipment on a regular basis). Looking back at the years I have worked as a professional photographer, I see the successes and the hiccups, and I am here to share what I’ve learned.
The first thing you need in your traveling bag for your photography adventure—and this one is a must—is a love for not only photography but creating images that people will treasure forever. Without that crazy love, the passion to overcome the hurdles won’t be there, and like doing anything new, the learning phase is always the hardest.
The good news is we live in a time when learning is available at the nearest computer. I spent more hours than I would like to admit wandering around the Internet, studying other photographers’ work. The site that became my photography classroom of sorts is www.ilovephotography.com. It’s filled with opportunities to study photography, submit your own photos for critiques (not always an easy thing to do, but definitely worth it), and network with other photographers. It is one of many forums out there and each has a different audience, so find the one that works for you.
Beyond online learning, get out there with your camera and photograph everything. The best way to learn is to take a billion photographs and see what works. Along the way, find a photography community. It might take a little effort—just like finding the people who become your best friends—but when you do find photographers who support your adventure in photography, it makes all the difference. They understand the challenges and the joy that comes with fulfilling your photographic dreams.
Classes in Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom are some seriously helpful tools to have. I came into photography with a graphic design degree and have seen how that helped in just about every aspect of my business–from creating logos, websites, custom designed albums, to birth announcements and other products for clients.
But remember, being a photographer is so much more than just taking and editing pictures. Being a good businessperson, someone who is easy and fun to work with, and yes, very importantly, being someone who takes good photographs all come together when you have that love for what you are doing.
The last thing I think every new photographer should add to their bag is their own individuality. Learn from everyone you meet, study, find your way, always remember to take in the information you find, but make sure that what you do is authentic to your own adventure and not anyone else’s. People have opinions and I say seek them out, but make sure the path you choose is yours and no one else’s. I wish you good luck and welcome you to the awesome adventure of photography.