Hello there fellow human!
I’ve had multiple occasions of humans in my inbox asking for advice over the years (which is why we started The RAW Workshop with Chelsea Dawn Weddings + Jamie Orr Photography) to help those humans in the inbox with their photography + weddings!
We want to help, we also don’t mind giving bits of free advice here and there. If you’re looking for in depth educational resource, PLEASE join us at The RAW Workshop!
Big things you NEED TO DO, not should, like NEED.
1: Make yourself legal!
To get legal, that means (depending on state) getting your Tax ID number to collect tax, sales tax, and basically just everything tax.
Also Yes, you need to be following the law even though there is no “licensing” for professional photographers like say the Beauty industry.
It doesn’t matter that someone could legit pick up a camera and call themselves a pro.. a real pro has a legal business.
2: Know your cost of doing business (CODB for short)
This means what is your $$ number that you can live on per month?
Most people don’t know how to answer that, or will say “the paycheck I get every other Friday”
That is NOT good enough. If you want to run a successful photography business you MUST treat it as a business… which is hard for most creatives, trust me I know.
Basic budget break down that goes into figuring your CODB is…
-Rent of Studio Space
-Rent / Mortgage of personal home
-Equipment Sinking fund (for repairs + cleanings + upgrades)
-What do you want as your take home pay
-Software for editing
-Back up systems
-Phone / Utilities / Electric
-YOUR TIME + TALENT
trust me there is more
3: Find a great Accountant
Unless.. you’re into that sort of thing.
We choose to outsource our books + taxes to a professional because this is not our field of expertise and it takes the stress off my shoulders to give it to someone who knows what they are doing!
4: Why haven’t you mentioned any photography tips?
I know.. but those three things are huge that most newbies over look. Please don’t do this!
When it comes down to learning your camera / lighting / techniques there are many ways to approach it.
The first thing you want to do is be honest with your client, tell them where you are at in your career, how many times you have shot X wedding / event / person and why you want to do their request.
I love my clients that trusted me very early in my career, and at times when I was experimenting with it. They are the real MVP’s and I appreciate their trust more than they know.
Okay, here is a photography tip.. lighting!
Photography by definition is the recording of light. Without light, there is no image.
Good light can be debated between “soft” or “hard” if you ask different photographers *(hint there is no wrong answer between the two)* but know what you are attracted to.
Questions to ask:
1: What kind of light inspires you?
2: Are you edgy? Looking for that model look? – Hard light might be more your thing.
3: Are you dreamy? Looking for creamy skin, and emotions? Soft light is more your alley.
One tip I learned was to use your hand to find good lighting. By using your hand you can see what it does to your skin, the shadows it casts.
Then the question to ask is, are you digging it? If you are then shoot in it! If not, move a little to the left, it could change drastically.
6: Don’t forget to have fun!
One of the big perks of being self employed in a creative business is the freedom it allows you to have fun!
You get to create magic for people that helps them remember their life, even long after they are gone.