"EVERYBODYS DOING IT"
Everybodys doing it. Photography. Ask any photographer, no matter their specific niche, and they will agree that there are definitely a lot of people hopping on the "I'm a photographer" train. Do you agree with this? I completely do, while I don't think it's good or bad, and I'm going to explain a little more...
Photography is absolutely an art if you treat it that way. However, pointing and shooting and calling that art isn't exactly the same thing. The art comes from very intentionally composing what you're shooting, purposefully shooting the image while keeping in mind the angle and light, and then the very detailed process that comes afterwards of refining the images to become the end product. Have you heard of presets? They're editing filters that can be used in editing softwares, similar to the filters you can apply to your phone photos in apps like VSCO, Afterlight, and even Instagram. You can download free ones or purchase them from many famed photographers these days. With this resource, I've seen a lot of photographers pop up recently. Yes, even myself! But I'd like to explain how you can establish yourself as a professional photographer while being true to your art, setting yourself apart, and not getting lost in the crowd of photographers.
SPECIFY A NICHE // Before beginning, specify a niche target market you'd like to serve. In that way alone you can attempt to set yourself apart. I've designated my niche as photography for brands and business owners. Honing on in that helps to keep myself in front of mind of brands because while they may know many photographers, maybe I'm one of the few or only they know as a "brand photographer".
CURATE YOUR PORTFOLIO // If it isn't representative of what you want to attract, there's no need in publishing it in your online portfolio or social media. It's okay to take on clients that aren't your ideal client for the work if you're just starting out. I did that in the beginning for many design projects! Experience is experience so take any opportunity you need to! But be selective about what you showcase for potential clients to see. Show the best of your work and you'll attract people attracted to that work.
USING PRESETS // In full transparency with all of you, yes I have used and sometimes do you use a preset! I have purchased 1 pack from a photographer and downloaded one freebie one. I actually very rarely use the purchased pack because I'm never completely satisfied with the end result. The free preset has served me much better! But when I use that one, I change up almost every setting from the temperature and color tones to the highlights and shadows until it's exactly how I want it. From there, I make that a preset of my own and use that for that shoot. The reason I do this is because I'm a little stubborn and won't feel authentic with myself or right about doing this work if I'm not truly creating. So I urge you to put in a little extra work when you use a preset to make it your own! Don't make it easy for others to produce a product that looks so similar to yours others wouldn't know the difference! I think presets are a great resource when used appropriately to enhance your business and not be a crutch.
To be fair and again transparent, I would call myself one of those "bandwagon photographers". As my design business started to build, I was exposed to a lot of photography and have always been drawn to and inspired by it. There was a period of time that I had made my mind up that I wasn't going to add photography as a service for the very reason I described above - everybody's doing it! That stubborn side of me said "I refuse to be typical" but the inspiration continued and I kept seeing value in adding it a service to pair with website design. It's every designer's dream to use their own imagery in a website they design! So I went for it and I'm so glad that I did. I truly do feel authentic (yeah, this word is over used these days but here it fits) and like I am creating art.
It took practice and time to feel like what I was creating was art. I continued to practice and shoot anything I could style of my own products, and along the way I've found what my shooting and editing style is. Get out there! Reach out to people, ask questions, and figure out what you like to do! This applies to all kinds of industries outside of photography. I've found the only way I've learned anything is by trying, failing, and getting back up again. I know it can be so hard to create something new when there are so many talented people in the creative industry. The only way you'll learn is by just DOING IT. So what, everybodys doing a lot of things. If you have a specific reason and drive behind it, put your heart into it and you can succeed!