7 Useful Things I Learned in 2017
This year has been full of ups and downs for me, but overall, I've made some serious moves in my career as a freelance photographer! With the end of the year approaching, I wanted to share some tips that helped me succeed this year. Hopefully I can help some other photographers do the same in 2018!
Creative blocks happen, find a way to work through it. Explore different medias if necessary. Just. Keep. Creating.
I came back from a seven week tour this summer with about 5 GB of unedited content and absolutely no motivation to do anything with it. I felt like I was losing everything I had gained and all I wanted to do was take naps and eat soup. But I knew I had to get out of that slump, and since photography was clearly not inspiring me at the moment, I played around. I painted, I did construction paper art, I carved a bunch of pumpkins and I even made art out of mushroom spores after watching a documentary on Netflix. I did everything but photography for about a month and suddenly, I was back. I couldn't wait until new shows or adventures so I could get my camera out again.
Be confident in your work. Accept compliments but strive to continue improving.
If you're putting everything you have into your art; you're good. But just because you know it and someone else notices it, it doesn't mean you'll stay good. Keep pushing yourself and try new things. Keep impressing people. And the more you try new things, the less often you'll fall into a slump.
Try editing like another photographer. Mimic other styles until you can find your own. Create new presets and develop a signature look, then keep upgrading it.
The best compliment I ever get is when someone says they can spot my photos a mile away. No one wants to blend in with the crowd.
Don't be afraid to ask for what you want.
If you're interested in working with a specific band, you can't just expect them to find you. Reach out to them! You'd be surprised how many shoots I've booked just by asking bands if they'd like photos.
Do some research.
Watch tutorials, read an interview, ask another photographer how they got as successful as they did and try it out for yourself.
I've been super into Mango Street tutorials lately. They make videos on different editing techniques, shooting methods and ideas. I love taking their portrait techniques and seeing how I can incorporate them into music photography. (Plus they have a super cute french bulldog who makes appearances in a lot of videos)
Photography is so much more than taking photos. Kindness goes a long way if you want to make it.
While on Warped Tour I met a lot of fellow photographers. Most of them were absolute angels, but there were a few who stood out for being egotistical and rude, looking down on me for who knows what reasons. Maybe because they saw me as competition, or because I was a woman or because I wasn't shooting popular main stage bands with bad reputations. Honestly, who cares. But the point is, no one wants to work with someone who is rude to their peers. Word gets out and potential clients will choose someone else to hire or tour with. No one wants to spend weeks with an asshole.
Long story short: Be nice. Help others. We all have the same passion, choose to create and grow together instead of judging.
Know your worth.
One of the biggest mistakes I made this year was underselling my work. Trying to make a career out of your art is not selling out. Don't let anyone make you feel that way.
Sit down and map out how much you need to make off photography to meet your goals. Set prices for different packages and determine how much you're willing to negotiate if necessary. Remember that clients are paying for your services, your time, your equipment, and your creative eye. Determine how much that's worth and stick with it.