Regardless of your job role or industry, one of the best ways to perfect your craft is by getting advice from other experienced professionals. If you’re a photographer just starting out in the industry, it can be difficult to know who to reach out to in order to get the right advice.
To help you on your journey to becoming a professional photographer, we’ve spoken to international photographer, Drew Forsyth, who has provided his essential tips for those starting out in the industry.
Drew Forsyth has worked with the likes of astronaut Tim Peakes and Professor Brian Cox, as well as working on campaigns for fashion brand Maniere De Voir and the Manchester Histories Festival.
Read on to discover his advice for new photographers.
Learning photography is a lot like learning to play a musical instrument. In order to get good, you have to practise. Try to take a photograph every day - then look at the back of the camera and try to figure out how you can improve. Do this 100,000 times and you’ll really start to get good.
Figuring out where and how to store your images can be tricky, but once you have a system in place, managing your archive is a breeze. You never know when a client from five years ago might ask for their shots again because they’ve lost them!
3. Work with a lot of people
One of the best things about photography is that you get to work with lots of different people from all sorts of backgrounds. Embrace it! Want to shoot a fashion editorial? Find a makeup artist to collaborate with! They’ll have some ideas too, and it could lead to something amazing and unexpected.
If you want to get paid to photograph something, you need to have a track record of being good at that particular skill. If you want to get hired to photograph food for restaurants and you don’t have any food in your portfolio, you’re not going to get hired, so that needs to be a priority! Which leads me on to...
5. Working for ‘not’ money
I’ve been freelancing for six years, and I still will work for ‘not’ money. What this means is that whilst the job isn’t paid, the images I’ll get from the job will add value to my portfolio, or will give me a valuable experience, that I can then turn into money.
If I get the opportunity to photograph a famous footballer, or celebrity, I may well choose to lose money on that job, if I’m confident that having that image in my portfolio will lead to more bookings. By no means am I advocating working for free - it’s not for free, just not for money.
6. Get the **** out of bed
Pretty self explanatory, and stolen from the amazing Martin Atkins. You’re running a business here, and if you lie in until 10am every morning, that’s a full two hours a day that someone else is out there, hustling, stealing your jobs. Over the course of a week, that’s a whole extra day that someone else has. Get the **** out of bed.
Seriously. It’ll save you so much money and so many headaches!
8. Assist other photographers
Have you ever looked at a photograph, and thought ‘Damn, how on earth did they do that?’ Well, ask! Instagram, Twitter, and social media in general has made it very easy to get in touch with people, and you can learn so much by assisting, or helping out other photographers. Even just an email saying ‘Hi do you do work experience?’ can really pay off in the long run.