Five Important Lessons I’ve learnt from Being a Photographer
Four years ago, almost to the day, I became a full time wedding and family photographer.
I had a newborn baby on the boob, a MacBook on my knee, and an overwhelming case of ‘what am I going to do now?’.
Fast forward to today, I’ve successfully been a photographer and LOVED every possible lesson and journey it has brought with it.
I closed my photography business a few weeks before my family and I immigrated to the USA from South Africa a little over two months ago so I’ve had some time to reflect on the adventure that was Tanya Jacobs Photography.
Here are five important lessons I’ve learnt from being a photographer.
- YOU ARE YOU
When you start out, it’s so easy to want to compare and copycat your work and what you do on social media. I know I did.
Probably because it’s most comforting knowing you’re doing what everyone else is doing. Clients will like you and your work if you just do what everyone else is doing.
This couldn’t be further from the truth and you’re probably doing more damage to your brand than good.
Be authentically, 100%, genuinely YOU in your business. Clients like to look at your photos but connecting with YOU is what they really want. If they can pick up who you are through your work, they’re more likely to hire you.
2. YOU’VE GOT TO BE ORGANISED
There are stories of epic proportion stuff-ups and they’re scary.
Trust me, I have my own and it’s taken me years to move past it.
You know that fear of losing a client’s wedding photos? Yup. It happened. And it’s the worst thing that ever happened in my photography career.
Fortunately, it was no error on my part (well.. not entirely but I’ll share on this later), but being organised is definitely the best way to avoid things going wrong.
Have systems in place. Have your diary up to date. Have enough storage space on your back up drives. Have back ups of your back ups. Be organised.
3. FIGURE OUT WHAT’S IMPORTANT TO YOU
Is it pretty, editorial images or is it heart-warming family moments? Is it a mixture of both? Are you more candid? Are you more posed? The most important thing about being a wedding photographer, to me, was capturing the emotion, love and togetherness of the day. Family was high up on my priority list and candid, joyful moments is what I constantly looked for.
What’s important to you? Figuring that out means you’re going to shoot with far more heart. And when you do that, you attract clients who know that what’s important to you, is what’s important to them.
4. IT MIGHT BE HARD WORK
Wedding days are super, duper, my-feet-are-aching long and the editing afterwards while sitting hunched over a computer? Ouch.
While it’s not as glamorous as it looks, it’s always filled with happy smiles while editing, and teary eyes while capturing such raw, human moments. It’s always, always worth it.
5. BELIEVING IN YOURSELF
It took me a while to love my work. I would walk away from a wedding or shoot, having enjoyed shooting, but the minute I pulled up the photographs to edit, I’d hate them.
Once I’d defined who I wanted to work with, and how I wanted to serve them, I truly loved what I created. I started to believe in myself to consistently deliver the same quality of work for each wedding or shoot, because I believed in what I was creating and in myself.
When it comes naturally from and for you, it’s easier to believe in yourself and what you create.
6. BONUS: SHARING AUTHENTICALLY IS THE GAME CHANGER
Writing changed my business. Not only was I sharing stories visually, but sharing with words and it truly captivated my audience.
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