For Photographers- Q & A

Lately I've been receiving questions from other photographers about business and photography stuff. To be honest, this surprises me. I know (or at least I'm crossing my fingers) others feel the same regardless what they do in life. I'm sure doctors, motor cart drivers and ice cream makers all have days where they have no idea how they are doing what the do. How did one get here and what makes me a go-to person? Like I said... I'm surprised by this. Honored, but surprised.

There is one saying that looms in the back of my head from elementary days. It goes something like this, "There are no dumb questions. Chances are if you have a question someone out there has the same question." You know what I mean. I even hear it on the radio. Call in! But whatev. I'll ride the FAQ or Q&A train. If it helps someone then that's enough for me.

Here goes nothing. I've decided to post Q&A's. Feel free to ask more via email if you want it posted up here. I want to make this an ongoing thing.... I've been given so much help it's time to Pay it Forward.

The 1st question comes from Lauren.
Q: I was just wondering if you would share a few of your tips on how you got started and how you learned the specifics about photography."

A: How I got started is another story all together that I'll share with you... maybe next week... but learning the specifics of photography looks something like this: Education. Practice. Trial and Error. Art History.

I know that's like oh-so vague so I'll break it down for you.

Education: We are in a technology driven field so it's vital to keep up with the times. Take seminars, join national organizations such as PPA, and WPPI and local ones as well (Oregon as PPO and PMPA). They are continually offering workshops and seminars to attend. It's a huge jump start info the industry.
Practice. You know your mom always said practice makes perfect. Well, turns out she was right! You will never be able to advance in what you do if you expect yourself to be perfect the first time around. That applies to anyone in any area of life. Really, do you think we learned to read perfectly the first time we picked up a book? Photography is the same way. Sometimes your rocky but sometimes you're great... the more you shoot the more times you will be great. Guaranteed.
Trial and Error. Trial and Error spills into practice but I think deserves it's own category. If you see something you love shoot it from all sides. For example: a person. You naturally want to show their face because we learned this awesome phrase which I think should be extracted from the English language. It goes something like this "Cheese!" Ugh. Photographs are stories. They are moments. A real life moment is not the second you say cheese. Photograph the back of one's head just to break the mold. The best thing of all is if it's terrible just delete it. Sometimes it's so vital to our growth to just break the mold. Change the expected.
Art History. This is vital for me... but not for everyone, but for me, yes. I truly believe I know composition like a rock because of my studies in art history. Yes, some of the poses are traditional but you make it your own. Think of it this way; painters spend hours, maybe even days, studying the light, choosing the perfect accessories and location and subject. They sketch to no end and paint a understudy before they begin the actual painting. That's two paintings plus endless sketches for one image. My point is– they spent time and thought on the work. We should be so lucky to view their work and learn to do the same.

Thanks Lauren! Great question.

The next Q comes from Erica.
Q: What do you do for advertising?
A: Well, not a whole lot. My goal is strictly referral based business. That's my goal. Right now you can find Soul Mates Photography on a few wedding planning websites as well as local planners blogs. I've found that the best way to get your name out there is to provide outstanding service coupled with a fabulous product and a good attitude. Your name will get around. I would also recommend finding local businesses who you would like referring to your own clients to and work with them. People want to do business with people they like and feel comfortable with. Be the person you would want to refer and business will come.

Well! I hope that helped someone out there. By no means am I a expert but that's my opinion and it works for me :) I'll leave you with a archived photo of yours truly... Josh took this of me on our vacation last May. It's not really that great of a photo... horizon line running through my head, it looks like I'm talking, and there is this really distracting little man right by my face... but I like it. I like that it's real and I like that it's relaxed and casual. So there. Sometimes in the guidelines of life you have to break free and do what's best for you.

Big Smiles! Melissa Tomeoni with Soul Mates Photography



Lauren West said...

thanks so much, Melissa!

quick question-- I'm not sure if you're using a Canon, but I am thinking to upgrade my Xsi to a professional camera, and can't decide between the 40D and 50D. Do you have an opinion on what might be better? :)


Erin Fitzpatrick-Bjorn said...

Here's another question for a blog entry (if you're looking for more)

I've noticed your colors are generally pretty vivid on the photos you post. Are you willing to share your secret recipe?

ian and maalaea photography said...

Melissa, thank you for sharing again. Your advice it so helpful!


Melissa with Soul Mates Photography said...

I love your questions girls! i don't use cannon... but i can recommend pro photo supply. they are super in there. it's in portland. stop in and check them out. be sure to ask all the questions you can!!

maybe i will share me secret in another upcoming post!! good idea!