Getting Started as a Photographer
For as long as I can remember, I always had a love for photography. I would find myself watching a scene play out before me—the sun setting over the ocean, two lovers walking along a beach, kids playing in a park—and wonder whether I could capture the reality of the moment in a photograph. Still, I considered photography merely a hobby while I pursued a ‘real’ career. Becoming a photographer? That’s too out there, isn’t it?
After my first child was born, and I finally got the porridge out of my brain, I found my camera in my hand more than ever. As might be expected, photographing my own child gave me so my joy, but it was only after several friends pointed out how much they liked the images that I considered taking photographs of other children. My confidence grew through this feedback process and I put myself through an after-hours photography course to get to know the technical side of the art.
Getting Started as a Photographer
After those first baby steps, I opened myself up to all sorts of photographic challenges. I did a wide range of child and family portraits and wedding photography; I even photographed pets and products. Through the process I learnt what I liked and what I didn’t. And eventually, I came full circle. I realised that I wanted to focus on newborn and baby photography. This was where I was most at peace and where my passion, aptitude and creativity came together in harmony. I found my sweet spot.
Slowly building up the equipment I needed (not necessarily what I wanted); I then took the step of spending a day shadowing a newborn photographer I regarded highly. This mentoring investment answered the questions I had, helped me fine tune my own style, and gave me the confidence to launch out on my own. I realised I could either be overwhelmed by all I couldn’t do, or be inspired by what I could. The latter choice was far more liberating and empowering.
By the way, you can chart my progress from 2012, through 2013 and 2014 here. I wish I could go further back (but I changed from a very weak blogsite to this website in 2012, and lost much of my earlier work, pre-2012). Incidentally, make sure you record your early days, your experiences and your images. Then you too will have a map of your own journey. It’s both illuminating and encouraging to look back and see the lessons you’ve learned and the progress you’ve made. Oh, and make sure you start with the best website software that you can. Don’t mess around. Get it right the first time. If you need a place to start, just shout. My husband runs a webdesign business that marries a good looking website with SEO best practice.
Now sought-after as both a newborn photographer and a mentor to photographers, I’ve learnt the old adage that nothing worthwhile comes quickly or easily. Even if you have the aptitude for it, hard work, patience and a willingness to learn is essential to succeed. And this is particularly true of newborn photography, where learning to pose newborn infants is an art form, taking composite pictures of difficult poses is essential, and photography sessions often last over four hours (allowing time for feeding and soothing, and so on.)
If you’re thinking of getting into newborn photography, you can download my free newborn photography session checklist here, a resource I share with photographers looking to shadow me in mentoring sessions. My blog is also filled with articles to enrich photographers.
Whether your niche is as a newborn photographer, wedding photographer, or anything else you point and shoot at, remember: you eat an elephant one bite at a time.