Magic Monday: Starting a Photo Business Part 2

Saying a camera takes nice pictures is like saying a guitar plays nice melodies.”  –Angelino Pan y Vino

Loved this recent article that so eloquently confirms our discussion last week, in understanding the skill to work your camera 🙂

So you now understand how to shoot in manual, you understand the functions of your camera… what’s next?

Just like the above quote, you may learn the basics of how to play melodies on the guitar without yet being an artist.  Coming from an intense background in music, its always interesting to me to see individuals who claim to play the piano or guitar when they only know the two or three songs that some friend taught them… the truly impressive musicians are usually a result of guided training, but most of all, lots of dedicated practice.

Almost a year ago, I was approached by a 15 year old potential piano student looking for his first teacher.  He came for his trial lesson with me, (having only touched a piano for the first time three months before) and proceeded to play me a Rachmoninoff Prelude.  I was slightly shocked knowing how much time (usually several years) it takes for most people to learn such a piece.  He still needed some refining in his technical approach (where the teacher comes in), but Taylor had already mastered one element that many people never do:  Dedication and practice.

“How much do you practice?”  I asked with curiosity.

“About three or four hours a day…” he answered casually.  He continued to explain how he had gone to a concert featuring an impressive pianist and wanted to be able to do the same thing.  He picked a song he liked and proceeded to spend several hours a day for the next three months learning a measure at a time.

Not everyone will be able to rocket launch their skill to that impressive degree, but the principle is still the same:

Progress is a result of dedicated practice.

What do you need to practice, if you already understand the camera mechanics?

Practice your photographic composition

Practice “seeing” the artistic side of the world you live in

Practice using different kinds of light

Practice being creative… thinking of your own ideas or building upon others you like… how can you make something your own?

Practice posing

Practice interacting with people

Practice editing

Practice Practice Practice

What can help you practice?

1.  Set Specific Goals.

A few years back when I first began the never ending journey to improve my photography, I set the goal to have at least one shoot a week (involving other people).  I searched for models and scheduled appointments to work with them to give me practice.  Being a full time grad student at the time, this pushed me enough to be consistently involved in furthering my photography, but allowed me the necessary balance to still fulfill my school/work/ and family responsibilities.  MUCH progress happened in the ensuing months that I consistently adhered to this goal.

In order to help my creativity to progress, I set a specific goal over a year ago to: Never shoot in the same location twice. It was just a little personal project for me to work on to increase my photographic eye and ability to generate my own ideas.

My rules?

a)  I had to find the location on my own (no copying ideas from other local photographers or going places I already knew were popular), and

b)  Since I was only going to be there once, I learned to exhaust the area of all its possibilities.  Not only did this goal GREATLY increase my creativity, I can no longer exist in this world without seeing so many possibilities. The experience was (and is) invaluable to me.  I still try to adhere to this goal as much as possible.

2.  365 Project

I’ve heard of several people embarking on this journey, which involves taking a picture every day of the year.  I should participate.  Maybe 2010 🙂

Someone who has taken this project to a higher degree with the specific goal of improving her photography is tasra365.  In speaking with an award winning photographer, she asked him how she could improve her photography.  His response?  He said, “If you want to improve your photography 300% in the next year, do three things:  1.  Take a picture a day.  2.  Read a page a day in your manual.  3.  Look at the work of great artists every day.”  Tasra’s project incorporates all three things.

“Practice is the best of all instructors”

Publilius Syrus quotes (Roman author, 1st century B.C.)

What have you found helps you practice?

next week:  building a portfolio

avatarBrooke Snow is a Lifestyle photographer in Cache Valley, Utah.  Brooke specializes as a Utah Senior photographer, Logan Senior photographer, Utah Family Photographer, Logan Family Photographer, Logan childrens photographer , Utah Childrens Photographer and is a photography teacher who enjoys teaching private photography lessons as well as monthly photography classes in Logan, Utah.

7 Responses

  1. I really need to set the goal of taking one picture each day. What helps me practice the most is actually getting out there and shooting. It’s so cliche but it’s cliche because it’s true! 🙂 Great post Brooke, oh and I loved that article from DPS too!!

  2. Not cliche at all Abbie! It’s one of those absolutely elemental things 🙂 You can look at other people’s photography blogs all day, read lots of books, understand the camera functions, study other great artists work (all of which is also helpful)… but the actual act of GETTING OUT THERE and working on it yourself will be where the true application and progress begins to happen.

  3. I was wondering if you had seen that DPS article… I loved all the comments comparing musical instruments with cameras, it really made sense to me.

    For me the two biggest areas that I have trouble practicing are posing and interacting with people. I feel unqualified to tell people how to pose since I don’t know how to pose either! This makes me nervous to ask people to pose for me, which keeps me from interacting with people. And I’m getting tired of landscapes, landscapes, landscapes… (no matter how well lit)

    I would love to hear your thoughts on this thorny challenge (for us non-people persons).

  4. Just ran across your blog, LOVE it! Congrats on embarking on the great adventure of motherhood!!

    Speaking of a 365 project, I did one for my 3rd child for everyday of his first year. You will be amazed at how fast your baby will grow!! I realize that may seem difficult right now as you adjust, but maybe that’d be a way to keep photography going for you? And for me, I was determined that the third child would not have LESS photos than the first two. Granted, not every day’s photo was a portrait, but I’m so glad I did it, and I grew in my photography too!

    in fact, here’s a slideshow of some of the photos:

    Can’t wait to see your baby boy! I hope you heal quickly! Blessings!

    1. Angie!

      What a fabulous idea! Thank you so much! I’m going to try and do it! It would be fun to make a book at the end of the year and truly see how they grow and change! I look forward to checking out your slideshow!

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