Category: Information

Competing with cheap photographers

Competing with cheap photographers

“They aren’t your clients”, “Set yourself apart”, “Why do you care what others charge”, “Everyone starts somewhere”.

We have heard all these and more when the discussion appears talking about cheap, lowball photographers who do full sessions for almost nothing, give all them images from the session (often 50 or more).  So many photographers talk about how they don’t compete with those people because they have clientele who understand the value of their “art”.

Let’s actually think about this and analyze markets a bit.

Here is the latest victim of the cheap, lowballer markets; Bowens International Ltd, the manufacturers of studio flash and lighting for 94 years.  The reason?  Cheap products from other manufacturers.  Read the story here.  I must admit that I have bought a flash from one of the manufacturers listed.  Low price, good quality, full of features.  I bought the flash mostly out of curiosity but the quality of the product makes it difficult to justify 3 or 4 times the cost (in some cases nearly 10 times the cost).  This has led to closures in the steel, oil, and auto industries.  When Walmart comes to town its presence often has a dramatic effect on small business .

We can stick our heads in the proverbial sand and keep telling ourselves that we don’t compete with the cheap lowball photographers but in reality you do.  We all do.  Look at the recent developments in photojournalism when entire photography departments have been closed and laid off depending on reporter supplied or reader supplied photographs. Some larger magazines and newspapers still buy photographs from freelance photojournalists but at a much lower price than a few years ago.

I don’t intend to make it sound like a doomsday scenario but unless we recognize the problem and work to address it, eventually your clients will be the clients of cheap lowball photographers.

So how do we compete?  Good question.  The first step is admitting there is a problem.  The whole thought of “educating” the clients is ridiculous to me.  They don’t care about your expenses.  We need to educate the cheap lowball photographers, those that don’t follow the laws and good business practices of having insurance, paying taxes, obtaining necessary business licenses, etcetera should be noted and if necessary reported just as we would report anyone who violates the law.  Those who fail to follow this good business practice will also have an effect on professional photography in the number of lawsuits, lost respect for the profession and more.

 

 

 

Building your photography

Building your photography

If you go back and look through several recent articles you may think this site and I am just about criticizing new photographers.  That is not the case.  Just like basic training in the military, I believe that we need to start with the basics.  Often that means even tearing down the old so we can re-build.   Many of these articles are also geared towards me, in fact, most are directed at me to serve as reminders to myself.

The articles beginning after this one will work on building a solid foundation for photography.  That being said, this site is NOT a substitute for real face to face, student-teacher interaction education.  I’m sure most of you are familiar with the commercial in the video below.

YouTube and many photography websites, books, and blogs are wonderful resource material to supplement your knowledge but they are not a substitute for real in-person classes where you have direct interaction with instructors, including feedback from them on your work.

 

So you just bought your first real camera and want to be a pro

So you just bought your first real camera and want to be a pro

So you just bought your first camera or did so in the past year.  Now you want to become a professional photographer but where do you start?

First, let me tell you it isn’t all peaches and cream being a professional photographer.  You have clients to deal with, and some of them can be daunting and exhausting.  You have deadlines to meet.  You have to be your own boss, which is both bad and good because no one is going to give you your work assignments.  You have to be a self-starter.  Sure, you can work from home, which is also good and bad.  I can do a lot of work in my pajamas, but it is also bad.  You have all the distractions of home.  If you have children, they will come in and want everything children could want or need.   You have the television, you have all the comforts of home.  Quitting time isn’t always locked in either.  Back to the clients, it becomes all about business.  Your family and friends will invite you to all their events and celebrations but ask you, “can you bring your camera.”  You have taxes, licensing, equipment, insurance, telephones, business cards, do you take checks?  What happens when the check bounces?  The competition, oh the competition, there are hundreds of new professional photographers just in your area every year.

All that being said, being a professional photographer isn’t bad, but the photography part is the least amount of time you spend doing.  Eighty (80%) percent, or more, of your time, is spent on other tasks.   Oh and weekends, forget about it.  You’ll be working.

When I started my venture into full-time photography I spent 7 days a week working.  Often 10-12 hour days by the time you count the photographing, the records keeping, the photo editing, the location scouting.

Discouraged yet?  Don’t be, it isn’t all bad and this article isn’t intended to discourage anyone but rather to give you my experiences and some aspects to consider.

What I have learned

One of the hardest lessons I learned is that it is now a business.  As such it is all about getting paid and making a profit.  It is vitally important to calculate your expenses.  This includes stuff that you may already own, such as your camera.  This stuff will need to be replaced.   Would you work 50-60 hours a week for less than minimum wage?  Probably not.  I see it all the time.  New photographers, in order, start out price themselves too low.

Here is a list of the lessons I have learned.

  1. Prices.   You can’t just pull a number out of your head or thin air.  You have to know your costs.  You need to calculate how much time you spend getting ready for a session.  You need to calculate how much time to get to the session, shoot the session and get back home.  Now comes the time to sit down and cull and edit photos.  Would you do all your paperwork and miscellaneous tasks at your previous 9-5 job for free?  Probably not.  Calculate your expenses such as insurance, yes you will need insurance even if this is a “home-based” weekend warrior job.  You can get sued for “failure to perform or deliver”, someone can trip over a stick while on a photo session and break their arm.  What if your client knocks over your camera since it is a business your renters or homeowners insurance won’t pay.
  2. Equipment.  I know, you already have a camera.  You need more than one.  What if your camera stops working even though it is a wonderful piece of equipment a technological wonder they do malfunction and wear out.  If you have scheduled sessions with only one now you have no gear.  Remember the failure to perform or deliver?  Now is where you can get sued.  EVEN IF YOU DIDN’T GET PAID YET!
  3. Websites.  Yeah, there are those free places but like everything you get what you pay for.   Setting up a website can be time-consuming.  Look for a good provider that will allow you to use your own domain name, xyzphotography.com as an example.  This gives you a professional look.   I can tell you from running this blog site if you have to maintain all the background stuff and the spam/hacker attempts for your website it can take a lot of time and energy.
  4. Get educated.  When I first wanted to start a photography business I had no formal training outside of a couple of workshops.  My photography was not great.  It was okay, at best.  I decided to get a photography education.  It was expensive but in the end, I found it to be quite rewarding and my photography improved 10 fold.
  5. Lighting.  This somewhat goes with getting educated, but this is a specialized area.  Learning about lighting allowed me to not be a slave to what nature provided.  It has allowed me more latitude in when and where I can shoot.  I have learned to use light modifiers, diffusers, reflectors, flash/strobes.  I even take these things when shooting on location outside.  It has cut down my digital workflow because my images are much closer to what I envisioned.

These five areas will really help you gain a better foothold on starting a real business.  It will also save you a lot of time, frustration, and money.  It will build your confidence in your products.

The struggle of a freelance photographer

The struggle of a freelance photographer

Let me take a moment of your time and talk about the struggles of a freelance photographer.  I know that some of you can relate to many of the issues freelance photographers face.

Motivation

In the beginning our my freelance photography venture I was driven by my passion for photography.  I don’t mean the passion that many talks about, I mean a PASSION.  I mean the type of passion where you talk about something all the time to anyone who will give you 10 seconds of time.  The type of passion where you read anything and everything on the topic.  The type of passion where you practice it EVERY DAY for hours and hours until your significant other comes and says, “Are you about finished?”

At some point, you begin to question your motivation because “business” is slow.  You have had some successes but your cash flow out still far exceeds your cash flow in.  This question about your motivation begins to question your skill and your purpose.

Then suddenly, something comes up and the motivation level is high again.  This roller coaster of up and down motivation.

A way I have found to keep going was to rekindle my blog site.  I started fresh with a new name.  Much of the content is similar to that first site, the difference is that I now know writing blog content, be it tutorials or information such as this article keeps me motivated to move onward.

Pricing and clients

Ah, this.  The never ending questions.  Am I too expensive?  Am I too inexpensive?  Who would hire me?  Why would they hire me, am I too inexpensive?   Do I bill afterward or before?  Do I take partial payments?  Along with this also comes the questions of being a business person knowing that you need to be paid but question whether or not you sound too pushy when it comes to talking with the potential client about payment.

As a freelance photographer family and friends have seen the examples of your work.  This is both a good thing and a bad thing.  They recognize your ability to provide high quality and want to invite you to their gathering and add, “can you bring your camera?”.  So now are you a guest or working.  You then get the questions about “family and friends discounts” or “I want to hire you but why is that so much? (what they don’t add is your only taking photos?”

Expenses

I quickly realized that there was some gear that I needed that wasn’t necessary when I was just taking photographs as a hobby.  As a “freelance” photographer if a piece of equipment breaks, or malfunctions while you are working if you don’t have a replacement you are out of business until it gets fixed.  This can be costly, especially when you have contracts signed and have taken some payment.  Even though I work out of my home, I have an entire room with equipment.  Lights, cameras, lenses, props, reflectors, holders, backdrops, and I constantly find that I really need a few more pieces, just in case.  This all adds up really fast.

In addition to the gear needed you have the costs of websites, domain names, insurance, telephones, computers, software.  Oh, and did we talk about slow business?

The competition

As a business, you now have to know the competition.  With the advances in technology, it has become easier than ever to get good photographs without knowing anything about photography.  put the camera in the “green automatic” position point in the direction and push the button.  Now everyone wants to be “in the business” offering the same products at much lower prices.  (I don’t want to sound pretentious and hateful to those just starting out, far from it.  I want to support those people totally, which is why I run this site and offer classes and mentoring).  The problem with this is manyfold, however, I will just focus on one quality.   Many times those who are brand new having little to no training or experience can do a decent job and get a quality that the average consumer believes is good.  The difference is that those who are experienced and trained can get a product that is high quality on a regular and consistent basis under a variety of conditions because we have learned that Murphy’s law is alive and well.

I’ll use a recent example.  I went on a photo session recently for a local band.  The day was going to be a bit cool otherwise no significant lighting issues, or so we may have thought.  Being trained and experienced, I brought reflectors/diffusers, light stands, lights, umbrellas, light meters, and an assistant.  Two other photographers showed up with just their cameras.  The area was highly shaded with open areas with harsh sunlight.  During the session, I employed the use of diffusers and my assistant and was quickly followed by the other two photographers to take advantage of the extra gear.  The result was one of my photographs was selected for publication with none from the others.  Even though this worked out for me that day, often it comes down to a missed opportunity because the “business” went elsewhere in many instances.

As a result, I have reconfigured my prices, which before I wanted to be affordable for the working middle class, to now not worry about competing with the low end.

Again, I don’t intend to make this sound like a rant, but rather a struggle to consider.

Where do we go now

Even though these struggles, and more, are real  we move forward.  We determine a course  of action to overcome these struggles, or, at very least, to contend with them and remember why we went freelance in the first place.  To fulfill our passion.

 

Learn to Critique your own work

Learn to Critique your own work

As a photographer, it is important to learn to critique your own work.  It is also important to know your audience when sharing your work, especially as a good example.  I saw this happen recently in a comment from a professional photography organizations recent post on social media.  The post was the image the image below that the organization shared on a social media site.

One of the comments to the photograph above talked about the disappointment in brides with their cheap photographers after the wedding.  A reply to that comment was, “Did a wedding free didn’t do a perfect job, it was family (and portfolio work) I’m still a student. Not claiming to be great but, not everyone cheap screws it completely up. LOL Below… Proof”

Here is the “proof”

The photographer is correct when they said, “it isn’t great”.   It isn’t even good.  This photograph, to me, looks like something I could do with my cellphone and an Instagram filter.  To me, and I’m certain others who are members of this professional organization feel the same.  This is an example of “you get what you pay for.”

If you are not sure what I am talking about let us analyze this image.

The both the bride and groom appear to be wearing white, which has a very distinct color cast.  (Note: I looked through other photographs this photographer took of this same couple and the color cast varies throughout the images.  In some cases, it is very blue and in others, it is almost green.)  The vignette, oh the vignette.  It is way too dark.  I know, it is artistic and to that I say bullshit!  (Sorry for the language but at the moment I cannot think of any better term to use).  All the objects on the table serve as a distraction to the subject, which is clearly intended to be the happy couple kissing.  The skin tones appear to be way off unless they are orange, and I am still trying to figure out if the guy behind the couple is embarrassed or what since he is looking down and apparently laughing.

I believe I need to be clear here.  I am not a wedding photographer.  I have photographed some weddings and what I have learned is they are a very specialized type of photojournalistic portrait event photography.  I also would like to say I feel for the photographer, especially after reviewing other examples of their work.  This photographer, in my opinion, has no business taking on such an important task, for free or not.  I know that sounds harsh but I cannot silently sugarcoat my thoughts.  I know some of you will take great offense to these comments and try to defend this photograph.  I also know some of you will look at some of my photographs and pick them apart in an attempt to show I have no business giving my opinion.  The reason I feel bad for this photographer is this, they don’t realize how to critique their own work and compare it to the work done by professional wedding photographers, I don’t mean the weekend warrior types I mean the people who truly are experienced, well trained, highly skilled wedding pros which I am sure you can find and know who I mean.  This photographer has put this piece of work “out there” as an example of “good” in a forum of these professionals.  Is it any wonder why some of these highly trained and skilled professionals get all worked up about some “newbies”?

The lesson I would like to give us here is this, know your limitations.  Know your skill level.  Compare your work to those who are highly skilled and welled trained because that is the level you are attempting to measure yourself by ESPECIALLY when you are attempting to do the work of a highly skilled well trained professional.  By the way, I know my limitations and thus I don’t do weddings.  The weddings I have done I discouraged the bride and groom from using me.

So, how do you learn how to really analyze your own work?  Take a class from a real person where that person can and does critique your work.  Listen to others who actually know what they are doing and don’t become offended.  Also, realize that your work will be critiqued whether or not you want it to be done.

Why photographers don’t improve

Why photographers don’t improve

My last article was about “photography excuses“, where I talked about all the reasons I and others have for not doing photography.  In this article, I am going to give you my opinion why many photographers don’t improve.

Self-taught

Too many photographers are too hung up on the whole, “I’m self-taught”.  The problem with this is they are only teaching themselves half-way.  They watch YouTube, they read books, they follow groups on social media (another whole topic), and much more.  What they have not done is to learn to analyze their images to determine what they are doing wrong and right.  They only go on what they know.  There may be, and often there is, much they don’t know.  If you don’t know, you don’t know, you don’t know.  When reliant solely on feedback from social media groups it often becomes a proverbial, “the blind leading the blind”.   When someone who knows comments, it often turns into an “angry mob”, which I have personally experienced and is one of the reasons I am now, often, reluctant to offer comments on the work of others.  We don’t have to have the same “artistic” vision, but when mentioning the technical aspects, which are often quite apparent to the experienced and trained eye, we are often faced with “alternative facts”.

The problem with being solely “self-taught” is the lack of feedback from an experienced person.  (Believe it or not, there are a lot of people who claim some knowledge, which many times is based on myths or urban legends).

I can talk personally about the limitations of “self-teaching” as I was solely “self-taught” for years and, as I found out, stagnant in my growth.  I then took a photography course in 2011.  Since that time, I have learned how much I didn’t know that I didn’t know.  I also have found out just how inadequate my photography was before.  Does this mean you have to spend the money to take photography classes?  Not necessarily, but remember your lessons are only as good as your instructor.  So far, you can’t talk to online videos to ask questions, and believe me when I teach a class and give some instructions there are lots of questions.

How do you overcome this problem?  I suggest that before you buy more photography gear, invest in some in-person training.

Well I or the “client” likes it

Just because you or your client likes it doesn’t mean there isn’t room to improve upon it.  If you do get an honest analysis of your work don’t be so quick to throw this, or a similar comment out there.  Start a dialog.  The discussion is where the real learning is accomplished.

Learn the light

Photography is all about light.  There is nothing wrong with just working with natural light but learn to understand and see the light.  Learn how you can modify the natural light.  Learn to see highlights and shadows.  I see so many photographs of people who have harsh shadows in what are intended to be portraits.  These shadows often do not enhance the subject, or set a mood but rather keep us from seeing the subject.

Two of the best tools I have ever purchased are a reflector and a light meter.  A simple reflector can do wonders to soften the light, enhance the light, direct light, open up shadows, create shade and more.  A light meter can give us the amount of light falling onto a subject rather than reflected by the subject (yes there is a difference).  A light meter can make it easier to determine lighting ratios for portraits, which can give our subject depth and shape rather than flat lighting.  Once you have these tools you will never want to be without them.

Too much emphasis on editing

So many people want to jump right into editing photographs rather than learning how to capture the image to meet their vision.  Don’t get me wrong, I fully endorse the use of post production software and/or techniques.  I employ both on a regular basis.  I am also not one that is the hard-nosed “get it right in the camera”.  Learn to get the exposures and composition as close as is possible when taking the photograph.  Once you can do this on a regular basis then learn to “enhance” your images through post-production techniques.

Note: if you missed focus on your subject, i.e. it is out of focus, you can’t “fix” it.  It will always be out of focus.  You may be able to “help” a blurry image.  If you don’t know the difference do more reading.

Final thoughts

This list could go on a bit more, however, these are what I consider to be these most predominate reasons I have seen in my contacts both online and in person with photographers who want to learn and grow.

One way to avoid these issues is to invest in your education.  Most people don’t think twice about paying for a shiny new gadget or lens or camera but don’t want to spend any money on education.  Stop listening to the “YouTube” fanboys.  YouTube is a wonderful supplemental but it is not a replacement for a real class.

 

 

 

 

Yes! You can get sharp images with a kit lens

Yes! You can get sharp images with a kit lens

Recently I was asked if you can get sharp photographs using a kit lens.  My response was, “yes”.   This question got me to thinking about doing a “test” with a “kit lens”, but I didn’t have one any longer, so I borrowed an 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 kit lens from a friend.

This lens is often referred to as a kit lens because it is frequently included with a DSLR camera when sold as a “kit”, meaning with a lens and other accessories needed to start shooting right away.  These are often bought by people who are new to photography and/or using a dSLR.  These lenses are fairly inexpensive, typically under $200 U.S.  The housing is high-impact plastic as well as the lens mounts.

To conduct my tests I decided I would compare the lens to a Nikon 50mm f/1.8 because of a similar focal length and the Nikon 50mm f/1.8 being a prime lens (single focal length) is fairly sharp.  I didn’t want to use “professional” grade lenses in order to keep the costs down to what many beginning photographers would feel comfortable with buying.  I also chose to use a Nikon D80 10.2-megapixel camera which was introduced in 2006 to keep the argument down about using high-end professional level cameras.

To conduct the test, I used only natural available light.  I used a focus chart mounted on a piece of white cardboard held in place on a reflector stand.  I placed the stand with the focus chart in a sunlit area outside.  The camera was mounted on a tripod.  The photographs were shot in JPEG Fine “normal”.

The first two images were shot at f/5.6.

Focus chart shot with a Nikon 50mm f/1.8

 

Focus chart shot with a Nikon 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 “kit lens”

To check the sharpness of the focus I placed both image side by side in Photoshop and zoomed in 200%.

The 50mm f/1.8 is a bit sharper, however, both a very acceptable.  I attribute a portion of the sharpness to the fact that the 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 is wide open at f/5.6 at 50mm.  Given that fact, I re-shot each lens at f/8

As you can see, both a very close at f/8.

Conclusion, don’t think your gear is always holding you back.  Often it is understanding how to use the gear and its limitations.  Note:  I have not used an 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 in almost 5 years.

 

Step 2 to becoming a photographer – Stop buying gear

Step 2 to becoming a photographer – Stop buying gear

I know this one sounds odd because photography requires gear.  Here is the list of gear you need.

  1. Camera with a lens.
  2. Film or memory card for digital photography.
  3. Yourself.

Learn to use the equipment you have and start with these three basic things.  Why, because you don’t know what you need to invest in until you have an idea of what you need and what your current equipment cannot provide for you.

My advice is to ask yourself what a new piece of equipment will provide you that your current equipment cannot provide.  If your answer is something like, “sharper images because my photos look out of focus” there is probably another cause to the blurry or out of focus images that a new piece of equipment is not going to solve.

Far too often I have seen new photographers buy gear without knowing what they needed and ended up replacing previously purchased gear or having gear sit on a shelf never getting used.  To me, this is a waste of money that could be better spent on needed training or saved to buy what the photographer really needs.  Trust me on this one, I have done it myself.

 

 

So you want to be a photographer

So you want to be a photographer

So you want to become a photographer.  First, let’s narrow down what we are talking about.  Webster’s dictionary defines photographer as; one who takes photographs, especially as a job.  This is the type of photographer we will talk about here even though you may only want to be a hobbyist photographer.  The reason why I will focus on a professional photographer is this will give you, most times, the skills you need to know.

Get out of auto mode

I know many people will argue this point saying it isn’t necessary to shoot in manual mode.  The reason I say to get out of auto mode is because this will force you to learn how to achieve the exposure, focus, depth of field (how much of a scene is in focus), freeze or blur action, and much more.

Note:  In this article I won’t go into great detail on aperture, shutter speed, or ISO (film/sensor sensitivity to light).  I will cover these topics in subsequent articles.

Modern digital cameras contain power programs that will help determine good exposure, shutter speed when to use flash, focus and many other things.  That sounds great, right?  Sometimes it is great other times not so great.  The camera doesn’t know what is important to us in a scene.  It may choose a point of focus on an object other than our intended subject.  It may choose a shutter speed too slow or too fast. It may choose an aperture creating more depth of field than we want or not enough.  As the photographer, we know what is important in the scene or how we want our final image to appear, or at least we should know this if we are to become a photographer.

Stop buying gear until you know about your current gear

We all love new stuff.  We see a new lens, or a new camera and decide we want it because it is the latest greatest thing ever.  Until you know the in’s and out’s of your current gear, its limitations and capabilities you may just be wasting money and at the same time making your learning more complex.

Gear envy will eventually fade.  You will get to a point where you know what you need.

At the same time, cheap isn’t always the route to go.  I have owned a number of “cheap” pieces of gear to only need to replace it with more expensive gear.  This has increased my cost.  Once you understand exposure, focus, depth of field, ISO, how to use them to achieve your vision you will be in a position to make better-informed choices and decisions.

That cheap tripod may end up costing you hundreds or thousands of dollars because it failed.  The cheap flash may not have the power of functions you will need to achieve your vision.

I still use a flash that was introduced in 2003.  It still works and fits the need.

Don’t rely on social media for learning

Social media is fun.  It is entertaining.  It isn’t an educational resource that can be depended upon and I will explain why.

Unless you have met, in person, you never know who is on the other side of the keyboard giving you advice.  I don’t mean to imply that all advice you get from someone on social media is bad advice but that you should verify that information.  Does the other person just know how to do a good internet search or do they really know the information?  If it is the former, you can “Google it” yourself.  Do your own research.  Why, because it may also help you to understand the why behind the information.  Understanding the why will give you insight that you can use in the future to decide if it is appropriate to use or not use in the current situation.

The internet can be a wonderous place to gather information.  It can also be a disastrous place for information.  Check your source, verify the information.  Just because it is on the internet doesn’t make it true or false.

Find a school or mentor

This may often be a challenge, especially if you are in a small town or rural area.  There are a number of online schools or established photographers who will mentor you.  This may not be free but as the old adage says, “You get what you pay for”.  Before anyone asks, yes I did both.  I did an online school and had local mentors who helped me learn.

This is another area where some will disagree arguing that “you can learn everything from the internet”.  While this is often true it is also unlikely that you will push yourself to explore areas where you may not feel confident or genres of photography other than your current interest.  This may limit your growth.  Finding the school or mentor who pushes you to explore those areas may also expose you to a genre or style of photography you will enjoy.

Some issues to be aware of when finding a school or mentor.  Be wary of either that believe there is only one way to do something or attempt to make you a copy of themselves.

Stop worrying about editing

I will start by saying, I am NOT anti-processing.  In fact, I am all for it and encourage you as well as my students to learn editing and post-processing; in due time.  While we can “fix” some issues with a photograph in post-production the real goal, to me, of post-processing is enhancing a work rather than fixing it.  This is why learning about exposure, depth of field and composition is important.

Along with stop worrying about editing, don’t worry about logos and watermarks.  Again, this is something that should come later in your learning process.

Summarizing

Get out of auto, learn how to operate your camera.  Stop buying until you know what you need and why.  Don’t rely on social media as the sole source of knowledge.  Find a school or teacher to help guide you along the way and push you in your interest.  Stop worrying about editing.

This isn’t meant to be a complete list of areas to work on or a how to do it (I’ll cover some of the how to do it in subsequent articles).  This is meant to be a guide to help you get started on your quest.

 

 

The biggest mistake made by new photographers

The biggest mistake made by new photographers

The biggest mistake I see new photographers make is they attempt to jump right into working on getting a business started.  This includes; creating a catchy business name, logo, watermark, price lists, etcetera.  This is often done before a new photographer understands the difference between aperture, ISO, shutter speed.

I certainly can understand the enthusiasm and admire it.  That being said, don’t put the proverbial cart before the horse.  Learn how to become a photographer before attempting to work on a photography business.

How do you know if you are jumping in too fast?  If have to ask questions such as, “I have lens x and y.  Which is the best for [insert situation here]”?  You should be able to understand your gear and what each lens or piece of equipment is capable of doing under most circumstances.  You should understand shutter speeds, depth of field, aperture enough to decide how to handle most situations.  This doesn’t mean you need to be a master nor that you should never ask a question because we can encounter unique situations and problems.

I don’t want to discourage anyone from pursuing a dream.  In fact, I want to urge you to pursue your dream and start a photography business.  I would love to see those reading this to have a very lucrative photography business if that is your dream and wish.  What I want to discourage, though, is to jump in too quickly which often leads to two things, failure due to financial losses and failure due to frustration and lost desire caused by not having enough skills.