Are you someone who is entering the world of photography but still don’t quite know what you’re doing babe? Yep, I’ve been, I’m still somewhat there, but I wanted to highlight the top 5 photography mistakes I’ve made so far in my business and how I would do things differently. I wanted to share this with the hope of teaching other aspiring photographers exactly what you need to do to get started!
#1 I didn’t do my research
Ok, so I actually DID do research but not enough! I didn’t know the different between a crop-frame camera and a full-frame camera when I first went to buy my own DSLR. And I really wish I did know. I ended up buy myself a crop-frame camera and while it’s an amazing camera, I really would have preferred to invest in a full-frame camera. One year into my business and I’m ready to upgrade to a full-frame.
For those wondering, a crop-frame camera essentially, crops your scene. It doesn’t get the whole frame. Which can sometimes see you backing yourself into a corner in really tight spaces. I use a 50m lens for all my shooting, which is more like an 85m lens with a crop-frame camera.
#2 I didn’t have ANY contracts in place
I cannot believe I was doing work WITHOUT a contract!! I had nothing to fall back on. Nothing to say what happens in the case of if my client didn’t like the photos, or if my client cancelled, or what kind of license my client has to use my photos. My work was not protected.
Now? I have 3 different contracts in place I use. I have one for product photography, one for portraits, and one for collaborations (yep, I ALWAYS use a contract for collabs as well). You need to know the different between copyright and what a license agreement is. You need to outline what your client is expected to do, and what you’re NOT expected to do. Take your time to research what should be in your contract.
I actually found numerous templates online I used to set the foundation of my contracts and then I tweaked it to suit my own requirements.
#3 I gave away raw images
I’m actually ashamed to admit this. I didn’t even know this wasn’t good practice when it came to issuing photos to clients. I had NO idea! But when I think about, I can understand why. At the end of the day, those images are a representation of my own work. If someone releases those photos unedited, then that could potentially hurt my reputation.
Now, I don’t normally issue raw images. So, why did I do it? I had trouble with some colour correction on a few images and my client wanted to have a go themselves. And in all honestly, I still don’t know how I would deal with this situation if it happened again. I probably should have outsourced that one part instead of giving my client the raw photos. In the past I’ve been able to fix colours to my client’s pleasing but this one time got me beat!
I did request that I approve all photos before them being released to at least cover my work. But at the end of the day, the only images you should be issuing to your clients is the final edited photos.
#4 My Communication Wasn’t Strong
When I first started, I didn’t issue any sort of client brief. I didn’t ask enough questions to gauge what my client really wanted. At the beginning this lead to a couple of re-shoots. For one client I shot for 5 hours over two weekends to get just 18 images! Purely because our communication wasn’t strong from the beginning. And that doesn’t even include editing time!
With each shoot, I started to add more questions to my client brief so I could ensure I gave them exactly what they wanted. The last thing I want is for my client to be unhappy with the photos so I do everything in my power to get all the information I need right from the start!
#5 No Payment, No shoot
I get that photography is an investment. And a few hundred dollars worth at that. But, my time is also valuable to me. The thing is, someone could say they want to do a shoot with you and ask to book in a date.
If you say ‘yes, it’s locked in without payment’ and they end up cancelling on you, you could have potentially booked someone else in who WILL pay you. Payment means that the person is serious about wanting to get photos taken for their brand. I totally get that things come up and I don’t mind when they do. But then it’s easier to re-schedule someone who has paid, than someone who has not paid.
If I’m doing portraits, I enforce that either full or 50% payment is made 2 weeks before the date. If I’m doing product photography, I ensure full payment is made before I even start shooting.
Your Takeaway – 5 Photography Mistakes
My processes are still evolving, but those are the 5 things I wish I knew when I started my photography business. It’s been a MASSIVE learning curve for me and I still continue to learn about this industry on a daily basis.
Talk soon babe,