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For The Photographer: Top 5 Mistakes New Photographers Make

Hey there! If you're new to photography and don't know where to start, look no further, I'm your girl. Today we are going to go over the top 5 mistakes new photographers make (I would know, I made these mistakes myself). So, here we go.

Mistake #1

Not having a contract. Yikes, big yikes. Even if you feel like your work isn't perfect enough to necessitate a contract, you need a contract. That's right, I'm looking at you. Your contract does many things, one of which is to protect you. It also protects your client and sets guidelines and boundaries. Only recently did another photographer point out that I should have it in my contract that a meal and break is needed if shooting anything longer than an 8 hour wedding. What!? How did I not think of that?? But she was right, it should be in there. Otherwise, next thing you know, you're shooting a 12 hour wedding, on your feet all day, no meal and....well, it wasn't necessarily in your contract that you need one....or deserve one. But, you definitely do! Although, let's be real, most clients are nice enough you don't even have to ask for a meal, they just give you one anyway. But, I digress. Your contract should also go over things such as rescheduling, cancellation, fees, mileage and sooo much more. You can find plenty of contract templates online or have an attorney build one for you.

Mistake #2

Not shooting RAW rather than JPEG. This one may not seem like a big deal, but trust me...the difference it makes. Oh, wow! Shooting RAW allows you to make advanced edits if needed. Shot a little too dark? If working with RAW images, this isn't a problem. You see, all the data was captured, even in the dark spaces. If shooting JPEG, those dark spaces will be fuzzy, unfocused and full of noise when lightened, there's simply not enough data to bring up from those underexposed images. Same goes for overexposed images, if you shoot JPEG, you may have found that your blown out image looks blank when you bring down the exposure. RAW really is the way to go. I've seen almost fully black photos turn into masterpieces because the photographer shot RAW and was able to work with the image. I could write an entire blog post going into depth on this, but I'll keep this short. If you're on the fence, or nervous about switching to RAW, many cameras will allow you too shoot both, saving an image in both RAW and JPEG on your camera. So, what are you waiting for? Make the switch!

Mistake #3

Not having confidence in yourself. Oof. I probably could have made this #1. To have confidence is to invest in yourself, to invest in your business, your education, to take risks in order to grow. It means you grin and bare it even when the going gets tough, because you know you can do it. It means you "fake it 'til you make it" even if you feel imposter syndrome creeping in. If you don't at least try to have confidence, you won't get anywhere. Ouch, tough love.

Mistake #4

Doesn't take constructive criticism. Another tough love lesson. If you aren't in any local photographer groups or groups on Facebook, I highly recommend getting into one or two at least. As you start out, try posting some photos asking for cc (constructive criticism) and see what the majority of feedback looks like. Are people saying you need to work on posing? Alright, work on your posing. Majority of comments saying you edited your photos with too much saturation? Could very well be true. The point is, feedback is a good thing, the good and the bad feedback. Don't ask for cc if you don't intend to improve your work. And please, don't take it personal. Most photographers want to help each other and get you to the point you want to be at. So, if you say " Something about my edits just doesn't seem right. What can I do to fix it??", you can be sure you'll have a whole community there to have your back and help you out.

Mistake #5

Viewing mistakes as a bad thing. Oh, I love this one. This really does apply to every aspect of life. Did you know I worked in banking before I quit the "9 to 5" to do photography full time? True story. And I made mistakes on the job. Ohhh, did I make mistakes. But I quickly found out that's how you become a master at something. Mess up enough, and you'll know all the ways NOT to do something. How does this apply to photography? Easy. My first year in business I didn't have a contract. That was a mistake, but I learned some lessons from that. My first few weddings I didn't use a flash. Yeah, learned my lesson on that one too. Were the photos awful? No, they still turned out beautiful and my clients still loved them. But I found that using flash made my images crisp, clear, and free of noise. Mistakes are tools for learning. Try to avoid them if you can, but certainly don't view mistakes as negatives.

I think I'll leave you with a couple quotes before wrapping it up. These ones really stick with me as of late.

"Don't be afraid to give up the good to go for the great"

-John D. Rockefeller

"The best way to predict your future is to create it."

-Abraham Lincoln

Best of luck,


Spirited Sage Photography

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