After a recent post titled Tips For Your First Photography Job I received a series of emails with questions and comments. It is exciting that there are photographers about to shoot their first paid job! I’ve taken that feedback and put together 7 more tips for your first photography job. There really are an unlimited number of tips. These 7 focus on yourself and your client. I hope they are useful for you.
Tip #1 – Keep the Client Informed. When you preparing for your first job, think about your client experience and take the time to explain the process to them. If you are doing a family portrait shoot, plan your time from beginning to end, and explain the process to the client. This might include the date and time of the shoot, advice to the client on wardrobe, the time-frame you expect to deliver the final images, what the client needs to do about image selection, and when final products will be delivered. The key is to be able to explain this to your client so that they know what is happening. There is nothing worse than hearing a story where a client doesn’t know when their images or albums will be delivered. Keep the client informed, manage their expectations, and deliver to those expectations.
Tip #2 – Back Up Your Images. Ok – boring tip alert! I haven’t heard from anyone who has had a gear failure and lost the images from their first photography job. Hopefully it won’t happen to you. To guard against this, back up your images in multiple locations. You don’t want a couples wedding images only on your laptop. If your laptop gets stolen, then you have a very uncomfortable discussion coming up with your clients. I keep my images on my laptop, an external hard drive, and an offsite storage facility. Be boring, back up your images. It is worth avoiding a very uncomfortable conversation with your client.
Tip #3 – Visit the Venues. This is a very obvious and very important tip. If you are shooting a wedding you need to have visited the venues for the ceremony, reception, and any other venues you are using. If you are shooting an outdoor family portrait – visit the location and consider the different backgrounds you could use. What will you do if the weather is bad? What lighting conditions are likely? What equipment will you need? Visit the venues in advance so that you know how to handle different conditions. Making it up on the go isn’t a good idea.
Tip #4 – Different Lenses, Different Looks. Be ready to use different lenses to create different looks. If you are shooting an outdoor family portrait, you will get a different look from a 50mm prime lens, than you will with a 70-200mm lens. Use different lenses to create different looking images. This will ensure your client has a range of images to choose from, and increases your likelihood that they will want to purchase prints, albums or other products.
Tip #5 – Manage Yourself. On the day of your first shoot it is likely you will be nervous. Consider how you will perform at your best. Got all your equipment ready the night before? Got a full gas tank in your vehicle? Formatted your memory cards? Think through what is going to get you ready to deliver an excellent client experience.
Tip #6 – Plan Your Timings. It comes with experience to know how much time you need. When I’m shooting the bride and bridesmaids getting ready for the wedding, experience has taught me how long I’ll need to get a range of top shots. I’ve got a good idea for the minimum time I need, the ideal amount of time, and what is too much time. Without this experience, you will need to plan and then allow a little longer. You will also need to consider the time to travel between locations if its a multi location shoot. Don’t cut it too tight. Having appropriate time will help produce good images.
Tip #7 – Learn From This Shoot. Finally, go easy on yourself! On your first shoot, don’t expect that everything will go perfectly and to produce award winning images. That shouldn’t be your goal. Aim to have a satisfied client who will promote you and your work. When the shoot is finished give thought to – what went well? what could have gone better? how could you deliver an even better client experience? what is your assessment of the images you created? how could they be stronger or more diverse? Your first paid shoot is a great place to develop your skills and your client experience. Take the time to learn from this shoot.
I hope ‘more tips for your first photography job’ have been useful. If you have any questions, please comment on this post. I will be happy to try and answer them. Good luck for your first photography job.