Friday, February 20, 2009

Have you abandoned Your Dreams?

By Dan Eitreim

If you were a professional photographer, working every day at a job you love, how would your life change? Would a career making beautiful images make your dreams come true?

Well, if you aren't making any money as a professional photographer, what's holding you back?

Are you afraid your images, "won't stack up?" Have you fallen into the trap of comparing your work to all the best magazine photographers? Or have you been looking at all those stunning, photo contest winners? You know, those incredible, breathtaking shots that we look at and sadly shake our heads (knowing in our hearts that we could never do THAT!) once again letting our dreams die and returning to our boring, soul sucking lives?

We've screwed up!

Those pictures aren't the normal, everyday work of a pro photographer! The magazine shots are the result of TONS of photo retouching and the contest winners are once in a lifetime photographs. If they weren't something special, the photographer would never have entered them in the contest! And these shots are the one's we allow ourselves to be intimidated by. Don't you do it!

Swing by the local mall, go to the first portrait studio you see, (there's usually several) and watch for a little while. Soon, you'll be saying to yourself, "I could do better than that!" Want a tip? You probably COULD do a better job.

Seriously, take a look at that photographer. They are usually just college or high school kids, working part time to earn a few extra bucks. They don't have any sort of photo education or super talent. For most of them, the only photo knowledge they have comes from spending a few hours with the store manager who taught them how to put film (or a digital memory stick) into the camera and a few basic poses. Then, they were turned loose on the public for a little "on the job training".

Most likely, they walked into the mall one day, saw a help wanted sign and thought, "That looks like an easy job!" Then they applied - got lucky - and were chosen. Or, just as likely, one of their friends works there and they got the job that way.

In other words, they got the job of YOUR dreams, by sheer luck. They got the job of your dreams, the one that you always felt was out of your reach!

Let's discuss their abilities and knowledge. (I'm hoping the standards are higher now!) Some time ago, I had a chance to talk with the manager of a local branch of a chain baby portrait studio. She'd been manager for three years and had NEVER even bothered to look and see what brand of camera she was using. When asked, she had no idea. AND I guess one lighting setup fits all because the lights were permanently attached to the wall.

I can hear the mad rustling of paper as all you mall shooters scramble to write me some hate mail. Don't bother. I'm sure that many of you are knowledgeable, caring and do a terrific job. That wasn't my point. The point is; you don't have to be the reincarnation of Ansel Adams to make a decent living as a photographer. People mostly buy a few basic poses. Learn to create and shoot them and you are on the way. It's that easy.

Then, once you learn the basic poses and lighting patterns, you need to learn a few time tested and proven marketing strategies. Ones that will have potential clients banging down your doors and clamoring for your services. To learn these, check out my website - the links are in my resources box. I believe ANYONE with an interest in photography and just a tiny bit of competency, can be making money with their camera within two weeks. By anyone, I mean YOU. - 16651

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