(Taken from my interview with RAW.)
What gear are you using?
I shoot with a Canon 5D Mark ii, prime and telephoto lens, I use flash minimally, studio lighting when the project calls for it.
Whats your favourite lens and why?
My favorite lens for a while was the Canon 24-70mmL until I recently got a 50mm1.4 and on occasion 50mm1.2L. I work a lot with sunflare and the prime lens allow me to capture light in ways I would never really have seen it before.
What sort of photography do you mainly do?
When I first moved to San Antonio, I was one of few photographers specializing in Vintage inspired photography so I did a lot of family/fashion work and editing for other photographers. With the increase of photographers in the area taking on that style and doing shoots for free, I branched out to weddings to keep my business flourishing. I am so glad I did, I now travel the world (it’s still surreal to be able to say that) documenting weddings for beautiful people. I still take on special fashion projects locally and work a lot with musicians as well. I do not like to limit myself to one genre all the time because I never know what shoot is going to inspire or challenge me to think outside of my box. My favorite shoots involve my being able to manipulate light and breaking all the traditional rules of photography.
How are you marketing yourself?
It’s been a long road, but I feel I’m come a long way over the last 5 years from taking photos of babies in baskets. I have utilized the social media outlets i.e. blog, facebook and twitter for the last 4 years to maximize my visibility online. I also continue to submit to have my work published, which adds to exposure as well. I also pride myself with the experience a client receives in working with me. I love when clients become friends and I feel blessed when I get new referrals from clients I have been working with over and over for years.
Advice for new photographers looking to go pro?
Don’t do it! I only kid. My advice is solely based on my own experience and my observation of how harsh, yet equally rewarding, this business can be on people.
I would say practice your craft until you feel you have nothing left to learn and then practice even more.
Don’t be discouraged by what you see online and NEVER compare yourself to others. There are a LOT of photographers these days… and if you compare yourself to those with the ability to do shoot after shoot without charging, or those who have the funds to buy endless amounts of equipment, you will lose yourself and your passion.
Be competitive, but do it healthy. Living in a city full of photogs doing equally (and sometimes better) work as myself, it’s easy to get caught up in the competitive circles people create. I have done my best to share as much as I can with fellow photographers and let those who imitate and speak negatively or often times undercut my pricing not get to me. So far, it has served me well. I am able to continually exchange information and get to know those in my field that I look up to. The minute you start to think you are the best, the more skilled, the more popular, someone else will come along who’s better, cheaper, more creative and you will be left behind.
Never devalue your work just to get a job. You have to teach people how to view and value your work.
Be diligent in working hard. There will be long days of shooting and hours of editing late nights. It’s all worth it, if you and others value yourself.
Don’t take things too serious all the time. Allow yourself to make mistakes (as long as you learn from them) and always allow yourself room to grow and evolve as an artist.
Run your business professionally and humbly.
Recognize how you see the world, run with your vision and never look back:)