What I’ve learned from all my jobs

I’ve had a handful of jobs and things I did before I became a photographer.  I was a journalist, magazine stylist, marketing specialist, graphic designer, web designer, beauty queen, and a model.  I’m certain that each one of those previous jobs helped me with a successful first year full-time launch on my own.

I take every thing I’ve learned from those careers and applied it to photography.  These are tips I want to share with you so you don’t have to so many career changes like I did.  But remember, every job you’ve ever held has shaped you in some way, so take all those learning experiences and make sure to apply them to your current passion, whatever it might be.

Tips I picked up from being a JOURNALIST:

  • You need to blog, and not just about business or bragging.  Have substance in your posts and have a personality so your audience can get to know the person behind the lens.
  • Know your audience.  Who is reading?  Write to them, what can they benefit from reading your posts?  If it’s a couple of different groups, make sure you do a variety of posts to appeal to that reader.
  • Meet deadlines. In fact, turn things in early to apease your editor, or in this case, your client.
  • Networking skills are imperative and keeping in touch is a must to build your source  list.
  • Document your photographs like a journalist – story tell.  Have transitional images too.

Tips I picked up from being a magazine WARDROBE STYLIST:

  • Be involved in client’s wardrobe selection.
  • Tell them to accessorize and bring many options so you can decide what they wear.
  • Watch the way clothing fits and adjust before taking a photo – adjust his collar, fix the hem of his jeans, watch her bra strap and her hair.

Tips I picked up from being a GRAPHIC DESIGNER:

  • Your logo matters.  Your branding matters.  Have a strong one and like it especially since you will most likely watermark your images.
  • All marketing collateral including website must match.  Don’t change things all the time, it looks like you’re confused with your own identity.

Tips I picked up from being a WEBSITE DESIGNER:

  • You have 7 seconds to make an impression.
  • Make your website easily navigable so your potential clients can find what they are looking for.
  • Make sure your site works on all platforms – mobile devices and iPhones and iPads.
  • Look professional on your website.
  • Make sure you have a photo of you on the “about” page.  Clients want to know who you are!

Tips I picked up from being a MODEL:

  • I understand what should be photoshopped and liquified in an image.
  • Know how to pose your subjects that are most flattering.  Things closer to the lens will appear larger, duh. So think about this when you have two different sized people.  Always make the girl look smaller.
  • Tell clients to get their makeup professionally done since they are spending so much money on their portraits.
  • Watch for the “fat arm” all girls can easily fake one, and booty in the back makes them slimmer.
  • Chin down, and out.  Head tilt.
  • Please also note that your clients are not professional models – so be patient with your clients, direct and talk to them and if they don’t understand, show them how you want them to be.  And always give them praise and tell them how beautiful, amazing, and wonderful they are doing.

TIps I picked up being a MARKETING SPECIALIST:

  • Have social media accounts set up – Facebook and Twitter.  Then make sure you actually use it and tweet regularly even if people don’t respond to you.
  • Always announce and share your latest projects.
  • Make sure your have personality in your status updates so you will be more engaging.
  • Always send thank you cards, emails, and follow up to all your clients.  Maintain a friendship if you can – after all, didn’t you fall in love with your clients and make a new friend?  A handwritten letter goes a long way.
  • The best marketing that doesn’t cost anything is a happy client that not only tells their friends about you, but also uses you again.

Diana Elizabeth says if you truly love not only what you do, but the people, the clients you interact with, the others in your industry, you will quickly find that you can connect and business will grow.

Diana Elizabeth is an author, photographer, and obsessive antique shopper. You can typically find her in her garden wrist deep in dirt, at a local estate sale or planning her next epic party.

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