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3 Things You Don’t need As A Beginning Photographer

Within the first 3 years of my photography journey I’ve wasted thousands of dollars on useless bullshit. I’m writing this for all you fine folks who are still within the first few steps of your career in photography, and trying to figure out what to spend your hard earned money on to get you to the next level. Here is a list of the things you can really do without especially at the start of your career:

My first image that made me think I can be a photographer (May 20, 2000 in Madrid, Spain)

The Latest Gear
I wanted too much too soon when I started out and threw out a ridiculous amount of money on stuff I thought I needed. You don’t need the latest camera gear. You don’t need the state of the art anything in the beginning. You need one body, one lens (preferably in the 50mm range), one flash (manual & TTL ability), reflector, light stand, umbrella holder, umbrella (bounce, shoot through, or an all in one), and a way to trigger the flash off camera. THIS IS ALL YOU NEED for a long while. Companies will always tease you with latest, and greatest equipment claiming you need to be a better photographer. It’s bullshit. So before you start to consider buying new gear, ask yourself these questions: 1. Is it going to make me a better photographer? And 2. Will it make me more money? If the answer is no to at least one of these questions then it’s not worth buying.

SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
Again, I committed another mistake by wasting a good thousand+ dollars on SEO in the beginning. When your wanting SEO that means your wanting to compete with other photographers in your area who are better, and more experienced than you. You don’t want to do that. Don’t get me wrong, SEO can be a powerful tool EVENTUALLY. SEO could be a great investment once you are more established, more experienced, have stronger business skills, and have a more solid body of work behind you. Until that day comes it’s money wasted.

Again, trying to compete with seasoned photographers in your area in the beginning is a waist of time and money. Your goal within the first 3 years of your photography journey is to build a sold body of work, and gain as much knowledge as you can about your craft. The only advertising strategy you should be considering when you’re just starting out is word of mouth with friends and family. WOMM is the cheapest method but highly effective way to promote yourself in the beginning. The use of social media, like Facebook, twitter are free and doesn’t demand much time and effort. A good business card, should be the only expense you should be spending in the beginning. FYI your business card (and maybe your business name) will change during your career so don’t get more than 50 to 100 at a time.

The best photographers didn’t achieve success overnight. Believe me, it takes time and I hope you won’t commit the same mistakes that I made when I was just starting out as a photographer. You also have to realize that photography is not a race – you have to set your own pace and learn to prioritize. While you’re being patient you should always practice and maintain that hunger to improve your craft and build your business. Eventually, all the sleep deprivation, sacrifice (yes, your gonna sacrifice!), hard work and dedication will pay off.

Written by Ashton Boni