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Photographers – Stop Making Excuses And Make It Happen – D.W.I.T.

No Excuses

Stick with me, you'll learn things that you didn't/don't know about me in this post.

I don't have time.  If I had the time, I could...

I don't have money. If I had the money, I could...

I don't have the right gear. If I had the gear that you have, I could...

I don't have the experience. But I never went to school for photography like...

I don't have the portfolio. But your portfolio has so many more images than mine...

I don't have a studio. If I had a studio like you do, I could...

And the list could go on and on, blah, blah, blah ...........STOP THE MADNESS! You either want to make it as a photographer or you don't. If you want to, then stop with the excuses and make it happen. 

I'm going to address each area that I posted above along with some things that you didn't/don't know about me.
3d rendering of No Excuses blue glossy text on white background

1) No Time - Yes, you have to have a life outside photography. However, like anything that you truly want to do in life, you can find the time and/or make the time. I often get up at DARK to write these blog posts. In my case, I typically get up 1 to 3 hours earlier than Brenda. Don't get me wrong, that's not every day of my life. However, you get the point.

What you may not know about me is that early in my career, like most photographers, I was NOT full time in photography and did things like delivery pizza to make ends meet. During certain parts of my career, I was in seasonal photography with most of the work coming during a six month period which meant that I had to be doing something else the other six months. If you want to be a photographer, make the time to be a photographer.

2) No Money - When you have virtually no money or very little money to put into your photography business, that's when you have to find more of #1 above ...Time! It's going to take some money to get going, but most likely the early parts of building your business will be time. If you don't have money to join the Chamber, paid networking, associations, etc., then you have to find alternatives to those things in order to meet people and build your network. There are plenty of options out there like Meetup Groups, Low Cost or Even Free Networking Groups, Free Chamber Events and more. You have to spend your TIME finding ways to build your business if you don't have the money.

People that know me know that I spend money on my business, but it's NOT because I have lots of it to spend. I wish that I did. I spend money (minimal and wisely) because it's a necessary evil in my business and provides and ROI much of the time. I know that you've heard that you have to spend money to make money. Well, although there is some truth to that. It's not the complete truth because if you spend TIME making the right connections, you can save some money in the early stages of building your business.  You will have to always invest TIME in your business and investing more MONEY will come over time. Spending money will likely come later, but don't let NO MONEY hold you back.

3) Not Enough Gear - Guess What? In photography, you will likely never feel like you have enough gear. Here's the secret to gear: Do what you canphotographer and tripod with what you have and RENT the difference. Better gear and more gear will come with time, but I've seen some amazing work with gear that is NOT high end pro gear. Trust me, I've had the gear problem numerous times in my career.

Rewind to the 80's........ I shot with what I could afford which wasn't very much. I had cheap cameras and cheap studio lights, but I was able to get the job done. I don't recall anyone ever saying bad things about my gear. They got the end result they wanted and keep in mind FILM not digital back then.

Unless you are shooting very high end projects that the art director, marketing director, agency, etc. that may actually know photography gear, you will likely not have an issue with many of the shoots that you do. The average client will likely not know the difference. It's the end result your client is after NOT what gear you shoot with. It's also the camera operator that is the true professional not the camera brand name or particular model.

4) No Experience - Think of all the wanna be photographers that buy a digital camera, print a business card and magically become photographers overnight. It's good that you want to have the experience. That comes with training and time. Oh speaking of training, I'm not referring to going to school. I'm referring to other core areas that you can easily do:

A) Assist An Established Photographer - Paid or Free - If you are getting training, assisting for free is not a complete waste.

B) Get Free Or Paid Online Training - YouTube should be your friend. When you can afford more, look into Creative Live.

C) Shoot Anything And Everything You Can - Trial and Error is one of the best teachers. Go out and shoot something!!!

Oh, my experience? Glad you asked! I started in the 80's. I assisted for pay and free. Back then, there were no online videos, so I do have some formal training from RCC. However, that was around 30 years ago. Oh, and I shot hundreds of rolls of film in the 80's. Back then, there was no instant results other than Polaroid testing. Want to get schooled? Grab a film camera, shoot several rolls and wait several days to see the results. Then, repeat! Hey, it's the digital age. You can learn immediately. Stop with the experience excuse and get it done.

5) No Portfolio - I'll keep this one short because it really ties into #1 and #4 above. Time - Build Your Portfolio. Experience - Shoot, Shoot, Shoot and then shoot some more. Do you have friends, family, c0-workers, businesses you can call on that you do business with? Yes, you do. So there's your initial portfolio. Want to shoot houses for Realtors? Keep trying to you find at least ONE that will let you shoot for free. Use that one house until you get the next one. Want to shoot weddings? Find a connection that you have and shoot the wedding for FREE. Yes, I said FREE. Build your portfolio. But shoot the next for money (maybe minimal) and keep building up to get to the price point you want to be at. FYI, you don't have to shoot 10 weddings to charge good rates. Want to shoot headshots? Call a business that you do business with (Insurance Agent) and ask if you can photograph their staff of 3,4,5+ to build your headshot portfolio.

My personal portfolio doesn't have everything that I'd like to have in it. However, if I truly want something new in it that I have not been hired to do, I will make it happen by pulling things together including the location and subjects. I have one model that I use over and over to test lighting, backgrounds, new styles, etc. Want a bigger and/or better portfolio? Make It Happen!

6) No Studio - OK, don't even go there. Don't say, "David, you have a studio and I don't." But David, "I'm losing business because I don't have a studio." Blah, Blah, Blah. Yawn, Yawn, Yawn. Both are true... I do have a studio and maybe you do not and yes, you may be losing business because you don't have one. However, I know photographers who stay busy and churn thousands of dollars without a studio. I would guess that the majority of photographers in the US... DO NOT have a studio. Stop the studio excuse. Do what you can with what you have...just like the gear.

Guess What? Yes, I do have a studio. No, I do not like paying the monthly rent. Yes, it makes a difference. But my largest projects are ON LOCATION not in studio. Even when I had a studio in the 80's. Most of my large projects were ON LOCATION. I have always generated more revenue outside the studio than inside the studio. Get over NOT having a studio and grow your photography business regardless of whether you have one or not.


If you want it bad enough, you will D.W.I.T - Do Whatever It Takes!


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David Williams

Short Bio About The Author: I'm David Williams a professional commercial photographer focusing on corporate and business clients with some personal branding, lifestyle photography in the mix. My love for photography began in late 1981 while still in High School. I started making money with his camera in 1982. Brenda, my wife, and I started working together in photography in 1988 shortly after we met. Brenda and I married in 1989 and have two adult daughters. Please be sure to get a quote for services if needed. Call or Text: 919.723.8453. Please reach out to connect with me on LinkedIn.