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Friday FAQ… [children photographer billings montana]


Okay, Friday FAQ is back! I have been out of town for so long and been so busy I haven’t been able to do it the last couple weeks. So i’m a little surprised by this… but the questions have been building up in my inbox and this is going to be a pretty long post! Thanks everyone for the questions, I am so honored that people actually read this blog! A lot of the readers are photographers and I love that you guys have questions for me. I am asking photographers I love a ton of questions because I feel I could really get better listening to them. So it means a lot to me that there are photographers (or aspiring photographers) who want to hear what I think, and how I run my business. Thanks so much guys! I would love to help you out all I can, although I do still have a TON to learn myself, I feel like I have learned a lot since I first started… so here is what I know:

These questions are from Rae who has had to wait a while for my response… thanks for being patient Rae!

Q: How long did you portfolio build?
A: I did free portfolio building sessions for about a month when I first started. I asked everyone I knew if I could take pictures of their kids, newborns, families… anything! I sold prints for really inexpensive at the beginning too- but I did try and make some money on the prints so I could afford some new equipment. Some people do portfolio build for a year, or longer. I think that a lot of those people do it pretty slowly, like 1 session a week or so because they still have their day jobs and are super busy with life. That is totally fine and works great for a lot of people, because they can’t just quit their job and go for it. Me on the other hand, I knew from the start that this is what I wanted to do , and I totally trusted that God would provide clients for me, so I quit my job and went for it 100%. I am also really lucky though because my hubby was behind me 100% and made me go for it too, so financially I had him to help. I think I did 30 sessions my first month! I was doing a shoot almost every day. I worked my butt off to get a good portfolio and then when people started calling and asking me to take pictures after that 1st month, I raised my pricing and became a business! It is different for everyone, but I think you should portfolio build and do free sessions for as long as it takes to get a good portfolio, whether that is a month or 2 years… that’s up to you!
Q: What mode do you shoot in? I currently shoot in Manual and use RAW+JPEG but would it be to my benefit to shoot in Aperture Priority?
I shoot in Manual almost 100% of the time, occasionally either at a wedding or a child shoot when people are running around and the light is constantly changing, I will shoot AP, but that is rare. But that is just what works for me, after practicing a ton, I have gotten pretty quick at changing the settings to work with the light I have. I shoot RAW all the time.
Q: Where do you draw inspiration from? It seems like so many photographers are just doing the same “poses” how do you keep things fresh? I feel like I just copy what everyone else is doing.
I have a ton of catalogs that I love flipping through for inspiration. Some of my favs are tea, boden, anthropoligie and free people. They always have fun clothing, poses and fresh ideas. Also, with kids- I rarely actually pose them. I just let them run around and be themselves and capture that.
Q: Were you worried about crowding the market? I have done a lot of research and I just don’t know if there is room for me in the market, it seems like everyday more people are advertising as photographers. How did you decided to take the plunge?
When I first started, I was a little worried about the market. There are some really talented photographers here. But I just brought my own style in the market, and found there is plenty to go around for everyone! Just find your style, promote it, and people will love it or they won’t. That’s all you can really do. Just try and find your niche in the market and really try and get your name out there. If you treat your customers right, they will come back- and so will all their friends!:)There is always room for you in the market!
Q: Lastly, what photography books have you found helpful?
In the beginning, I would go to the library and read all the books I could find on digital photography to get really familiar with my camera. The best book is your camera manual, read that front to back… more than once! Knowing your camera is so crucial! Also, read some business and marketing books to help you keep your business organized and keep your marketing fun and fresh. I like guerilla marketing.
This question is from Katie:
Q: What kind of camera do you have?
A: I have the canon 5d mark ii and a canon 40d as a backup. I love the 5d soooo much! Check out the loveliness here. So I am a full on canon lover, but that is because it’s all I’ve ever known. I have never shot Nikon before, but hear great things so just research and find what you love! I got the canon because that is what my cousin, Kristin Eldridge has and she taught me a lot so I got what she had!
Here is a question from Allison:
Q: Who are some of your favorite photographers that you really respect?
Oh my goodness, there are soooo many! I could name like 50 right now, but I will just name 10… (5 wedding photogs and 5 children/baby photogs)
Children/Newborn Photographers:
1. Carrie Sandoval/Brittany Woodall- Baby as art – These girls are amazing and always taking newborn photography to the next level!
2. Tamara Lackey- She is so much fun and so high energy and I love her work.
3. Alycia Alvarez- Very smart business woman! A big sweetheart.
4. Lori Nordstrom- A marketing genius!! She is brilliant and super nice!
5. Kristin Eldridge- She pretty much got me into this whole photography thing and has been such a great mentor, her work totally inspires me and she has a huge heart.
Wedding Photographers:
1. Yervant- I don’t even need an explanation for him. Amazing.
2. Joe Buissink- Totally emotional work, I seriously have cried watching his slideshows. He is such a sweet man.
3. Jasmine Star- LOVE HER. She rocks and is the coolest girl ever. Such a passionate, funny and nice person.
4. Jerry Ghionis- Oh my gosh I love this guy. His work is unreal and he is hilarious.
5. Jessica Claire- She is amazing and a really funny girl! Her work rocks.
Okay there is my list! Wow, that was a lot of thinking and typing!  I will save some questions for next week! Keep sending them my way, I still have a lot to learn myself like I said, but as long as people are asking me questions, I will answer! Love helping you guys out, and thanks so much for reading! Leave me comments, they make me smile!:)Happy Friday everyone, have a great day!!

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