I've been catching up with a few old friends lately, and telling them "how I'm doing". I don't know about you, but when I find myself telling the same basic story over and over again, I start to feel like I might as well write it down. So here it is.
After breaking the news that I've decided to move away from doing the Mac thing full time and that I've decided to take a crack at doing the Photo thing instead, the next follow-up question is usually "so what kind of stuff are you going to shoot?"
That, my friends, is an excellent question. It's the biggest question on my plate right now.
I've been doing a considerable amount of research an thinking in regards to "how to make it in the photo business". Check out the post I did about the whole Craigslist thing, for example.
Many professional photographers out there have been kind enough to post blogs, podcasts, and videos about "how to make it", and, for the most part, it seems that the recipe for success is pretty simple:
Find something that you can do really well.
Put together a portfolio showcasing that thing that you do.
Hustle your ass off getting gigs doing that thing.
Under-promise and over-deliver (manage expectations).
Show up on time.
One of the advantages I've got going for me is the fact that I've already developed the last bunch of those ingredients. Working as an IT guy supporting creative professionals has taught me a lot about how to work with people and make sure everyone's on the same page. From what it sounds like, this is the stuff that seems to separate successful photographers from not-so-successful ones.
What I have to do now is sort out the first two items.
I know that having a good-looking portfolio is the first step in getting work. Having it easily accessible online is key. My problem is that I don't really have what I'd consider that strong of a portfolio yet. Or a decent-looking website to present it.
So the plan right now is to pick a few basic photography categories - I've narrowed it down to "Product & Still Life", "Portraits", "Artists" and "Time Lapse" - and build as good a selection as I can, showing off my stuff.
Once I have the online portfolio put together, I'll pick out a few shots and put together a postcard-sized printed mini portfolio, which I'll carry around with me wherever I go, to make with the hustling. I've found that having an iPhone is also handy for showing off my stuff to random people I meet.
In addition to putting together my online persona/brand, I'm also hopping at any and every opportunity that presents itself to work with friends, family, friends-of-friends, etc. I'll shoot anything, at this point, save for maybe weddings and Bar Mitzvahs.
I'm also on the lookout for particularly beneficial internships or assistant gigs - I figure it can't hurt to spend time working with someone who's already made it.
With some luck, within a few months, I'll be a little closer to getting there myself.