My Biggest Struggles As A Photographer.

I know what you’re thinking, “What’s so difficult about taking a photograph?”

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It wasn’t until I started planning and designing my new website that I realised how much I am struggling as a freelance photographer. I sat down and noted all of the struggles that I am facing or have faced within my journey of photography. Of course, as a self-taught photographer, there would some struggles. However, I never knew I had this many. I have decided to write this post to inform others of my struggles, and that they’re not the only one experiencing these. Also, I hope in a few months, I am able to hold my hands up and say that I have improved on at least two of these.

 

Charged Battery

You’ll be surprised how quickly a battery dies, even if it is fully charged. Luckily, I invested into a second battery which has saved me a couple of times. For anyone who is wanting to take photography seriously, or even if you’re going away, I would 100% recommend taking and/or buying another battery. The last thing you want to happen is being at the moment of taking a beautiful photograph and then your camera just dies. TRUST ME…IT’S HORRID!

Love/Hate Relationship with The Sun 

Don’t get me wrong I absolutely love the sun, but sometimes it gets in the way and does no justice for the photographs I am trying to take. Sometimes I love it and sometimes I just hate it. The sun is something that every photographer just has to work with, whether if they use it in its favor, or completely edit their photos taken in the presence of it. Personally, I prefer working in the evening with minimal light as I am able to edit the highlight and contrast in Lightroom, so for me that works really well. I struggle most with the sun when I am doing portraiture shots or outdoor headshots. It is VERY difficult to get rid of the bright light on someone’s face, including all of the shadows.

Not Enough Work

Unfortunately, I don’t get the opportunity to work with clients and do lots of shoots on a weekly basis. This does make me very sad as I am passionate greatly about photography and I love it so much. This is partly due to the fact that I already have quite a busy lifestyle. I am at university full-time, I have a part-time job and I have a few other commitments. I wish I was able to do shoots at least 3 times a week, but at times it is difficult to fit in. I often find it a struggle to get to meet up with clients, whether if that is someone I know or someone who has got in contact with me. Due to life, there have been many occurrences where I have been cancelled and/or no longer needed. Photography is a tricky business! However, for me, not enough works simply means that I just don’t get to use my camera, rather than the pay aspect.

Costs of Equipment 

For me to even consider myself as a photographer, I had to buy a brand new camera, lenses, memory cards, batteries and indoor equipment which of course is not cheap. I took a moment in my life where I had been saving for something that I really wanted, something that I had my heart set on. Another year later and I am finding myself in the need of wanting to purchase a different camera and a fixed lens. Photography is something that requires an upgrade or better equipment frequently. I am currently saving for the Canon 80D and I am determined to get it. The camera that I own at the moment is designed for beginners and hobbyists. It’s not a bad camera, but it is a basic DSLR. I know that I want to take photography seriously and to do that I need a slightly better camera to assist me with the types of shoots that I want to be doing.

PERFECTION! 

Perfection! Perfection! Perfect! That’s all that I want. I want every single photograph to be perfect. I am very careful during the process of taking photographs as I think it’s important to only give the client the photographs that you’re happy with sharing with the rest of the world. You wouldn’t want a ‘bad’ photograph that you took to be out there in the world as this could affect your business. For a photograph to be perfect for me might not be your ideal ‘perfect’ photograph and that is the biggest struggle that I face deciding which photographs to include within a clients photo album. 

 

Can you relate to some of these? What are some of your biggest struggles?

How To Photograph A Wedding For The First Time?

As you may or may not know, I have a huge passion for photography that I would love to pursue further in the future. I am currently in the process of creating a professional website to present all of my captured photographs. About 3 weeks ago, I had the most amazing opportunity to photograph a wedding in Basingstoke (as a second shooter)  for the very talented Isla. I have been wanting to photograph a wedding for a long time now as that is the area of interest that I would like to develop further. This was an amazing opportunity for me as I was able to gain experience without feeling under pressure of capturing the desired shots. I am looking forward to sharing with you all the beautiful photographs as well as give you some tips for shooting your first wedding.

Research is key! As soon as I found out I was taking on this amazing opportunity, the first thing I did was research wedding photography as a whole; including poses, shots, photo editing and how to dress like a professional photographer. I found this very useful as I was able to learn from these photographs. I remembered a few shots I wanted to take and how I needed to take them. Wedding photography is very different to the standard portraits I am used to taking which is why I knew I had to get more of an understanding prior to the shoot. I really enjoyed experimenting with my camera and capturing the different shots. Take a look at my Pinterest board for inspiration: Wedding Photography Ideas.

It is very important for you to take the correct equipment, not only to make sure you get the best shots possible but also to not carry too much whilst in the venues. Unfortunately, I do not own a lot of photography equipment, however, this was good for this wedding shoot as you want the carrying to be at a minimal. It is so much easier to get to the places you need to as well as keep the noise down when you need to move around. For this wedding, I took with me my camera (Canon 1300D) and two lenses (18-55mm and 75-300mm) as well as my camera bag. It was a sunny day, therefore I did not need my flashgun.

I would 100% recommend observing the venue beforehand to get used to the surroundings as well as adjusting the camera settings, as well as finding places to shoot. You will also know what equipment you will need which is very useful, so that you are prepared. I wasn’t able to view the venue until 10 minutes before the ceremony, so if you can get the chance too, I recommend doing it. As I was a second shooter for this wedding, it did not matter too much as it was purely for experience. However, I now know that if I was to shoot at a venue that I am unfamiliar with, I will view it first.

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A photoshoot checklist is a must! I did not know anything about this until I met up with the photographer where she explained to me that we were on a tight schedule and therefore we had to make sure that we got all the appropriate shots possible. A photoshoot checklist is a list of all the group photographs and any main ones that the bride/groom really want. You can tick these off your list once they are done. As a photographer, it is your job to ensure that all of these shots are done to fulfil the married couple’s wishes. Group shots are really important at weddings as the guests and bride/groom get very bored. You must ensure all the necessary shots are taken as when they are looking back at the album they will be very happy at what you have created. Personally, I think that for any shoot that requires numerous poses and groups of people, I would definitely use a checklist.

Of course, it is important as a second shooter to assist the main photographer by helping them with any photos needed as well as capturing candid’s of the guests. These are the kind of photos that the guests like to see most which shows everyone having fun throughout the day. It is important for the main photographer to get all the right shots and then for the second shooter to capture as many extra as possible. I think that having a second shooter is very important and handy at the same time. Some weddings can have a lot of guests, so getting some photographs can be tricky. I think that Isla and myself worked very well to ensure all the appropriate shots were taken.

REMEMBER… YOU’RE NOT JUST A PHOTOGRAPHER. You might even be a help in hand to assist with any major problems. It is your job to help in many ways as possible, whether if that is keeping track of the time and schedule or helping the bride get ready. Never get in the way and give space if anyone needs it. Always keep a positive manner to make others feel at ease. It is so important for you to be chatty to ensure there is no silences or awkwardness. It is always good to know a few jokes or ways to make everyone laugh. THESE CAN BE THE BEST PHOTOS!

Now, it’s time for the best part… THE PHOTOS! As a second shooter, it is important for you to send your best photos over to the main photographer, so that they are able to select appropriate ones to edit and add to the wedding photo album. However, once you have done this, you can experiment and edit as much or as little as you like. As I am just an amateur photographer and still learning everything, I am not an expert at editing. However, I was told by Isla that a majority of photographers edit wedding photos and that I should try it out. So, that’s what I did. I decided to download DxO and Lightroom as I wanted to try out different software’s to figure out which one I prefer. I would definitely recommend getting the practice in before you have to edit a whole wedding album as it will take some time.

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Everything that I have learnt is from the incredible Isla Ng who has given me this incredible opportunity. There are so many more things that you have to do as the main photographer, of course, but if you follow these simple steps you will be a very helpful second shooter. If you are an amateur photographer wanting to pursue a career as a wedding photographer, I recommend finding a photographer and being their second shooter. It is a perfect way to get experience as well as learning what to do and what is expected of you.