I want to share with you three super important things that I've learned after being in the photography industry for over 10 years. These are things that I definitely wish that I knew before I got into the industry, and I feel like it's stuff that not a lot of people are really talking about or sharing.
The number one thing I wanted to share with you guys is that your network is your net worth. What the heck does that mean? It sounds super fancy, right? But really what it means is that the people you surround yourself with are what's going to become the sum of what you know. You want to surround yourself with people that know more than you. You might, at the time, feel like you are so stupid and don't know anything. You could think these people know so much more than you. That's actually a great thing because it means that you have so much room to grow and you're gonna learn from these people. So, you want to go to networking events and conferences. Go meet a lot of other photographers in the industry and become genuine friends while you have a good time and learn from each other.
The second thing that I want to share with you guys is that education is absolutely everything. Every time I think back to when I grew in my business, it stems back to me taking a course, going to a conference or attending a mastermind group. I can actually pinpoint in my business like, oh wow, this year I doubled my income because of this. Or, this year my shooting got way better because of this certain educational thing that I did, right? So, don't ever think that you can't afford education. You have to figure out how can you afford it. You don't want not being able to afford things to be your excuse forever. You can only grow by learning more.
The third thing I want to share with you is that the photo industry, in my opinion, tries to push down your throat that you need all these brand-new fancy pieces of equipment to make it as a successful and profitable portrait photographer. I can tell you first-hand that is absolutely not true. I live in a small town in the Midwest and I am not a fan of spending a ton of money on equipment. I get all of my camera gear used from places like B&H. In fact, I've actually had better luck with used gear than brand-new gear. I did buy a brand-new camera once, and that was the only piece of equipment I ever had a problem with. So, I just want you to know that if you're thinking what a bummer it is that you can't afford that fancy thing or certain lenses or certain lighting gear, stick to the basics and get really good at that. When you can profit from the basics, then you can start to get more fancy. Start with a camera, 50 millimeter lens, maybe a ring light, and that should be enough to get you started.
These are the top three things I learned from being in the photo industry for over 10 years. I hope that you learned a lot and these lessons can help shorten the learning curve for you!