A Model-ographer’s Tips for Photographers

People seemed to receive the last blog post pretty well, so this time: we’re talking to photographers. Photography is little harder (okay, maybe a lot harder) to learn and grow in, but that shouldn’t keep you from trying. I started as a model and learned most of what I do in photography from experimenting, observing work I liked, and asking questions when I found someone who was doing something I thought was cool. Alex answered all my questions about angles, styling, and all around camera things when I first started, and Erin McConnell was one of the first photographers in Detroit who openly gave me advice and helped me figure out editing. Because of those two, I feel like I was able to get a grasp on all things camera related pretty quickly. So thanks, you two!

It wasn’t until the summer between my junior and senior year of college where I really had a full grasp on the technical aspects of photography (so about a year and a half after I started, and it wasn’t until this last summer (2019) that I started becoming intentionally aware about my choices in composition and editing. Photography really seems to be one of those things where there’s always something new to figure out, and that’s a big part of why I’m so in love with it.

So, for all of my fellow photographers who are out there trying to build their skills and produce better work – it’s a journey. I’m happy your journey brought you to this blog, and I hope these words provide some helpful guidance to you.

Disclaimer: my knowledge is not ultimate and some of these tips are based on my personal preferences. Interpret everything as you will, and please recognize that your experience will be different.

With that out of the way, let’s get started.

  1. Figure out which platform has your niche. For a while, I was on Instagram only searching for inspiration. Pinterest has been so good to me since I started really paying attention to the content on there. For the kind of couples & wedding work I care about following, Pinterest is better. Instagram seems to be pretty kickass with cinematic portraits. However, Kavyar is the king of fashion & beauty content.
  2. Make your feed your happy space. Only follow the people you really care about seeing content from, and if you’re really feeling curious, check to see who your local faves are following for inspiration. Going down the internet rabbit hole isn’t so bad if it technically counts as studying, right?
  3. The algorithm is dumb. Yeah, I said it. That thing isn’t written in your favor, so the sooner you get over the amount of likes you’re getting on your photos, the sooner you’ll be creating stuff that you like. Yes, validation feels nice, but chances are that you’re more likely to get more qualitative feedback from a cool group of creatives on Facebook than you are on Instagram. It’s incredibly hard to predict what will perform well unless you’re on Instagram consistently and hyping people up for work right before you release you project.
  4. Make your comparisons positive. Everyone does it – you find yourself scrolling through Instagram or flipping through magazines, and instead of feeling inspired by the work, you just feel bad. Instead, try focusing on what it is about photos that you like and want to try. Dissect their work and figure out what you can integrate into your workflow.
  5. Critique your own work regularly. I feel like this one is kind of a given, but it’s important to sit down and pick your own images apart by identifying areas that you can improve your work in, then actually putting that into practice the next time you can experiment during a shoot or editing. You’ll notice improvements over time as you sit and focus your efforts on growing and learning.

All of these tips come from personal experience. What do you think about these? Do you do any of these, and how do they work for you?

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