How to Turn Your Photography Hobby Into a Career | Alan Lavery | Skillshare

How to Turn Your Photography Hobby Into a Career

Alan Lavery, Art Director

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10 Lessons (1h 14m)
    • 1. Introduction

      2:48
    • 2. Taking Time to Self Reflect

      2:57
    • 3. Optimizing Your Portfolio

      8:41
    • 4. Creating Your Image

      8:16
    • 5. Different Avenues for Finding Work

      11:34
    • 6. Diversify Your Subjects

      8:21
    • 7. Networking For Success

      7:57
    • 8. Investing In Yourself

      5:13
    • 9. My Personal Journey

      16:10
    • 10. Final Thoughts

      2:17
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About This Class

Ever wanted to turn your photography hobby into a career, but don't know where to start? Look no further - you've come to the perfect place!

"You don't understand anything until you learn it more than one way"

- Marvin Minsky

There is no singular path that can be taught in reaching success. Career Photography isn't a linear walkway. There will be ups, there will be downs. Times where everything seems to fall into place and times where all that falls apart.

This course isn't designed for those looking to just make some quick cash from Photography, but for those really looking to leverage their passion in the subject and take the leap in pushing for this to be their complementary or main source of income.

 WHO IS THIS FOR?

Whether you're a beginner or a seasoned shooter, there'll be something in this course for you. For those who are not afraid to try different things, fail and try again. I'm not here to teach you the art and skill of photography itself, but to broaden your horizons and help you explore many different areas including:

  • Avenues of income
  • Maximising your opportunities
  • Branding yourself and your portfolio
  • How to channel your passion and make others see that passion in you
  • Networking and creating potential business connections
  • The importance of investing in yourself
  • Diversifying beyond photography
  • Freelance vs Full Time

You will learn to grow your skills not just as a photographer, but as a person and as a creative professional, and achieve something you can really be proud of.

 

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YOUR TEACHER

My name is Alan Lavery, and I'm a London, UK based Art Director who started photography as a way to meet new people at comic conventions, documenting people's amazing fantasy costumes.

I was 15, with a vision I'd be working in web and application development, and yet, when I picked up my mother's old 8mp canon camera from 2004 it led me on a path I never thought I'd follow: from weddings, to portrait, product, corporate and fashion photography, to working full time for a world class esports team, to playing a key marketing role involved in the look and feel of a fintech brand, and now to teaching this very course where I hope to inspire you to find your own way.

 

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If this is your passion, then It's time for you to take this wonderful hobby of yours, and turn that into career. There is a lot to each individual topic in here, and much of which are whole course subject matters on their own, but this serves as the first steps toward embarking on your journey.

 

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WELCOME TO YOUR NEW CAREER

 

Just remember, there is no one way of achieving your ambitions. Try and push yourself to do as much of what you have learned here.

Not everything will work in your circumstance, we all come from different walks of life, but the wider your reach the more likely you'll find yourself successful in areas of photography you might not have thought to be accomplished in otherwise.

You get none of the opportunities you don't apply for and you have nothing to lose for those that you do.

Transcripts

1. Introduction: Do you love photography? It's your hobby, it's your passion. Do you feel like you can earn some money from it, but you don't know where to start, or you just need some help to get to that next level? Career photography isn't as straight forward as it seems. There are a lot of challenges, a lot of hurdles, fails. It's not just about shooting photos, it's not building your brand, building a business. I'm not here to teach you photography, I am here to broaden your horizons, to help you explore many different areas that we could pay for the creative industry. At the beginning, it's about how you present yourself, how to think about the way you present your portfolio, how to craft one speaks volumes about your work, and how to modify it on a client to client basis. Then, it's how to present your brand, website, social media, business cards, how to build a professional outlook for your business, and nail those first impressions with clients. We're going to talk about money, how we can make it, the way you can make it, the way you can find new clients. You're going to walk away with knowledge of what opportunities are just waiting for you both in permanent roles and in freelance, actionable steps that will help you start earning right away. Diversifying yourself as a creative while learning new skills, new methods can help you grow, and even perhaps, exploring beyond photography. You're going to learn the power of networking, how to build it, how to stay relevant in your circles and how that can generate more work for you, and the importance of investing in yourself and your business. This course isn't designed for those looking to just make some quick cash or for those who are really looking to leverage their passion in the subject and take the leap and pushing for this to be the complementary or main source of income. There is much to learn for beginners and advanced photographers alike. You will learn to grow your skills, not just as a photographer and creative professional, but bring more value to yourself as a person and achieve something you can really be proud of. My name is Alan Lavery, and I'm a London UK-based art director. In the last five years, I've worked across a range of industries from weddings, to gaming and E-sports, embedding in financial technology the variety of styles, street fashion, product photography, corporate events, journalistic and foreclosure, both as a freelancer and a full-time employee. They all started as a hobby. If this is your passion, it's time for you to take this hobby of yours and turn what you love into a profession. There is a lot to each individual topic and many of which a whole core subject matters on their own. But this serves as the first steps towards embarking on your journey. Welcome to your new career. 2. Taking Time to Self Reflect: Before we get into the course, let's take a moment to reflect upon ourselves. Sometimes we get lost and forget why we do the things we do. Forget what's important and what we are truly passionate about. I want you to take a step back and just compare yourself as you are right now, to when you first started. Take a look at one of your first ever photos you have taken and think back to that time. Did it make you happy? Did it spark something in you? Now look at one of your most recent photos that you are proud to take and compare the two. Do you see how different they are? This is me back in 2014 when I first started photography, and here's a photo I've taken in 2020, six years later. I'd like to think I made some progress. We should be proud of how far we've come. Be proud that you are a better photographer today than you were then, and tomorrow, you'll be a better photographer than you are now. There'll be times when you feel like you haven't improved at all. We'll all hit this point where our creation stagnates because we become too comfortable. We as humans are capable of achieving far more than we ever allow ourselves to believe. So don't doubt yourself if you hit that point in time. It simply means it's time for you to have a fresh perspective to spark your creativity again. So if you've been shooting portraits, try product photography or street photography, landscape photography, and vice versa. You'll often find doing this will teach you areas of photography you wouldn't have been able to explore otherwise. This is something we'll get back to later in the course when we talk about diversifying itself, especially while trying to break into an industry. To achieve success, you have to be constantly moving forward, progressing, re-discovering yourself and the work that you do. That's why self-reflection is so important. It gives you a chance to both celebrate how far you have come and evaluate how far you still need to go. Your work will never be perfect. I don't mean that in a negative way, as you should always be proud of what you have produced. But you should always have a desire to improve too. Not just because higher quality work will lead to higher quality pay. But as artists, this is a form of self-expression. The more we understand about our own work, the more we understand ourselves. The beauty isn't in the destination, it's in the journey. Making mistakes and putting out your work while you see yourself evolve will be far more fulfilling than developing an unhealthy relationship striving for perfection. Finally, don't do this alone. Surround yourself with people who are valuable and insightful, who give you constructive critique and want to see the best in you. This could be other creatives, teachers, your coworkers or your closest friends and family who have a keen eye. As long as they serve to be a positive influence, then these are the people who will really help you grow and the ones that will help you through your self-doubt during tougher patches. 3. Optimizing Your Portfolio: Your portfolio can just as easily seal a deal as it can break it in some cases. Therefore, it's such an important factor to get right. It's a window to who you are as a person, and the work that you do and the most important tool in your sales pitch. To begin with, you need to understand the audience and your mission. This is a decision that you will have to make and will impact what photography work you will come by. For example, if it's specifically weddings and engagements that are on your agenda, then focus on just that one subject in your portfolio, as having other themes would most likely distract the message sending and wouldn't resonate with the audience here being soon to be weds. It's a very particular customer you are attracting and therefore, it's important to focus on what they want to see. In the beginning, contrary to what I've just said, it would be useful to show diverse set of work for your online portfolio. By this point, you most likely won't have a lot of portfolio quality work in a particular theme, and you are still discovering what work you are going to be most in demand for, giving your talents and location. This still requires you to speed up your work into certain genres. You don't want to simply treat it like your Instagram feed where any good photo is added to the grid. Start splitting up your photography into sections like events, portraiture, product, commercial, nature, street, and so forth, depending on what you shoot. Remember to keep in mind what clients you would like to attract with a category. Don't choose to have a dog album unless you specifically want to be marketing yourself as a dog photographer to owners to create work. Not only does this help you focus on expanding each gallery, but it makes it easy to create Bespoke portfolios for clients when in need. I'm going to go back to the wedding example here for what I mean by a bespoke collection. How can you land your first wedding gig without having done a wedding in the past to show on your portfolio? By showing you're capable of shooting similar environments like event photography to show capturing key moments in a motion. Product photography to show you can capture beautifully the dress, rings, decorations, and portraiture to show you can capture people, pose them well, and bring through personality. A simpler example would be if you are approaching a small business, you create handmade watches. You might not have done watches before, but by only showing them your product photography rather than a jumble of all kinds of work, you're communicating to your potential client quicker the message that you have what it takes to take their product that they want to sell and make it look great. Having beautifully taken pictures of some horses in the field might impress them, but only distract them from what's actually important. The quicker and more concise way you can put your point across of what your work will look like for that given context, the easier it will be to have a lasting impression in people's minds that you are right for them. Once you've picked your categories you want to focus on, it's time to fill them with your best collection of work. Less is more. Remember, it's all about conveying your talents quicker, and not giving potential clients or employees reasons to doubt your work. If you have 80 plus travel photographs and so many of them are shot in similar locations, people are going to get very easily bored scrolling through these and there'll be photos in there that are average and best, you will waste their time and time is money. Likewise, too little doesn't ensure confidence. Having under 8-10 distinctive photos in a category will make you look like you weren't really experienced. Make your categories broader if that's the case. You need to make an impact around 12-20 max per category, pushing maybe 40, if you are specializing like in weddings or architecture, think to yourself, and every photo you lookup, would I hire this person based on this photo? If the answer is no, that photo doesn't make the count. Quite often, we develop emotional attachments to photos we have taken, some which are not portfolio worthy, but we put in just because it's hard for us to let go. This is one of those times where having a valuable second perspective comes in handy. Someone else looking over your photography selections for your portfolio will really give better insight to what is going to impress someone without having that emotional connection. This is going to be what proves you are capable to carry out someone's work that they are paying good money for, so you need to be selective. Think about what it is you're conveying when choosing these photos. If it's journalistic, then tell a story through your choices. Show the laughter, the emotion, the vibe. People will remember you more by the emotional response they get from you. If its product photography, show a range of different kinds of products, from tack to wooden pencils in all kinds of environments. Especially for cases like product photography, consider creating collections. Having 2-5 images of one product in various different angles and positions gives the client a good idea how creative you can get and shows them what they can expect from you as a package. It's important to keep a diverse range of examples in your genre, and mixture of close-ups. Why dark, light, colorful, separated out? So no two similar shots that are next to each other. You need to keep that visual interest flowing throughout everything you show to keep potential clients from feeling any doubt. If you are starting to feel you don't have enough work that you are happy to include, you need to go out there, and need to shoot for your portfolio. Ask your friends and family, if they'd be happy posing for your portraiture and letting you get creative, or find small independent businesses that are new or struggling and create work for yourself there for free. They'll help them grow and help you create a better portfolio. Who knows? They may also come back for you later for paid work in the future. Portraiture, product, event in local cafe and shops are probably the easiest to approach and find free work to get started. Don't limit yourself, however. In your neighborhood, there might be much better opportunities, so keep an open eye and an open mind. For your class project, I actually would like you to pick your favorite five distinctly different images as the basis of your portfolio. They could all be in one genre or up to five different genres that you'll be building from. Alternatively, you can choose 4-5 images from the same context, like an event, or product shoot, or fashion focused with a model to present as a product example to a client. Please add these to your current class, put it underneath the previous exercise. Feel free to describe your reasoning, why you chose this particular set and what genres of photography you're going to be focusing on, and what kind of work you'd love to do the most. Once you have a portfolio of work you're happy to show, you have to decide how you want to show it. In my opinion, the best answer is; in as many ways as you can. Spread yourself across Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Behance, and perhaps even Flickr and Allo. You should have your own website with your own domain name if you want to be regarded as a professional. I don't think it's going to stop you getting work from not having one. But clients who are old school will be put off knowing that you don't have a website. If you have the funds, I would suggest maybe getting a bespoke site built for you by talented web designer. But for many of us, this isn't a possibility to begin with. The next best alternatives are sites like Squarespace, which have pre-made template specifically for this kind of thing and deal with web hosting, domain, and all the necessary updates and multi-device usability all in a single package. There'll be the quickest and easiest way to get yourself set up immediately as relatively cheap. You also have free alternatives like Pixieset, which is a great site to create collections and it's very easy to use, but can be a little bit generic. Alternatively, if you want to get a little more technical, you could create your own WordPress site, which with skill shares [inaudible] of courses on the subject, it wouldn't be too difficult to learn to create something a little more custom with your own talent. A website isn't the only way to showcase your work, and you should definitely look into getting an offline copy of your portfolio. Whether this be a beautifully printed book of work you keep with you, or even simpler, have them all downloaded and sorted into albums on your mobile phone. Current smartphones have beautiful displays and plenty of storage to keep all your files and they're always on you. It's very convenient to be able to pull out your phone and navigate to your categories on the device, to show potential client who you just happen to meet. Make sure to have everything downloaded as you don't want lag and connection issues to cause a lost work opportunity. I would like to go more in depth about portfolios and creating them as well as reviewing good and bad ones, but I'll leave that to dedicate course and just portfolio creation itself. If this is something you are struggling with or want to know more about, make sure to follow me, and keep up to date with that, when that and more will be available. 4. Creating Your Image: Even before someone has a chance to look at the work you do, the way you act, and the way you present yourself in person and online will impact the view people have of you. If you are seen to be a professional, you'll be treated as such. It's important to still be genuine and to hold on to your personal charm as personality has a huge part to play in your career, but you need to raise the standards you have of yourself and create a respectable outlook. The easiest place to start is controlling the content people see from you. Don't be uploading plenty of photographs to your multiple social media platforms unless they're vetted. Treat your online platforms like a pseudo portfolio. This is the content that will dictate the first impression people have when they find you online. If it's one great photo in a dozen, they'll see you as an average photographer because your average work outnumbers your great work. You want every photo people to see to be a representation of the best work you can do. Quality over quantity. You don't have to be as meticulously selective as the image you choose for your portfolio, as long as it still stands as quality work you'd like to be associated with. We all have terrible photos that we take. I still take some absolutely horrendous photographs, but it's not something I would ever show on my Instagram or Twitter. If you still want the freedom to post whatever you want, I'd suggest making a secondary personal Instagram or Twitter account while keeping your primary one as the face of your brand. In fact, doing so would be great way to receive feedback on how work you're not quite happy with could be improved upon, still allowing you to be experimental and develop yourself as an artist without potentially compromising your brand. After all, the more you produce, the more room you have to grow. It's not only your photography that makes up your brand image. As a creative, every part of your outward appearance should be beautiful and artistic. Reflect your character and personality, and follow the same style as your photography and create a vision. From the profile picture you have of yourself to the way your Instagram grid is laid out, to the interactions you have with others on Twitter and other social media platforms, try to keep everything cohesive across all of them, with branding and visual theme like the banners on color choices. You're only selling your service as a photographer, but you're selling an experience. A positive experience will keep people coming back more than just your photography alone. For your final class project activity, I'd like you to redesign your Instagram and post a link to it, as well as your most recent nine image grid as a screenshot. Try to think about how to beautifully layout your pictures on your feed. If you want to plan out and preview how it would look before you post on Instagram directly, you could use apps like Preview, Planoly, or UNUM, which allow you to important and organize, what your photos would look like against your existing Instagram feed. Engaging in negative interactions in Twitter could isolate your audience and dissuade newcomers. On the other hand, showing your opinions on topics relevant to your field, like concerning how you feel about changes to Adobe subscription services or opening discussions about software updates and hardware releases and photography techniques. Even if your view is negative, shows you're actively engaged in your profession, and gives the impression that you have a voice in that subject. That is a very valuable position to have, and that alone can lead to some very interesting opportunities by itself. Friends of mine have been invited to guest as part of discussion panels. 5. Different Avenues for Finding Work: So far, we've been focused on how you're presented. For the work that you are showing to the way you portray and conduct yourself, and the way you need to think about your photography. Now, it's time to really explore the wide range of opportunities that you could take to build that sustainable income and build your career. There are two main obvious routes that people consider when they want to follow a career in photography. Taking a permanent role in a studio or production house, or as part of a creative team in a company and working their way up from the bottom, or to go out alone as a freelancer and build your own client base. Both offer very unique experiences that you can learn and grow from. Within a permanent role, you of course, have that stability, knowing when that paycheck comes, and knowing how much you get every month gives you peace of mind and lets you focus on the work that you're doing. It's so valuable to be surrounded by experienced people in the industry who can pass on their knowledge to you and help you develop your skills, as well as being part of bigger productions, playing with expensive equipment that you didn't have to pay for, and seeing how bigger companies are structured and operate. Those would be an abundance of products to execute on day in, day out, accelerating how much you learn and forcing you to find ways to be efficient just to make tight deadlines. You may not have as much creative control, however. Depending on what industry you're working in, you might find yourself repetitive and boring projects and get roped in to company or industry politics. To enter into the permanent space, you also have to find these job openings. When you first start it's likely that only the internships or entry level positions available to you. Unless you jump from company to company, your salary will pretty much stay on a slow, upward slope until you have relevant experience to show for. However, if you put the years of working and build your way up to influential positions in companies and startups, then you'll never find yourself out of work. Some of which can be very lucrative in paying, and bonuses, and allow you to be part of and steer something much bigger than you could have created by yourself. Freelancing takes a different approach entirely. The opportunities for money and creativity afforded to you can be endless. But a common misconception to a lot of photographers is that clients are going to come to you. Especially in the beginning, this is simply not going to be the case, apart from a few bits of work from people you already know. You have to be your own sales team and spend a lot of your time creating opportunities for work and connecting with the right clients. You also have to think about yourself as a business and learn about the way taxes are dealt in your country. Meaning, you have to be your own accountant and track your finances, have the self-control to put money away so that you can pay off the taxes that you have to work out and report on that at the end of the month and the year. Unlike in a permanent role, you also have to pay for equipment, your own expenses, insurances, your own paycheck cap, pubs, studio space, and figure out how to invest part of your money into a retirement fund. You'll find yourself being forced to take on work you don't enjoy just to survive. Some months may have an amazing cash flow and some months, you might literally get nothing. Like in the wedding industry, for example, that work tends to be seasonal. Yet, if you can get passed all that, you are in a position where you're completely in control. You might still have to take jobs you don't enjoy as much to create enough cash flow, but the more you grow your client base and become an established photographer or business, you'll eventually be in a position where you have the option to turn down work you don't want to do. For some, that is truly liberating. All be it, if clients are going to come to you and there are no internships and freelancing, no junior roles, and big companies who are outsourcing photography gigs asked for a wealth of experience from a very competitive and established photography workforce, how do you even get started in finding your first clients and increasing your income? What I meant earlier about being your own sales team really means that you have to create jobs, whether on approaching local businesses, for example, and selling them how your service as a photographer will be beneficial to them. Approach restaurants and offer to take photography of their menu items or even of the venue itself for their website and brochures, sell to them, how that will bring in more customers or how beautiful photographs will increase their takeaway orders on delivery or Uber Eats. Approach clubs and venues and how the photographs you take will inspire people to go, or other businesses to host events there. Approaching bike shops, cafes, the local bakery, used car sale dealerships, bespoke chair makers, and invite them into the world of Instagram and Twitter and sell them the idea of how your pictures on their platforms can bring in an audience and a returning supply of paying customers. Paint them a picture of what kind of shots you can capture and how each of them will invoke certain emotional responses from their customers. Build a story for them of the work you can do and open their minds to creative process that you're laying before them. When they start to get involved and invest their own ideas, then they've become emotionally invested in you and your proposition, and will make it easier to seal the deal. It's not enough to just tell people that you can take photographs that they want. You need to tell people how they need you to take photographs to enrich their business. Leverage social media like Instagram to find how some local businesses present themselves so you can pick and choose who you have an easier sell to, and reach out to them there or in person. You can search through Instagrams for hashtags that are in your location or through geotagging to find them. It would be smart to approach companies making products that don't have great assets yet, and reach out through social media to show them how your great product photography will make them look more legitimate in front of their customers. The more you do this and the more you use your own social media to show the work you have done, you'll come to find that eventually, businesses will start reaching out to you from seeing the results and through word of mouth. When you get going, you can start demanding more pay and perhaps, even creating more value for business by cross-promoting with other creatives and building packages. What if you teamed up with a designer? That not only could you offer taking photos for the menu in a restaurant, but package creating the menu itself. What if you teamed up with a Web developer? Not only can you offer greater assets for someone's products, but a bespoke website to spice up their business even further. Or a videographer to double team capture the special moments shared in an event hosted by the venue you both created great content for that landed them that opportunity. Teaming up with someone like this not only makes it easier to sell the value would bring to a business, but also doubled your sales team to two people or more. You're both going to be out there looking for clients and handling each other business, increasing your connections. It may be the spark of a potential joint business venture too. Even if you're not going to collaborate with somebody, creating packages and trying to upsell can increase your revenue substantially. This is quite common in wedding photography. You have a basic package for your service at the event, and then you can upsell on top of that, like creating photo albums and prints, online shareable galleries for their guests, or an animated slideshow with music of their photos, for example. Clearly label what each packages beforehand and how much it costs, and make it seem like the bigger the package, the more value for money their client is getting. People will pay more if they feel they are getting more value from it, even if they don't want the extra add ons. A common tactic used in subscription services to get you to buy more months in advance, and in retail, do you even care about the three actual games you get back with the PlayStation bubble before you actually want to do something else? Probably not. But you're already paying this much, so you might as well walk away feeling like you get a great deal. There are books and psychological research on all of this if you wanted to get into that mindset deeper, but it'd be much quicker to just see what successful photographers are doing and how they create packages, and then experiment what you can offer to see how your clients respond. Finally, I'd like to talk about stock and then Microstock. Websites like Adobe Stock, Shutterstock, and Getty Images allow you to put your photography into their libraries and categorize them for individuals and businesses to license on a per image basis. For example, if someone use a picture of a cute puppy for an article or blog post, it's a lot more cost-effective and time effective for them to just license a single image from one of these sites rather than paying a photographer and finding a dog and location and organizing a shoot. If you already have a lot of photography hiding away in your hard drives, it might be worth uploading them, and it could potentially be earning revenue possibly if people continue to download and license your images. However, there is a lot of images to compete with already. With some of these Microstock sites adopting unlimited download licenses per month subscription models, you'll find that you often will be paying pennies to small change per photo unless it's really popular and has thousands of downloads. Because it's become such a diluted market, unless you have a really captured an area of stock photography no one else is doing, a lot of photographers feel like it's more hassle than it's worth to shoot specifically for stock websites. That's why I mentioned you simply should leverage photography you already have done. Because you may make money from the middle effort you would have to put in. Another idea is to create a tailored stock photography site where you sell very specific images to businesses who are willing to pay a much higher for a single quality image that fits their needs perfectly, rather than trying to find something that fits the bill otherwise. For example, I couldn't find the stock site for e-sports and gaming photography as of right now. Those categories are heavily limited on Microstock sites is one of the biggest focuses for online-based publications right now. If you can find the right market, there's a lot of money to be made. I hope the takeaway from all of this is that you have multiple choice. Photography has always been regarded as a very competitive and diluted space to work in. The reality is that, yes, technology has truly removed barriers of entry into this industry. But what people forget is at the same time, technology has simply made photography ever more relevant than it ever was. With the Internet being faster, websites can afford to compete with more visual content. With social media taken over our daily lives, models and businesses have to fight with more photographs and content of themselves and their products to stay relevant. With more people being able to pick up their phones and take pictures themselves, there's more appreciation for what constitutes a good photo rather than a bad one. Opportunities to make money from photography are everywhere. I was searching on Airbnb recently for an apartment in London, and after I had booked it, it showed me something I had never seen before. A list of photographers who are selling through the website and experience, like touring the best parts of London for Instagram shots. These photographers were giving London tours to tourists who are booking through Airbnb anyway, and a photo session at the same time. As long as you push yourself to think outside of the box and be as creative with the way you sell your services as a photographer, as you are a creative with your photography itself, then opportunities will continue to open around you in the most unlikely places. 6. Diversify Your Subjects: I'm a photographer. I have been for seven years at the time of the recording. Tell me to take lifestyle photos of your product and I will make it sell. Tell me to shoot your modeling portfolio and I will make you look great. But tell me right now to shoot an amazing close-up of an eagle mid-flight and I'll disappoint you. It involves techniques that I have never explored. Lenses and gear I have never learned to use, a whole different discipline and patience, and an in-depth understanding of the flight habits of this creature and how not to alert it to your presence. Things that could take a long time to learn, or you won't learn at all unless you throw yourself into that environment. Photography has such a wide scope of creativity and depth that most photographers never scrape the surface of. So many different techniques, tools, and experience, and endless possibilities, some that are yet to be discovered. A photojournalist who's taken a year trip to document the poorest regions of Sudan will teach you a very different skill set to a sports photographer that shoots fast-paced football games at a stadium. A National Geographic photographer would not deploy the same techniques that a high fashion photographer would. It doesn't matter how much technical know-how you have of how to operate your camera, it won't make you a great photographer in every situation. What makes you a great photographer is the amount of experience and a working knowledge that you have gained through all of the photos you have taken. You might not specifically find different photography as interesting as a career choice, but by trying to explore them and putting yourself out of your comfort zone, you are forcing yourself to adapt what you know and experience photography in a way you wouldn't have otherwise. Learning to take photos through different methods that haven't occurred to you to try before. By diversifying the photography you do, you learn so much more and give yourself more techniques to be creative within your approach to other photography projects in your future. You're going to be able to apply yourself and think differently to how you shoot than other photographers who have stuck to only a particular style. A wildlife photographer turned street fashion is probably going to have a very unique approach to his work. If you ever feel like you're stagnating and your photos have not looked any different for a while or you don't seem to be gaining much clientele, then it's probably time to diversify. Not only is this going to give you the opportunity to develop your skills further, but you'll be introduced to new people, new organizations, industries, and potentially new clients. Even if you have a dream of being a world-class fashion photographer one day, don't say no to someone who is willing to pay you to shoot their wedding out of fear of being out of your comfort zone, because who knows? Not only will you learn a new way of working, but someone attending that wedding could be interested in working with you in the future that's closely related to what you actually want to do. If you keep yourself open to as many different kinds of photography opportunities as possible, you'll much sooner build a client base that you can eventually choose between to suit how are you want to work. In the process, you might discover that you actually enjoy other kinds of photography even more. What about beyond photography? Graphic design, videography, marketing? Why limit yourself as a creative? I first started on my career path as a graphics designer, which also started as a hobby in my early teen years, and learned how to design for web and then eventually web development on top of that. During my first years in freelance, I noticed that I could open myself to far more opportunities by not just offering graphics designer as a service, but packaging my other skills as well. There was this one project that stands out to me the most early on in my career. I worked on a design for a product, a football for kids that taught how to kick the ball for different techniques with the illustrations on the ball itself. This went on to win four design awards, and to be able to call myself an award-winning product designer at the age of 18 was such an amazing moment for me in itself. But in that moment of self-confidence, after landing that first big product, I pitched to my client that I could create a website for him as well to go alongside it, and being extremely happy with the work I had already done for him, he said yes. With that three days of work in total for both of those projects, I had more than doubled what I had earned that month from my retail job, an opportunity that I just wouldn't have had if it wasn't for me diversifying my skill set. My takeaway from this is that clients who are already happy with the kind of work you do in one area are going to be much more likely to work with you in other areas as well over other people and be more open to having additional work done in the first place because they trust you already, which means by diversifying your skill set in other areas, you might be able to earn even more from the clients you already have by showing them the other talents you possess and pitching them ideas. With new clients that you find using your other skills, it could open more doors for your photography work. Previously, I talked about cross-promotion with other creatives and diversifying a skill set works on the same principle, except that you are cross-promoting your other skills rather than another individual's. There's no limit on choices. One of the easiest things to pick up following photography would be videography. The DSLR you have is likely already a capable video camera. Your skills are highly transferable as well. You know how to frame well, what makes a good composition, and how to color grade. So you're halfway there to being able to confidently sell your services with shooting video. Video editing, of course, is another skill set to add on top of that, but isn't required. There's been a few times I've had to shoot gigs where their own editor takes it into post-production and I didn't have to do that part. You could pick up graphic design and approach businesses, and tell them, hey, I can create great marketing assets with cool graphics and awesome photography of your product. Or I can design you a beautiful investor presentation full of amazing photography that I will take to help bring your business more investment. How about social media marketing? I will take pictures of your restaurant and manage your social media accounts and paid social advertising campaigns that will bring new customers through your door. Maybe you can venture into 3D. I will take amazing pictures of your venue and create a 3D model of it that can serve as an interactive virtual experience for your potential customers on your website. However, there's a lot more to diversifying beyond photography. It can really take your photography to the next level as well. There's a very talented friend of mine who's an amazing illustrator, graphics designer, and photographer, and he combines his skills together to create stunning pieces of art that composites his photography with his illustrations, and it's so unique and creative. You couldn't recreate that work with photography alone. You could do similar with 3D and create scenes and backdrops to your subjects or special effects that if done practically, could have cost a lot in set design to recreate. Being able to create surreal art pieces with your photography is such a niche skill that can put you ahead of other photographers in our saturated market. Being able to design presentation decks to showcase your own photography in a unique way and learning even a little bit about marketing and social media campaigns will help you be able to sell yourself. As I've mentioned before, unless you have a big following, an audience, or an established client-base, people aren't going to come knocking at your door for work. So learning the tools of the trade that marketers use or devoting yourself to the art of selling is a necessary part of creating job opportunities for yourself that would have been hard to reach otherwise. You will be able to reach more clients this way. Finding higher-paid, full-time employment work as a multi-talented individual is also much easier, especially in startup environments that need somebody that can help grow the business in multiple areas at once. Being a photographer with marketing skills and understanding social media means you can do 2-3 jobs in one and be far more beneficial for a company to hire as full-time photography by itself is not really necessary in a lot of companies. Finally, having a greater understanding of all different aspects of creative professions and marketing, and being able to see the bigger picture of how it all comes together can lead you in your first steps in a career as a creative, marketing, or brand director with a real direct influence on the outward appearance of a brand. This is the career path that I personally have chosen to walk as an art director. 7. Networking For Success: It's not what you know, it's who you know. A phrase we've all heard many times before and there's a very good reason for that. When we are in need of something, our first thought is to ask within our own circles. If you know somebody who is a designer, I need business cards made. They're going to be the first person you think of going to, it's human nature to look for help from people we know, from people who are familiar with or someone you're friends are familiar with because it's comforting. Unlike the uncertainty you'll face looking for service in the dark, this rings true in business as well. A lot of the freelancers, at least in the creative field that I've seen hired in my line of work have been connections. I also looked to the creatives that I know if I need additional work done because I know the quality of work they produce and I like to support them. Thanks to my connections I've had work opportunities presented to me as well. Like the first wedding I ever shot solo happened to be for someone I met through a fighting game tournament whose mother was getting remarried. If I never went to that event, if never interacted with people there and showed interest in them and made that connection, that friend they would never have put me forward as a photographer for that opportunity and that is the power of networking. It doesn't have to be business-related. I didn't go to the fighting game tournament for work. I went there because I enjoy playing tech and challenging myself against other players. Having gone to those kind of events, I can easily connect with the people there because it's something I have a huge passion for. I actually got repeat work from that wedding to photojournalism of the sport events and the video work as well. Just going out and meeting people at parties, events, and spaces of shared interests and making genuine connections can lead to work opportunities. As the more people who know you as a photographer in their contacts, the more potential there is for them to come looking for you when they need help with that or more likely, they'll recommend you to someone they know who needs photography done. Industry events are among the best places to go to meet people. The whole reason a lot of people out there is to socialize with like-minded people who share their interests or share their industry. Look for local events in the area. Be that tech, like a computer trade show or an automobile show, a cooking event, fashion show, anything that really grasp your interest. How do you find them? Look in the local paper, Google align events in a year, download apps like Eventbrite and browse their check local Facebook groups, ask cafes or shops and see if they're holding any small events. Or you could even try asking people if they know of any cool events that are coming up. Get yourself to one of these and try to meet new people there. Maybe you're not usually the type of person who approached people. Maybe you find meeting new people a little intimidating, but you have an advantage over others being able to overcome that fear, a tool to break that barrier and that's your camera. Take your camera with you and just take some photos. People are going to be there because they're passionate about something about the public talk they're giving or some computer products they're selling or the car they're showcasing. If you are there giving the focus of their passion your time and your attention, they're going to want to open up to you and excitedly tell you about it. Drop them your business card, add them on social media or LinkedIn, and you've got yourself a new connection. I've easily grown my circles by 20-50 new people at different types of events. What's great about this approach is that they're going to come looking for you after because now you've got something they want and that's pictures of them or their car, product, whatever they'd love to see. Which becomes an amazing segue for you to pitch them your services after. You want to constantly be reinforcing the fact that you're a photographer in people's minds, in person on social media, constantly sharing your work on line, constantly retweeting and engaging in relevant discussions. Talking about your projects on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook. Not in an obnoxious way of course, you don't want people's reaction to be, we get it you take photos. You just want to shed light on the interesting work you are doing. By doing that, you remind the people who are connected with you of your talent and what you do. Depending on the platform any likes, comments, rather interaction you get from your circles is going to help expose your work to their own social circles as well. Bringing your camera with you when you hang out with your friends or creating projects with people as a form of socializing is a great way to do this in person too, not just to help reinforce your image as a photographer but open you up to ways of keeping productive and creating some great work. Some of my favorite shots I've taken have been when I've been out on a date. We've walked past a really cool area or backdrop. I've got my camera with me. I can take a photo there and then a photo opportunity I would have missed otherwise. Rather than just meeting weekly with your friends for dinner at a pub or to watch the game, why not try and do something creative together instead? If they're a music artist or a model, why not organize a front sheet within the plans after? Or maybe your friend is really into woodworking. Consider socializing with them by taking some cool shots of them in their workshop of their work. Especially, if you're just starting out with photography. This gives you plenty of experience methods to use in your portfolio. But at the same time, it's a great way to spend time with your friends while reinforcing your passions and there's. People will remember you if you take a real interest in their hobbies or work and when it comes to them or someone they know needing a photographer for work, you're the first person that's going to come to mind. You should do this in return too. If you come into contact with people looking for work or looking for a particular kind of work to be done, connect these people with opportunities for them. If your friend Joe wants to startup a business and you know a web designer, tell him about it, connect each other, help them get the ball rolling. People especially don't forget when you help them get work. They'll feel in your debt and if they come across a similar situation, they will return the favor. You will be the photographer they recommend to someone who might be interested. Finally, keep your important connections warm. There's no point building out your network and then letting that work and effort go to waste. If you're not actively engaged with people, eventually you'll be out of their life, out of their mind and you're not going to be the person they come to when they need a photographer or want to work on a project that might involve you. This happens especially fast in the first few weeks after meeting a new person, you need to be actively engaging with people, invite them out for a coffee sometime, or even just like and comment on recent social media posts. On social media, this is actually more important because engagement is how the algorithm works out, what relevant posts to show a person. So if you are actively engaged with someone's posts and in their DMs, they're going to engage with you in return. Whatever that platform they're on, whether it's Twitter or Instagram, is going to put your content on their feed first. Your story highlights first. So they're going to have constant vision on the things you're doing. Obviously, it's impossible to engage with everyone once you start growing out of big network. But doesn't have to be regular. Chiming into someone's life and seeing what they're up to once every couple of months or so can be enough. You don't want to be involved with time wasters either. So keep you engagements with people who are worth it, who will elevate you and your work, or those that inspire and motivate you. The great thing about people you've met with in the past and shared a memorable experience with, is that no matter how many years have passed since you last spoke, that connection is never truly cold. You can drop in and see how they're doing and make that connection warm again. I will soon contact one of my first ever clients from 5-6 years ago. Even if I haven't worked for them in a few years, it's always good to keep in touch as you never know what business opportunities might be around the corner. So actionable steps that I want you to follow right now. Find an event that you're going to go to. Any event and aim to meet new people. Bring your camera and make five or 10 new connections. Next time you're out with your gang, bring your camera and use it. Next time you want to socialize with a friend, bring your creative talents into the activity and start a project with them, and reconnect with an old work colleague or friend that you haven't spoken to in years. Even if nothing else comes out of it. They'll appreciate you asking how they've been doing. We live in strange times and the world is changing rapidly. Now more than ever, career aspirations aside, should we be staying connected with people helping each other out? 8. Investing In Yourself: Invest, invest, invest, you have to invest. No business has taken off without investment. No athlete has ever become an Olympic gold medalist without investment. Not just money, time. How much time has Usain Bolt spent running, spent on peak performance workouts, researching diets and owning his craft to become the world-class sport legend he is today? You have to put the work in to see results, and you have to be willing to spend money to make money. If you're going to take this from a hobby to a career, you have to ask yourself, do you have the gear for that? Do you have the tools to let you do that? Does your camera produce professional quality results for the work you want to do. It doesn't have to be expensive to begin with, it really doesn't. Do you need lights, pick up some soft boxes than Amazon for a $100 to begin with, you'll notice results straight away. You need a better camera. You can buy a used Canon 60 for under $400 on eBay and pick up a new 50 millimeter F1.8 lens for $100 and get amazing versatility and results out of that for portraiture, for products, for events. Pick up a cheap flash that could be useful for indoor events, and a ton of other things. I'll let you know a bit of a secret. I shoot almost everything on a $100 cannon 50 millimeter. For the past 3-4 years of my professional career is pin my main lens. For what I do with the pictures I going to be mainly on social media, online and digital marketing purposes, it just does the job. The only downside to this lens is the small color fringing around edges if you zoom in really close. But that's not going to matter unless I'm expecting it to be printed very large like on a billboard. There's definitely sometimes when it isn't enough. I have a couple of the lenses that hardly get used, which sometimes fill the void. But when I shot a wedding gig, I definitely needed a 24-70 millimeter F2.8, and a 70-200 millimeter F2.8 that I don't own. Both of these lenses are around two grand each. The money I didn't just have lying around. They don't have to own all of your equipment. If you do have the money, buy what you're going to use often, but on occasions where you need some gear that you can't afford to buy and don't need on a regular basis, then rent. That's what I did, and it cost me $40 to rent two lenses that cost four grand together to buy, $40 to let me do that wedding job and get paid far more in return on my investment. We rent them from a studio or to save money from services like Fat Llama or Facebook groups where you're renting from other photographers rather than a rental business. I'd love to own these lenses, but in reality, I just don't need to. Spend your money wisely, but spend it. Get the gear you need to do the work. Rent when you can't buy it outright and I will improve the quality of your photography. New opportunities will open up to you and the fact you have invested money will motivate you to succeed at this because now you have a stake in it. That money spent, you're going to make sure it pays off. Gear is not the only thing you should focus on. Invest money in building your brand, whether that is a nice website or business card designs, or putting money into advertising your services, like paying for targeted social media post reach, or printing high-quality files to put around your neighborhood and through people's letter boxes. One great idea is to spend some money up from to have a booth at an event where you can showcase your work. I was at a comic convention and I saw this photographer had set up a photo shoot booth to take photos of the course players of the event. I asked them about their business model. They paid around $500 for the three days, which seemed like a lot of money. But with charging every course player around $10 for a quick shoot and print on demand, which was very popular, based that they easily bring the business over $500 from that weekend alone. With every shoot, they give a bonus discount package for another shoot with them at their proper studio. What an awesome way to advertise your business. There are plenty of things you could be doing here. I suggest having a look at some of the business growth courses on this platform to help you. Invest in resources that will build your business, and you will see the money you spend come back to you. Like I said at the beginning, you also have to spend time. Set aside time every week or even every day to learn, to improve, to own your skills. Job buy on YouTube and search for photographers who are teaching different techniques for lighting, editing or photography style and try to implement that. Take courses on websites like Skillshare, buy courses from top photographers and learn, read articles about photography and even just go to galleries or take inspiration from other people's Instagram feeds and see how you could replicate those results in Azure and spin to it. Entering photography competitions as well that have specific themes is another great way to inspire you to try new things. GuruShots is an interesting website that's free and centered around map. Put in that work to develop yourself to become a better photographer. It's a given with so many easily accessible resources to help you grow than ever before, you need to be doing this to give you an edge over your competition. You should want to do it. It's always a proud thing to see yourself really grow and get better at something you enjoy. 9. My Personal Journey: Photography has always been a big topic within my family. My mother was a wedding photographer herself and she always used to take me and my little sister out and take photos of us and we'd hate it. We'd absolutely hate being conflict subject of photos. But we did get these snap cams that our dad purchased for us to take pictures of the tourist destinations we were at. When I was younger, we went to Brussels, for example, and we saw the little mini Europe City, and we went to Legoland as well in the UK and I have that little snap cam, a little Polaroid camera with me, I just take little photos of those. I remember as well, I used to be obsessed with with Lego and I loved to take photos and little videos of Lego miniatures, the little sets that I created. I think it was the first introduction that I had with photography. I never really thought about it as anything other than the subject itself being what I'm more interested in. But I think when I turned around 16, we had to take a side class for [inaudible] form. Photography was one of the options. I thought well, if I'm going to do anything, I might as well just pick up photography as the secondary thing that I can do for school, but also it's something that I'm familiar with and I have someone there to help me, my mother to help me on that. I picked up her old Canon 20D which was I think bought from 2004 at the time. It was 12. Yeah, a good 10 years old of a camera and this little 50 millimeter lens. I just started shooting and I started enjoying it. I really loved going out and engaging in the projects and taking photos of people. I also used to go to these comic conventions and I thought, well, why not try and take photos of these crazy characters. They're there because they're passionate about these characters and they want to portray them through their costumes. Why don't I help them portray that through photography and help them create these amazing scenes were they're placed in the forest or in a city environment, whatever that pertains to their character. I take pictures of that. Then what I loved about that was how social it was and how social photography was. It gave me new opportunities to speak to people, to gain new friends. Did you say that it gave you self confidence. Yeah, it gave me confidence. It gave me a social life, it gave me a friend group and I loved that. I loved how it pushed me to be a better person because I was constantly trying to get better photos and to get meeting new people so that we can create new things. It really pushed me towards a creative direction. I think before photography, I did do like graphics design and things like that. But I was really probably looking to pursue a career in computer science, it was completely different to the creative stuff. But then when I picked up photography and saw how how it impacted my life, that's when I knew this is something that I really want to do. Never feel like you're not good enough. I think that's a big thing that I noticed with new people in the scene, new photographers, new freelancers of any kind is they always feel like they can't go off a certain opportunities because they haven't had the experience yet. But if you've never gone off those opportunities, you'll never get that experience. Literally, whatever opportunities fire your way, no matter how uncomfortable you feel shooting that, you should go for it because you will learn, you will force yourself to be comfortable. You will force yourself to push yourself to do a good job because you don't want to disappoint the client, you don't want to disappoint yourself. If you always have that mentality of, you know what, shoot first and then decide if you're good enough afterwards, then you're going to see that you're going to see that you're surprised yourself quite often. I think when I was studying as well, I was always fearful of going for certain options like I've never done this before. But there was one client that I came into contact with that, I had never done 3D work, for example, commercially and this guy was looking for somebody who wanted to do 3D work. I know this is not related to photography, but I decided to just go for it. In the end, I did this piece of work that took me one day to produce and won me four design awards. I would have never have done that if I was too afraid to take the opportunity because I've never done that before. The same with your photography, you need to just go for it. You need to just take any opportunity that comes your way. It's the first time I shot a wedding solo. There was this moment where everyone, the bride and the groom, say their vows. After they say the vows, of course, they kiss, they have the first kiss. I wanted to get the central shot. I wanted to get back down the aisle shot where they're kissing with a telescopic lens where I have the perfect central scene. The only issue that I had would with that of course is I'm not there in the front, I'm not able to control what's going on at the front of the altar. So one of the biggest mistakes was perhaps not delegating somebody to make sure nobody went out and shot went out. I just simply assumed that everyone was going to stay in their seats when this happened. This old lady clearly didn't understand etiquette, jumped out in front of the shot, that she jumped out right into the center with her snappy cam to take a photo of the bride and groom having their first kiss. Obviously, she didn't know anybody, she thought she wanted to get this cute scene, maybe she thought they would be happy to have this photo. But in doing so, they ruined my shot. She blocked the whole of the bride in this shot. It was an awful feeling because I was the only photographer there, there was no other photographer to cover for me when that shot was missed. One of the advice I would give you is if you're shooting a wedding, get an assistant with you just to cover shots like that, important shots that you might miss. Don't think that you can take care of anything. Don't assume that everything is going to go okay because most of the time, something will go wrong. You as a photographer will be held accountable for that. It hurt me so much that I miss such an important memory for somebody, I wasn't able to capture that special moment. That doesn't happen again, it's their first kiss in that setting as husband and wife and I didn't capture that. Obviously, they were extremely upset and I felt it. I think that that's one of the biggest mistakes that I made that I've learned from. I'm still on terms with them, they understood the situation. They were more angry at the lady that jumped out than me naturally, and they were obviously understanding that this was my first wedding but they did sit me down. They really told me this meant a lot to them, and in the future, I just need to make sure that I have the situation under control where this wouldn't have happened. Mistakes will be made. You will make mistakes and some of them will be quite emotionally traumatic in a way, but you need to learn from them, you need to grow, and you need to take that mistake and see what you can do better next time. Because if you always keep making the same mistakes, then you're not really growing as a photographer. In that case, the mistakes are meaningless, but if you're growing from it, then it's good to make mistakes because you'll never learn otherwise. I've had the pleasure of being quite lucky in my opportunities and in some of the kind of work that I've been able to do. I started off in photography generally just as a hobby and it wasn't something that I actually specifically was looking to do as a career. At the time when I entered that as a profession, I was actually studying 3D modeling in university and I was looking to get into game development then into the game industry. I was just doing photography as a hobby on the side, I was doing it in comic conventions and then just with friends and I was just having a good time. While I was working at this e-sports bar, it was just called the Fnatic Bunker and it was run by a very prestigious team, they're like Fanatical like the T01 top team in the world for e-sports in various different titles. They were multiple time Counter-Strike world champions since they had a League of Legends world championship, they're very well known. I was just working as front of stuff in there, their e-sports store. This was like my student job that I was doing when I was studying 3D modeling and while I was there, I had an interest in creative things. I was always talking about my photography and stuff and I even brought my camera with me sometimes because I like to take pictures of things. I took pictures of some of the products just for my own personal benefit and the store manager there loved it. She was trying to engage me and do these things, and because we were right next to headquarters, they started to take notice and that's when they began to give me freelance work. That's when I first realized that, wow actually I can make money off of my hobby. I can take photography and do photos of products and marketing and earn money from that. It wasn't just photography, it was video as well actually. That brought up an opportunity for me that even though I was following a career path initially with my unit towards game dev and 3D modeling. I felt like maybe this was something I could explore, it was something I really enjoyed anyway. I thought, why not just take a leap of faith and just try it? They offered me an internships for their team. That was, I think, an amazing year of my life where I traveled around the world, essentially with the prestigious e-sport team and took photos, took videos of influencers who have millions of followers in their respective spheres of influence which was e-sports gaming, Counter-Strike, League of Legends, etc,. I took amazing marketing shots of their products as well. Being able to take control over some creative projects myself, and be able to explore myself as a creative in that regard and it led to doing photography for weddings, it led to doing other kind of marketing material. They were a betting company that I worked with as well for a little time. Eventually my time with Fnatic ended of course, as all things do, and this another amazing opportunity came up to become an art director at a fintech firm. I was really interested in fintech myself anyway, I was interested in [inaudible] and styling all these great new age banking. Then to be able to apply what I've learned in photography and other creative fields and follow that journey there, in a more leadership capacity in terms of being able to control marketing projects and control social media and things like that and develop myself in that way has really pushed me in a new direction that I just never thought I would have followed before. Just picking up photography as a hobby from the very beginning has literally changed my life. I don't think I could really tell you where I'm going to be next because I'm always open to new opportunities as anyone should be. There are opportunities out there in the masses and if you look for them, you will find them. I will always be hunting for the next big new opportunity, whether that is to stick in photography and marketing and maybe move towards becoming a creative director or having my own creative agency or whether I move off into a new direction. Maybe I go back to 3D modeling, maybe I go back to game dev. That's something that still is a big passion of mine and if that opportunity came about, I would probably take that just for the experience of it. I think if you really want to get into photography, if you really find that fun and interesting than just go for it. There's nothing stopping you from doing this apart from yourself and your own barriers that you put up, because realistically, there is work out there to be had. Everyone needs photography, social media has created a huge need for assets to be posted on a daily basis because everyone's fighting for attention. There will never be a time where products don't exist, so you always need to take photos of products. People, they have faces that need photos of. Portraiture for either business-related, acting, just on social media, everyone's on it. Again back to social media, that have made a huge impact on people wanting to have more photography done of themselves. Tourism industry, huge for photography. There's just so much out there that is just ready for you to take photos of and take it from someone who's just gone after every opportunity just for the hell of it. Do it, just go for it and you will find that you will be enjoying yourself and your life much more by just following your creative passions in photography. 10. Final Thoughts: He made it to the end of the course. You know, it's been a long time in the making. I have actually moved house in the middle of making this. Going to be it had my PC catch on fire and buy a new one and the new chair. So it's been quite an adventure to put this all together. I just want to thank you for taking your time to actually watch through this. If there is one last piece of advice that I'd give is to not neglect the more business side of things. A lot of photographers love artists. The great with, with composition migrate with, with color science, the great with working with any sort of artistic direction. But when it comes to, you know, accounting, when it comes to finances, when it comes to writing out plan agreements, a lot of them struggle. And it's why a lot of people do manage to, to achieve or excel in this industry as well as they could, given that the talent that they have, you have to be able to not just be a creative, but to be a business. I have struggled with these areas as well. You know, it's not something that I particularly enjoy doesn't happen. So some of these things are fun to do. And managing your finances isn't necessarily fun. Setting up tax records, etcetera is not great. It's not something that you want to be doing. You want to be out there shooting photography. You want to be editing your photos. You want to be having that creative freedom. But realism is, is that that's only part of your job and you have to not sleep on the other parts if you really want to do well. The next step from this course is to go out there, is to apply that learning is to work on your business, work on your brand, and take those opportunities that are out there for you. And never be afraid to take on opportunities that you don't feel you are ready for. And I hope that everything that I've taught in this course can help you and really push you to be able to do that and to overcome any fear that you have. And I look forward to seeing all of you, you know, working toward something that you truly want to work towards.