Where We Began
For most of us we began our photography journey as a hobby, a side job, or just for love of it. Many of us decided to turn this love into a real job. Some of the first advice we may have received was to figure out what our market and area call for and to really specialize in one aspect of photography. We may even get to the point where we turn down jobs that are not our “specialty”.
I do agree that as a business you do have to carve out your spot and really show potential clients a clear view of what you’re about. BUT sometimes it gets BORING.
You may want to do a maternity shoot when you are strictly a landscape photographer. Or you may want to try out some studio backdrops even though you have never touched one before. I have found that the desire to shoot outside of our comfort zone is wonderful and the best way to stay motivated, grow your photography skills, and perhaps find a new client.
This is the exact place I found myself. Here are a few things I did when I found to help me out of the, “I have shot the same thing a million times” rut.
Shooting for Myself
As a huge people-person, I had never thought of photographing things that did not include people. My business is built around photographing children. As a business owner, I interact with people all the time.
Once, on a whim, I tried to shoot a sunset. It was hard and it did not turn out very well. It made me want to learn how to do it right. I had the same desire to learn, improve, and perfect this skill just like I did when initially learning photography.
Now I find myself interested in what time sunset is and always looking for a nice high spot with a good view. I pay attention to the clouds, haze, and mountains. I see things I have never noticed before. I notice the way a tree or interesting building will appear in the silhouette of the sunset. This adventure turned into a sale when a friend purchased a print of a sunset reminding her of her late mother.
My newfound love of sunsets took me right into my next photo adventure—local farm fields. In my search for the best place to shoot a beautiful wide open sunset, I found myself on the outskirts of town in farm country. At first it was just a place to park with no buildings or telephone wires. But I quickly found beauty in the perfect rows of the field and the way the crop swayed in the wind.
I found myself photographing a local crop duster at sunset. This turned into a favorite photo of mine. Then the pilot hired me, and the school nutrition board commissioned prints of local farm fields to hang in the nutrition office. Not only did I find a new aspect of photography to love, but it turned into part of my business.
Being out in nature and trying to catch those sunsets steered me quietly into my next endeavor—storms and lightening. Did I for one second know how to shoot lighting? Nope. Not a clue. But guess what? I figured it out and in the process felt the thrill of “getting the shot.”
Who would have known my husband's innate storm chasing abilities would bring us together in a new fun way. On a great side note, I sold a lighting print to a family member to hang in their home.
Star and night sky photography seemed like the last frontier for me. I still have no idea what I am doing, but it’s fun. When the kids are in bed and I step outside to a beautiful full moon or a super clear set of stars, I naturally want to get a photo of it. This may be easier said than done, but I will figure this out!
Always knowing there is another skill to learn used to have me feeling anxious and overwhelmed. Now, after tackling some things I never knew I could photograph, I look at new obstacles as an opportunity. There are so many avenues to pursue that I haven't tried yet—pets, wildlife, urban, macro, landscape, food—the list is never ending.
Committing to a 365 project really was a great goal for me to set, and gave me a place online (a 365 album on my personal FB page) to post my “new” photos that did not undermine or compete with my online business profile. Even though only personal friends and family view them, they have lead to new clients and opportunity.
Move Outside Your Comfort Zone
I guess what I am saying is get out there! Step outside your comfort zone. Figure out how to shoot new types of photography. Find something new to photograph. You may just fall in love. You’re a PHOTOGRAPHER, go be a photographer—anywhere and everywhere you can.