To stop learning, to stop growing, is to invite Death. Time for a change.
I’ve got several irons in the fire of late. I’m working with a local film producer/director creating images of the characters for promos. I’m still perfecting my skills doing headshots here at my studio. I just got done with a marvelous beach sunrise session with a force of nature named Maddie. To top it all off I’m building up the boudoir set for another season.
The hardest part about the whole restarting thing is getting the momentum back. When I left back in December, I had just completed my busiest year yet. Now I’m back but in a new city. A lot of people that were around back then have moved on. That’s the nature of this business. Very few stay in it more than 6 months to a year.
So now I have to rebuild a base in that new city.
Another truth to this business is that things change. New gear comes out, new styles of shooting appear, new “looks”, new ways of editing. This means a photographer has to stay on top of all those things.
Admittedly, I did not. Not only was there that five month break but there was also that last half of 2017 when I was focused on getting in all I could before leaving. I stopped learning in favor of booking more sessions. I stopped growing and stuck to what I already knew.
Add to that the new job and all the learning/effort involved with that and you see where this is going.
I was seriously behind the curve when I decided to get back into the portrait game and I wasn’t happy about that. Now, I’ll be the first to say that we should not be chasing trends. We should be devoting our time to honing our skills and style. But my style was, to be honest, dated. I hadn’t changed much. It was predictable.
I didn’t like that. So I made a choice to restart it all. First – myself. I took it upon myself to update my lighting equipment which precipitated the desire to learn how to use it properly which lead into the headshots which is an area I used to do well but stopped doing a long time ago.
Once I started to edit those I realized my editing skills were just atrocious which led into me learning new ways of doing that. I always say there’s a dozen ways of doing the same thing in Photoshop. The trick is to find the best way of doing it. Then someone else finds a better way six months later and the chase begins.
The new light is also portable which means I can take it out on location sessions. That meant more learning and refining. Using it in conjunction with my beloved speedlights was a huge step forward.
Next is the base. That simply takes time. I do a session then give the images back to the client. Their friends see it and want to do it so they contact me. Yes, social media helps but nothing, absolutely nothing, beats word of mouth. And that takes time.
So I offer up these examples of what’s in the pipe. More of them will be published soon. Stay tuned and put a good word in for me.
Mark Knopp is a Hampton, Virginia-based portrait photographer covering Hampton Roads, Richmond, and beyond. Contact him at mknopp1(atcox.net today for your portrait needs or for photography lessons.