A person stops by my booth and slowly flips through the prints on display. The potential buyer looks at each one and sometimes holds one up at arm’s length for a different view. They turn the print over, studying the packaging, mat, and mounting board then read the artist’s statement or bio on the back. Finally there’s a closer inspection of the framed prints hanging on the wall.
My first impression (and heartfelt desire) that this MIGHT be someone seriously considering a purchase evolves into the understanding that a novice photographer is about to start asking me questions about how I got started, who does my printing, and telling me why he or she is considering professional photography (“My friends think my stuff is great!” or “My relatives tell me I should be selling my pictures.”) Watch your friends and relatives queue up to buy some!
Excepting a couple of weekend seminars and some electives in college (years ago), my education in photography falls into the category of “self-taught”. Most of the rookies who want to talk to me profess a similar alma mater. It’s fun to share my knowledge and stories of my experience, so I usually recommend the weekend seminars I’ve attended and about a half dozen books and magazines. See the links on my home page – “Links we like.”
Perhaps the most encouraging compliment sent my way came from David Cirka who said, “Chip, everyone has a camera. Not everyone has the talent. Keep up the good work!”
My advice to the want-to-be professional photographer is this:
• Invest in some good equipment. (A ninety dollar point-and-shoot camera with a cheap desk top printer doesn’t typically qualify.)
• Read, study, and devour several great instructional books.
• Take ten thousand shots and study each one to learn from your own mistakes.
• After you’ve done the three above, call me. You probably won’t need to call me or anyone else after that!
Good luck and happy shooting!