IN FOCUS: My Journey into Professional Photography Chapter 1

The purpose of the posts found in this category is to allow each of you an opportunity to experience first hand my journey into the world of professional photography.  I know some will pontificate, “It can’t be done!”  Others may follow only to be there when the downfall comes, because they are convinced it will come.  But most, hopefully including you, will find this series interesting because you will be a witness to my journey.  You will be the one who sends the comments of encouragement along the way.  You will be the one who lends the wisdom and advice that will help to guide my decisions.  You will be the one that will emerge with me at the end of this part of the journey as we celebrate together!

So, what now?  I’ve purchased a camera.  I’ve taken thousands of photographs, which ignited this craving to develop my new, fresh hobby into something more…a profession!  What’s my next step?  Where do I start?  Well, let’s begin this chapter with some of the steps I’ve taken to this point:

  • On May 25, 2010, I introduced Photographyfree4all and published my first post.  Don’t be discouraged fellow bloggers.  I believe I had a whopping 7 visits, not the first day, but the first week!  And with only a few exceptions, those visits all came from my family!
  • On June 2, 2010, I began to network.  I quickly realized that no one was going to simply stumble into Photographyfree4all, so I began to visit other photography blogs.  Through these visits, I met most of you.  Gradually, the traffic began to increase.
  • I determined I would take meaningful photographs every week, if not every day – challenging myself to improve the very rough skills I had only recently developed.  I would use the Photographyfree4all blog to gain your perspective.  I wanted to know what you thought technically.  I knew I had been fortunate to tap into a wealth of experience and knowledge.  I wanted to learn from you!  But, I also simply wanted to know if you liked the images I was presenting!

The Lifeguard Tower - Huntington Beach, California

I thought along the way I would share a few images of the Huntington Beach Pier during the day.  It seems most of my shots have been either during sunset or at night.

Ruby's Diner - Huntington Beach, CA

So, enjoy the beautiful blue sky and the dramatic cloud formations that I experienced over the weekend.  I have to say, few days escape without this scene gracing my journey.

Ruby's Diner - Huntington Beach, CA

Continuing on this journey to this point:

  • On August 14, 2010, I attended Photography Boot Camp!  This presented an opportunity to learn and an opportunity to network.  If you’re even remotely interested in photography, you must realize that networking is a very important facet of the journey.
  • From the beginning until the present, I have completed dozens of self-assigned photo shoot opportunities.  Two such photo shoots have resulted in the publication of one photo and the exhibit of another.
  • On October 28, 2010, I attended my first meeting of the Photographic Society of Orange County.  I was not surprised to find myself speaking with the president that night and joining their membership one week later.  All I had to do was learn the secret handshake!  🙂
  • On November, 5, 2010, I finalized the travel arrangements for my first photo shoot at Zion National Park in Utah.  I photographed Zion from December 27 through December 30, 2010.
  • On November 20, 2010, I was informed that one of my images had been chosen to be displayed at the MUZEO Museum in Anaheim, California from January through August 2011.
  • On January 3, 2011, I began the arduous challenge of developing my business plan.  I will have much more to say about this in the next chapter.
  • On January 10, 2011, I purchased the domain name which will become the eventual home of my business website.
  • One of the initial steps in developing any business plan is to determine your business entity.  For me, the best plan was a Limited Liability Company (LLC).  So with the help of my legal representation (which was LegalZoom for this step) my articles of organization were filed with the Secretary of the State of California on January 27, 2010.  I will have much more on this step in a future chapter, as well.
  • On February 5, 2011, I entered into an agreement with a professional printer as well as a professional framer.  More on these two businesses in a later chapter.  It’s a pretty incredible tale!
  • Of course, I could never mention the numerous web publications, magazine articles, and books I’ve spent hours pouring over the past few months.  But, there were hundreds!

As you can readily see, the steps I’ve taken to this point have been deliberate, but somewhat slow.  That is due primarily to the need to educate myself in the finer art of photography.  As I continue to learn, the pace of my journey will likely quicken. 

In December of 2010, I began to formulate a visionary timeline that would result in a dual finish to this part of my journey consisting of a soft product distribution in January 2012, with a firm gallery opening five months later in May of the same year.  I’m determined to remain true to that schedule without deviation.  With your help, it can and will be accomplished!  This is where you come in!!  Of course, I’ll be posting numerous pictures to this blog and ultimately my website.  I will be hoping to receive your feedback on those images.  One of the frequent blog commentators expressed a hesitancy to comment when I posted an image describing the technicalities of the processing.  No!  No!  No!  I shared how important their comments were to me.  You see, even if you have no idea how the image was created (and frankly couldn’t care less), I want to encourage you to help me determine if this print would be something you would purchase!  I will be building my gallery inventory over the course of this year and your input is paramount to the development to that inventory!  I can’t express enough the extreme necessity of your comments in this area!

In the next chapter we’ll be exploring my Business Plan, which includes the business entity I’ve chosen and why.  I hope you’ll stay with me because I need your help.

Thanks for joining me on this journey!  Let the comments begin…

Note: “IN FOCUS: My Journey Into Professional Photography” will be a twice monthly feature here at Photographyfree4all.

All contents of this blog are owned by Photographyfree4all and protected by the copyright laws of the state of California.  Any reproduction without the express written permission of this site is strictly prohibited.

If you would like to use some of this information for your blog, please contact me to work out those details.  As a subscriber to Photographyfree4all, I’m sure arrangements can be made to accommodate your request.

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~ by photographyfree4all on March 1, 2011.

22 Responses to “IN FOCUS: My Journey into Professional Photography Chapter 1”

  1. I’m baaack! Of course, you knew that you would hear from me sooner or later. Steve, if I may repeat myself, yes, you are good enough to be selling your work. In fact, you should already be selling it. I mentioned before, get yourself a good Epson wide printer. Print some photos, mount them on some foamboard, and/or mat them. Take them to an arts/crafts show near you and collect the raves, reviews, and oh yes, the MONEY. You have to start NOW and get your feet wet.

    That’s how I made my first sale. I set up a card table at an art show like I described above. It was a weekend show. I only had 21 prints with me. I didn’t know better. But the 2nd day I sold my first print for 30.00. What a rush!! Wow!! That got me started. It is a learning curve, Steve. Now if I do a show like that, I can sell 1,000.00 per weekend.

    So, just do it!!

    Bob

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  2. Oh, one more thing. You don’t need L lenses to get the job done. I’ve been doing this, (selling my work) for 20 years. I just got my first L series lenses about three years ago.

    Bob

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  3. Hi Bob! I discovered your comments had been posted to the first post in this series for some reason. So, I copied them and pasted them here so everyone could read them. great comments, Bob! I’ll have more to say about them later. Thanks! And, you’ve been missed!

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  4. Wow. It’s neat how you’re tracking your progress so logically–that way you can see where the little steps have led you to. I like that you mention how they were deliberate. Sometimes we’re waiting for that next big thing to happen, and we forget that it probably won’t unless we’re already in motion.

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  5. I really enjoy hearing about your progress, and I particularly look forward to hearing about the partnership with the local printers and framers, as well as your business plan.

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  6. I think you’re right, Bob! In fact, I’ve been thinking about that to some degree. There are so many places around here to set up, display, and sell your art! I really appreciate the encouraging words, Bob! In fact, I do have a very nice printer – it’s a Canon Pixma Pro 9000 Mark II that will print up to 13″x19″ in size. But, I’m also building a very good relationship with a professional printer I met through the Photography Society of OC. I’ve started to build my inventory and will continue, and even increase it by producing matted prints without framing. That would allow for more inventory at less cost. But, I’ll have some framed prints as well. Thanks for the push, Bob! It’s very much appreciated!

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  7. Hi Heather! Heather, you were the first person to ever leave a comment on my blog on June 24, 2010! That was a huge “WOW” to me!! I’ve appreciated your comments along the way. I have to say, I’ve never been one to wait for something to happen! Even if it’s a slow pace, I like to be moving forward! Stay tuned, Heather. This promises to be a detailed series of posts tracking my progress! 🙂

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  8. This was/is an amazing story, Journey. I’m looking forward to sharing it in the very near future. Thanks for tagging along on this incredible journey! 🙂

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  9. You’re right Bob! But doesn’t that little red stripe around the end of the lens look beautiful? 🙂 It will be a while before I add one of those babies – but, they are on my list!! Thankfully, I can still get some nice shots without them…for now! 🙂

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  10. Hey, Steve, I am glad to push you. I hate to see someone with so much talent, waste it by sitting around waiting. Someone pushed me too, and I am glad they did. Time goes by too quickly. Your printer is a great one, the prints will last up to 100 years. If one only last 90 years, you can tell that individual you will print another. 🙂

    I have an Epson R1900 and I haven’t had complaints. If I need larger than 13×19 I go to an outside printer. The size I sell most is 11×14. You can buy 16×20 pre-cut mats for them and save tons of money. For framing I print 12×16, put them in a 16×20 frame and cut my own mats from matboard.

    If you have any problems, take two pictures and call me in the morning. 🙂

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  11. Wow!! What a great blueprint!! Thank you for laying that out for us. I shall be watching and learning as you go.

    Cheers!

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  12. Thanks for sharing. Great read. Maybe at some point I will migrate from my day job in pursuit of my hobby. I look forward to continuing to read your blog.

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  13. Glad to have you along, Eric! I hope you’ll jump in the discussions as they happen. I’m sure you have a great perspective that I know I would appreciate hearing! Thanks for stopping by!

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  14. Thanks for jumping in with this comment, Brett! I’m glad to hear from you anytime! You never know when that hobby becomes more than a hobby!! 🙂 I’m really glad you stopped by today!

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  15. Thanks for all of this great information, Bob! You’re inspiring!! 🙂 Your expertise and experience is so appreciated! And…well…your humor is just a BONUS!! 🙂

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  16. Steve, I can see you going very far! We’re behind you all the way!!!!

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  17. Thank you, Michael! I’m glad you’re so willing to offer your help and expertise!! It does make it easier! 🙂

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  18. I must say that I have been following since the beginning and would like to encourage you in the fact that your photos are taking on so much more richness and personality. Maybe you are finding what interests you, but you have an amazing eye for color, I believe. Goals, detailed plans, determination and talent will help you see your dream become a reality. 🙂

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  19. This may be the best and most encouraging comment I’ve ever received, Car54!! I hope you continue to contribute with your great comments! Thanks!

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  20. Man, going professional sounds like an awful lot of work. Don’t let that spoil it for you, will you? Sometimes, when a passion becomes a job, the passion part goes away. I have no experience, so no advice. Nevertheless, I will be following with interest.

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  21. Interesting post – thanks for sharing. Looks like we are moving in parallel, asI’m in the process of settiing up my own photography website etc too. I’ll be watching your story develop with interest!

    Ros

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  22. Hi Ros! I think we are moving in the same direction! I remember visiting your blog before. I’m eager to see your new website…I may need some help with mine in the near future! Thanks for stopping by, again!

    Like

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