What I Wish I Knew Before I Became a Photographer

What I Wish I Knew Before I Became a Photographer

so I got a really interesting question
over in my photo boss Facebook group and the question was “what are some things
you wish you knew before you became a photographer?” so what do I wish I would
have known before I started doing this all professionally. I really like this
question I think it’s really good and I took a while to think about it. and I’ve
been writing down points and tips ever since and that was a couple months ago.
so today I’m going to be sharing with you all the things I wish I knew before
I became a photographer! I wish I would have known that you cannot buy attention.
now money helps in marketing but money is not everything.
attention is earned. and the way that you can earn it is by providing value or
entertainment or answering a question or solving someone’s problem. and I wish I
would have known this before because I wouldn’t have wasted so much time
sharing facts or random things about myself or about what I was doing that no
one cared about. so, if you feel like no one cares about what you’re posting – ask
yourself if you’re helping anyone, if you’re solving any problems, or answering
their questions or entertaining them in any way. the second thing I did not fully
understand or grasp when I first started out was that until I became comfortable
with my work and more importantly my pricing none of my clients were going to
be comfortable with my work or my pricing, so the sooner that I stood
behind that and I got really comfortable and confident in that they became
confident in me and my collections of my pricing and they were willing to pay it.
the third thing I wish I knew was that there are some things you can read about
and there are some things you just need to go do. so if you are in one of these
weird learning phases where you’re absorbing so much information every
single day because photography is something you really want, and you can
taste it and you want it and you know that it’s where you want your life to go –
but you’re not actually shooting every single day – and getting
camera in your hands and learning the settings you’re doing something wrong. so
that’s something I really didn’t understand when I first started. I
thought if I could educate my way and just read my way to being successful
that that would work but that’s ridiculous.
so if you are doing more reading than shooting you gotta flip the two. the
fourth thing that I wish I knew when I first started out was that the absolute
worst thing you can ever do is copy other people .copy other people’s
websites copy other people’s work their Facebook groups their ideas because it’s
already been done it’s not true to who you are and it will not get you to the
next step. you may fool people for a little while, people thinking that’s you
and that’s your idea, but something will not resonate because you stole that idea
or you took someone else’s editing style so the best thing you can possibly do is
focus on you and start getting really in your lane because when I first started
out I thought okay well that person’s successful because of that so I’ll take
that and that person’s successful because of this blog post so I can write
that too but the sooner you figure out what’s unique about you the sooner
you’re actually going to stand out, so maybe you are like I was and you’re in
this trap of replicating what other people are doing and copying other
people and it’s not getting you anywhere and that’s because copying is the worst
thing that you can do in your business. the final tip, and this is kind of a deep
one, is that I wish I would have understood that people want to feel like
they belong. people want to feel a sense of community and inclusivity and that
they’re a part of something bigger. the sooner that you can make people feel
like they belong to your brand or that they’re a part of a club or that they’re
on the inside by being a part of your brand and inside of your client
experience the better it’s going to take you so much further than almost any of
your other marketing efforts because they’re going to refer you them they’re
going to talk about you then because they feel special they feel included in
something special by being inside of your company culture so by hiring you
they get to use a certain hashtag by hiring you they got a special gift
by hiring you they got a unique process that they can only get with you I would
have known these things a little earlier on I think I’d just be one step ahead of
where I am now so if you’re along your journey in the first few years take some
of these tips rewatch this video take some notes because it will revolutionize
your business so if you can learn from people that are a step ahead of you
who’ve already made mistakes and are further ahead you’re going to get there
faster my question for you is – what is one thing that you wish you knew about
photography either when you first started out or right now??? leave it in the
comment section below!! I hope that this has helped you to get a little bit of
insight as to things that would have changed or wish I understood when I
first started and I hope that it helps you get to where you need to go a little
bit faster thank you so much for watching. I’ll see you guys next week. bye


  • Joy Michelle Photography says:

    What's one thing you wish you knew before starting photography?!

  • Bilal Shaik says:

    What is the gear you use ? Just excited to know…By the way Love your content

  • kairinaminemix says:

    Thank you for all these helpful videos! Iā€™m always scared to get started due to not fully knowing what Iā€™m doing but Iā€™m glad to have these videos help out. May I know how you set up an online gallery for your clients to choose prints from?

  • johan bauwens says:

    I wish I knew camera gear is so expensive. I started with a kit existing of a Canon rebel and a 18-55 and 55-250 which cost me about 900 ā‚¬ and I thought that would suit me for years …

  • Khandie Photography says:

    I love how honest these are. People sometimes post videos and its like 'marketing' etc. I wish I knew that at times it can be very lonely.

  • James Brew says:

    Great video Joy. I really liked the topic in this and I think your resulting insights are very interesting to hear. Keep up the excellent work. I've subbed. If you get a moment i'd highly appreciate feedback on any of my first photography vlog videos. Feedback from more experienced vloggers is always awesome to get. All the best, cheers

  • Johanna Brun says:

    I wish I knew I didn't have to have "formal" photography education in order to succeed or become a professional photographer. Three years ago I had my first child, and while I was shooting every day and reading as many articles, blogs, books etc., I kept telling myself I couldn't really get serious about a Photography buisness until my child/future children were in school full time and I could go back to school. There are so many online resources (even free ones. . . Like Joy Michelle's youtube videos!) that are amazing. Perspective clients are going to look at your work and decide if they like it. Aside from conversationally during a shoot, my clients have never asked me what my education is. They ask how long I have been doing it, but not what photography school I went to. If someone wants to be a stickler and say, "I'm only going to hire someone with a photography degree" then they are missing out on a ton of talent. I held myself back thinking this was a dream I couldn't pursue yet and wasted a lot of time I could have been building my business and my skills.

  • Alex Iby says:

    One thing I wish I knew before I started was to purchase a prime lens first and foremost, because you can get the most bang for your buck with one. Especially the 50mm f/1.8! But I loved the video! Keep up the great work! You have such a great screen presence! Cheers from Boston!

  • Hailey Grace says:

    I completely agree with all of these! Especially the point about being sure to have original work! You're videos are always so educational! šŸ™‚

  • Sarah says:

    this might be an odd question but what facets of yourself or your business did you look at to determine what makes you unique? i find reflection is soooooooo hard to do. my god!

  • Karina Martinez says:

    It would have been nice to know that there is a huge community of amazing photographer willing to help and educate.

  • Image-I-Nation Photography says:

    Agree 100%

  • bbtank3000 says:

    I wish I knew how important networking with other vendors in the wedding business would be. Forming friendships with other wedding vendors is one of the most crucial things you can do to grow awareness of your business. Becoming a "preferred vendor" really helps you gain recognition and set you ahead of the competition. I'm not a preferred vendor yet, but I'm working on it šŸ™‚

  • All Photos Considered Photography says:

    Joy thanks for the tip on Honeybook – do you have a Honeybook agreement template that you could share?

  • Victoria Bailey says:

    The most helpful thing I've watched!!!!

  • Marcelo MyRideNY says:

    This is bizarre! The sound speed of this video suddenly went super slow and while I initially thought it was part of the video, after a solid minute, I now realize something is a muck.

  • Rita Patel says:

    Great advice !! Some things we keep needing to be reminded of.


    "You cannot buy attention." This is good Joy!

  • Dava Nimmo says:

    Hello, Joy! I just came across your videos and have been watching them for the last few days – I LOVE your advice and how clearly you explain everything. Thank You! Warning – LONG QUESTION I'm currently in that awkward "just starting out reading and watching everything everyday to learn as much as possible" phase. And I so desperately want to start shooting everyday and have known I need to. Here's my problem: I don't have a camera!!! =0 And, my phone really isn't an option. I've asked around and no one I know has one. So, I need to buy one and my dilemma is to buy a beginner camera or invest for the future and buy my dream camera (Nikon D850)? I know buying a beginner camera sounds like it makes that most sense – save money initially, settings easier to manage, what if I change my mind about this photography thing – but I feel like everything is pointing me to buying a professional one – I KNOW wedding and engagement photography is what I want to do, so why spend a 1/3 of what it's cost to get my dream camera on something I'll just need to upgrade in 6 months to a year anyway, and learning the camera and it's settings won't be too much for me as I'm very tech savvy. So, in my mind, everything says buy the Nikon D850! Is there something I'm missing that'd point me in the other direction? And I'd have to save up for about 4-6 months to get my dream camera, any suggestions as to what I should do in the mean time? The craigslist ads for a 5-year-old used camera where they're only asking $200 less than what it'd cost to buy it new scare me, lol, and don't seem like a good idea. If you have the time to read all this and get back I soooooo THANK YOU! Much love, DAVA šŸ™‚ P.S. If I do get the Nikon D850, I'd only be able to afford 1 lens at first. Which do you suggest?

  • Rayane Redhead says:

    How come you have less than 2000 views ? you deserve millionsss of likes! Thank you so much.

  • Hayleigh Shannon says:

    Thank you so much for this video it was so honest and helpful.

  • yvonne keane says:

    Awww I love it!!! So true about the shooting. I get out as much as I can but need to more!

  • Sgt V says:

    "there are somethings you just have to learn from experience, that cannot be taught." my mentor taught me that lesson. that defiantly goes to finding your style.

  • GIJen14 says:

    I wish I knew more about the business side of photography. I'm still struggling lol

  • No Body says:

    One of the most informative videos on photography I've seen in years! Thank you very much.

  • No Body says:

    I wish I understood networking and better business acument altogether.

  • Madison Bigham says:

    What should I use for portrait consultation forms? Not for weddings

  • Mary Juke says:

    AWESOME advice!!

  • Edyta Girgiel says:

    this is the best advice I've heard for a long time! Thank you!

  • Dania Ahmad says:

    I don't understand the last point…how can you make people feel like they belong to your brand? Could you explain that? maybe make a video on it? What I wish I knew about photography?….Its a lot of work! From A-Z…and that it is very hard to duplicate

  • Fabio Holkema says:

    just a question did you study to become a photographer?

  • the melon lab says:

    i totally agree with you, on the whole, making yourself a brand and building a sort of inclusivity that people feel like they can be a part of but… like… i'm so stuck in my head about only posting just one form of photography on my Instagram when i really want to start posting not just on form of photography to connect with people more T.T

  • randitex25 says:

    Stop comparing your work and just appreciate others good work

  • Ms Bungan says:

    Hi there I'm a new subscriber. I have a question for you, how long does it take for you to learn photography till you became pro and start charging your clients? Do you attend courses etc? Thanks!

  • Mark Wilson says:

    I wish Iā€™d learnt to plan properly. How much you need to hustle, and most importantly, network.

  • Lexy Shannon says:

    YOU ARE AMAZING! Iā€™m still learning everyday. I strive to be the best I can be and a photographer that people drop their jaw at my work. Time will tell šŸ˜

  • YMMH Official says:

    Thanks for these tips Joy

  • Kerim Knight says:

    Hi there. Just wanted to comment on the copying point. – Copying is actually the BEST way to learn. – There is a difference between copying and claiming that it's your own work/ style; and copying and learning the process on how to get there. Art/painting classes does the same thing, understand the technique, learn from it and adapt.
    Picasso said "It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child."



  • Chris Green says:

    Mines would be definitely knowing the business side of photography and building clientele. Still struggling a little

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