Sometimes I feel like motherhood and photography can go hand in hand. I didn’t start getting the passion for photography until I had my first daughter. I didn’t have any experience in it, but I had the passion. I was self-taught and learned a lot from watching YouTube videos. I told my husband that I wanted to start a photography business and that was it. I never looked back. I didn’t have much when I first started and I was on a small budget. This blog was already making a little money but nowhere near being able to rely on it every month. I knew that if I wanted to start a business, I needed to use as little money as possible to start until the income started coming in consistently.
So, is it possible to go from stay at home mom on a budget to starting a photography business??
Yes it absolutely is! I did it!
I am going to tell you everything I did from the beginning all the way through making my passion a business. I didn’t have all the technical knowledge at first, I remember googling what aperture meant and what bokeh was. The first thing I did was get a starter DSLR. I started off with a Canon Rebel because everyone said it was the perfect starter DSLR. I learned to shoot in manual mode on this camera by watching YouTube videos. I practiced on my kids and I loved it. I think it was about a week later that I started a website for it, along with a Facebook page so that I could show my family and friends what I had been up to. Shortly after starting a Facebook page, I started offerring my friends and family “portfolio-building mini-sessions”, now I don’t know if these are an actual thing but basically I started advertising these sessions to my friends and family as a way for me to start building my portfolio. Basically, it was – pay me very cheap to take photos of you and your family. Once I had a few family/friend sessions under my belt word of mouth spread and soon I was photographing friends of friends.
Don’t Wait to Start
Most people starting off might tell you to wait to start a website until you have been practicing for years, I am here to tell you that waiting is just a waste of time! Plus, it’s fun to see the progress that you are making. Waiting to start will only delay the time that you will start bringing in income from your photography. The best website to start off with is a WordPress website. This gives you the option to either start off at a slower pace and start with a photography blog where you post your photos to simply share your passions with the world. Then, once you are ready, it’s the easiest way for you to transition from a photography blog where you were simply sharing your photography journey to a money making website later down the road. Read this post to setup a WordPress website.
What you need to get started
To get started in photography you need at least three things.
A DSLR camera, a prime lens and some editing software, then you need a website.
DSLR & Lens
To this day I purchase all my camera gear on Amazon and eBay because I usually find the best prices online AND there are always options to purchase everything individually which I do. I never purchase the kits. More on this later.
The Rebel is a basic DSLR camera. Most would say it’s probably the best starter DSLR because it’s a smaller DSLR compared to the full-frame, professional cameras. It’s also a good starter camera if you have never learned how to use manual mode before.
I had never put my camera in manual mode until I purchased my Rebel. I did not know anything about DSLR cameras or manual mode until I got my camera and started playing around with it. Once I got my camera I didn’t allow myself to put my camera in auto mode. It was one of my goals to learn manual mode, so to challenge myself I never switched to auto and made manual mode work for me.
At first it was a lot of trial and error. Once I learned the triangle of exposure things really started clicking for me.
I’m proof that you don’t need top of the line gear to make beautiful photos. I do not own and have never owned an L-lense from Canon. While they are great I’m sure, you might not be able to purchase one right off the bat if you are just starting out. I don’t have any immediate plans to purchase one either.
Here’s a tip: Don’t purchase the kits. They come with too many things you don’t need and lenses you will want to upgrade from anyway if you’re serious about photography. I have never used a kit lens and here’s why. The aperture isn’t low enough. You want to start with a lens with an aperture starting at 1.8 at least. The lower the aperture usually the higher the cost of the lens, usually. The 50mm 1.8 is probably the best lens to start off with if you’re on a small budget. This thing retails for $125 and provides a great quality photo.
Professional photographers edit with professional editing software. So you will need Lightroom & Photoshop or at least one of those. You can sign up for the Adobe Creative Cloud HERE.
I learned everything about editing through free sources like YouTube and other websites and photography blogs. There are a ton of free resources out there on the web. But if you learn better from step-by-step instruction it might be good to invest in some photography workshops or ecourses. I love getting my camera out and shooting, but for me, the magic happens when I get in front of my computer to edit. Editing is my favorite part of this creative process. Learn some great editing techniques and you will be able to transform your photos into something even more magical.
Once you have a good camera, a lens and some editing software get out there and practice! Practice does make perfect. Challenge yourself to get out of Auto mode. Trust me when I say that once you begin to learn Manual mode you won’t want to go back. Ever. Auto will never give you the professional quality photo that Manual mode does.
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