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Just starting out? What advice would I give someone..!?

13th May 2014

The basics…..

With easy access to the internet these days everyone and his dog will see your work and judge your work, sometimes to the point of near destruction (whether it’s an image you took at the local zoo/in the wild, or its the best Picasso)Everyone will have their own opinion on it and yes, they are entitled. But, if YOU love your image that is all that matters, no one can take that away from you. So, firstly Love your work no matter what, throughout your journey you will grow and with each image you will improve, just don’t forget, when you look back at each image that you have taken remember why you took it and what made you love it in the first place.

Find your own genre & style, it’s very easy to fall into the trap of following other photographers work and getting caught up in their style, think out of the box and bring to your customers the real you as no one can take that style away from you because they are not YOU..!!! Take myself for instance, my images come from within, my passion, my love for wildlife, yes lots of people will say the same and they are passionate about what they do, but what they are not, is YOU...!!!

These are just a few recent written comments from people about my own work, (note no 2, Your style is You)

1) I love your work. It's fresh, clean and modern and you seem to have a connection with the animals you capture.
2) Your style is you! Your images are wildlife based as seen by Marie. No one else can offer that! They are fresh, clean and ooze passion & connection
3) Perhaps it's your use of light or the fine art feel to your wildlife images
4) I think you have been producing outstanding work, with such clarity of detail. You wildlife images show behaviours and natural surroundings well and the pet portraits make me wish I could take ones like that of my pup.

So basically what I’m saying is, your customers want your work not Joe blogs down the road, your unique selling point is You. And copying another photographers work can catch you out, if someone asks you about a particular image that you have sort of copied and used another photographers style, idea etc.., what if they ask you “What’s the back story on that image?,
What was your thinking behind it? Why did you particularly take the image that way? Why choose that subject and not that one? What attracts you to that subject? How will you answer these questions with honesty if you hadn't thought up that image in the first place? A bit embarrassing don’t you think? So, best not to get caught out in the first place, be original, be true to you..!!

Get to know your equipment, it doesn't matter what you have, but know it inside and out and then when you go out you have no one else to blame if you miss that shot because you didn't know what settings to use...!! And definitely an In camera shot is best, saves precious time sat at the PC (unless you want to of course, or you want a B&W conversion etc)

Get to know you subject, (if it’s wildlife of course) Lots of Reading – yes that will help.. But nothing is more important than studying your subject in person, basically out in the field and it won’t be an overnight thing either so get that out of your head, it will take days, weeks, months, sometimes years of study to really know your subject. I’m not saying don’t photograph it whilst you study, but don’t go in all gung-ho take photos and leave, you will not gain that connection with them, take your time, sit and watch for a while, really get to know your subjects patterns and learn its character, you will come away feeling so much better with yourself for actually taking the time to do that as you will have more of an understanding about them and that fabulous image you have just caught of them will mean oh so much more.....

If you have a Facebook page/website, find your own niche market, don’t copy others blogs or statues updates, when they post a subject don’t you post the same, because it’s popular and works on their page, it might not necessarily work for you. If you do this YOU will get caught out... !!! I’m not saying you shouldn't follow other photographers work, we all have people that we aspire to and we enjoy seeing their work.
Also, don’t judge others; you know the saying, ‘don't judge others unless you've walked a mile in their shoes’. Everyone started with no experience and no clue but after time, training and when you have gained that experience you will improve and you will get noticed.
Don’t judge them when they celebrate an achievement, don’t forget they have earned that success, they have been where you are, but they have their own story, their own journey and have worked hard through everything to get where they have. If you do not put the work in don’t be surprised if you don’t get the results out. Harsh..? maybe, but I know of plenty of photographers that have worked hard and sacrificed much to be where they are and, i know of photographers that want an easy ride, cheat their way through on the back of others hard work and take the rewards that way.. Well, I know which way i want to be known for, what about you?

This is not by any means an end to the list of knowledge that you will need to succeed and most definitely not perfect.
But what this is, is just a few tips from someone that’s been there shall we say……

MarieLianne QGPP

In addition to what I've said above, if you have a true passion for what you do and the sheer determination to succeed then never give up, even through the tough times. Sometimes its easier to sink yourself into your work while you deal through your problems.. But trust me when I say this, success comes in all shapes and forms and however small you must make sure you celebrate every one of them. And to be honest with you, you'll never know what is around the corner for you, just keep that faith and keep working hard because there may be a wonderful surprise waiting for you ;-)

I live and work by my motto, which is what I call the 3 P's, Practice, patience and perseverance, I believe it has helped me in all area's of my life not just with my Wildlife Photography....!
I would also like to make a personal thank you to you all for your continued support, it makes the world of difference and to know that you enjoy my work and it brings a smile to hundreds of people all over the world is just an awesome feeling in itself. To share my passion of Wildlife with you all is a privilege and an honour, thank you.
MarieLianne x


Photo comment By Ian: Hi Marie, Just read you article. Very emotive and empowering in particular reinforcing self belief, have a go anyway mentality. As a fellow photographer I can echo your sentiments. Yes we have to promote our work, yes we would like sales, yes it's easy to pick & choose from others (but it's never right to mimic) but ultimately it has to be about what you love otherwise it's either a fruitless hobby or another job for the sake of earning crust - neither have an aim or a soul. To anyone starting out, good luck and have fun.

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