Journey of becoming Photographer

While I learnt most of my photography and business setup online and books, I really wanted to share my experience with other photography enthusiasts in a hope to provide inspiration. 

Photography Equipment

Photography equipment is not cheap and gets outdated in 5 to 10 years. As a beginner professional photographer, it is hard to choose brand and model for photography equipment. I chose to buy used equipment to begin with for camera and lens. Over the time, I have collected few top end lens and all of them are used ones. It does require shopping around on marketplace, kijiji or craigslist. I chose Canon 5D Mark II as starter camera which costed $550 CAD and 50mm 1.4 which I had in my hobbyist camera kit. The first zoom lens was 24-105mm f4 primarily due to low cost and good range of zoom. Most of my images are close shots and did not require telephoto lens in early months. After few months, I did realize a need of backup camera and new lens. So spent similar money on another 5D Mark II and then purchased expensive lens - 24-70mm f2.8 and 70-200mm f2.8 lens. Sold my 24-105mm f4 after few weeks. I am doing more headshot and portraits of single or family. I learnt about 85mm lens and purchased 85mm 1.8 which brought good experience for close up headshots while not putting much weight in hands and pocket. After using 85mm for few months, now I have switched to 70-200mm which gives good crisp shots with an ability to zoom in and out. I will explain my studio setup in next section which will have lighting, backdrops and other equipment. Recently, I have added 5D Mark IV and I have stopped using Mark II after finding ease of use and features of Mark IV. I have on-camera flash from Godox v860II and V1. I use Godox flash as my studio has Godox off camera flashes and trigger.

Camera journey: Canon 5D Mark II -> Canon 5D Mark IV

Lens journey: Canon 50mm -> 24-105mm -> 24-70mm -> 70-200mm -> 85mm

Studio Equipment

to be added

Photography Website

I chose to build a professional website instead of google drive or wordpress. There are other popular photography website providers as well like Pixiset, Format, etc., I chose Smugmug mainly for two reasons - it is completely geared towards photography and that goes back to its integration with Lightroom and secondly I found the pricing to be better than other providers. There are few features that it lacks but I am finding my ways out. Smugmug Lightroom plugin helps to publish the pictures directly from Lightroom instead of exporting from Lightroom and then importing to website. This has sped up my workflow and also saved local hard disk storage and maintenance. 

The mobile app from Smugmug helps a lot as I would like to view the pictures from mobile before sharing with customers. It allows to reorganize pictures. I like to change gallery pictures after few days and prefer to hand pick a picture of my choice instead of a random one. The mobile app is able to quickly change gallery main picture.

I did find that most of photography learning websites do not offer smugmug comparison which leads me to think smugmug is not providing paid comparisons as other websites might be doing.

If you are serious about creating professional photography website, then I suggest you to try smugmug. You may choose to use the below link to subscribe which gives 20% discount to you.

20% SmugMug Discount 

Appointment Scheduling

While this is very new to me, I find provides more features than other providers like square, calendy, etc. I am currently automating the scheduling of my appointment instead creating the manually in google calendar. When the business establishes better, then I will use pre-payment method to avoid no-show ups and cancelations. With free service, the biggest benefit is that it provides SMS notification as well along with email notification, which other providers are charging. I do find that it took few days to get used of the setup and calendar interface of the website. The free version does not have customizable link or you own logos. Once I plan to provide payments, I may move to squareup for both appointments and payments.

If you are interested to try 10to8 calendar, use this referral link 10to8 Appointments.

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