How to go pro/choosing a mentor ? (Kinda long)
I know there are a few of you on here who are professional photographers. I have always enjoyed photography, and when I was in high school I very seriously considered going to college for it--- not that I felt I was great by any means. It's something I enjoy, and felt that with time, practice, and an education I could become great at.
When Alaina and Aiden were born, I picked it up as a more serious hobby. As you all know I joined this board and have been working hard to improve myself. I've taken courses, and have signed up for more this summer. By next spring/summer I will have completed all of the courses required for the photography certificate from our local college. (SO excited about that!)
With the expected arrival of baby #3, I have been doing a lot of searching for newborn images, how to's on posing, editing, etc. There is nothing cuter than a fresh, wrinkly baby. They melt my heart. I have heard from several aspiring photographers in my classes and online that shooting newborns is no easy task---- And I can well imagine that. But after taking those pictures of little Adam last weekend, it's ALL I can think about. He was such an angel, and overall very easy to work with. I know I got lucky with that. And yes, we had a few messes. But I had SO MUCH FUN! I can't wait until I have the opportunity to do it again.
I feel like I have finally found my (professional) calling... While many things are interesting to me and I am capable of working in different fields, I have never felt the passion for those things like I do for photography--specifically newborn and maternity. The one thing I have wanted all of my life is to be a Mommy. It just seems right for me to use the essence of my greatest passion/calling (motherhood) to fuel my second passion, photography.
After looking through all of the images I captured, I have identified several areas in which I would like a chance to improve on. But without marketing myself as a newborn photographer, I don't see how I will have the chance to do so and build my portfolio. I don't know anyone else IRL who is expecting, or hoping/planning on having a baby. I am leery of putting my name out there because I feel like my pictures aren't good enough to be called professional. Bottom line, I need more experience and training.
I would like to look for someone to possibly be my mentor, but know I'll have to look outside of the Mobile area. I don't want to ask someone that I would become competition for ya know? Then when I find someone, I wouldn't even know how to approach her/him. Also I am approached with the fact that in order to have the time needed to become as dedicated as I would like to be, I would have to quit my job. While I do enjoy what I do and the people I work with, it's just a job. Just a job that brings in money we need though... Not that ALL of my income is needed, but enough of it is that I worry about quitting for something I fear might take a while to generate new income for us.
For those of you who are pro, or are in the process of going pro... do you have any tips? I know that it will take time to build a name for myself. It will depend a lot on my skill and then on marketing/word of mouth. I went to school for marketing/public relations, so I have plenty of ideas for that part.
So I guess it all comes down to this: I need to market in order to have the opportunity to build my portfolio/improve myself. But I need to build my portfolio/improve my skill for the marketing to be the most effective. HOW do I go about balancing these two and getting out there?
P.S. Thanks for reading if you made it this far. ;)