“Cross-training” – Grow your photography skill set

Posted by on Oct 25, 2011 in Musings | No Comments

Sometimes as photographers we may have the opportunity to work on an assignment that is outside our comfort zone – or different than what we typically do. This brings me to an important philosophy about being a photographer – and something that has given me a strong skill set when shooting; something I like to call “cross-training”. You cross-train in sports, why not in art?

When I first started my interest in photography, I photographed a wide range of things. Bands, children, portraits, families – anything to give it a try! Eventually I focused more on specific work; Weddings, Model Testing, High School Senior Portraits, and Headshots. Even though I now focus solely on Commercial and Lifestyle Editorial and High School Senior Portrait work, I do truly believe many of my strengths as a portrait and fashion photographer come from all my experience across a wide variety of photography in the early days of my career.

Think of the ways Wedding and Event photography can help you – they can give you skills to work in low-lighting situations, help you think on your feet in seconds, give you great client management skills, and so on. Working with new models helps give me skills to pose my teens, and working with shy teens helps me to work in any situation with someone who is uncomfortable in front of the camera. Sometimes it is good to step outside of your comfort zone and add a new tool to your skill set. If you have been wanting to try something new, but lack the experience, see if you can assist for another photographer. There are so many opportunities that await you, and as you grow as a photographer it is great to try EVERYTHING before you can truly know what you love and are best at. Many of those learning experiences along the way will help you be a stronger shooter in your eventual area of expertise.

That’s just a start! Don’t be afraid of trying new things. When we step outside our safety nets we are given amazing opportunities to learn. When you feel like you don’t know the answer, or want to seek advice, look for great resources close to you; books, online learning, workshops, mentors, or fellow photographers in your community.

Feeling lost? Unsure of how to get started? Check out my current online workshop available until June 26th. It will help teach you how to start developing and putting together your portfolio and online presence with a cohesive website, logo and branding advice. Cost for the materials is only $50.