Scott Bourne is a highly accomplished photographer, videographer and runs the Photofocus web site which is dedicated to helping photographers at all levels grow. He is also considered to be the # 1 most influential photographer on Twitter and has led more than 150 workshops worldwide.
In his co-writing of the book, along with Skip Cohen: “Going Pro: How to Make the Leap from Aspiring to Professional Photographer” he provides the amateur photographer with a good guidebook on moving from amateur to pro. It all begins with figuring out where you are right now and building upon that. He’ll take you through defining your niche to putting a business face on selling your fine art photographs or photography services and building up your client base to a sustainable level.
I particularly like his chapter on “Test the Water and Show Your Work” as it is so important that as an amateur photographer you find ways to see how your photography resonates with others. I’d like to contribute to this in how Christine and I dipped our toes in the water to see whether our images had any appeal to others. We set out to test the water by first entering our images in the local county fair which had a juried photography competition. Our hopes were that having our images judged against other photographers in the fair’s specified categories would give us some idea where we stood. We pulled the entry requirements from the fair’s web site and went through our images with each of us submitting work in various categories. Next came the waiting – it would be a week before the entries were judged and awarded first, second, or third place finishes in each category. It was our first time out and we were as nervous as if it were Christmas morning! When the day came that the judges decisions were posted we flew to see how we did – fingers crossed! Christine placed co-Best of Show and a couple of second place ribbons and I had two first place and a second place ribbon! We breathed a huge sigh of relief and set our sights on the next juried competition – our state’s State Fair. Here the competition would be higher and in Oklahoma there are two State Fairs – one in Oklahoma City and one in Tulsa. We entered both using entirely different images in both and waited. Heading to Oklahoma City to find out the results we knew there would be more competition and a higher grade of photographers across the board. We knew this would be an even harder test of our images as everyone’s images would be reviewed by a 3 person jury. We believed if we could fare well in juried competitions then maybe we had enough talent in what we were doing to keep going. We arrived in Oklahoma City to find an image of mine entitled “Aspen Grove” had won Best of Show and I received First and Second place finishes on some of my other images. Christine had also placed several First and Second place finishes! Next on our list was the Tulsa State Fair and we found that Christine had won Best of Show in Tulsa along with both of us getting high finishes in the categories we entered. This was our tipping point. We had people who didn’t know us rating our images and giving us good marks and that told us we might have the potential for a future in photography.
Scott Bourne’s book addresses getting started and building your photography endeavors in a way that will help you prepare for a successful photography career. I recommend it and it is one of the books on photography and business that remains on my bookshelf for ready reference.
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You can get Going Pro at Amazon.