Deryck’s advice to you
Whether you are just starting out with your studies or if you are fresh out of college, this is some first-class advice, so take note. Step-by-step Deryck explains what you should do if you want to start and succeed in your own photography business.
1. Assist, assist and assist some more
Don’t worry about the equipment you don’t have yet! Whatever kind of photographer you want to be, find a photographer whose work you admire and assist them – even if you have to work for free! Deryck says that he learnt more in his first six months of assisting than in four years of studying. Although studying gives you a good theoretical basis to work from, assisting is paramount to your success as a photographer.
(Bear in mind that most active, professional photographers already have preferred assistants and a long queue of people waiting to assistant them, so they don’t need you, you need them.)
2. Test, test, test
Deryck advises that while you’re assisting you should shoot whenever you can. As a new graduate you’re realistically looking at about four years of assisting before you’ll be ready to start taking on commercial work. It might sound like a long time, but it actually gives you four years to network, meet people, gather contacts and build a killer portfolio. “Never ever stop working on your portfolio!”
3. Knowledge is power
Make sure that you own the copyright (and control the license for use) to your work. If you don’t understand the value of owning and controlling your intellectual property then ask Bill Gates to explain it to you. He doesn’t sell software; he sells the license to use software. Educate yourself about IP; it will be a valuable investment.
4. Don’t be an “asshole”
Deryck suggests that you don’t be an “asshole”. People remember how they felt around you more that what they did with you. If you’re easy to work with, provide consistent quality at the right level, deliver on time and within budget people will use you again, and refer you.