Jon Yager Photography » Jon Yager Photography

From a Career, to a Hobby, and Back Again (Sort of) . . .

I’ve been shooting pictures for as long as I can remember. Before I had a camera of my own, I watched my father with his Nikon and occasionally he would even let me take a few photos. I grew up, and in the process found I was drawn to math and computers. While a computer science major in college I found myself skipping classes to hang out in the communications department dark room. I never really could shake the excitement of seeing something fascinating, hearing the shutter, and spending time with wet chemicals hoping to make it all come together.

Fast forward to a point after I made a decision that at the time everyone I knew thought was the stupidest decision I could make (changing my major and ending up with a Fine Arts Degree). Now I have my own photography studio. I’m shooting weddings, portraits, commercial work, I even dabbled in food photography (that last one did not go well for me). I loved every minute of shooting, every picture, and every portrait I took. The business side of things were more of a struggle for me. I learned that I wasn’t motivated to grow the business like I should. As my own family grew, the need to have a job that actually earned a decent amount of money intensified. I was offered a chance to take a job that used my less-artistic talents and I took it. I love my “day-job”, but I sometimes miss making a career with the camera.

I’ve decided that I can do both. Why not? I’m welcoming back “Yager Photography” to my life. There are a few problems to this plan. As mentioned above, the last time I did this for a living I used dark rooms, tubs of chemicals, and actual film. I’ve been shooting exclusively digital for over a decade now, but not at the level that I need to. I’m no Photoshop ninja.

I don’t want to do much to start. I’ll start with some portait work, young kids are always my favorite subject to shoot. I will be able to choose my jobs. This may be fun. Below I’ve put together a list of things that I need to do, or buy, or prepare, or figure out, or learn, in order to make a go at this. The good news is since I have a “day-job”, there is no super hurry for all of this.

I would like to ask a favor of anyone reading this. Help me out. What am I missing? What books, tutorials or websites do I need to read? What tips can you give me? Any help would be more then appreciated. Share this journey with me and we can both learn. Post your comments, suggestions, or ideas. I would love to hear them.

In coming posts I will talk about my progress, give tips and hints for those who want to go through this process, share my learning’s, share people or places that are inspiring for this process, etc. Stay tuned. This should be fun.

In no particular order – things needed:

· Canon 5D Mark II (no question this is the camera I need, I think I still need to convince my wife of this)

· Better fast prime lenses

· A better printer for proofs (haven’t decided what I need here yet)

· Web site  set up / perfected (this project is started as you can see, but I’ve only done the basics so far)

· Clean up my Flickr account

· Clean up my Smugmug account

· Are there other printing/portfolio/display sites that are better? What are the best?

· Price list, business cards, logo . . .

· Contracts, paperwork, etc.

· Sick Photoshop skills

· Sick Lightroom 2 skills

· Drobo or other great drive system

· Perfected work flow

· Test my lighting system to be sure I can still use it (yes, I still have most of my old stuff)

· A portfolio?? (sounds simple enough). Online portfolio software.  Develop my own, use others?

· A project or two to get me going

That is good enough of a list for now. This is just the start of this adventure. This is all about enjoyment and a bit of money – in that order.

Talk to me. Have you done this? What was it like when you got into the business? What would you do different if you did it again? Have you always wanted to do this but haven’t? Why not? Share . . . please??

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