Hello sweet friend! I’m Morgan — an intimate wedding, adventurous couples, and elopement photographer (and educator!) based out of Minneapolis, MN. I am a coffee-drinking, happy-dancing, Jesus-loving gal with an extreme love of meeting new people. I don’t have an introverted bone in my body and I eat pizza rolls like it’s my job.
Being a full-time wedding photographer has been a dream of mine for as long as I can remember.
A Little Background
My passion for photography started a loooooong time ago. In middle school, I walked around with my crop-sensor Canon T2i camera attached to my hip. NOW? I travel the globe, doing what I love with the people I love most.
It’s been the most epic adventure and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
When I FIRST started pursing this passion, I was caught in a vicious cycle — I want to pursue photography, but I don’t have a business name. What the heck do I call myself? Oh, and do I need to upgrade my gear? Equipment is expensive. I don’t have money to invest into my gear. I guess I’ll wait.
Can you relate?
Knowing how to jump into photography, especially full-time, is TOUGH and can cause you to have many questions and doubts. You may be staring at that camera of yours wondering where to start.
You may be thinking:
- What do these settings mean?
- I want to photograph ___(fill in the blank),___ but how do I get there?
- How do I market myself?
- How do I build a portfolio with little experience?
- Do I need a website? Do I create that myself?
- l want to upgrade my camera and lenses, but that all costs money. Where should I start?
I FEEL YOU and we have ALL been there.
By implementing 5 steps, I was able to quit my 9-5 job within 6 months and pursue my passion full-time.
You ready? LET’S GO.
5 Tips to Leave Your 9-5 Behind
Shoot. shoot. shoot.
Get out and shoot anything and everything. It is so important to be comfortable and confident with your gear. Practice shooting in different lighting, experiment with your camera settings, shoot in different environments, research photography basics, etc.
Then, grab some models (friends and family are a great place to start!) and have them pose for you. Get comfortable posing, directing, giving cues, guiding and shooting!
Offer free or discounted sessions to build your portfolio.
Next step? Start building your portfolio! Once you have photographed your parents, siblings, friends, and roommates… It’s easy to feel like all model options are exhausted.
To start building a more diverse portfolio, consider offering free or discounted sessions! I started with social media. I put a “model call” on Instagram and asked if anyone was interested in doing a free session. Your models then get free photos and you gain experience and photos for your portfolio — it’s a win, win!
Free or discounted sessions are meant to help YOU build your portfolio, gain experience, and should only last for a short season. As you continue investing in yourself and gaining knowledge/experience, value yourself and start charging (even if it’s only a small amount!) in the beginning.
You have been practicing with your camera and offering free/discounted shoots and now have a bit of a portfolio to show off. Now? It’s time to promote the heck out of your content.
I started with Instagram and that worked really well for me! The moment I started posting photography content, I switched my account from a personal to a business account.
Show up and show others what you’re learning! It will be fun to bring others along on this journey with you. Invite them in.
Stand out and be yourself. I wish I could scream this one from the mountain tops! Don’t try to fit a mold and be like other photographers you follow or are inspired by.
Find what makes you, YOU. Try new things and dream big. Listen to what sets your soul on fire and pursue your passion full-heartedly.
Celebrate the little victories.
You have been working your tail off and are making great progress — CELEBRATE IT.
You book your first paid session? GO GET ‘EM, TIGER. You’re second shooting your first wedding? HECK YES, BABE.
Share each victory. Tag your clients, post sneak peeks, receive reviews and post those dang reviews. Tell people how GREAT YOU ARE and why you’re worth investing in. Share how far you have come. Share what you’re learning! Brag about YOU.
Stop waiting for the “perfect” time to get started. Get out there, start shooting, and work your booty off. There will never be a perfect time to jump-in. Your time is NOW!
These 5 steps helped me start from zero and allowed me to gain enough experience to jump full-time in under 6 months.
You are strong, talented, bold, and confident. You are made to do great things. NOW, go pick up that camera of yours, and go crush it!!