Lessons Learned When A Newbie

There’s one thing we all have in common no matter how good we are at our respective jobs, how long we’ve been in business, or how successful we are. We all, at some point, were a newbie. We had to learn the ropes, make mistakes, and grow.

Sometimes after we’ve been in business for a while, we forget what it was like for us when we were new to the biz. Maybe we become cold and insensitive to the plights of other newbs. Sometimes we discount their questions? We tell them we’re too busy to help them? We chastise them for charging too little? We look down on them? I know not all of you do this, but I think we all at some point at least get annoyed with newbies (“If one more person on the forum asks [insert annoyingly common rookie question here] I’ll scream!”).

Try to remember that YOU were there once too. You at some point asked “How do I deal with copyrighted music in wedding videos?” or “Which lens is best to use for portraits?” or “How much should I charge for a corporate video?” But everyone has something special to offer to this business. Remember the lesson of George Bailey from “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Your actions, good or bad, have a ripple affect that go further and can be more profound than you imagine. The newbie you inspire and encourage today, might be the artist who changes the world tomorrow. And she did it only because you helped her. Or, maybe she doesn’t do it because you rejected her. You never know what ripple affect your words and actions have.

This is another short film we shot for Pictage ParnterCon 2010. It’s part of the series that includes “RAW” and “Mirrors & Shoes.” It is the story of Carla Lynn. It’s also the prelude to the story of Ashley. You don’t want to miss either.

Some back story on Carla and this video:

  • My wife and I first met Carla last summer or fall. She read about our photography business Teen Identity in PPA Magazine and loved our mission. She came down to volunteer to help us at an event. It was during dinner after that event that we learned about her photography business trials and tribulations. That was the impetus for this film.
  • The theme at PartnerCon was “Where Y’at?” Exploring the different stages photographers are at in their respective businesses. This film, “RAW,” and the Joe Buissink film “Mirrors & Shoes” were all part of that exploration.
  • We’ve been premiering the films online out of the original order they played at PartnerCon. This film was actually the very first one played.
  • Carla was a premie and almost died shortly after birth. The complication of her birth is the reason for her hearing impairment.
  • She is from Bolívia.
  • She can read lips in both Spanish and English.
  • Although she does a ton of kids sports, her first passion is actually shooting seniors.
  • Carla was blissfully, and rather comically, completely ignorant of the “who’s who” in the wedding and portrait photography world. Run names like Joe Buissink, Mike Colon, David Jay, and Denis Reggie by her and she’d give you a blank stare (However, she did know who Jasmine Star was. No surprise there. 🙂 ) She was too busy shooting her teams and working her business to get involved in all that. She knows who they are now, and some of them (like Joe Buissink) are now good friends of hers.

9 thoughts on “Lessons Learned When A Newbie

  1. I think that for some photographers, the annoyance with newcomers comes from the fact that they feel threatened by them. Especially photographers who are not on top of their game are afraid of what new tricks they’re bringing to the table. That’s just from my perspective though. What do you think?

    1. Going on from TJ McDowell’s response…

      As it is no longer about the gear, in the majority of cases the only way pros can distinguish themselves from the newbie across the street is with hard earned experience. I’m not anti new photographer (I’m a noob too), what I’m saying is that no matter how switched on they might be or how mad their PS skillz are, they will be learning on the job for some years. Pro photographers need to educate clients that they can’t possibly expect the same level of expertise & consistency from a ‘professional’ photographer who has only been in business for 2 years.

  2. Carla is amazing. Her willingness to be transparent in this piece and really share her challenges and frustrations is testament to her courage. I’m so honored to have met her and to have had the opportunity to share a little of her walk through the various happenings at Partnercon and since.

    Carla rocks.


  3. As Carla’s husband, I can’t even begin to tell you just how proud of her I am. In Carla’s case, she found a need that wasn’t being meet. The sports photographers that had been shooting at our local ballpark weren’t keeping up their agreement with the park that our son played at. That became an open door and was the springboard that propelled her forward. She has built a solid reputation as an excellent family and senior photographer, and her business just continues to grow. There is always going to be a need, and there are certainly different styles of photographers. One size doesn’t fit all, so I encourage anyone who has the passion and the talent to go for it.

    By the way Ron, she is from Bolivia!


      1. lol… Ron, it’s all good. No worries and by the way, it’s “caramba”. I can help you with the Spanish and you help me meeting all the people out there 🙂

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