written by Ceci Dalton of Cecilia D Photography
“Think about how many photographers it would take to shoot 7.674 billion people. When you realize this, you stop trying to compete for every last client and focus on the ones you get the privilege of capturing.”
A little over a year ago, I started my business, Cecilia D Photography. Last year I would have told you that my plan for my life was to graduate with a marketing degree and go work in a corporate office. Now, I’ve pressed pause on school to pursue my photography passion as my full time job. The middle of a global pandemic seems like a great time to start a business, right?! Online classes weren’t my jam, so I started to grow more and more fond of this hobby I had been messing around with since high school. I fell in love.
I wanted to learn all about being a photographer, so I spent hours studying different camera settings, watching videos on how to take different kinds of shots, begging people to let me take their photos, and picking the brain of any photographer who would let me. I’ve learned a lot in this past year and I know that I have only dipped my toes in. There is so much more to learn, but I want to share what I think is most important for the person just starting their photography journey.
There are 7.674 billion people in the world, so it’ll be a long time before you run out of people to photograph. If being a photographer is scary to you because of all of the other people that do it, think about how many photographers it would take to shoot 7.674 billion people. When you realize this, you stop trying to compete for every last client and focus on the ones you get the privilege of capturing. You get to embrace a community of fellow creatives instead of trying to compete with them, which is so freeing.
There is only one you!! Your business is an outpouring of who you are and what you bring to the table. No one else can be you like you can, so don’t worry that you aren’t like the person next to you or that you do things differently than the person 10 steps ahead (or behind) you.
Ask questions. I cannot say thank you enough to all of the creatives that let me pick their brains and even showed me how to do things firsthand. People who have successfully done what you want to do offer such a wealth of knowledge that can’t be found in a book. Spend time with them. Buy them a cup of coffee or second shoot every single weekend with them and ask questions. Ask questions not just about taking good photos, but about how to run a business. I would be so happy to be this resource for others. Please email me if you want to pick my brain.
Experience is going to teach you the most. If you are really excited to learn about photography, then get ready to take risks and fail. Try new poses, angles, lighting scenarios… and don’t be afraid to fail. Of course, I think taking courses on lighting and posing and angles is helpful, but the real growth is found in trying it first hand.
Don’t compare someone else’s tenth year in the business to your day 20. This was something I found myself doing all the time when I started. I just wanted my photos to look as good as someone with an established business. Be patient with yourself. Finding your groove and style takes time. Let your brand change and become what you want it to be (mine is still evolving)!
I hope this encouraged someone who is starting out on their creative journey. This job is so fun, creative, and unique. But, it doesn’t come without its struggles such as imposter syndrome, comparison, lack of structure, and weird hours, to name a few. I am so thankful for the chance to pursue this dream. So I’ll take it one day at a time, and continue to be a student of this passion of mine.
Ceci Dalton is an entrepreneur based in Columbus, Ohio. She launched her photography business in 2020 and has only become more excited and dedicated to refining her craft since then. Her work has evolved into a lens through which she views the world. She cannot see beauty without feeling the urge to capture it. Behind her camera, she has the power to make a precious or breathtaking moment last a lifetime.