As a busy mother of two, running my own business, and earning a Master's degree, I rarely have time to sleep - much less concern myself with learning photo editing programs and website design. There are aspects of my business that need improvement, and I love the fact that I am getting motivation and learning valuable information from other photographers in the field. I hope in the upcoming months that I will be able to take the time to improve in each of the necessary aspects in order to really push myself up on another level.
For myself and anyone else learning who is wanting to join the business, the most important advice I can give is to learn, learn, learn everything possible. And then practice it. Over and over.
The internet is a vast array of information. There are tons of tutorials and demonstrations and even schools out there that are free. All of these are worth checking out. I have been taking my own advice as of late, and here are some of the websites and blogs I have been checking out:
http://www.smugmug.com/ - This is the website that I use for my photo galleries and professional printing. I <3 Smugmug! They are awesome! It is entirely possible to create a complete webpage through this company, but again - I am lacking in that department. My website is one of those things that I really want to sort out and improve upon.
Speaking of websites - another great way to create a professional website is through a Blogsite - just like this one. http://www.blogspot.com/ is where I am at now. It requires purchasing a domain name through another site such as godaddy.com, but then it is possible to create your own website through them. (Again - I haven't sorted out the actual how yet. As soon as I do, I promise to share.)
Another great site I've found for photographers that is affordable it http://www.bludomain.com/ They have templates available for purchase that are specifically made for photographers. They look great and easy to use. Where were they a couple of years ago when I was banging my head against the wall trying to build a website???
It sucks that I just renewed my website for another two years. I did it out of necessity since I didn't have the time to sort out all these options. Although - how did I find out about all of these options, you ask? There's a great weath of photographer blogs and awesomeness on the web where people are really willing to help each other. One place I just joined is http://www.iheartfaces.com/ It is a community of photographers who help other photographers through tutorials, community, forums, contests, and more. I have just started to tap into the wealth of information on there.
My favorites for camera gear: http://www.adorama.com/ and http://www.bhphotovideo.com/
And finally, some awesome blogs with some fabulous photography:
There's tons more blogs and info to share, but I have several hours of editing and uploading ahead of me! I will try to incorporate more information as I learn it, since it has been other photographers who have been so helpful to me.
Of course I can't post a blog without pictures, so here's a peek of what's to come: