Thoughts from an accomplished wedding photographer and businessman William Innes...
Los Angeles photographer William Innes was a child when his father gave him the camera that sparked his lifelong love for photography. Though he enjoyed photography greatly, he never considered photography as a career. Instead, he dreamed of being an engineer or businessman.
A few decades later, William’s career goals were well achieved. In his role as president of a prominent aerospace brand, he traveled the world. In 1999, he picked up a camera again and the passion was reignited. This time, he had trips to inspire and shape his photography.
A National Geographic photo contest win boosted his confidence. Still, the idea of photography as a career didn’t hit William’s radar until he was asked to serve as the photographer at his nephew’s wedding in Canada. The event provided the opportunity for abundant creativity. He enjoyed the experience so much, it hardly felt like work.
“I knew right then that’s what I wanted to do for a living,” he said. “Six months later, I was a full-time wedding photographer with my aerospace career in the rear-view mirror.”
Now celebrating the tenth year of his wedding photography business, William is a Lumix Luminary with the Panasonic Lumix Luminary team. He is a regular contributor to various photography websites; he frequently speaks at seminars and teaches workshops around the country. As William is a sought-after photographer, his event calendar fills quickly.
From afar, William makes running a successful photography business look easy. But he believes strongly that making a healthy living with photography requires more than high levels of talent and passion.
Business education is key
William said his years of marketing and managing in the business world were undoubtedly impactful in building a strong foundation for his photography business.
“I frequently meet extremely talented, passionate photographers with struggling businesses,” William said. “It’s the business side of photography that cripples these artists. That’s why I always advise that photographers take a business course – or two. There are many amazing photographers who are starving because of their lack of business experience.”
Seek inspiration in travel
Since travel reignited William’s interest in photography and showcased his talent, it’s no surprise that he believes travel important for skills development.
“Travel forces you to shoot outside of your comfort zone,” he said. “There’s no greater way to improve your skills than that. If you’re interested in travel photography, in particular, you need to get out there as often as you’re able – across the state or the world. You need to be well versed in a handful of photography shooting skills from landscape and macro to portrait and photojournalism, to name a few.”
Be smart about equipment investments
“Remember it’s not the camera, but the photographer that creates,” William said. “So many photographers think they need to have big-name brands with top-dollar products. You need a really good camera and very good glass. You don’t need a collection of lenses. Pick a few you know you’ll use such as a fast f2.8 24-70mm and a 70-200mm. When it comes to accessories like tripods and bags, there are many high-quality options by the lesser-known brands. Often, their products are superior in performance and available at more affordable prices.”
William relies on Vanguard tripods and bags for his wedding and commercial work as well as travel photography.
“Many shots would be simply impossible without the use of a tripod,” he said. “My Alta Pro tripod is sturdy. I never worry about my camera’s safety. My camera never moves from exactly where I need it to be.”
For travel photography, William uses the popular Vanguard VEO 37 camera bag and VEO 235AB tripod due to their travel-friendly sizes and weights. For commercial and wedding photography, he relies on the multiple award-winning Vanguard Alta Pro tripod as well as Alta+ TBH100 tripod, Adaptor 45 camera backpack, Heralder 51 camera backpack, Xcenior 62T rolling bag.
As Vanguard celebrates its 30-year anniversary this year, we’re offering a limited-time promotion on select Alta Pro tripods and other William favorites:
Now through September 30, 2016:
Save up to $30 with an instant rebate on select Alta Pro tripod models