Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Best NewB Photographer Advice

So I'm a part of a great photography forum, PhotoMoms. I have learned the ropes from them and gotten some really great advice over time for going into this business. I just wanted to share a few things I've picked up, and am still working on even personally. I don't consider myself a professional in the business yet, I myself am still portfolio building. But I feel like I'm really beginning to understand it thanks to these ladies.

1. Learn manual (Good resource: Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson). If you don't have a camera with manual capabilities, invest in one. Auto-modes do the work for you. You are the artist - you run the camera, not the other way around. Even advanced P&S's have manual capability if you don't have the funds for a DSLR. And a good way to learn each part of the exposure triangle is semi-manual modes like Aperture or Shutter priority.

2. There is a difference between portfolio building and an AWAC (ameture with a camera.) One should not charge for photos done during skill or portfolio building. You should consider it an investment to your education. Also, until you have grasped the full knowledge of photography - shooting in manual and getting consistent results - exposure, focus, etc, understanding composition (, and even more importantly lighting ( - charging is a no-no. Now when I say charge, I mean make a profit. It is different to ask people to order prints through you so that you can make sure they are printed at a professional lab (like Millers aka and not Walmart or Walgreens, etc. Any reputable photographer doesn't need Walmart representing their work! Another way around this is to deliver their photos in an Mpix album where they can place orders themselves without paying you, VS just giving out a CD.

Now what we call an AWAC is someone without the above knowledge who just picks up a camera and prematurely "starts a business"... one, you need to understand not only the above aspects of photography, but also business itself. A business plan, a grasp of paying taxes, etc. So to sum it up: you may already have a good eye, but it doesn't make you a pro. You need to be able to smoothly master the technical aspect and the artistic eye TOGETHER before you should go into business and take people's money. And you need to have a good concept of running a business. You need to have contracts, model releases, etc. You cannot post images of another person online (legally) without a model release. And it needs to be written. They can be all nice and say it is fine, you don't need it, but then they can turn around and get mad at you and sue you. ALWAYS get a signed model release before posting images.

3. Revisiting a bit of above: DO NOT USE WALMART FOR PRINTS. As a photographer you want your prints to represent your work - word of mouth is the best marketing tool. So you want accurate prints. Use a professional printing lab, like Millers. Here is why:

4. On board flash = Harsh Lighting. Invest in a speedlite, or external flash. Vivitar makes generic external flashes for less. If no funds for a speedlite, they make cheap diffusers for on camera flashes that helps tone down the harshness of the light. But inevitably you won't get the results of a speedlite.

5. Generic can save you TONS of money. Tamron and Sigma make some great generic lenses. The Tamron 17-5mm f2.8 (fixed aperture ROCKS) is like $700+ cheaper than its Canon counterpart. Vivitar is another good generic name. Not saying they are 100% the same as a Canon or Nikon, but they definitely get the job done.

No comments:

Post a Comment