How to Starting a Photography Business

Many people with an eye for beauty, judgment of light, and ability to capture the moment undertake photography business. Those who have made a name for themselves in this field are earning extremely well today. This is because there are three things which matter the most for the success of this business: right composition of elements in the photograph, right opportunity, and right networking.

Undertake Professional Courses

Even if people say you are a ‘pro’ at photography, it is highly advisable that you undertake professional courses to hone your talent. Getting a certification in photography or attending courses will give your work a professional perspective. Needless to say, your work will be taken more seriously on competitive platforms. It will also teach you to work with many photography software, the knowledge of which has become indispensable today.

Mentor

Is there a photographer whose work you look up to or appreciate? You may be in awe of how he has carved a niche for himself in the field of photography. You may even be a pure admirer of his art. Meet that person and speak to him about your aspirations. Request him to teach you ‘tricks of this trade’ and guide you in your work. Having a mentor can not only help ameliorate your work, but it can also get you good business contacts.

Hands-on Experience

Merely spending a few hours in photography classes is not going to make you an ace photographer. Apart from continuously clicking photos of various objects, models, monuments, nature, etc., you will have to do an internship with an able photographer. This will actually help get a preview of how your business will operate. Learn as much as you can about camera, equipment, posing, makeup, models, objects, light, etc. Even if you earn only a few dollars for this work, take it, as you will learn a lot.

Be an Expert

In the initial days, you can try your hand at different kinds of photography. However, it is advisable that you specialize in a particular field later, like wedding photography, fashion photography, industrial photography, travel photography, object photography, wildlife photography, food photography, portraits, etc. This will help in establishing yourself as a capable and creative photographer.

Build a Portfolio

Build a creative portfolio of your photographs which will help showcase your talent in front of clients. They will get an idea about your work and give you more business. They may even refer you to their family and friends. Having a good e-portfolio will enable you to send your work to prospective clients in a matter of minutes.

Finances and Taxes

During the inception stage of your business, you may not have the necessary funds. Hence, it advisable to take a loan for the same. You can get an SBA loan easily, without much hassles. It is recommended that you carry your portfolio with you when you go to your lender to make a favorable impression. Also, hire professional services to look after your financial records and taxes. Maintain a record of all paperwork as it will be useful later on.

Source Equipment

Sourcing the right equipment is essential for your business. The quality of your photos will be highly dependent on the quality of camera and allied instruments you use. Hence, do not compromise on it. You will require a variety of instruments like camera, lenses, flash, flash cards, tripod, etc.
Speak to a senior photographer before going ahead and buying these things. Try to utilize online deals to get them at best bargains. However, buying secondhand equipment is not advisable, as they will cause you to spend a lot on repairs.

Hire a Studio

In the initial days, when you might have cost constraints, you may choose to shoot at locations decided by the client which may include their houses, lawns, convention halls, parks, etc. Some even create a temporary studio space in their home. However, renting a studio is also an option, if you have some extra money to spare. You may need to allot a place for a professional lab in your studio. Slowly, as your business will pick up, you can go ahead and buy a studio of your own.

Hire Help

As your business will expand, you will find it difficult to keep up with its growing demands on your own. Hence, it is advisable that you hire photography enthusiasts or students as interns to assist you with your work. This way, you will be able to get employees at a very lesser cost. In turn, the interns will also get hands-on experience.

Network

The right kind of networking is essential for being successful in this business. Attend photography conventions and visit galleries to meet other photographers. Mingle with other photographers so that you may get opportunities through their contacts.

Promote Your Work

It is important that you promote your work on a large scale. Start with having a website which will feature your work along with the price list. It’s great to have your (business) presence on all the social media forums. Print calendars with your photos and send them to your clients as New Year gifts.
Try to put your branding on your cards, envelopes, invoices, and album covers. You can even put stickers on your car. Enroll your entries in photography contests, and try to get your work printed in a magazine. This will help bring recognition and more business.

Formalities

You
may have to register your business as ‘doing business as.’ Apart from this, you will need the necessary licenses and permits from your local and state authorities to start your business.
You may also need to avail the Employee Identification Number. Understand the prevalent copyright issues, and don’t do anything that will cause a legal offense. You may have to get a ‘model release’. This is a liability waiver which is signed by the subject of the photograph allowing the photographer to legally release the photo. It is also advisable that you get a Professional Photographers of America (PPA) membership.

Use Social Media

Nothing works well for promotion of photography business quite like social media. It is perhaps the best word-of-mouth source. You can blog about your work and communicate about it to the world. Utilize social media platforms, like Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Flickr, etc., for marketing your work. You will be surprised to find so many people connecting with you through these platforms.

Keep Up with the Industry

Professional photography is perhaps one of the most dynamic of all the creative industries. You should also keep an eye on the developments in the photo editing software industry. There is a technological innovation after every few days, and clients will expect you to be abreast with it. Hence, you should take some time out for training and brushing up your talent.

Undertake Insurance

Undertaking insurance for the safety of your premises and equipment is a must. The last thing you would want is something to damage your costly camera. Accidents can happen anywhere, so insurance coverage is a must. For more information about insurance coverage, you can log on to the PPA website.
Offer various discounts and promotional schemes to your loyal customers so that they will spread the word about your services. Try to create a favorable reputation in the market by clicking stunning images. Do not leave a single opportunity to promote your work.

Tips for Wedding Photography

Unlike still life photography, wedding photography is an uphill task. You not only have to pay attention to the minute details, but also have to appease the bride and groom with satisfactory pictures. After all, the wedding pictures are not something everyone takes lightly. Besides, wedding photographs are the only means for a couple to reminisce their wedding day long after the actual day has passed. All this just points us in one direction―of getting the perfect shots during a wedding photo shoot. For this, you need not just a camera but a lot of other equipment as well.

Camera

One of the most essential equipment for wedding photography is a good full-frame DSLR camera. Wedding photography demands superior definition, detailing, and sharpness for which you need to possess a full-frame 5D camera. For obvious reasons, it is always better to carry an extra camera body with you at all times, especially for weddings. After all, you wouldn’t want to run out on business or customers because your primary camera decided to give way in between a photo shoot.

Cameras like Canon EOS 5D, Canon EOS 5D Mark II, Nikon D800, Sony a99, Nikon D600 among others can be your companion for photo shoots.

Camera Lenses

Owning a camera is not sufficient to call you a professional. You also need a variety of lenses to go with the main body of the camera. Candid photographs taken during receptions require long-bodied lenses that will be able to zoom into the subject without actually intruding. You will need wide-aperture lenses that will allow you to shoot at lower ISOs in low light settings. You could place your bet on a 24-70mm f/2.8 lens and a 70-200mm f/2.8, for delivering perfect intimate details of shots taken both indoors and outdoors. You will also need macro and fisheye lenses for a couple of shots during the event.

Popular choices are the Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM Lens, Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS II USM Lens, Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM Lens, and the Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM Art Lens.

Flash Units

Wedding photography calls for working with natural light settings; however, one cannot rely on natural and ambient light to click photographs. As a photographer, it is always recommended that you carry your own light source. You could breathe life into those pretty wedding portraits set in low light with an additional source of light. Use of digital flash or slave flashes along with your camera flash should effectively bounce the light and produce soft directional light. Besides, flashlights can effectively light up nooks and crannies that your inbuilt camera flash won’t reach, and effectively provide you with a side light for enhanced photographs. Shoe-mount flashes can rotate to any angle, thus, giving you the variation you need to get the best light. Slave flashes, on the other hand, can be connected to the camera using a cable extension. Needless to say, it is always better to have an extra flash unit in hand during wedding ceremonies.

When choosing a speedlight, rely on a SB-800/900 or 580EX II; however, even a SB-600 or 430EX II will do the trick. Canon 600EX-RT, Nikon SB-910, Sony HVL-F60M, Vivitar 285HV, Canon 580EX, Nikon SB-700 are some of the best flash units you can lay your hands on.

Flash Diffusers

Using flash units will allow you to take great pictures; however, the pictures could also include harsh shadows cast behind the subject and overexposed or unnaturally lit subjects. You could use different flash bouncing techniques and even control the flash output from the camera, but the easiest way to eliminate harsh lights is by using flash diffusers. Using a flash diffuser allows you to attain more natural-looking pictures by canceling out harsh lights and shadows that become a part of the picture when using flash. Depending on your needs, you could use flash reflectors, umbrella reflectors, and flip-up flash diffusers.

Battery and Charger

Attaching a flash unit to the camera is sure to drain out your camera battery faster. When shooting for grand ceremonies, it is always advisable to carry along extra batteries as well as a battery charger to immediately replenish the used up batteries.

Photo Filters

Photo filters alter the way your camera lens views the light. They can reduce glare, alter the hue, block out haziness, change the appearance of reflections, and will also protect the camera lens from scratches. You can sharpen those black and white wedding portraits and enhance the hues of colored photographs with colored filters. In short, filters will help you as a wedding photographer to add dimension to the photographs.

Memory Cards

Wedding photography employs taking loads of pictures for which you need to have a good storage capacity. It is imperative that you should have additional memory cards with you just so that you do not restrict yourself from taking great pictures. Remember, the more you experiment and go about taking natural pictures, the happier your clients will be.

If you are going to be experimenting with vintage cameras, it is imperative that you keep a couple of film rolls in hand. This will ensure that you do not run out on rolls and extra storage space at all times.

You Will Also Need

Wireless Flash Receiver
Remote Cord
Battery Grip
Photographer’s Bag

Do not forget to put in a tripod or monopod stand, as well as an additional battery grip into your kit. You would need a couple of super clamps to hold the slave flashlights in place. That about covers the essentials you need as a wedding photographer.

Tips for Editorial Photography

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and photography serves as the perfect medium for these words. The beauty of a photograph is the fact that it isn’t merely another piece of art or some random words put together, in fact every single photograph is a moment forever preserved in time. Photography finds its place and is very much an integral part of many an industry, right from toy makers using it to sell their products, to super luxurious car makers selling their top cars. Photography isn’t just restricted to selling a product, but can also be a very powerful tool in trying to convey a message or to add to a message.

Editorial Photography

Photography which is not aimed at selling a particular product or intended to advertise anything commercial is called editorial photography. This field is rather vast and spans across almost all topics imaginable, right from still photography aimed at adding to the appeal of any literature or poem, to medical photography which tries to explain some rather serious matters about health. These photographs could either speak entirely for themselves, or, as they are often used, may be used to better portray a subject.They could be used in print and written media or used for online and web content. Editorial photography serves as a perfect platform for ardent photography fans and budding shutterbugs, as they prepare to get into the field of commercial photography. As opposed to commercial photography, editorial photography gives you a lot more scope for showing off your creative side, and add to your portfolio.

Getting Into Editorial Photography

You could either choose to go solo and freelance in the field, or take a more traditional approach and join a photography agency. Most agencies actively look for amateur photographers in this field, and although there is no dearth of photography enthusiasts, there’s always room for more creative minds. You might want to focus on your strengths, and try to choose a line which appeals to you, rather than try your hand at everything. There are plenty of online sites as well, that promote upcoming talent in this field, and with time you might just have your own little fan base as well!

Photography Tips and Techniques

The beauty of this photography is the creative license and freedom of expression that you have. You are bound only by your imagination, and as they say, great photography is all about being at the right place at the right time. It is imperative that you do not think of only one single picture, but rather think of a sequence of pictures. Often it takes a hundred takes before you get that one perfect shot, and at times just a casual click might become the centerpiece of your entire portfolio. The key here is to be patient and click away, ‘cos you never know which one would turn out to be that perfect image. If you can manage to narrate a story of sorts through these photographs, it would greatly improve the chances of your photographs getting selected for publication. Here are some commonly known photojournalism photography tips that might seem rather obvious, but if taken care of can make all the difference between just another photograph and a breathtaking photograph.

Cutlines for your photographs are necessary. This refers to a brief description of the people, place, and situation captured in the photograph.
Obviously, the image quality of your photograph needs to be top-notch. Mediocre quality photographs have no chance of intriguing the viewer.
The format of the image and its size are also crucial factors. The images should not be RAW files and should be in the JPEG format. The image should also be 200 pixels per square inch.
It is also advisable to keep the Photoshopping of the image to a minimum.
The sequence to follow for the shots should be the main shot, opening shot, overall shot, detail shot, and closer shot.

Scope of Photography

The market is very competitive and overly subscribed. For a young inexperienced photographer to get into this field would require a lot of hard work and plenty of patience. Though the market for this field of photography has expanded due to the widespread revolution in printing, the number of photographers has made the competition rather intense.

In the foreseeable future, this rising trend might continue to prosper as the costs of publishing and maintaining publications have come down greatly, due to technology. This is a trend that may never occur for portrait photography or landscape photography. Tips for this type of photography though, will serve you well. So grab your camera and start snapping already.

Photography Tips for Golden Hour

Golden light photography is like being dealt a pair of aces in a game of Texas hold ’em. It’s a great hand, but you still have to raise the stakes to rake in some real moolah, you have to be careful not to go overboard with your bets and mess it up, and the five community cards can still mess up the hand of your life.

The golden hour is (approximately) an hour after sunrise and before sunset, and this time can vary from region to region. The light during this period is ideal for amateur photography, and a very helpful natural aid for the pros.

Photography is all about light and the best ways to manipulate it. In a studio setting the photographer is in full control of the lighting, and can determine just how ‘fresh’ the latest aspiring model would look. Nature, on the other hand, is a fickle mistress, and your best-laid plans can be ruined by the slightest of showers in the middle of summer. So it’s best to go along with the flitting moods of Mother Nature, and take advantage of the times when she’s helpful.

But first, let’s get something out of the way. Just why is the golden hour so important, and why is the golden light so venerated?

It is balanced
The golden hour is the perfect mixture of light and dark. The difference between the darkest and brightest elements of a photograph is the smallest during the golden hour. This means that you can take beautiful shots and experiment more, without fearing a blowout of the highlights or the abyssal darkness of the shadows.

It is soft
In photographic terms, golden light is very soft. Soft light doesn’t make you squint, and makes your subjects look better. Its effect is not just limited to human portraits, but extends to natural elements such as trees and sand. When contrasted against the beautiful golden light, even something as inanimate as a road looks warm and inviting.

It is warm
Speaking of warm, golden light has a high color temperature. There is very little blue light present, since it is dispersed by the Earth’s atmosphere, and the vivid reds and yellows are present in full bloom. This enhances skin tones, and brings about an effect similar to tanning. Who doesn’t like that much-vaunted bronzed look?

It Is 3D
Photography is the representation of 3D elements on a 2D medium. Golden light, with the inherently long and soft yet pronounced shadows, is the best tool to merge the two.
There are some simple tips for maximizing the gain from the golden light. Here are the prominent ones.

How To Capture The Golden Opportunity
Focus on the golden light

When you get up before the crack of dawn just to shoot the glorious sunrise, there is really no point in not focusing on the golden effect the light brings. As a photographer, you always have to be on the lookout for an inviting frame, but when shooting in the golden light, concentrate on shooting in the golden light. Try to capture frames that feature the golden light prominently, and make the golden light an element in your photos.

If you are photographing a client, try to schedule your sessions around dawn or, more preferably, dusk. If clicking away for fun, take the effort of getting up before the sun rises, and march to the perfect spot. The clicks will be worth it.

Keep your equipment ready

When the first, precious golden rays peek out from behind the doors of the horizon, do you want to be diving into the action head-on, or do you want to be setting up your tripod that always gets stuck precisely at the perfect moment, and sorting between your lenses?

The annoying thing about the wonderful golden hour is in the name – it only lasts for an hour, at most. More often than not, clouds will obscure the sun and other uncontrollable elements will be determined to get in and ruin your picture. The ideal lighting conditions in a golden hour actually last for less than half an hour. So keep your camera battle-ready, well before the sky turns yellow.

Don’t use the flash
If there’s one thing that ruins the whole effort made to use golden light, it’s using the flash. The flash has a very specific set of uses, and golden hour photography is not one of them. Use the beautiful natural light fully. If you intend to shoot both portraits and landscapes, do the portraits first, and use the tripod for the slower shutter speeds for the landscapes.

Use both front and back lighting
Fully explore the effects of front lighting and silhouettes at different times. Partial silhouettes and even full silhouettes early in the evening will look drastically different from silhouettes captured later on.

Adjust shutter speed according to aperture
Getting the aperture right can make or break a photograph; this is especially true in golden hour photography. Keep the aperture constant, and adjust the shutter speed according to the light reading. For candid portraits against the backdrop of the setting sun, keep the aperture wide (keep the f-number low), and use faster shutter speeds to catch that perfect smile. Use the tripod for landscapes, and keep the aperture small (keep the f-number high) to capture the intricate details of the silhouettes of trees, buildings, etc., with a slower shutter speed. A small aperture will also bring the Sun itself into the shot as a conspicuous element.