Archive for the ‘Photography’ Category

Steps to take before starting a photography business

Wednesday, October 10th, 2012

In the years ahead, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects job opportunities for photographers to increase by 13%. However, with affordable digital cameras readily available on the market, more people can easily take their own pictures, which, in turn, reduces the need for professionals with equipment and a good eye.

As a result, graduates of photography schools may want to take a cue from the average consumer and embrace that do-it-yourself attitude. Instead of looking for some sort of full-time photography gig, you can invest in the right equipment and start your very own business. The BLS even says that employment prospects for self-employed photographers will increase by 15% by 2020.

Now, you may have the best camera and a stellar portfolio, but you’re lacking a master of business administration or just a plain old business degree in general. Does this mean you can’t start your own photography business? Of course not. Here’s what you need to know if this sounds like a path you’d like to go down:

Are you ready to be an entrepreneur?

Do you consider yourself to be an independent person? Can you come up with solutions to problems on the spot? Do you like taking risks? These are all characteristics the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) says entrepreneurs tend to have. Of course, you don’t need them to be successful in business, but having them certainly wouldn’t hurt.

Create a business plan

If you think you’re ready to start taking pictures for hire, you’re going to want to come up with a business plan, or what the SBA calls a roadmap to success. When you sit down to write this document, you’ll be covering your goals for the next three to five years, as well as how you plan to achieve each one.

Make it official

You may be exciting about your business, but there’s still much work to be done, including legal work. Hold off on ordering those business cards with your company’s name and logo on it until you incorporate and register it, while also obtaining the right licenses and permits. Also, remember that all that money you’re going to make has to go somewhere, so start a bank account for your enterprise. Taking these important steps will ensure your photography business is on the right side of the law.

Get all the right equipment

Are you going to snap pictures at weddings? Maybe you’re just going to shoot portraits. No matter what you choose to do, make sure you have every piece of equipment you need. If you want customers to take you seriously, you can’t be cutting corners or using outdated gear. You may also want to get all that expensive equipment insured, especially if you’re always on the move with it.

Is this everything you have to do to launch your very own photography business? Of course not, but it’s certainly a good start. So what do you think? Does this all seem doable? Let us know what your career aspirations are in the comment space below.

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Picture a bright future as a photographer

Friday, September 28th, 2012

Once you’re done with photography schools, there are almost as many ways to make a living as a photographer as there are things to take pictures of. But before you make any decisions to study photography at technical training schools, here are a few things you should know.

The work

Not surprisingly, photographers take pictures for a living. Some use exclusively digital camera equipment, while others prefer old-school single lens reflex (SLR) cameras. Of course, some photographers combine the two approaches. It all depends on personal preference and the needs of the shoot. Many photographers make their living from portraits and events such as weddings and high school and college graduations. Others cover professional sporting events, capture celebrities at their worst and more.

The pay

When it comes to working as a photographer, the sky’s the limit. Once you’re done at technical schools, chances are your salary or hourly rate will be at the lower end of the spectrum, but according to PayScale, the annual earnings of a photographer can range between $18,137 and $82,267. This will change depending on your level of experience and expertise, but there’s some serious income potential for talented photographers. In terms of hourly rates, some photographers charge as much as $40 per hour, so the money’s there, if you know where to look.

The outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand for professional photographers is expected to increase by around 13 percent through 2020, which is about the same for the average of all occupations nationwide. However, when it comes to starting your own business, photography is hard to beat. Camera equipment has never been more affordable, and the advent of digital technology has made professional-quality image manipulation and processing software more accessible than ever.

Build buzz around your photography skills

Friday, September 14th, 2012

Build buzz around your photography skills

Did you grow up in awe of the late Ansel Adams’ black and white photographs of American landscapes? Maybe you can instantly recognize an Annie Leibovitz picture on the cover of a magazine thanks to your love of the portrait photographer’s acclaimed body of work. No matter which artists you admire the most, if you’ve got the talent, nothing can stop you from joining the ranks of these famous photographers.

If you feel like your skills could be developed a little further, you may turn to photography schools and the training they provide. While taking courses, there’s no reason why you can’t start to make a name for yourself, even if you haven’t had a chance to take pictures of exotic locales and Hollywood celebrities.

Here are a few steps you can take to start attracting attention to your photography. While fame and fortune are not guaranteed, it never hurts to share your talents with the world and see what types of opportunities arise.

Social media is an artist’s best friend

Do you have a Facebook page? What about a Twitter profile? Not only are these social media websites free, but they can also help you share your photography work with people outside your immediate area.

Facebook allows you to create photo albums that you can then share with people in your network. If you change your privacy settings, those who don’t even know you will be able to search your name and check out your pictures. However, that’s not all Facebook has to offer a rising star like yourself. You can also set up a page for your work and begin to collect fans, or you can join one or more groups for photographers. Here, you can network with fellow Facebook users, share your work or get advice from like-minded individuals.

While you may not be in the movie business, you can still use a social media website like YouTube to your advantage. If you’re not a video editing expert, see if any of your friends or family members are, because you could always make a short film featuring some of your best work set to music. You never know who will end up stumbling onto it. Just make sure you have your contact info underneath it so fans know where to find more of your work.

Gain exposure through unlikely methods

Think about the type of photographer you’d like to be. Do you want to go to concerts or head into the recording studio and snap pictures of some of today’s hottest bands for Rolling Stone magazine? Then start small by offering your services as a photographer for some local bands. Every group needs someone to photograph them for their album covers, show posters and press materials, so why shouldn’t it be you?

Do you want to take pictures on professional movie sets? Again, start out small and build a portfolio by becoming an on-set photographer for a low-budget film. Ultimately, the more projects you’re involved with, the greater the chance your work will be seen and you’ll be recommended to others in need of similar services.

Put your pictures on a photo website

Have you ever used Flickr? This photo sharing website is a good place to post a few of your pictures for people to see. While SlideShare is a website designed for hosting slideshows, it’s also perfect for posting presentations featuring various examples of photography.

So, as you can see, there is more than one way to start drawing attention to your work before you finish up at photography schools. Can you think of any other ways you can make a name for yourself? Let us know in the comment space below.

Capture clients’ good side as a portrait photographer

Wednesday, September 12th, 2012

Capture clients' good side as a portrait photographer

Considering signing up at photography schools? Then chances are you’re also thinking about your employment prospects. Working as a professional photographer can be creatively satisfying and potentially lucrative, if you play your cards right. While some areas of photography are harder to break into than others, portraiture remains a popular choice and could result in steady work, if you know how to take a good picture.

Life’s moments

There are dozens of occasions that people want to capture in their lives through portrait photography. If you’ve got kids, maybe you took them to a portrait photographer when they were still little. However, it’s not just proud parents and their newborns that make up a portrait photographer’s clientele – high school seniors, kids going to prom, college graduates and newlyweds are all a portrait photographer’s bread and butter. Of course, there are people who have regular family photos taken every year, too.

Act natural

Good portrait photographers don’t just take pictures – they capture a person at a specific time of their life. Photography schools will teach you how to get the best from your subject and take great quality shots that people will cherish for a lifetime. However, as well as knowing the technical side to capturing a quality image, you’ll also need to know how to work with people to catch them at their best.

For example, everyone knows someone who hates having their picture taken. Whether they’re just embarrassed or insecure about their appearance, as a portrait photographer, it’ll be your job to capture their good side and give them a picture they’ll love. Making people feel relaxed and at ease is crucial when dealing with difficult clients, so your demeanor and approach will have to vary, depending on your subject.

Partners in crime

Of course, it’s one thing to talk someone into giving you a winning smile. When you’re working with children, it’s not so easy. Newborns, infants and toddlers rarely respond to verbal cues, so you’ll have to get creative. This is when enlisting the talents of mom and dad comes into play.

For example, many kids distrust new faces. So, rather than miss an opportunity to deliver a winning portrait, ask the child’s parents to help out. Have them distract and entertain their son or daughter while you wait for that perfect moment. A lot of portrait photographers specialize in baby pictures because of the unique approaches involved. If you don’t want to limit yourself to just taking photographs of children, make sure you have at least a few toys lying around your studio for when parents bring their newborns in for a shoot. Alternatively, if you arrange a consultation with a client beforehand, ask mom and dad to bring in a few of their child’s favorite toys – familiarity may help kids relax so you can concentrate on things like lighting, camera angles and capturing that beautiful smile.

What appeals to you about portrait photography? Let us know in the comment space below.

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5 benefits of becoming a freelance photographer

Saturday, September 8th, 2012

5 benefits of becoming a freelance photographer

When you flip through a magazine, is it the pictures that grab you more than the text all around them? If you’re walking through an electronics store, do you find it hard not to play around with the cameras they’ve got on display? If the answer is yes, it sounds like you may be an ideal candidate for photography schools and possibly a career as a freelance photographer.

If you’re on the fence about photography schools, here are five for you to think about:

1. You get to express yourself

As a professional photographer, you’ll draw on your creativity with every picture you take. This is great for anybody who has always dreamed of not having to bottle up their need to express themselves just for a paycheck. Just think about all the jobs where you’re stuck at a desk all day, doing the same type of uncreative work every day. You won’t have this problem as a photographer.

2. You can be your own boss

Once you’ve got a camera, gear and the proper training, you may want to offer your services as a freelance photographer. This allows you to take pictures of what you want for whoever you want whenever it’s most convenient to you. Again, definitely a lot better than reporting to your desk every day.

3. It’s always different

If you work toward becoming a freelance photographer, you may be snapping pictures at a wedding one weekend, and shooting a family portrait the next. If you’re the type of person who gets bored with routine, a career in photography is right up your alley. One of the only things that’ll be consistent about your line of work is your passion for taking pictures.

4. Meet new and exciting people

You may not go to an office every morning, but as a freelance photographer, you certainly won’t be lonely. When you offer your services, you’re likely to hear back from an eclectic mix of clients. One day, you could be collaborating with a woman interested in jump starting her modeling career with some professional snapshots. The next day, you could be taking pictures of a motorcycle enthusiasts’ collection of vintage hogs. Either way, you’re going to meet a lot of people you normally wouldn’t have crossed paths with, if not for that camera hanging from your neck.

5. It’s rewarding

While you won’t be saving lives, you definitely have an opportunity to brighten people’s days. The pictures you take at a couple’s wedding will be reproduced and shared for many years to come. They may sit on a mantle in a frame, get stored in wallets or serve as the wallpaper on computer screens. Either way, they are precious reminders of an important moment in time. You may not be related to either the groom or bride, but the job you do is sure to be remembered – and appreciated – by them for many years to come.

Can you think of any other benefits to grabbing a camera and snapping pictures for hire? If you can, let us know in the comment space below.

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