I think now, more than ever, it’s hard to tell what makes a “good picture.”
Photography, like all art, is subjective. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, etc, etc. And with Photoshop becoming such an integral part of the work process, it’s getting to the point where the old “rules” for good photography are being tossed out the window. I think that’s just fine, and I’ll tell you why. (more…)
I’m just starting a third revamp of my own nature photography website, (the first two dating from 2002 and 2004), and I wanted to share my thoughts on creative, effective photography websites. While it’s tempting (at least for geeks like myself!) to drop immediately into the nitty-gritty of implementation details, it’s far more important to first plan out what your web site is going to be for and how it will function as a part of your photography business (or even hobby.)
First, consider how your website will fit into your sales cycle. What is the site supposed to do for you and your clients? The most common mistake I see from aspiring nature and fine art photographers is (more…)
It seems that lately I am beginning to see more wedding photographers who are “photojournalist only” or “natural light.” I don’t want to get into a debate about the merits of these specialties as I’m a big believer that whatever works for you and your clients is great. Everyone doesn’t have to do it the same way. In fact, it’s a good thing we don’t because then wedding photographers would be like gas stations: Whoever has the lowest price gets the business.
That being said, it still seems like we are starting to move towards a complete elimination of the “formal” wedding portrait. I know for a fact that many photographers hate to shoot them and some flat refuse to. I don’t understand that mentality. (more…)
Tell the World You Don’t Suck: Modern Marketing for Commercial Photographersby Leslie Burns Dell’Acqua
I’m a big fan of marketing and advertising my business. I really try hard to put my work, my business and my name out there as much as possible. With that said, sometimes I get stuck. Getting stuck in your marketing is no different from getting stuck creatively. It happens to all of us and learning how to break out of that rut and into more productive areas is important for any business owner. It’s at times like these that books like this one come in very handy indeed. Sometimes we need a creative kick in the pants, sometimes the foot is more business oriented. (more…)
Anyone who’s ever tried to do some serious photography in public places has had to deal with curious, and on occasion, concerned people interested in what you’re doing. At times some of those interested parties have badges, whether official government badges, or private security badges. Sometimes those badges come with demands that you stop shooting, explain yourself, move on, hand over images, get on the ground, etc. (more…)
One of the tried and true methods of learning about the photography industry is to spend time as an assistant. Even with a formal education in photography, time spent as an assistant is critical to learning the industry and business, as well as learning a bit about yourself. Sure the hours are long, the pay is bad, and you may very well spend the day picking up turkey poop or standing in triple digit heat for eight hours (both of which I did while assisting) but you’ll also get to see things and do things that make most normal people jealous. (more…)
I understand that things are tough right now for a lot of creative professionals like us. I know several photographers who are really struggling to make ends meet, a couple who have gotten out of the business completely, and a couple who have branched out into completely different fields to stay afloat. I also know several who are so busy they’re turning away work. Regardless of your particular situation a periodic review of your pricing structure is part of doing business. Many times that review will lead you to the conclusion that you need to raise prices. But knowing your pricing is too low and implementing a price change are two distinct steps.
It was about six years back; I was very, very frustrated.
I’d set my sight on capturing a particular scene in fog, a lovely grove of second-growth redwoods, ferns, and a meandering stream in Butano State Park. The location is about a 90-minute drive, followed by a fifteen-minute hike to reach. And this was the third time I’d make the trek, and this time, as the previous two times, the fog had lifted before I arrived. For the third time, I wasn’t going to get the shot I wanted. I almost headed home in defeat, but I knew better, and I resolved to keep looking and shooting, and that has been one of the smartest decisions I’ve ever made.
Shaking off the frustration that day, I started kicking around the stream, with it’s perfect leading line heading into the redwoods. I was struck by the uniform size and dark color of the pebbles in and around the stream, and spent a good bit of time looking for some macro opportunities before noticing a larger yellow rock in the stream, with a rust-colored leaf held against the yellow rock by the flow of water. While not tremendously exciting to me, I started working out compositions in which I could place the rock and the leaf near a corner of a shot of stream bed. Handheld was out of the question, I was shooting 50-speed Velvia, and I wanted to shoot straight down, so I started the chilly work of setting up my tripod in the stream to allow me to shoot nearly straight down.
Finally set up, I got a better look through the viewfinder and saw something that almost got me to give up. The rock kicked up the flow of the stream just enough that the water downstream was sparkling with reflections of the sun. I figured those reflections would ruin my perfect little “zen garden” composition, so I experimented for ten or fifteen minutes trying to get rid of them, with a polarizer, by adjusting the position of the camera, and so on. Again, I was frustrated; again, I pushed on.
Today’s cameras are pretty smart. They know when you’re shooting outside, or in. When you want to shoot a portrait or a close up. They can tell that you need to use a flash, and in some cases, will even find a smile and shoot it for you. But even with all of the advances in digital camera technology, the smartest camera is still not as smart as you are. The human brain is incredibly adept and nimble, and with a bit of training you’ll begin to see things differently when looking through a viewfinder.