Starting a Photography Business

If you have a creative inclination and an eye for detail, starting a photography business can be a very lucrative way to be self-employed.

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.

Basic Techniques of Photography

basic-techniques-of-photographyFor getting the hang of photography, you need to know some basic photography techniques. The more you handle the camera, the more used to you would be with it and you would get to know the intricacies of photography.

Moments once gone cannot be brought back. Hence, having some knowledge of photography comes in handy when there are such moments to capture. It is important to familiarize yourself with the basic photography techniques in order to click some amazing pictures. Have a look at them.

Know your Camera
You cannot click good pictures if you do not know your camera inside out. So, start off with getting to know your camera thoroughly. Keep on checking the manual every now and then. Read the manual properly and as you read it, see the corresponding function of your camera. You can learn the minute tricks and details by this. From the exposure to the lens, you will get all the basic photography terms from it.

Flash
Keep experimenting with the flash till you don’t get it correct. A cardinal rule while you are clicking photographs is to control the flash. It is important to know when to keep the flash on and when not to. For instance, when you are clicking pictures outdoors, on a bright sunny day, turning off the flash would be a better idea. If the subject is in the shade, you can consider using the flash.

Macro Mode
Most of the digital cameras have a macro mode these days, which is perfect for taking close up shots of something like flowers or even insects. Choose a subject, turn on the macro mode, and go as close to the subject as the camera would allow you to. But take care that you focus properly before you click.

Maintaining Level
Whenever and whatever you click, one of the most important thing is to hold the camera properly at the appropriate level. One of the ways to gauge whether you have held the camera at the correct level is to look for the horizontal lines. These lines will guide you about the correct level of your camera. If you are clicking a sunset, make use of horizon as the reference line.

Tripod
In your basic photography skills, the knowledge of using a tripod is essential. When there are low light conditions and you want to click pictures, the tripod comes into picture. In addition, tripod is useful to click images of a moving subject. It gives stability to the shot in situations where you may not be able to keep your hands stable.

ISO Setting
The sensitivity to light is controlled by the ISO setting in the camera and thus it is one of the very important functions of a camera. This setting has to be changed according to the subject. To get acquainted with this, experiment with it. A good tip is, when you are taking a still shot, always use a low ISO setting. On the contrary, if you are clicking a moving object, a higher ISO will work better.

Memory
Make sure that you have enough memory in your camera before you start with the photography. If you have the traditional camera, keep enough camera rolls. Imagine if you are on a holiday in a fabulous location and your camera runs out of memory space!

Getting to know these basic techniques will make the activity of taking photographs much easier and enjoyable. Who knows you might land up finding a lucrative career option for yourself in the process!

Landscape Photography

Does the beauty and splendor of nature inspire you? Did you ever wish that the multi-hued rainbow you saw the other day or the picturesque sunset you witnessed on your vacation, were forever? If yes, then perhaps landscape photography is just for you! Read on for some landscape photography tips to get you started.

A landscape photograph is a photograph in which the main subject is nature. The purpose of a landscape photograph is to capture the beauty of a natural landscape, and this is the reason landscape photographers do not include people as their subjects. Landscape photography, just like wildlife photography, is not easy as it requires a lot of time and effort. There are three styles of landscape photography: representational, impressionistic and abstract. No matter what your style is, the following tips on landscape photography are sure to help you.

Useful Tips for Landscape Photography

Just like any other art, there are certain landscape photography techniques that you should follow if you wish to click some awesome shots. If you have tried your hands at portrait photography before, you’ll find that these tips are different from tips for portrait photography for the fact that these are two very different styles of photography.

Tip 1: Use a Wide Angle Lens
The ideal lens for landscape photography is a wide-angle lens. Using a wide-angle lens allows you to capture more of the breathtaking view in your shot. Also, using a wide-angle lens for your shot gives you the option of converting it into a panorama, with the help of editing software. You can experiment with different angles for the shots and also with lenses of different focal lengths.

Tip 2: Maximize the Depth of Field
Increasing the depth of field of the photograph means a greater part of the photograph is in focus. To do this you need to decrease the aperture of the camera. However, decreasing the aperture size means less light reaching the image sensor, which needs to be neutralized by increasing the shutter speed.

Tip 3: Use a Tripod Camera Stand and Remote
For the simple reason that you need to set the shutter speed as high, to compensate for a smaller aperture, it is extremely important that your camera is completely still while the shot is taken. If you hold the camera in your hand during the shot, chances are that it may get shaken, resulting in a blurred image. It is even better if you use a wireless remote instead of manually clicking the shutter with your hands as this way you’ll get really sharp images.

Tip 4: Use Filters and Polarizers
If you are taking the shot during the day, it is advisable to use graduated filters. This way, there will be a balanced exposure in the photograph right from the beginning without you having to spend hours on Photoshop editing it. There are an array of different filters that serve to enhance your shot in different ways. While density filters control the amount of light reaching the lens, color filters come in different colors, and add a touch of a particular shade to the photograph. Polarizing filters add saturation to your shots.

Tip 5: Choose the Perfect Timing
The quality of landscape photography depends a lot on what time of the day you take your shots. Experts believe that the best time to take your shots is either early in the morning or late in the evening. Sunrise and sunset add a special touch to your photographs and are termed as the ‘golden hours’. This is because the angle as well as the color of the light during these hours have been widely accepted as the best for landscape shots.

Tip 6: Follow the Rule of Thirds
The ‘Rule of Thirds’ is helpful in creating a balanced composition, which is essential for landscape photography. According to this rule, you are supposed to divide any composition into three parts by imagining lines passing across it. Now, you have to set the frame such that the areas or objects you wish to focus on, lie on the intersection of these lines. This can be a useful tip for beginners in the field of landscape photography.

Tip 7: Capture Movement
The term ‘landscape’ generally brings serene images to our mind. However, objects in motion do form a part of many landscapes. Consider this. You climb a hill to capture the breathtaking view of the valley below. On your way back after having clicked some splendid shots, you suddenly come across a majestic waterfall. Being the nature lover that you are, would you not want to capture the beauty of its cascading waters? ‘But how?’, you may ask. Well, to capture moving elements in a landscape, you need to set a slow shutter speed. However, you must keep in mind that a slow shutter speed means more light reaching the lens. To counter this, you need to have a smaller aperture and use the right filters.

Tip 8: Be Patient
Patience is one of the key ingredients to stunning landscape photography. Rushing through the entire process would land you with images that might be good enough but never extraordinary. If shooting a masterpiece is what you are after, then you need to put in that extra effort. On reaching the location, just spend time in scouting for the perfect angle and wait for that time of the day when the lighting is just perfect.

Tip 9: Shoot in RAW Format
Whenever you shoot landscape, do so in RAW format. This is because images captured in RAW format not only portray the minutest details of the landscape but also give you a wider scope for manipulating and enhancing the image with the help of image editing software such as Photoshop.

Tip 10: Learn to Use Lines and Points of Interest
To make a composition truly interesting and visually appealing, you need to add something that holds the viewer’s interest and kind of leads him into the picture. To bring out this effect in your composition, all you need to do is add an object of interest which can be anything as varied as a strange-looking tree to a weird-shaped sand dune, or even a cottage in the distance. Another way to lead the viewer into the photograph is the use of ‘leading lines’ that end up at the point of interest or the focal point. You can use winding lanes, streams, railway lines, etc to direct the viewer’s attention towards the focal point of the composition.

Food Photographers are Tricking Us

With the explosion of food brands in the modern world, companies really push the boundaries when it comes to attracting customers. In this article, we reveal some of the commonly used food photography styling tricks, which takes picture and mind manipulation to a whole new level.

Food products which are featured in advertisements almost always look completely different from the food that the brand is actually selling. The truth however, is that, these exceptionally presented culinary delights we see in photographs and TV commercials are not fit to be eaten, and would be absolutely disgusting to taste.

The art of food photography is extremely technical, usually taking the stylists hours to create the perfect shot. All photographers make use of external factors, such as the height, angle, colors, textures, lighting, food placement, props, and backgrounds, to make the food look appetizing, and serving it in a way which flaunts the best features of the dish. However, some go even further, using some really weird, yet creative food photography tricks, which stretches the limits to just how far manufacturers can go in order to bring in more buyers.

Cereal Advertisements

Real milk makes cereals such as cornflakes very soggy, really fast, which does not look appetizing in the least. One option photographers use is to substitute the milk with cream or yogurt, which is slower in making the cereal soggy. However, in some cases, white glue is also used, which is lovely to look at, but surely inedible.

Hot Food

If a brand is marketing hot food, the advertised food items have to look hot. No one likes cold meat. The best way to display that a food item is hot, is by showing lovely curls of steam billowing off the product. However, photo shoots are really long procedures, and keeping food perpetually hot is near impossible, without compromising on the appearance. So, to get around this problem, stylists soak small sponges, tampons, or cotton balls in water, microwave them till they get steamy, and skillfully hide them behind the food product, just before taking the picture.

Juicy, Meaty Steaks

Making a steak appear thick, juicy, and pink after cooking it properly is very difficult, as heat tends to dry out and shrink the product. So, if a brand is advertising a steak or hamburger, the meat is first carefully seared on the outside using a blowtorch. Following this, grill marks are added by using a branding iron, and to get a convincing finish, marmite, shoe polish, eyeliner, or wood varnish is applied to give the meat a nice succulent color.

Super Burgers

Advertisements of major fast food brands, show burgers as massive, upright towers of succulent ingredients. To attain such a structure, one of the commonly used tricks is to skillfully slip in sheets of cardboard between the product, which keeps the burger upright. Along with this, they also strategically place toothpicks and pins through the burger, which keep the lettuce, tomatoes, onions, etc., in place.

Stylists also painstakingly glue sesame seeds to the bun, using tweezers, and melt the cheese carefully at the edges in exactly the way they want it. The sauces are strategically squeezed in with a syringe. Tweezers are also used to arrange the noodle placement and curvature when photographing Asian dishes. The cardboard trick is also used when photographing other layered items, such as cream cakes.

Delectable Flapjacks

Almost everyone loves to see a large stack of flapjacks, just oozing with maple syrup or honey. However, food photographers face a major problem here while taking pictures. This is because, the flapjacks are porous and absorb all the syrup. To stop this from happening, stylists spray the flapjacks with an aerosolized form of fabric protector. Also, they might substitute the syrup with motor oil, as maple syrup does not look as good on camera.

Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

Often, fruits and vegetables shown in photographs and TV commercials have a lovely matte look to them. This symbolizes freshness in the mind of the consumer. However, the reality is that, to achieve this look, photographers have to spray the fruits liberally with deodorant or hairspray. These sprays are also used to keep cakes and other confectioneries from drying out under harsh lighting.

Cold Food Items

If you are seeing a product which is icy cold on a professional photo or on a TV advertisement, it is most probably covered in a spray of glycerin. This is because, glycerin is commonly used to provide a glossy, shiny look to any product, like cold drinks, seafood, or fresh salad leaves, which gives the appearance of moisture.

Ice Cream

A look at the above ice cream might make you want to jump right in. However, even these delicious scoops might have been made using some ingenious fake food advertising tricks. Since real ice cream melts really quick, mashed potatoes are colored with food dye, and scooped to play the role of ice cream. Photographers are also known to use small pieces of paper towels on top of the ice cream, which help hold the syrups in place. Alternatively, ice creams can also be made from fat and powdered sugar.

Apart from ice cream, mashed potatoes are also pumped into chickens and turkeys with a syringe to make them look plump, or they might be disguised as pie fillings to give the pie slice a sturdy structure.

Super Cheesy Pizzas

One of the most common tropes used by pizza brands is to show a slice of pizza separating from the main pizza, while long, stretchy, strands of cheese ooze out from the side. To actually have this happen, photographers overload that particular slice with a lot of cheese before it is cooked. So, when the slice is taken out, it looks much more delicious than the rest of the slices, giving an illusion of excess for the entire product.

Aerated Drinks and Milk

No form of aerated drink looks good without an overabundance of fizzling bubbles. To get the drinks churning and bubbling, photographers add a small piece of an antacid tablet, into the bottle or glass. On the other end, dish soap is added to a cup of milk or coffee to give larger surface bubbles. This produces the illusion of the milk being freshly poured.

For all of these food products, only the best ingredients are selected out of a collection of hundreds or thousands of specimens, and extreme care is take to get the proper shape and size of the product. This professionalism and care is glaringly missing from the real product which is sold to consumers. As you can see, food brands use a wide variety of extremely misleading, professional food photography tricks. However, this kind of unethical food porn deserves to be made just as taboo as actual porn, if not more. We have to remember, there is no scope for change without the active participation of conscious consumers.