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  • How to Shoot, Sell and Market Professional Stock Photography

    5:00 am on September 23, 2013 | 1 Permalink
    Tags: Selling, Stock Photography

    Many photographers are turning to stock photography as a way of making some extra money.

    Stock photos are different from artistic photos however, it’s important to keep this in mind when starting out with stock photography. Instead of the ‘wow factor’ that artistic photos have, stock photos need to have a meaning or illustrate a concept.

    Make sure your stock photos stand out! Art directors are only after high quality images, and with the flood of stock imagery available today, anything less than superb will likely be lost in a sea of other photos.

    This article covers the basics of shooting, selling, and marketing stock photography –and most importantly: how professional photographers can help their photos stand out.

    Shooting Stock Imagery

    Shoot What You Know

    You have an advantage when you shoot what you know and photograph subjects that you understand. When you are an expert in your field, you know how to get the best shots.

    Think like a Marketing Director

    Yes, I know you are a photographer; photographers are artistically inclined and carefree. However, if you’re going to be successful in selling stock imagery, it’s important to think like your buyers.

    The main buyers of stock imagery are art or marketing directors, and designers. They usually need photos for websites they are designing, or promotional materials they are creating. When shooting stock photos; ask yourself what kinds of photos designers need.

    See What’s Selling

    Browsing the popular photos on stock imagery sites and checking the photos needed sections lets you know what there is a demand for.

    Keep it Simple

    Simple backgrounds and uncluttered photos usually sell better. Make sure there is a clear concept, message, or feeling that your photo conveys.

    Natural Lighting

    Natural lighting, or proper use of artificial lighting, is essential. Stock photography is usually light and upbeat.

    Thumbnails

    While this may seem like a small detail, how your photo appears as a thumbnail can impact it’s popularity. Viewers on stock imagery sites browse through photos as thumbnails, so make sure your photos look good small too.

    Descriptions

    Know what concepts you want the images to convey. Be clear about it. Make sure your concepts are well executed and easy to understand.

    You don’t want people to be lost by your execution of the concept!

    Selling Stock Photos

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    Stock imagery sites are the first places most designers check when they need photography. While stock imagery sites take a percentage from your photos that sell, once you build your portfolio up and your photos start selling, you have potential to make some decent money.

    • Dreamstime –Photo prices are based on the number of downloaded they receive
    • iStockphoto –One of the most well-known stock imagery sites, a bit of a challenge to join though
    • Shutterstock – Free to sign up and contribute, rates start at $0.25 per download
    • Photorankr –A stock imagery site that lets you network with other photographers
    • Flickr –Users can easily license photos to Getty Images
    • Stocksy –A newer stock imagery site, but a great place to start selling

    Licensing

    Understanding licensing lets you know what buyers are permitted to use your images for. The two most common licenses used in stock photography are royalty free and rights managed.

    Royalty free allows buyers to use the photo for multiple applications, without many restrictions. Rights managed licensing allows time-limited, and application specific use.

    Marketing

    Stock imagery sites make it easy for you. Once you upload, and tag your photos you are done. The stock imagery site does all the marketing for you.

    The best way for you to promote your stock imagery is to title and tag your photos effectively.

    Title Your Photo

    Try to choose interesting and descriptive titles; make sure they are relevant to the photos.

    Use Tags Effectively

    Use tags, and lots of them. The more tags, the better the chances of people finding your photos. Tags should be accurate though; few things are more irritating than incorrectly tagged photos! Tag location, region, time of day, angle of the sun, lighting -everything featured in the photo. Tag concepts the image conveys, such as: bright, clear, inspiration, or freedom.

    Stock photography can take time to get into. Doing research into what sells lets you know what to focus on, and can help your stock photos to be a success.

    What About You?

    Do you sell stock photography? Which stock imagery sites do you use?

     
  • 10 Ways to Make Money as a Professional Photographer

    5:00 am on September 16, 2013 | 0 Permalink
    Tags: , , ,

    Whether you are an enthusiast turned professional looking for the niche that is best for you, or an experienced professional just trying to diversify, we have compiled a list of ideas to help you on your quest.

    Here are ten ways for a professional photographer to make some extra money.

    1. Become a Photographer’s Assistant

    Having experience as a photographer’s assistant is helpful if you are considering a career in weddings, portrait, or commercial photography. Assisting allows you to gain incredibly important experience that is necessary in order to start taking on your own commissions. While being an assistant photographer doesn’t pay much, often it does pay something and the experience gained by assisting or second shooting, can be invaluable.

    2. Wedding Photography

    Wedding photography is often considered one of the most potentially lucrative careers in photography. However, a career in wedding photography isn’t for everyone. Wedding photography requires a specially honed skill set, as well as ability to deal with stressful and emotionally challenging situations. Having experience as a second shooter at weddings is helpful, and having an outstanding portfolio is a must.

    3. Portrait Photography

    Family portraits, senior portraits, couple’s portraits, child portraits, even pet portraits -the possibilities for portraiture are wide and varied. Portrait photography is a great option for social photographers, who enjoy working with people. Some photographers specialize in a specific type of portraiture. While this may limit your clientele initially, it does give you a chance to focus on a specific niche, and gives you a chance to become a master in your field.

    4. Commercial Photography

    Commercial photography is a wide encompassing career. It covers everything from photographing corporate staff for a company’s website, to fashion shoots and food photography. Commercial photography requires a photographer to be extremely talented, with an amazing portfolio that really shows off

    5. Photojournalism

    Photojournalism pays most to in-house photographers who work for news agencies or magazines. For freelancers though, there is the chance to make decent money as a photojournalist, depending on your relationship to the news company. Ideally, you want to be the one they call when they need a great photo. One tip for pitching ideas to magazines or newspapers is to include an article with your photos. Often editors need written material as least as much as they do photos, so offering articles with your photos increases the chances of your work being accepted.

    6. Freelance for Local Magazines

    Along the lines of photojournalism, freelancing for local magazines is another way to make some extra money. While popular magazines are harder to sell photos to, smaller local or regional ones are more likely to be in need of quality images.

    7. Sell Stock Imagery

    When selling stock photography, it’s important keep in mind that the photos that sell best on stock imagery sites, are the ones that marketing directors and designers tend to purchase. Browsing through the popular photos or photos needed sections of stock imagery sites will give you an idea of which photos sell best.

    8. Sell Prints

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    Print sales are among the most well known ways of selling photography. In order to be successful with selling prints, it is important to know why people purchase prints. Most people buy prints because they mean something to them. Familiar local places, special vacation spots, and of course, prints of themselves and their family. A few people purchase photography prints as art. Know your target client, and ask yourself what makes your images special –to them.

    9. Hold Workshops

    Many professional photographers hold workshops, to teach others what they know. If you are at the point in your career where you have something to offer, you could try holding workshops. Bloggers with a wide audience have a perfect way of reaching the masses –by advertising their workshop on their blog.

    10. Buy and Sell Equipment

    For photographers who know their gear, and love to dream about their next new lens, buying and selling photography equipment could be a great chance to make some extra money. Some photographers find success selling lenses, cameras, flashes, or even smaller accessories like filters.

    What About You?

    Do you enjoy photography as a hobby, or have you found success with going pro? Let us know in the comments!

     
  • 5 Pro Photographer Secrets For Getting New Clients

    5:00 am on September 9, 2013 | 3 Permalink
    Tags: , ,

    Most professional photographers are great with their cameras.

    When it comes to marketing however, sometimes things seem more complicated.

    As much as we would love a single-bullet marketing approach that would send droves of new clients through the door, there isn’t one. Each photography business is different, and each one requires an equally different marketing strategy.

    The most effective technique for gaining clients, is the one that is tailored specifically to your clientele.

    Read on to learn five professional secrets for gaining new clients, and see how you can put these techniques to work on your specific customer base.

    1. Identify your Customer

    First things first. It is important to know who your ideal customer is. How else will you be able to market to them successfully? Not having a clear understanding of your clients is a mistake that can lead to ineffective marketing.

    Think about your photography niche and your target clientele. If you do wedding photography, your target market will be brides. If you do family portraits, your target is parents, mainly moms. It’s important to know who your customer is, and to understand their needs. This allows you to create a successful marketing approach.

    2. Form a Marketing Strategy

    Once you have identified your customer, you can create your marketing strategy. Ask yourself what your clients want, and design your strategy around their needs. Be specific with your approach; think like your client. If you are selling wedding and engagement photography services, an idea for a marketing strategy would be to set up a website, portfolio, blog, and social media accounts. It could include a plan to join social media sites frequented by brides-to-be, such as Pinterest or wedding related forums.

    Be sure to set aside time for daily/weekly marketing work. Put it on your calendar so it doesn’t end up pushed aside! Update your strategy as you go along, you will find that it helps keep you focused and prevents you from being overwhelmed.

    3. Social Networking

    Once you have a plan, you can get to work on executing your strategy. The first step in social networking is to build your portfolio or website, if you don’t have one already. This gives you somewhere to link back to from all your web activity. Starting a blog is another important part of maintaining a web presence. Blogs are usually more interactive than websites, which means more chance to connect and build a following.

    Be social. Post comments on other blogs and social media accounts, add friends on Facebook, and follow people on Twitter. Always publish your blog articles to your social media accounts. Social networking is a great way to get your name out there. It introduces you to people, and gives them a chance to see what type of work you do.

    4. Network in Person

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    Now that you are armed with a marketing strategy, and a well- established web presence, it’s time to get out there and promote your work. Networking in person is an important way of putting your name out there and meeting new people: potential new clients.

    Have some business cards printed with your phone number and website address, and get ready to hand them out. Volunteer at local events, and meet new people. Do photoshoots with friends or family and have prints made for them, and upload the photos to Facebook. Post ads on bulletin boards, and run free classifieds. Consider contacting your local newspaper to see about submitting some photos to them, they may need local sports or event coverage.

    5. Cross-Market

    Connect with other venders in your area, ones that have a similar target market to yours. Networking together is a win-win situation for both parties. You could offer to provide photographs of the vender’s products, or portraits of their staff. In return, they can display the photos along with your contact information below it.

    Wedding photographers often connect with other wedding specific venders in the same area, such as florists, bridal boutiques, and caterers. Family portrait photographers could cross-market with hair salons, or dentist offices. Pet photographers could try veterinary clinics and pet supply stores.

    Even the world’s best photographer will be lacking clients if they are a secret. So don’t stay unknown. Getting your name out there is essential to your success as a photographer. While having a great portfolio is important, it’s just as important to have an effective promotional strategy.

    How do you gain new clients?

     
  • How to Book, Price and Organize Commercial Photography Shoots

    5:00 am on September 2, 2013 | 0 Permalink
    Tags:

    Professional commercial photography can help a company to look its best.

    Commercial photography covers everything from fashion shoots, to corporate ad campaigns. It includes brochure photos, and pictures found on commercial websites.

    To some freelance photographers, a commercial photoshoot may sound daunting, but actually, photoshoots can be a lot of fun! Knowing how to arrange a photoshoot allows you to be prepared when that first corporate client comes your way.

    In this article, we look at what happens behind the scenes, before a commercial photoshoot.

    Commercial Photography: Booking the Photo Shoot

    When a client asks about the cost of a photoshoot, try to arrange to meet with them.

    The price of a commercial photoshoot varies depending on the type of shoot it is, and what is involved. When meeting with your client, ask questions. What type of shoot is it? Will they source the models and stylists? What about location, and insurance, will they provide that or will you? Remember to take notes.

    Once you know the answers and your client agrees to go further, you can create the estimate.

    Pricing

    When pricing commercial photography, avoid charging a standard ‘day rate.’ A day rate may seem like an easy way to set rates, but it isn’t an accurate pricing method because each photoshoot has a different value.

    It’s better to base photoshoot prices on your cost of doing business (CODB). Factoring your CODB into each shoot, allows you to be certain you are making a profit.

    To find your CODB, evaluate your fixed business expenses. Then add your costs involved with the photoshoot. Evaluate hours of prep, driving, shooting, post-processing, development, interaction, equipment costs, and time. Include studio fees, insurance, and models or hairstylists/makeup artists. Don’t forget to charge a licensing fee for your photos. This allows the client specific use of your images.

    After determining your expenses, add at least 15% to this as your profit margin. You can adjust this percentage on a per-assignment basis, depending on a project’s difficulty.

    Be specific with estimates. Creating a breakdown shows the client exactly what they are purchasing. Try presenting clients with a couple of options, allowing them to choose the package they want.

    Don’t sell yourself short. Leave room in the estimate to over-deliver. If your estimate includes 20 photos, deliver 25. Always overestimate by 10% to cover unexpected expenses.

    Organizing the Shoot

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    Once the client agrees to the shoot, start scheduling. Use a schedule or online calendar to schedule photoshoots and important tasks involved.

    2-3 Weeks Before the Shoot

    • Find and secure a location for the photoshoot. Make sure the location has enough outlets for lighting equipment, and find out how long you have the studio for.
    • If it’s a fashion shoot, scout out models, stylists, and makeup artists.
    • Purchase an insurance policy.
    • Organize contracts and model release forms.
    • Locate props and ensure that the wardrobe is taken care of.
    • Create a production notebook. This helps a photoshoot go according to plan. Include types of shots needed, and information on everyone involved with the shoot. For more on production notebooks, check out this article.
    • Create a photoshoot schedule. Include times for models and stylists to arrive, and prep.

    Day Before the Shoot

    • Organize the equipment you will bring: lights, strobes, reflectors, diffusers, flashes. Charge batteries, empty the memory cards, and clean the lenses.
    • Go to the location to bring in gear, set up lighting, and familiarize yourself with the set.
    • Ensure props, wardrobe, other items are on location.

    Day of the Shoot

    • Arrive early. This allows you to set up last minute equipment, and adjust your camera settings before the client and production crew arrive.
    • Production crew and models arrive. Contracts and model releases signed. Prep time.
    • Have the production notebook on-set, and ensure everyone has copies of the photoshoot schedule. Go over the schedule so everyone knows what is happening.
    • If your shoot involves models, allow warm up time. It takes time for people to feel comfortable in front of the camera.
    • Lights, camera, action! Keep on schedule. Some photographers find it helpful to set alarms on their phone, so they know when to move on in the photoshoot.

    Remember to stay professional, and have fun. Helping keep everyone at ease creates better photos, and means your client will be more likely to call you next time they need a photoshoot.

    Have you done a commercial photoshoot? Tell us how it went!

     
  • Everything Pro Photographers Need for Online Marketing: From Websites to Social Media

    5:00 am on August 26, 2013 | 3 Permalink
    Tags:

    Publicity is an important way for photographers to help their work to stand out amongst the crowd.

    Two of the most important ways of generating publicity online are your promotional strategy and your success at networking via social media.

    So what are some ways a photographer can gain publicity and followers on social networks?

    • Post interesting content
    • Provide relevant information
    • Be engaging and show genuine interest in others

    To gain followers, it’s essential to provide content people are actually interested in following. In short: give people a reason to follow you.

    Posting interesting and varied content can help you gain publicity. Remember, no one enjoys hearing someone talk about himself all the time, so it’s important to diversify. Posting photography news, featuring the work of other photographers and sharing stories can all help increase your readership.

    Here are some ways to promote your photography online:

    Blogging

    And update it. Keep things interesting and entertaining, and try to connect with your readers. Publish information that is relevant to your readership. Try posting how-to articles, funny anecdotes, or even interviews.

    Forums

    Joining and contributing in a forum helps to boost your online publicity. Most forums allow you a link in your signature, so be sure to link up to your portfolio or blog.

    Guest Posting

    Join forces with other bloggers: offer to contribute guest posts for them. Conversely, you could recruit guest posters for your own blog -it would increase publicity for you both!

    Commenting

    By commenting on other people’s articles or social media accounts, you help build community and get to know others interested in similar fields. Sometimes you can include a link to your blog or website.

    SEO

    By including keywords, you increase your chances search engines finding you. Don’t forget keywords such as your location, city, state, region, and style of photography.

    Local Listing

    Local Listings can help people in your area to find you. There is no shortage of local listing sites, so pick the most popular ones and submit your site to a few.

    Press Releases

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    Press releases are informative, plus they aren’t hard to do. Websites such as PRlog.org allow you to submit articles easily. Quoting someone else increases your chances of being found. Be sure to add your website URL inside the press release.

    Social Media Websites

    Signing up with social media sites is a great way to gain followers. Followers are important because they will receive notifications when you post new content.

    Facebook Business Page

    Facebook is by far the most popular social networking site, with over 1 billion users. This is a great place for promotion, especially if you are a photographer who does weddings, portraits or events. The tagging feature on Facebook lets you tag your clients in their photos, and allows them to share your work with friends.

    Twitter

    Twitter is a quick way to share content. It’s estimated that about half of Twitter’s user base uses Twitter via mobile. Keeping content under the 140 character limit allows people to keep up while on the go.

    Flickr

    Flickr is among the most popular photo hosting sites. A social network for photographers and photo enthusiasts alike, Flickr also allows users to license their photos to Getty images.

    LinkedIn

    A networking site for professionals, LinkedIn is a great place to to connect with other professionals. It isn’t an ideal place for finding clients however.

    Pinterest

    A fast growing social network, Pinterest is a virtual pin board where users pin things that interest them. Pinterest can be a useful marketing tool for photographers, especially wedding photographers as many brides-to-be use Pinterest for wedding inspiration.

    Google+

    Google+ is a great place to network. Google indexes your Google+ posts as searchable in their search engine, allowing you to increase your own search results. Facebook is less search-engine friendly; not all Facebook posts are indexed.

    Instagram

    Instagram is a fun way to promote your photography -to a smartphone user base of about 100 million. While Instagram isn’t an ideal replacement for a portfolio, it’s another way to increase publicity for your photography website or portfolio. You can also easily import your Instagram photos to Photoswarm.

    When promoting your photography online, keep in mind that that quality of content is more important that quantity –when it comes to generating new followers. Give your readers something to enjoy, and continue posting to keep them coming back.

    Which social media sites do you find helpful?

     
    • Ignite Images 6:49 pm on September 6, 2013 Permalink

      Completely agree with many of these points.

      In particular Facebook can be great for business. As an event photographer I place photos that I have sold onto FB. I always place my business name on them with logo.

      The Facebook Reach – even for relatively small events can be massive.

      It’s a slow burn but well worth doing.

  • Sports Photography 101: How to Sell This Niche Photography Service

    5:00 am on August 19, 2013 | 0 Permalink
    Tags: , , Sports

    Many sports enthusiasts imagine a career in sports photography. Being able to participate in sports by photographing pivotal moments in sports history is a dream career for many.

    But while sports photography can be an exciting and rewarding career for the right person, it certainly isn’t for everyone. It involves stressful situations, and dealing with crowds at sporting events. Plus, professional sports photography can be tough to break into. There are many sports photographers already out there who are great at what they do. A successful career in sports photography takes dedication, persistence, and extensive networking.

    Today we will look at some places to start, when building a career in sports photography.

    Local Newspapers and Magazines

    Most local publications don’t pay much for local sports photography; however they do offer great publicity. When you take photos of local teams, try to get your images and name in print. This increases your recognition, and families of the team players will know who to contact if they need some shots.

    School Athletic Directors

    Attend local sports games to get some shots for your portfolio, and adds experience for shooting bigger sporting events. Before showing up at events, you may want to discuss your plans with the school’s athletics director. This informs the school ahead of time, and also gives you a chance to network with people who may need some photography. Sometimes schools will be interested in team photos for the yearbook.

    Some photographers have photography arrangements in place with the school. The photographer will donate a few free shots to the school, in exchange for being allowed a great location to get the photos, sometimes even on the field! This allows the photographer to get some great shots that people in the stands can’t capture, creating more in demand photos.

    School Team Parents

    First we have to answer the all important question: “Why are people going to pay for photos that they could take themselves?”

    The answer of course, is many won’t. Most people have cameras, and anyone with a DSLR (or camera phone!) considers himself to be a “photographer.” Many parents are happy with their photos, and see no need to pay a professional.

    This is where networking comes in. Introduce yourself and let people know what you do. Getting to know your specific market helps you market effectively. Your best clientele will be interested parents who value photography, so get to know them. Help them if they ask for advice on shooting better photos. Some photographers find that their best clients are actually parents who have a camera, but are willing to pay for professional photos because the photographer was helpful to them.

    Bring a notepad, and take email addresses. After you list your game photos for sale online, email everyone a link. Having an online sales system makes purchasing simple. No one will buy prints if it’s too complicated, so making things easy is essential. Be sure to only include your best shots.

    Many photographers find that sports photography allows them to meet families that need portraits, senior pictures, and family photos. Others find that sports photography allows them to build up their portfolio. Sports photography builds a contact base of potential clients who will potentially need other photography services.

    Most importantly, be friendly. Don’t be pushy with sales. Remember a good reputation has the potential to bring in more sales -much better than just selling a few prints.

    Stock Imagery Sites

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    Stock imagery sites provide some extra money from sports photography, but you will have to have everyone in the photos sign model release forms in order for you to make money off of their image. Networking and a good reputation comes in handy here; people will be more likely to sign release forms for someone they know, rather than a stranger.

    Going Big

    Try starting locally, and building up a good base. You have a remarkably better chance of selling photos to major publications like ESPN and Sports Illustrated once your experience level is top notch.

    A good reputation is invaluable for a sports photographer. Getting your name out and meeting people opens the door to new opportunities especially in this highly competitive field.

    Do you have some tips for selling sports photography? Please share in the comments!

     
  • Ideal Photography Client: Why You Need To Turn Down Some Clients

    5:00 am on August 12, 2013 | 0 Permalink
    Tags: , Pro Photography,

    Picture your ideal client.

    They probably love your work, appreciate your effort, and pay on time. They may even promote your work to their friends and family, and post rave reviews about you online.

    While this client is every photographer’s dream customer, the reality is that it is often more common to encounter some less-than-ideal clients on the opposite end of the spectrum.

    Read on to see how you can avoid troubles with customers, and see why it is important to turn some clients down.

    Two types of clients every freelancer should be cautious of are the complainer, and the barterer.

    The Complainer

    Some people are hard to please. This may sound harsh, but unfortunately, it is true. You can usually spot these people a mile away. They are the ones who will complain to you about work that someone else did for them. They might say things such as “All photographers are rip offs,” and “Why do you guys charge so much for just pushing buttons on the camera?” If you meet someone like this, watch out. If a client talks bad about someone to you, chances are they will complain about you to someone else.

    The Barterer

    Don’t let a barterer devalue your work. Barterers usually say things like “The other photographer charges less than you,” and “I can get my photos cheaper at the department store!” While often these people mean no harm, they can have a devastating effect on how you price and market your photography. Don’t give in to the temptation to lower your prices to compete with this person’s idea of cheap work. The problem with lowering your rates is that this client will then associate your work with being “cheap” and of lower quality. Never barter, instead educate clients on the value of professional photography.

    So how do you handle a potentially problem client?

    First, Don’t Jump to Conclusions

    Always treat every client fairly and professionally. Assume the best about people. The client who is complaining about the last photographer, may have indeed had a bad experience. The customer who is bartering, may come from a culture where bartering is commonplace. Always be polite, and accommodating, but never accept rudeness or belligerence.

    Try to Educate Your Client

    It is not your job to cater to problem clients; it is your job to educate them though. Many people simply don’t understand all that is involved with a photoshoot. Sometimes clients who complain about prices are a bad sign, but give them a chance. Explain to customers that photography is more than just pushing buttons, show then that it involves lighting techniques, equipment costs, and time involved preparing, shooting, and processing, as well as years of experience learning photography.

    Let Them Go

    You don’t have to drive potential clients away, but you should know when to let them go. Never stoop to bartering, negotiating, and arguing. Sometimes these clients are simply after something that you can’t give them, such as photoshoots that any standard department store can provide. You cannot compete with $8.99 photoshoots, not would you want to! Instead, focus on finding clients who want quality photography, with your unique artistic touch –something that department stores could never offer.

    Instead of trying to avoid problem clients, focus on attracting clients you do want.

    Here are some tips for finding ideal clients.

    Market to Your Ideal Client

    Keep your marketing directed towards people who appreciate your style of photography. Promote the value of your photography, rather than your low prices. This helps to attract clients who are interested in your work –not your low prices.

    Make Room for Better Opportunities

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    You have to let go of things filling up your time, in order to create room for better opportunities. You will not be able to focus on your ideal clients if you are spending your time catering to ones who are not appreciative.

    Choose Work That Furthers Your Photography Goals

    Don’t let clients pressure you into taking jobs that you don’t feel comfortable with. Not only will the results of the shoot be disappointing to you, the customer probably won’t appreciate them either. Try to find jobs that are in your field of interest, and focus on creating work that you can be proud of.

    Do you have any tips for handling problem clients? How do you educate your clients on the value of professional photography?

     
  • Food Photography 101: How to Master This Tricky Niche

    5:00 am on August 5, 2013 | 0 Permalink
    Tags: Cuisine, Food, Restaurant

    Love it or hate it, food photography is one trend that appears to be here to stay.

    Popularized by the prevalence of food blogs and glamorized by those amazingly colorful cookbooks, food photography is fast growing in popularity; joining the ranks among the most popular photography online.

    Not all food photography is created equal however; food photos range from professional advertisements to instagram photos of half eaten snacks.

    Food photography can be more than just a fun pastime though; professional looking food photos can help generate more readers for your blog, and can give you some great shots for your online portfolio.

    In this article we cover how to make your food photography stand out.

    Natural Lighting

    Lighting is arguably the most important aspect of food photography. You can have a great arrangement and the best tasting chocolate soufflé, but if the lighting isn’t great, your photos won’t be either.

    Natural lighting is best when photographing food. For photography, you want the ambient light to be white otherwise it may tint your photos. The whitest sunlight is usually around noon.

    Try shooting next to a window with lots of natural light. If the window light is too bright, you can use a diffuser screen, like a white sheet or cloth, to help filter the light, eliminating harsh shadows.

    Studio

    In order to get those professional looking photos, you will need a studio. It doesn’t have to be expensive though; with just a few items you can have your own food photography studio ready in no time.

    In the summer, just get a couple of white boards. Set these up by a window with lots of light. Use one board as a clean background to set your food on, and prop the other board up next to the window to reflect the light onto the food.

    In winter, or in the absence of natural light, you may want to consider getting a lightbox. You can buy these, or if you’re creative you can make your own. This can make a big difference to your photos, and you will be impressed with the results.

    Stylize

    Food needs a stylist, just like any other model does. Add a garnish of herbs to meat, or some fresh fruit on top of a dessert, you want your food to look its best. You can get fancy, or keep it simple. Ask yourself, “Does this improve the dish or distract from it?” Try to stick with a style and setting that really suits your food. If you’re photographing a dessert with summer berries, try including summer elements like fresh flowers.

    Use Props

    Use props, but only if they help draw the focus onto your food. You don’t want any distracting element in your photos. If they help the food look better, that’s great. If not, don’t use them. Often plain white plates and dishes look best as they allow the focus to be on the food itself. But if you’re feeling bold, you can try some bright colored elements, they just might work for you.

    DOF

    Depth of field refers to how much of your photo is in focus. With a small DOF, the focus is specifically on one thing, with a large DOF, everything in the photo is in focus. Adjusting the depth of field can dramatically alter the feel of your photos. Does your photoshoot call for a small DOF, or a large one? It’s usually a mixture of both that produces the best results.

    Tripod

    Don’t forget your tripod! If you have one of these, it can be invaluable for eliminating camera shake and producing tack sharp photos, even in less than optimal lighting conditions. If you have a tripod, try using it on your food photography. It can make all the difference.

    Photo Editing

    While editing isn’t ideal for salvaging unusable pictures, it’s ideal for improving great photos. With food photography you probably won’t be doing any fancy editing, but you may need to do simple things like adjusting the contrast slightly, correcting lighting issues or cropping.

    Portfolio

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    Don’t forget to upload your best photos to your online portfolio. Create a diverse online portfolio to expand your photography.

    Do you have any great examples of food photography? We’d love to see them. Post links in the comments.

     
  • Facebook Business Pages for Professional Photographers

    5:00 am on July 29, 2013 | 1 Permalink
    Tags: Facebook. Social Media, Online Marketing

    Many professional photographers proclaim the merits of having a Facbook business page.

    Top social networking sites like Facebook often rank among the most frequently visited websites. Since many people turn to the internet when they are in need of photography services, establishing a prominent web presence is essential. Plus, Facebook is free, so why not take advantage of some free promotion?

    Some photographers are unconvinced however. Facebook, according to some, certainly has its drawbacks. With Facebook’s ever changing policies, and recent fears over image rights, many photographers wonder if having a Facebook business page is really worth it.

    If you’re considering a Facebook business page, here are a few important things to keep in mind.

    Choose Your Name Carefully

    Make sure the name you sign up with is the name you plan to keep. While Facebook allows you to change the appearance name, the name in the URL will always remain the same. Choose wisely, because once you develop a fan base, changing your name will be trickier.

    Designing Your Banner

    While your Facebook page might not be your home store front, it is still important to create good first impressions. Keep in mind that potential clients may find their way to your Facebook page before visiting your actual website, so make those first impressions count. It may be worth hiring a designer to make your page banner, and don’t forget to keep it consistent with your brand/image.

    Read Facebook’s Policies

    While this may sound mundane, it’s important to have a look at Facebook’s policy page, to ensure that you stay within their requirements.

    Separate Business from Personal

    Be sure to keep your business and personal pages separate. This will keep your personal life and photos separate from your business. Always be professional on your business page, keep any inside conversations with friends on your personal page.

    Great Reasons to Have a Facebook Business Page

    There are plenty of great reasons to have a Facebook business page. Here are some of the benefits that come from having one.

    • Helps with SEO

    While having a web based portfolio is a must, having a Facebook business page is helpful for search engine optimization too. Adding tags to your photos in Facebook allows search engines to easily find your page. Labeling your photos effectively helps people find you better.

    • Free Promotion

    Uploading your photographs to your Facebook business page. If you tag a client in their picture their friends will see your name as well, meaning more promotion for you. Be sure to watermark your photos and advise clients not to remove the watermark. You don’t want to include all your work on your Facebook page, just your best shots. Use Facebook as an avenue to drive people to your portfolio.

    • Link Building

    You can link up your Facebook business page with your Twitter account, or any other social networking accounts you may have. This helps with link building, and makes it easy for potential clients to add you and keep up with your work and any promotions you may offer.

    Issues Associated With Facebook

    Some people fear that having a Facebook page will cheapen their work. Of course, this can be avoided by using Facebook at a promotional tool, not as your main website. Large companies such as Cola-Cola and Ferrari have Facebook pages and this has hardly cheapened their image.

    Some people worry that if their clients ‘friend’ them on Facebook, they will expect friend discounts. Of course, while this could happen, it’s hardly the norm.

    What about image rights? Some photographers fear that their photos will become Facebook’s property once they are uploaded to the site. Facebook’s terms and conditions however, state that you own all of your own content that you post on your page.

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    The main issues associated with a business Facebook, are the constantly changing rules, policy, and layout. Keep informed and updated with the policies, just as you would with any marketing agency, and remember, Facebook isn’t an ideal replacement for a portfolio or business webpage.

    Resources

    Setting up a Facebook Business Page

    How to Create a Facebook Business Page in 5 Simple Steps (With Video)

    Promotion

    5 Tips for Increasing Your Photography Fan Page Reach

    15 Fabulous Facebook Tips For Your Business Page

    Guidelines

    Facebook’s Business Page Guidelines

    Do you have a Facebook business page? What are your thoughts on Facebook?

     
  • Animal and Pet Photography 101: How to Photograph and Sell Animal Photos

    5:00 am on July 22, 2013 | 0 Permalink
    Tags: Animals,

    Animal photography is increasing in popularity, and can involve anything from photographing a new puppy to a talent show. Since many animals participate in events such as races and shows, pet photographers should ideally possess photography skills to work with these types of events as well.

    Getting Started With Animal and Pet Photography

    Pet photography often involves children with their pets. Target family portrait clients to sell your pet photography service.

    Equine photography is another up and coming animal photography niche. Horse shows, or training sessions are both special events that many people want to have professionally photographed.

    As an animal photographer, it’s important that you enjoy what you do. Photographing animals involves patience and a love for animals. Most animals have a mind of their own, and special techniques may be required in order to get the best photos.

    Marketing Tips

    Go to local parks and ask people if you can photograph their dogs. Not everyone will be up for this, but most dog owners are friendly and love the opportunity to have their dog photographed. Be sure to hand out business cards with a link to your website, so people know where to go if they want a copy of the photo.

    You could also offer to do some promotional work for local vet clinics, groomers, or pet shops. Check with the training centers as well. They might need some pictures for promotions or advertising. They may even be willing to hang up a flyer or set out a few business cards for you.

    Setting up a Facebook business page also has advantages. Many people have a Facebook account, and if you tag their photos, their friends will see your work -giving you some free promotion.

    Your Portfolio

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    Having a website or portfolio is essential. Once you hand out your business cards or flyers, you will need somewhere to send your clients for future work. Your own domain name is adds credibility to your website. Remember you don’t have to post every photograph you take – only upload your best ones. You can help build up your portfolio by taking photos for your friends or family.

    Tips for Pet Photography

    • Sometimes action shots are best. These can lead to creative pictures, and help to take the stress out of the photo session.
    • Close-ups are also great. A zoom lens can help you capture those up-close photos.
    • Use natural lighting as much as possible. A flash can frighten animals, plus natural light looks best. While shooting shows and events doesn’t allow much flexibility with lighting, if you are doing portraits try taking the animals outside, or photographing them next to a wide window.
    • When using a flash, an external one is best. Try to bounce it off the ceiling or a wall, instead of directly off the animal.
    • Try to shoot in RAW. Fur is often very hard to meter, especially if you have a solid colored animal.
    • Continuous shooting mode provides action shot opportunities.
    • Let the animal warm up to you. Dogs especially may be curious about you and your camera.
    • Having a small laser pointer can help direct an animal’s attention where you want it. Just be careful never to point it in the animal’s eyes.

    Where to Sell Pet and Animal Photography

    In addition to selling pet photography services directly to pet owners, here are a few other places to try selling your work:

    • Pet magazines: they sometimes offer money for photos they use.
    • Stock imagery sites: while these can sometimes be difficult to get started with, ensuring that your photos stand out and are tagged effectively will help increase sales. Tip: If you are selling dog photos, be sure to include photos with the collar visible. Most shelters will not buy photos that do not show the pet in a collar.
    • Your own website: you can sell both prints and imagery rights on your own website. Be sure to promote your work as much as possible in order to attract visitors.

    Have you tried pet photography? We’d love to hear any tips or suggestions you have for getting started.

     
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