What Kind of Photographer Are You?

What Kind of Photographer Are You?

Most photographers simply aren’t specialists in everything.

Going into the game thinking that you will be able to photograph anything and everything and provide fantastic results in any arena is a plan of action that is unlikely to reap rewards.

That’s why it’s really important that you work out what your niche is towards the beginning of your career as a photographer.

Knowing your niche area early on leads you to being able to really develop your skills in that focused area.

There is nothing to say that once you have mastered a niche you might not use the transferable skills to move in a slightly different direction with your work but starting off as a ‘Jack of all Trades’ simply won’t help you out in the photography game.

To get you started thinking about what niche is right for you here is some insight to some of the areas you might decide to pursue:

Landscape Photographers: If you have a love of landscape photography and can capture a landscape that really tells a story and evokes an emotional response from the audience then there is a chance that you could do really well selling your images as wall art, graphic design images or for print purposes.

Glamour Photographer: If you have an eye for artistic images with human subjects and a tendency to lean toward modern, artistic and high fashion shots then glamour photography could be for you. You can make money from glamour photography through boudoir shoots, adverts, magazine images and more. The styles used can be closely linked to fashion photography so be careful to keep your audience in mind as glamour and fashion photography done badly can look quite dated, for inspiration take a look at the White Chocolate Glamour Photography website who have some great shots to inspire you.

Wedding Photographer: Are you a people pleaser? Are you keen on reportage, photo journalism and family portraits but just love being at events and in on the action? Wedding photography could be for you. Bare in mind though that when taking up wedding photography you will have some very stressed and picky clients on your hands so you want to make sure you can deliver in quite a few different areas. You must be able to provide fantastic shots in the moment, they won’t get a chance for a retake. You must have a very keen focus on client customer service and know how to help your clients with pretty much anything they need (without detracting from the shots themselves) and you must be able to blend in and not be intrusive on the day whilst still getting brilliant shots of each and every attendee…sounds tricky doesn’t it? It is.

Photojournalist: Have you got a lust for the outdoors and telling a great story but you are a dab hand with a camera too? Photojournalism could be for you. It’s not the easiest profession to get into but it is such an interesting career that it is well worth the fight to get there. To have a fighting chance of starting a career in this niche you need to; learn the tools of the trade and get them down to a fine art, have a nose for a story and be able to tell the story effectively through your images. Most people get the sense of an article way before they start reading and it is the images that draw them on and give them a momentary glance into what’s happening in the piece, it’s your job to produce that with just one shot!

Pet Photographer: If you absolutely love all creatures great and small, are pretty good with shutter speeds and portrait photography, then it’s the pet photography career for you! A challenging subject matter for sure as you’ll be hard pressed to get most animals to pose for a perfect portrait but you will learn a heap of tricks for keeping our furry friends happy throughout a shoot and their owners will be forever grateful for you capturing their little loved ones for the family albums or family home. Get really creative you might even be able to sell shots to publishing companies or in the digital media industry.

There’s so much more to go at but I hope this has given you a little bit of inspiration to start digging into photography careers that might be right for you and wish you all the success in the world.

Technical perfection vs photos with soul

Technical perfection vs photos with soul

When you’re learning a new skill or trying to perfect your craft, it’s natural to aim for perfection, to want your shot to be absolutely the best it can be.

Perfect.

And it’s great to have high standards and to push yourself to grow and improve as a photographer.

But there are times when perfection matters less than taking a shot that has soul, a picture that tells a compelling story, despite – or maybe even because of – its technical flaws.

In this video, from popular landscape photographer and youtube, Thomas Heaton, he talks about a few recent shots that he knows are far from perfect, but he loves them anyway.

He loves the mood or the atmosphere or the way the imperfections actually add to the image on some level.

So, if you’re still learning your photography craft and sometimes feel disappointed with your level of technical skills, take heart that there is more to great photography than the perfect exposure or depth of field.

As Thomas says;

“It’s all about what happens in the moment, that split second when you press the shutter and capture what’s in front of you.”

Photography without Photoshop

Photography without Photoshop

It’s undoubtable that Photoshop is a fantastic tool for photographers and lots of the professionals out there swear by being able to tweak their images in order to provide clients with a perfect service or create a style that might have been impossible without the help of photo editing.

However, it isn’t imperative to use Photoshop or any editing tool for that matter to achieve fantastic quality images, take a look at the brilliant images on this top 100 best photographs without photoshop list for some great examples of the affects you can achieve even without the handy Photoshop editing tool at your fingertips.

For those of you out there that argue that Photoshop shouldn’t be used at all and that it lends photography to merge more closely with graphic design than it should, this article might have the odd useful tip or reminder in there.

However, this post is less about a stance on photo editing than that. I can agree with both sides of the argument to a point one side being that a photograph can be made beautiful in its purest form and the other side being that when working for a client any tool there is available to you should be used to ensure client satisfaction and the best results possible.

What this post is saying is that if you are right at the beginning of your photographic journey and you can’t get your hands-on editing tools like Photoshop it might not be the end of the world. In fact, it may actually benefit you and help you learn how to get some great results pre-editing.

Here are some ideas of ways in which you can get picture perfect images with less editing:

  • Reduce the need for post-production by knowing the goal of your photos and selecting lighting and sets that will lend themselves to your desired outcome. For example if you are looking for an image to be used on a valentines card or advert you might want to consider a romantic backdrop with subdued natural lighting and your subjects posed in a way that you can take close ups and angles that make the image ‘glow’ with romanticism without the need of touching up or adjusting
  • If you don’t have the option for post editing you might also want to consider taking similar shots in different locations so that you can have some options when it comes to lighting and backdrops
  • Get up close and personal with all the workings of your camera. If you know how to use the tools in your hand effectively then you’ll reduce the risk of mid-shot panic and be able to get in tune with the right shutter speeds for the subject. Generally if your shutter speed is low then shots taken in darker locations will come out better and vice versa but practice, practice, practice and don’t be scared of the manual!
  • You can often get great scope, contrast and lighting on an image that will naturally look fantastic just by using the location and lighting you have available wisely. This will take research and practice so don’t give in easily.

Now if the reason you aren’t editing your images is simply due to lack of financial investment to put into programmes then don’t despair, there are a few decent editing tools out there you can use for free to get you started, take a look at things like GIMP, The NK Collection or similar tools you can download for free online (try to get recommendations and research them before downloading though).

 

 

How Does a Photographer Make Money?

How Does a Photographer Make Money?

So, you’ve been playing around with photography for a while now and you think you’re getting some pretty great shots. In fact, you think they are as good as if not better than some of the images you see out there for sale! It’s starting to make you think you might be able to get in on the action and turn the hobby you love into something that might even make you a bit of extra money, even better it might actually be able to bring you a full income! So now you have the notion in mind, where do you start?

To make a little bit of quick cash from your photos consider using sites like GraphicStock or other stock image sites. The downside to this is that you are unlikely to make an awful lot of money but on the plus side it will give you a good idea if the images you have taken will sell to a digital audience. It’s a great place to start if you already have a ton of images and you’re happy to just make a little bit of extra money on the side from them. If your shots are particularly artistic then you might consider doing some prints that you can put up for sale in local coffee shops, restaurants or even sell as prints at craft fairs.

Already gauged your audience, sold a few pieces here and there, think you are ready to turn your hobby into a business? That’s great news! Consider these tips before jumping in:

  • It’s a pretty saturated market so make sure your work stands out from the crowd and you really know your audience and your clients needs
  • Word of mouth is a great asset so if you have already done some work for clients then try to gather as many reviews as possible
  • Make yourself known. You won’t get enough work to make your business a success unless people can find you so tackle 3 things; a great website, great local SEO and fantastic social profiles

A photographer’s biggest asset it their portfolio and as a newbie you won’t have as much to show prospective clients as some of your competitors. Combat this by; making sure the images you do have in your portfolio really shine, sell yourself by making sure you demonstrate fantastic customer service, understand their needs and most of all make it obvious that you absolutely love what you do. If a client thinks you are going to be as enthusiastic about their project as they are then that might just give you an edge over a more seasoned but disinterested competitor.

 

Welcome to The Polished Photographer

Welcome to The Polished Photographer

This humorous documentary style take on different ‘species of photographers’ is clearly just for a bit of fun but it nicely opens up a few key points…

1) That there are a huge variety of photographic styles no matter what skill level you are at
2) That photography is influenced by social change and mass media
3) That there are hundreds of different ways to use good quality photos
4) That the subject of a photo can be a vast variety of things and it is up to the photographer to either choose something worthy or make it worthy
5) Equipment and positioning can make all the difference when it comes to great images

The Polished Photographer will be bringing you articles, reviews, guides and advice on pretty much everything you need to know as a budding photographer no matter what your skill level. We’ll be touching on the 5 points above in order to bring relevant and useful info to everyone from the selfie lover to the professional wannabee.
The Polished Photographer will be looking at how to achieve the skill level you want to and how to promote, showcase and develop images that are more than fit for any purpose you wish. With examples of excellent portfolios to aspire to, info on some of the most influential photographers in the world and great guides on how to implement photography skills into all kinds of projects seamlessly. This site aims to provide you with guidance that will prepare you to the best possible standard for taking fantastic shots that really stand out from the crowd!