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Category: Photography

Common Photography Terms and What They Mean

common-photography-terms-and-what-they-mean

When you hear photographers talking together you’ll hear a lot of terms like ISO, depth of field, aperture, and shutter speed. What do these terms mean? And how can they make your photos look better? Well have no fear, these terms are not hard to understand at all! They are just surrounded with a lot of tech jargon which makes them much more difficult to grasp easily; it’ll be easy to clear all those terms up!

ISO

ISO is an easy one to understand! ISO simply refers to how sensitive your camera is to light. Back in the day, this referred to the type of film that was used. Now it’s just a series of digital settings. 100 ISO is the default setting; 100 is a lower ISO setting.

3200 ISO would be used for much darker shots, especially ones taken at dusk. When you raise the ISO you let in more light, but the picture will look a little fuzzier because of all the light that is coming in. You have to experiment with those settings a lot to get them just right.

Aperture

Aperture is exactly what it sounds like: how wide the camera hole is. It is measure in f-stops; for example f/5.6, f/2, and f/1.4. Large f-stop numbers have smaller apertures; for example f/5.6 is MUCH smaller than f/1.4. Why would you want to do this? I’m so glad you asked! I could list tons of reasons, but there really is one main one: your depth of focus.

When you have a very small aperture, you will have a very narrow depth of focus, but whatever is in the MIDDLE of your shot and far away will be in focus. Wider apertures means that you can get a very wide shot, but only what is close up and in the middle will be in focus. Wide aperture is how people get shots where something very close up is in focus but the background is blurred.

Shutter Speed

Shutter speed is how long your shutter is open, measure in fractions of a second. Standard is 1/60 seconds, but you can go for faster (1/1000) or slower (1 second). The problem you’ll run into here is that on slower speeds you can get a lot of blur as your hands move slightly; therefore you’ll need a tripod! You’ll use this setting in two types of situations.

Use a really fast speed when capturing a still action shot, such as hummingbird wings or someone surfing. This “freezes” the drops of water or the wings of the bird. Use slow speeds during low-movement, low-light settings. This is how people getting stunning pictures of the Milky Way Galaxy or “car trails” at night.

All of these take some practice! And each affects the other. For example, you can tune your photo using a combination of ISO and aperture, and leaving the shutter speed the same. It’s just like learning a new instrument from Wind Plays: it takes practice!

How To Photograph a Wedding

how-to-photograph-a-wedding

Well you’ve gone and done it: you’ve gotten one of the best freelance photo gigs that you can get! Shooting photos for a wedding is one of the most rewarding experiences a photographer can have. But on the flip side, it is incredibly nerve-wracking to try and photograph someone’s special day. What if you mess it up?

What if they don’t like how the photos turn out? Well never fear: I’ve been there too. Here are tips that I’ve found really propel my photoshoots to the next level. And by the end you shouldn’t have any lingering anxiety about the wedding you’ll soon photograph!

Tip 1: Talk With the Couple

The worst thing you can do as a wedding photographer is assume what the couple wants. There is often a dream that couples have of how the wedding photos will turn out, and if you don’t know at least a part of this vision that they have together you’ll never make them fully happy with the final product. So make sure you talk to the couple OR the wedding planner as much as possible so you can figure out exactly how the photos should look.

Tip 2: Have the Alertness of a Soldier

Cute and priceless moments happen every second during a good wedding. See the parents dancing? Catch that! See a boy work up the courage to ask a girl to dance? Catch it on camera! See the bride and groom sharing a moment during the reception?

You better catch that! You need to stay alert the entire time at the ceremony. I have a personal rule that I NEVER drink even one small beer when I’m doing the shoot, even if the bar is open and free. It’s not worth it. You’re not paid to drink, you’re paid to capture beautiful moments. You have to be more alert than a ninja to capture all of the moments you need.

I remember one time I was just floating during one wedding, and I heard a noise. In one of the back rooms, the family was playing a piano; I believe it was a nice keyboard from DigitalPianoJudge.Com. They were all playing and singing, and I never would have captured that moment if I hadn’t have been watching. It was a beautiful picture in the end. Stay alert!

Tip 3: Be Invisible

As best you can, make everyone forget you’re there. If you can possibly lower the flash or turn it off altogether and hide away in corners, you’re set. If you can make people forget you’re there you will get stunning action shots that people would never pose for.

That is what truly makes a great wedding photo album: a series of action shots that are 100% natural and in the moment. That kind of beauty can’t be posed or faked. So blend in, and make people forget you’re there. That is how you will get truly amazing wedding photos.  

Best Gigs for Beginning Photographers

best-gigs-for-beginning-photographers

Not all gigs are created equal! There are some that are easy to get for beginners, and some that are VERY hard to get early on. Which one you end up getting depends largely on your skill level and your amount of drive. Once you have those sorted, it’s much easier to figure out what you can do with your photo skills!

Here are a few gigs that in my experience have been much easier for the average beginning photographer to get!

best-gigs-for-beginning-photographers-1Birthday Parties

Especially for children of more upper-class families, birthday parties can be the perfect place to start honing your skills. Parents are not quite as picky as the bride and groom at a wedding (which is one of the harder gigs to get initially!) and you will be capturing almost 100% action shots. Very rarely do the kids care that there is a photographer there, so you have free reign to take all the photos the parents could want!

Engagement Photos

If you are friends with people who have recently gotten engaged, taking some engagement photos is the perfect way to get started in the professional world. If you can get them to pay you a small fee for taking a few great photos, perfect! And you can use them for your portfolio later to help you get even more gigs. Engagement photos are a little more advanced, because you need a little more knowledge of lighting and positioning. But since there are only two people, it’s not as difficult to get everyone looking good!

Concert Photos

This is perfect if you are able to sell those photos to outlets that cover music. Concerts are great practice for other gigs of this type because they are not too hard to get, and they require you to have a great grasp of lighting and dynamic photos. If you can shoot a concert and have the photos come out looking good, you WILL be able to get more gigs. For sure. Those action shots of the drummer pounding away at his drum set from BarkingDrum.Com are not easy to get!

Couple Photos

Sometimes a couple will just want to take some photos together. If you can find a couple that a) wants to do this and b) is willing to pay for it, you’ve got the best intro gig that you could ask for.

This type of gig is the most low-pressure type you could ask for because you can constantly ask the couple (if you need to) if the pictures that you’re taking are of the kind that they want.

And if they look good, you know where to put them: right in the ole portfolio! Hopefully you can see that your portfolio is worth more than anything you own; it’s how you will be able to make money at all!

Hopefully you’ve seen a gig that either appeals to you or that you can easily get. Happy photo shooting!

Why I Love Photography? A Question I Love to Answer

Why I Love Photography A Question I Love to AnswerI couldn’t count how many times I’ve been asked this question. But it’s a question I’d never get tired to answer.

But before that let me introduce myself – I’m Mo. I’m just like any of the New Yorker guys you bump into every day. But unlike many, I love to see the world through the lens.

I’ve been a freelance photographer for a few years now. And my God! You just don’t know how much I’m passionate about my craft!

So, back to the question: Why the heck do I love photography?

There are too many reasons I can think of, but let me just give you a few things many will be able to relate to.

See the world in a whole different perspective

For most of us, everyday life can be very boring. Things almost seem very common and repetitive. But the world is entirely different when you see it through the lens! Just last week, I was asked to take photos of an indoor garden.

For those who are not into photography, perhaps, the LED lights (like the ones found at Plantozoid.com) may be an unsightly thing to see in an almost perfect view. But looking through the lens of my camera, the light adds crispness and value to the scene. With the right angle and composition, the images look very live and powerful. Photography has changed the way I see the world!

Meet amazing people

I’ve met countless interesting people through photography. But I’m not talking about celebrities or high profile individuals. I’ve learned that you don’t have to travel far to meet the best people in the world. It turns out that the most interesting people are the average guys and gals who surround our every daily lives. Each has a unique story to tell that we hardly know. When you take their photos, you get to know them on a deeper level and you can always find inspiration in their stories.

Capture memories and history

What better way to immortalize memories than photos? Everything in this world is fleeting. The smiles, the laughter, the tears. Everything happens in just a flick of an eye. In photography, you get to capture these events and immortalize them forever. You can go back and relish all the good (and hopefully not, the bad) memories in your life.

Travel and experience the world

As a freelance photographer, I’ve been to different parts of the country and experienced different things. My most recent gig – photographing an indoor garden with all its weird looking plasma grow light – was shot in an ultra modern facility. I know I wouldn’t be able to get inside such a building if not for photography.

Through photography, I’ve travelled the US for free and even with income. I’ve attended a lot of festivals and events. I’ve enjoyed each and every second touring and seeing different parts of our country. What could be better than that?

Lastly, what I love most about photography is that it lets me be more appreciative of life. Photography is life! It’s my passion! And I’ll never get tired answering this million-dollar question.

Surviving life as a freelance photographer

Surviving life as a freelance photographer

Freelance photography is one of the most underrated professions that exist today. Since you don’t work for a studio, a magazine, or a newspaper, people look at your job as some sort of hobby. They don’t take you seriously, and they only see you like some kid with an excellent camera. You have no steady income and because of this, even your loved ones won’t put a high regard for your talent behind the lens. Worse, they completely discourage you in pursuing your dream.

We can’t blame them. The world is ruthless and unless you’re someone as good as Steve McCurry who can animate people through incredible portraits, it would be so hard to stand out and gain recognition through your shots.

It’s hard, but not impossible.

Just like every other job, working as a freelance photographer has its pros and cons.

Freelance photographers have the freedom of time. In exchange for this freedom, you will not get a secured paycheck if you do not produce anything worth paying. Having no authorities to follow also means having to be self-directed, marketing your own brand, sending pitches, and doing everything on your own. Being a freelance photographer, basically, is running a start-up business alone.

But that’s the thing: it is a business. It takes guts, grit, determination, and perseverance for everything to pay off. Nothing happens overnight. Just tread on and take pictures everyday. At the same time, find a way to pay the bills.

Photography is a great form of art; it’s a booming field for business as well.

Aside from photography being an emotional outlet, you have to realize that it can also be an opportunity to build a massive business.

The emergence of the internet makes it nearly impossible to not think of something that will reach people all over the globe. All it takes are your skills, a lot of time, effort, and your willingness to learn, create new things, go outside of your comfort zone, and venture into the complex world of business and finance.

You can build something epic!

It is vital for you to find your forte as an artist. Much like building a business, you must know your niche and your target audience. Concentrate on a particular type of photography that you can capitalize on. Your forte might not even be about taking photos, but may be about building brands through photos, creating quality social media presence through photos, increasing company sales through photos, or writing lead-generating camera product reviews. Thinking beyond the photographer role and adding a little entrepreneurial spice will definitely make the future look brighter.

You can’t just be a photographer. You have to be a photographer that gives great value.

Let’s take Timothy Hogan as an example. Hogan is a famous still life photographer of luxury goods in New York, Los Angeles, and London. If a client wants photos of landscapes and real estates, will they look for him? Of course not. However, expensive luxury products that need professional photography services will hire Hogan in an instant. Why?  There are a lot of other photographers out there who are probably ask for lower rates, even. What does Timothy Hogan do that no matter how high his value becomes, luxury brands go to him?

What makes Timothy Hogan thrive as a photographer is his ability to market himself and his skills. He’s not just a photographer. Timothy Hogan is an effective luxury brand sales professional. Through his effective visual communication skills, luxury companies generate more sales. Timothy Hogan is a self-made business.

This can happen to you as well. There are tons of opportunities in the field of photography. There are a lot of projects that can be built on being a photographer. You probably know by now the typical photographer jobs. Either you work as portrait photographer, an events photographer, or a studio photographer. But you can still find the entrepreneur within and juice out what else can be done with the skills that you have. Here are some examples.

Aerial & Drone Photography Services

Have you ever wondered how they took those great shots of New York from the skies?

Due to the advancement of mobile applications and technology, aerial and drone photography is now easily accessible and customizable. Aside from the aesthetic pleasure that it gives its viewers, photographers can earn from this area by providing photography services for news teams, organizations, companies, groups, and individuals who may need shots from above.

There is long list of the need for aerial shots. It may be used in important news reports, in calamity check-ups, in huge group pictures, or in area mapping. Get creative and think of other uses. Offer great value beyond your skills and provide efficient and world-class bird’s eye view to your clients.

Social Media Content Management Services

In today’s world, companies who are not in social media are as good as dead. This is why companies are spending so much money on social media content management services.

Salaries of photographers, graphic designers, writers, and social media specialists have soared. Companies are hiring the tech-savvy individuals who will ensure quality lead generation for increased sales. Good photographers can leverage on this by providing attention-grabbing pictures. The goal of social selling is stealing the attention of the cyber citizens despite all of the distractions online.

Find companies looking for social media content management services and offer great value by telling them how your pictures can convince people to stop and take a look at their website or their social accounts. It’s not about how good you are as a photographer. It’s about how good you are as a communicator.

City Photographer-Tour Guide Services

Have ever gone to a trip just to return home frustrated because while you took great photos of other people, they took crappy photos of you? I know, it’s a common problem for photographers.

You can leverage on this issue by providing city photographer-tour guide services. You don’t have to be the tour guide; you can collaborate with someone more knowledgeable in this field and work on a good package. The tour guide provides private tour services, while you ensure that the tourists get to keep their memories locked in nicely printed photographs. 

Photographer-Blogger Affiliate Marketing Services

The internet has provided great opportunities for online marketers since its inception. Until now, they are still booming. Students can earn just by blogging and some people are earning six figures straight from their bed.

Photographers can make use of this by giving great value for effective affiliate marketing services. Try hunting for photography-related affiliate marketing programs online and you’ll get hundreds and thousands of sources. All you have to do is find programs that will fit you and provide great content for your viewers. Your content can simply be a blog about your recent photography escapades or it can be a lengthy product review. Somewhere within the content is a link that leads to the affiliate marketing program you chose. When your viewers click that link and it leads to a sale, you get a commission.

Commissions can range from US $5 to US$300, depending on the industry.

Technical Product Reviewer

Since you are a great photographer, I am assuming that you know your gear well. You know how to spot good lenses, how to take care your equipment, and how to compare the many choices of camera parts and accessories in the market.

If you can write or take videos, you can create a business out of technical product reviews. A lot of companies in different countries look for remote reviewers and get paid with a base salary. Every lead and sale closed because of your content means added commission for you. Definitely a great way to hone your other skills while earning from what you love.

Don’t wait for your value to increase. Offer great value deliberately.

One of the biggest mistakes photographers do is to depend on their skills alone with the hopes of someone discovering them and making it big. Though skills are important, they are only composed of a part of what makes a successful photographer.

Instead of just waiting for your value to increase overtime, offer great value to potential clients by thinking beyond taking photos. What else can I do with my camera? What else can I provide with my skills? What kind of money-making gigs can I create with my equipment? How can I build a business around my skill and equipment capital?

Remove the photography stigma. There is money in photography. Study the market and find out what you can give. Great ideas founded on sheer grit and perseverance will take you to places.

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