As a photographer, it might always seem hard to gain work-related experience, especially when people interested in hiring you seek prior work experience. Having little to no experience can make it challenging to land your first photography assignment or shoot.
But let this not demotivate you; it’s still possible to go ahead. The key is to keep learning and sharpening your skills. Networking is also essential for growth.
Best file type to use
The usual best 2 options available to all photographers are RAW and JPEG. RAW further has 2 more options-S-RAW and M-RAW. RAW files always contain more information than JPEG files. JPEGS, on the other hand, contain compressed data. If you require more data and you’re okay with large file sizes, then RAW is the best option for you as it is also of better quality when compared to JPEG.
S-RAW and M-RAW files are smaller versions of RAW files. The lower the file size, the lower the quality and resolution of the images. So keep that in mind. Another thing to note is that RAW always means more data. So keep those memory cards handy for more shooting and storage of images.
Use your camera well and always experiment.
It’s always a good idea to start exploring your camera and the settings it’s programmed with. Make sure to use the available settings and features on the camera you use or own. This will surely make you a better and more efficient photographer. The camera functionality should be learned so well that it becomes second nature and you know it like the back of your head.
Focus on learning and understanding aperture, shutter speed, and ISO.
Here are a few tips.
-Shutter Speed: Shutter speed is the time the shutter in your camera opens to capture the available light to make the picture. Fast shutter speeds are good for action-based shots, such as sports. Slow shutter speeds help you take better low-light shots; just be sure to use a tripod for crisp shots.
-Aperture is how big or small the lens opens while taking a picture. This usually determines the depth of field. This can either make your background blurry or sharp, depending on the aperture you choose.
-ISO is what determines how sensitive your camera is to the available light. This is the key to controlling the exposure of your images.
Tip: Low ISO values are required for bright outdoor conditions, while high ISO values are required for dark indoor situations.
-Always remember that shutter speed, ISO, and aperture are always interconnected. Changing one setting will have an impact on the other two. This is why it’s called the Exposure Triangle.
Rule of Thirds
Dividing the viewfinder into 3 parts, horizontally and vertically, will give you a grid. This grid will help you frame and compose your shots better. Studies and experiments suggest the human eye is drawn into the pictures when the subject is placed in the interaction of these grid boxes.
However, this is not a hard rule that’s set in photography. Feel free to find what works best for you. Trial and error is your best friend!
Experimenting with different light setups
Photography is all about light, quite literally. So having the right kind of light will make a great picture. So it becomes important to have the right setting for the pictures you want to create. Different times of the day will give you a different feel and tone to your images. The very important point is to never be shy about using a flash as and when you find it necessary.
A few tips:
For portraits, the optimal lighting conditions are to work with soft even light to make the subject look sharp to the eye. Harsh sunlight situations are best for shooting high-action shots or sports shots.
Having a friend by your side to assist you with your work would be a great option. He/she will also help handle and assist with lights and reflectors.
Shoot as much as you can
Study and learn your camera and the equipment well. There are a few things that you won’t learn till you get out and shoot. After understanding the exposure triangle, experiment by shooting different scenarios like sports, waterfalls, portraits, etc.
The best case scenario as an artist is to have a portfolio with a different range of styles. Quality is what you should concentrate on. The better the quality of images, the better reach you will have with your audience. Before you apply for photography jobs, make sure you shoot for friends and family to build a portfolio of your own.
Once that’s in place, it’ll be much easier for you to apply for jobs. When your work is posted or shared online, ask people to tag you and give you credit for your work. This will also give you credibility to build a reputation as a photographer.
Degree in Photography
A degree in photography will help you develop all the important skills and impart most of the required knowledge to help you kick-start your career as a professional photographer. This will also help you dive deep into the art of photography and help you become a true artist.
Professional editing software and techniques
Photography is not limited to taking good pictures; it is the art of portraying an image the way you want. As a result, learning editing skills is critical. In today’s world, there are a lot of photo editing tools one can use, like Photoshop, Lightroom, Capture One, Gimp, and much other software.
Try taking professional lessons from a mentor or choosing to learn from an online course. Also, keep in mind that there is nothing you can’t learn from YouTube. So keep learning.
When you are done with the editing process, make sure to add your watermark to your images so that people know who the artist behind the image is, and also safeguard your images so that nobody uses them without your permission.
Always copy your pictures, being careful not to delete them before that.
While shooting, make sure to take a break and check what you’re shooting and how the photos are looking. Make use of the screen that’s on your camera to review your work and know which direction you’re heading in. Always be careful with your data. Make sure to back up or copy all your images to your computer. Many a time, it so happens that photographers delete all the data on their cards by mistake, without making a copy of it. So be very careful.
Remember, there is software that can retrieve your deleted data, but never play this game. You might or might not get it most of the time. As they say, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Photography is business
Professional photography is a business, and you’ll have to treat it like that. Never shoot for free. This would be the best advice somebody gave you. We, as photographers, have to respect our profession and charge accordingly. Set a price based on the client’s requirements. Also, make sure you are charging according to your skill set.
Your charges should be area and local-market-specific. If your price is too high, you’ll have a tough time finding the right clients.
-Find out what the average prices are for photographers in your locality are charging per hour. Price competitively so that people choose to work with you.
Back in 2017, the price for a semi-professional photographer was around $30–$90 an hour.
-Average professional photographers in 2017 charged around $80–250 per image, which would be edited and delivered.
Have your own website where clients can look at your work
Having a personal website is very important. It’ll be an efficient way to showcase your work to your clients. Also, make sure your website has high-resolution images. Have an ‘about me’ page where there is an introduction about who you are and what you do.
This will help the clients know you better. Also, a contact page is a must, as clients can directly get in touch with you on your phone number or email, in case they like your work and are interested in hiring you.
Work as an assistant or a second shooter
Usually, most professional photographers who shoot big weddings and events choose to hire a second photographer to shoot from a different angle and perspective.
Make sure you reach out to local photographers and ask if they would be interested in hiring you for the upcoming wedding season. Be professional and maintain professionalism; it’ll take you a long way.
Social media is always a great friend for artists and photographers. Use it to showcase your work, reach out to more people, and advertise your work. Keep your profile up-to-date and keep posting content regularly.
Always ask your clients and friends to tag you in their posts when they are posting an image you took for them. This will help you earn credibility on social media, and others will easily be able to appreciate and connect with you.