Monthly Archives: May 2017

Take Your Photos to the Next Level

All of us want to take better photos. That’s a given, even for people that to the rest of us are at the pinnacle of creating incredible images.

But when you’re a beginner, getting to that place where you say, “Wow, I just created a great shot!” can be a bit on the daunting side.

There’s many paths you can take to get to a better photo – and that’s part of the confusion, just knowing where to start.

With that in mind, I thought long and hard about all the things I know now that I didn’t know when I started and narrowed it down to three crucial ways you can improve your photography.

 

If I had to say what the most common problem is for newbie photographers, I’d say that it’s too much of a focus on the gear.

By that, I mean that instead of actually learning how to use the camera they have already, they put all their energy into lusting over what camera they should have.

The problem with that is that the camera they feel they should have isn’t going to make them a better photographer…

Practicing and learning photography concepts with the camera they already have will make a big difference, though.

Even if all you have is a smartphone, you can learn a ton about photography, especially compositional principles.

For example, you don’t need to spend thousands of dollars on a Canon 5DS to practice things like framing, using leading lines, the rule of thirds, and other basic photography composition rules.

In fact, I’d argue that it’s easier to learn about composition with a smartphone because it’s a much less overwhelming camera than a high-end DSLR.

Besides, you already have a phone, so if you’re just beginning, why drop a bunch more money on another camera before you know what you’re doing?

Just use the camera you’ve got, work on developing your creative eye and understanding basic photography rules, and when your camera becomes a liability, and you can no longer take the sort of photos you want to take with it, then upgrade to something new.

Wrong in photography over the years

If I think back on all the things I’ve done wrong in photography over the years, it’s actually sort of embarrassing.

Granted, I’ve messed up more times than I can remember, but there’s a few doozie mistakes I made along the way that have stuck with me.

I’ll spare you the stories about those problems…

Instead, I’d like to share a few things that all new photographers should learn, but that many seem not to.

By “get familiar” I don’t mean casually flipping through your camera’s owner’s manual, either!

Yes – it’s not much fun to read all the fine print, but trust me when I say that it benefits you in the long run.

In fact, I’d recommend going through the owner’s manual and marking pages with “ah-ha” moments of instruction for quick reference later on.

Then I’d watch a whole bunch of YouTube videos of people walking through various features and functions of your camera (and your lens, tripod, filters, and so forth).

Once you know what each button and dial does, put that learning into practice by shooting in manual mode and manipulating things exposure settings to see how doing so changes the look and feel of your images. For example:

  • Change the aperture to see how it changes the brightness (or darkness) of your image. Likewise, note how the changes in aperture change the depth of field in the image as well.
  • Work on finding out the minimum shutter speed you can use and still get a sharp image while handholding the camera. The shutter speed will vary from one person to the next, so you’ll need to do some experimentation to find what your minimum shutter speed is.
  • Use ISO to alter the exposure level of your images. By understanding how ISO works, you’ll be in a better position to get a well-exposed image, even if you’re shooting in dim lighting.

In other words, if you want to improve the quality of your photos and become a better photographer, that journey starts with actually understanding what your camera can do and how you can tell the camera to change what it’s doing to get a better shot.

Get a few more details on learning exposure settings in the video above by PhotoRec TV.

Starting a Successful Photography Business

Anyone can start a photography business…

But not everyone can start a successful photography business.

If you aren’t fully prepared and committed to the process, finding success as a photographer will be hard to come by.

That’s why you need to make sure you’ve laid a solid foundation upon which to build your business.

The question is, how do you do that?

Here’s a few ideas for getting started off on the right foot.

You’re not a hobbyist photographer anymore the second you start charging people for your services.

And once you do that, you need to have a sound business structure in place so you can keep track of your earnings and debts, collect taxes on your services and products, pay income taxes, and so forth.

That usually means registering your business with a government entity, perhaps in your town or city, at the county courthouse, or with a state-level agency.

The difficulty is that the requirements for registering a business vary from one area to the next, so you’ll need to do some digging regarding what you need to do in your specific location. Check the “Learn More” links at the end of this section for resources on what you might need to do.

When you register your business, you’ll likely have to do so with a business name. You might also need a tax ID number, unless you opt to use your social security number for that purpose.

It’s also a good idea to consult with professionals that can help you in this process. An attorney, for example, can handle the paperwork of establishing your business. An accountant can handle the books. Talk with an insurance agent to get your studio, office, and gear covered.

In other words, it’s a long process to get the foundation laid for your business, but the more you concentrate on these tasks, the better off you’ll be down the road!