The Internet is loaded with articles on new gear or popular techniques. Everywhere you look, you will find some new unboxing video or review piece. Everyone promising that they will make you the photographer you have always wanted to be. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy looking at fancy new equipment as much as the next guy -- and I have written a few of those articles myself -- but do all the toys and tricks help my career in the long run?
So, you’ve discovered a passion for photography and after lots of practice, you’re starting to feel more and more confident in your skills. Great! But what comes next? How do you take this growing passion from a hobby to a full-fledged career? When you’re trying to figure out how to make the jump from amateur to professional, figuring out the best way to get there can be a bit daunting, especially if you didn’t have a formal photography education. So we asked a few of the photography mentors at RookieUp to share a few of the major tips and lessons they learned while growing their own successful photography careers.
When I first started photography at 15 years old, I didn’t know anything about organizing a team. I would bribe my younger sister into being my model for the afternoon, pulling clothing from her wardrobe and doing the makeup (really badly) myself. I was worlds away from the average fashion photography set, which typically involves a team of agency represented models, a professional make up artist, hair stylist, set designer, wardrobe stylist, and assistants. This is how I conducted my photoshoots for years, and after a while I realized that I needed to expand.
Photography is a game of emotions. Think about some of the most powerful images that you’ve ever seen. The ones that have left a lasting impression on you. Sure, they might have gorgeous tones, light, or composition, but the reason they have stuck with you for so long is probably the emotion or mood that the image evokes. Our job as a photographer is to control those moods and to decide which emotion we want our viewer to feel.
Most photographers have a difficult time turning their social following into income – Yes, even those with HUGE social followings. The great part is, it doesn’t take a genius to learn how to capitalize from your social following, whether it’s 100 people or 100,000. It just takes some research and small bit of effort.
Conducting a smooth running photo shoot is a challenge. You need to create the right set conditions, manage the equipment, and deal with the models. Thankfully, there are several steps you can take in choosing the right models, while providing them with a relaxed and smooth-running environment. Having relaxed models can make or break a photo shoot because they’ll give you a more natural performance, which translates into memorable photos. Here are ten tips for working with models and managing the set in order run an efficient shoot and produce natural imagery:
All too often in our business, we are thrust into a job in which we either have no time for or cannot afford lighting tests. I find that these gigs force me to fall back on my old tricks and techniques. This can lead to the dangerous place of shooting stuff that all looks the same. Sure, you can try out new ideas on personal projects, but sometimes, the job calls for stuff that you don’t own or cannot afford to get. Usually, when planning a shoot, I have great theories and fantastic ideas on how to pull off a look. However, the idea of winging it in front of a client is stressful...
I love to shoot tethered whenever I can. It’s the most successful way to create real collaboration on set, and clients are more engaged when they can see what’s happening on a big screen. Depending on the environment and the demands of the production, I’ll choose between a couple of tethering approaches.
Directors each have their signature shots, or do they? Creative trademarks like Wes Anderson’s symmetry, Alfred Hitchcock’s zoom-but-not-zoom, and Quentin Tarantino’s trunk shots might be central to their success — but so are the thousands of “normal” frames surrounding these shots: connective tissue often obtained from second units, stock archives, and even other films.
Now that I'm settled into my new 4200 sq. ft. studio, I have a ton of space. However, that wasn't always the case; in a smaller space, organization was the key to sanity. Tripping over gear and frantically searching for grip equipment is frustrating and doesn't look good in front of clients. I believe if you have an organized workspace that organization will be reflected in your mood while on set, allowing you to stay calm, cool, and collected. In this video, I show you four tips to starting down the path to a more organized studio.