Whether you're a full-time photographer, interested in making the transition from hobbyist to professional, or just using photography on the side, attracting more clients is paramount to success and growth. With a plethora of photographers saturating the market, it can be intimidating and difficult to carve yourself a slice, but carve you must. Here are five of the most important ways I have attracted new clients.
When shooting assignments in the past, whether portraits, weddings, or journalism, I’ve always been one to carry two bodies to give myself options. I like to be able to access two different focal lengths at a moment’s notice. In the past, it would not be uncommon that those bodies would be two DSLRs of the same brand, usually Nikon or Canon. But now it’s something that is uncommon for me. You see, I now roll with a DSLR and a mirrorless body to allow myself maximum flexibility. And perhaps it’s something you should try, too. Here are a couple of reasons why.
The velocity at which camera technology accelerates each year is incredible. While we as consumers complain about the pressure to upgrade more often than we had to in the past, manufacturers cope with a similar, but different issue: how fast should we push to release new, exciting technology?
I have a confession to make: this past week I've been playing around with images that I've taken with my cell phone over the last year or so. I went to backup my phone's photos and decided why not try and play with them a bit in Photoshop during some downtime. You know what? I've been having a great time, my creative gears are turning, and I have a new found respect and appreciation for that tiny camera built into my phone.
We all have them, those cloudy days when you just can't create no matter how much you want to. As normal as this is, it's very frustrating. I'll spend hours doing random things before getting to work in hopes of stumbling upon any crumbs of inspiration left behind. I've found a few things that always work like going for a walk, sitting outside or talking with other artists. However. I've found value in working on old images.
If I had a nickel for every time I witnessed a photographer missing out on a great photographic opportunity in the name of fear, I'd be a rich man. Fear is one of the most powerful forces that holds us back in our lives. Fear of failure, fear of rejection, fear of embarrassment, or fear of injury all play a huge role in our decision making by clouding our rational judgment. By letting fear control us we let it define the limits of what is possible. Never let fear play a key role in the creation of your art.
I have been struggling with my bad filing hierarchy for years. An inefficient, inconsistent, or straight up bad folder structure not only robs you of of your hard-earned time but it can also sabotage entire projects, hiding your files in the deepest, darkest corners of your hard drive, nowhere to be found ever again. I recently came up with a system that enables me to easily and efficiently store files as well as retrieve them. Follow along to hopefully also put an end to your digital storage struggles.
I’ve written before about the genius of Buster Keaton. Agent Zero on the landscape of cinematic laughter, his influences stretch far and wide. Even nearly 100 years after the high point of his career, you can still see references to “The Great Stone Face” in everything from the films of Wes Anderson to the action comedy of Jackie Chan. In a world without dialogue, Keaton embodied the still-true mantra of motion pictures: show don’t tell. Without the ability, or in his case, desire to draw laughs through witty dialogue, he instead used action, composition, and creativity to tickle our funny bones. The lessons that can be gleaned from watching the master at work are essential learning for any visual storyteller, and this video from Every Frame A Painting helps detail Keaton's approach.
“I want to work with my dream wedding photographer as an assistant, learn the craft, and start up on my own sooner. What is your advice to me?” This question was posed to me at a recent photography meet up. In a way, this reflects the aspirations of many new-generation photographers who are raring to get started with wedding photography. One logical step many think about is to join as an assistant, master the skills, and startup. That's what I did six years ago. But there are mistakes that I made and hopefully the new-gen wedding photographers don't make too.
I always think that knowing a bit about the author is important, especially when reading an article about camera equipment. I work predominantly as a commercial photographer shooting people and food. However, most of my kit was purchased when I was starting out as a wedding photographer. So the reasons I shoot prime lenses apply to both my event work and the more commercial work I shoot now.
Remember the time you first discovered photography? That day of unboxing your first camera and going out into the backyard and photographing just about anything you come across. That perilous voyage you embarked on, trying to get that bee perfectly in focus as it hovers above the flower or the macro image of the tree bark shot in shallow depth of field. The first sunset you shot. The first time you launched Photoshop in the 90s and then publishing your first portfolio on DeviantArt soon after. Landing your first job as a photographer. The stresses that followed and the mistakes you made. If you could do it all over again, would you do it any differently?
As most of us know, the new iPhone 8, 8 Plus, and iPhone X were just recently announced. As a photographer, I have learned to love using my phone as a camera and have been digging a bit deeper into which phone I want to get next. Of course Android makes a few phones with great cameras, but the iPhone has always been known for its photography and definitely markets their phone camera towards it. In these new models, we see some improvements that may be a game changer for any photographer on the move.
The latest entry-level DSLR released from Canon, the SL2, is one with some very interesting features. It is now the cheapest DSLR currently available with Dual Pixel autofocus making this a very interesting and capable camera. If you haven't tried Dual Pixel autofocus before, it may just change the way you work because it is simply incredible. Coupled with a much-needed flip touchscreen, this autofocus system is still yet to be beaten. The beauty of this feature is that when it comes to focusing, it tracks moving subjects and locks onto stationary subjects extremely well making very useful for video.
If you work with people, whether it be kids, families, seniors, adults, or professional models, male or female, then you have almost certainly shot a TFP (trade for print) shoot before. While the definition of TFP is flexible these days, as most commonly we mean "trade time for digital images" rather than physical prints, these kinds of shoots have and will continue to be an industry staple. The most important aspect of these shoots is the one thing that often gets forgotten: getting a return on your investment of time.
If I asked you what comes to mind when I say painterly photography, what would your answer be? Do you think of technical art school concepts that define the two mediums like abstract versus figurative? Or maybe you think of stylistic photography choices, whether in shooting or post-processing, that give the finished image a timeless quality. Whatever your reaction to the concept is, here's a cool mini-series to check out that is delving much deeper into the topic.