Last year I profited nearly half what I made at my day job in freelance photography using nothing more than my iPhone. I've spent the last 4+ years on Instagram building a following and client base that has allowed me to vie for projects and relationships with clients to make money. That has slowly grown to allow me full creative freedom to shoot with nothing more than an iPhone and get paid for it. Now, before you go and sell off all your Canon or Nikon gear hear me out, this is not as easy as it sounds, but I'll lay it out for you.
There are a zillion photographers out there, but there aren’t a zillion clients. How do you make your work stand out? Success comes when a client will book you because it's you and not because you are just another good photographer. In the process, having a recognizable style might also make you a happier photographer. But how can you get there?
Shopping season is upon us, but let’s not kid ourselves. This isn’t entirely about giving to family and friends. It’s also about the sweet savings that are about to fall upon all of that gear. You can practically smell the stench of GAS (Gear Acquisition Syndrome) wafting off of the photography masses. Our greed for new stuff reeks like the belly of a ship hauling squid legs from Tokyo to New York in mid-August. Long after the turkey legs are wrapped in tin foil and the gelatinous blobs of cranberry sauce are sealed up in the freezer, the deals will emerge. It might be a new lens or a camera upgrade that has you breaking down the door of Best Buy or your local camera shop like some geeky, sweaty villager storming over the moat of his local lord’s keep, but just make sure you don’t waste your time on a new bag.
Every photographer wants to be creating their best work each time that they touch their camera, but the reality is that inspiration ebbs and flows. No photographer can consistently create their best work every time they shoot. As photographers, our goal is often to steadily improve by continually expanding our body of work. Sometimes, however, a shoot becomes magical as creativity and motivation climax into one of those images that you know will sit proudly in your portfolio for years to come.
While running a Kickstarter campaign might be a bit easier for veteran company Peak Design, there’s something to be said for raising over $4.8 million of excitement over a messenger bag. What is so special about this bag that merits this reaction? After reaching out to Peak Design, they sent a just-finished version of the Everyday Messenger — the "Trey Ratcliff bag" — for review so I could answer some of those questions.
Last week we had the Fstoppers community submit their best composite images for the latest episode of "Critique the Community." There were some awesome composite submissions, including a wide range of genres. We chose a total of 20 pictures for Lee and Patrick to give feedback on. Add your comments and ratings to the pictures below. If we selected your picture, we'd love to hear about how you did it.
Today, anyone may call themselves a professional photographer and practice photography. There is no degree that validates the use of the term "pro." So, why do we feel the need to specify that? What does it show about the way we see our work and our competition? Let’s put things in perspective.
If you have been on Instagram lately, there is a good chance you have seen "urbex" photography. Urbex, short for urban exploration, is where people venture deep into cities, exploring areas such as the tops of skyscrapers and depths of subway tunnels where the public isn't allowed to go. Victor Thomas, known as his Instagram name Vic Invades, is a kid from Brooklyn with a love for urbex.
I think the only thing that has changed photography more than the invention of digital cameras is the ever-growing involvement of photography and social media. Sites like Instagram, Twitter, and Tumblr are the perfect platforms for sharing not only your work, but also behind-the-scenes images and other content that draws interest towards your brand. Today it is easier than ever to take advantage of this. Not only have mobile apps changed the shape of the industry, but they have changed the way that photographers can work. Apps like Snapseed, VSCO, and Lightroom Mobile have made it possible for aspiring artists, or even those in a hurry, to create incredible content with relative ease.
Peter Jackson's first steps into Middle-earth with “Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring” was incredible as it followed Frodo and his good friend Samwise Gamgee as they fight their way to Mordor in one of the greatest trilogies of the early 2000s. You can guess that my excitement level was high when they finally announced “The Hobbit” would come to the big screen in its own series, though as many could have guessed it was a terrible venture that overwhelmed its director at the high cost of making a mediocre follow-up to its previously successful trilogy.
In a move to help speed up the company's workflow and to supposedly stamp out severe editing, Reuters now not only requests only JPEG images, but even mandates that images not be originally altered from a raw file. How they can verify this is unclear (metadata and other types of data about the photo might give experts better hints), but the move is supposed to also help maintain ethical photojournalism practices by reducing one's ability to alter a photograph so much that it would change its meaning.
Over the years, camera companies have been going head to head in the battle for the best camera sensor. This battle has always focused around the amount of megapixels a camera has to offer, and as of lately, how high the ISO can go. Because of this most consumers, including a significant amount of photography veterans, think that megapixel count is the end-all be-all of sensor technology, with ISO following up as a close second. At this point in the game though, I wish the sensor battle would switch gears and focus more on the dynamic range.
I'll be the first to admit it: As a videographer, I'm a sucker for a prime lens. While I love the versatility of zooms, nothing has forced me to learn more about what I'm doing in the heat of the moment than using primes. However, I always find myself going back to the 28mm prime. It is my go-to lens in many situations and when it's not it's still in my kit always ready to go. There are a few reasons I love my 28mm and I think they may persuade you to give one a go.
Canon has released a really cool commercial to promote their imagePROGRAF PRO-1000 printer. They have decided to track the movement of the eye as it views a photograph. They used three subjects; a non-photographer, a photography student, and a full time professional. This was done to illustrate where each of these subjects focused, and for how long.
Once in a while, despite our due diligence and training, we all end up in circumstances where we must handle a difficult situation. As a model with a wide range of experience, I have a large network of professional photographer friends and have seen first-hand how unprofessional my fellow models can be. Here are a few ways to handle a variety of sticky situations without compromising your reputation as a respectable industry professional.