Photographers will spend tons of money and lots of time perfecting their use of the tools of their trade. We buy books and classes, watch tutorials, and spend time practicing, gather in professional groups, and shadow other photographers. While we learn how to use our gear, there is one thing we shouldn’t overlook, because it’s the thing that ultimately matters the most: vision.
Articles written by Nicole York
“Do what you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life.” What an inspiring, hopeful idea. Unfortunately, it’s not always true. According to this article on USA Today, only about 20 percent of businesses last past their first year, and even less survive past the five-year mark. So, what happens when someone falls in love with photography and thinks to themselves, I should start a business? The answer is: a lot of stuff that is not related to photography and, sometimes, the death of a passion.
A couple of years ago, I broke an important rule I made for myself: never take my camera on family outings. We were going to visit the zoo with extended family, and my grandmother said, "You should bring your camera! I bet you could get some great photos of the animals." The whole thing was very innocuous and she was well intentioned, but the results were exactly what I had decided I wanted to avoid, and a good reminder of why I made that rule for myself in the first place. If you find yourself doing the same thing I do, then perhaps this is a good rule for you to adopt.
Work-life balance is like a unicorn: no one knows whether it really exists, but vague hope persists. Balance is particularly difficult for entrepreneurs because we wear so many hats. More often than not, work-life balance is like a seesaw, with life on one end and work at the other. One side is always either up or down, and time spent in the middle is fleeting. The seesaw will never be completely balanced, but there are ways to maximize the time spent in the middle. These seven tips will give you a start.
Are photographers artists? This question causes endless debate and, up until now, my answer has always been yes. I've begun re-thinking that answer though, and now my answer is a bit different and, unfortunately, more vague, but I think it may be closer to the truth than my self-aggrandizing, knee-jerk reaction. Now, I believe that photographers are craftsman and, sometimes, artists.
Strobist. Natural light shooter. These words are at two opposite ends of the spectrum of photographer that seem like they're always a hair's breadth away from starting a photographic civil war, both sides preaching their philosophy as if deviation is blasphemy. One side is derided as being "afraid of learning to use flash" and the other side is jeered at for creating "flashy," "fake," or "contrived" images. Both sides seem immovable in their adherence to their preferred light source. Despite this disagreement, a popular saying in photography is, "light is light." So which is it? Is one better and the other worse, are they just preferences or are both sides cutting themselves short?
Some photographers are lucky enough to work large shoots that have directors or production managers who manage the logistics of the shoot, leaving the photographer free to focus on creating images but, often, photographers are running large scale shoots without the benefit of a production manager. Instead of just shooting and directing models and grips, the photographer becomes responsible for the whole team, which can include models, grips, assistants, stylists, makeup artists, hair stylists, set dressers, etc. Under these circumstances, with everyone’s safety riding on your shoulders, there are dangers you need to be prepared for.
According to No Kid Hungry, one in six American children don't get the food they need. Because of the relative wealth of First World nations, childhood hunger in places like America often get overlooked. In an effort to raise awareness, viral photography sensation, Benjamin Von Wong, decided to forgo the traditional route of portraits of sad-eyed children and, instead, created something a bit more share-worthy.
Memorial Day is a day set aside in remembrance of those members of the Armed Forces who have made the ultimate sacrifice. This Memorial Day, photographer Kate Woodman released a series called War Widow, that gives an intimate look at the life of those left behind. The series manages to honor the families of the fallen by approaching the pain, grief and loss they suffer with a raw, unflinching eye.
Getting clients is one of the most difficult parts of being in business. Unfortunately, marketing knowledge doesn't just appear once you have your license in your hands. As a result, many of us look at what our competitors are doing and try something similar, never realizing that there is a good chance that our competitors are also operating from a place of marketing ignorance. One of the most common marketing mistakes I've seen is photographers spending too much time talking about themselves, and not enough time talking to their clients. This means many photographers are shooting themselves in the foot by making their landing pages self-centered, rather than client centered, and they may be losing out on business because of it.
Photographer Nicolas Bruno suffers from sleep paralysis, a condition where a person experiences the inability to move or to speak during waking or falling asleep, sometimes for a few seconds and sometimes for several minutes. In more frightening instances, one might experience hallucinations or imagined physical experiences that one is unable to react to. Bruno decided to show the world the effects of this puzzling condition.
Postproduction is often so integral to a photographer's style that many photographers wouldn't dream of allowing their raw files to be seen by clients because they feel that their editing process is what makes the photo look like "their work." While I find postproduction just as important as any photographer, the unfortunate truth is that spending too much time in Lightroom or Photoshop might actually be damaging your business.
There is nothing worse than feeling the desire to create something amazing, only to look at the work of other photographers and feel that desire slowly fade into dejection and hopelessness. With the advent of social media, we have more access than ever to the work of our peers.
Makeup artists are an invaluable part of the creative team for many photographers. In fact, there are certain genres of photography that rely so heavily on makeup artists that we simply couldn't work without them. Unfortunately, there seems to be a few serious problems cropping up between makeup artists and photographers.
If there was one thing I wanted to know when I first became interested in shooting editorials, it was "How do I do this?" That seems like a broad question, and it is, but it goes to show what a mysterious subject this was for me. I wanted to know how to get started, and what steps I should take. In this article, I would like to pull back the curtain a bit for people who are interested in getting into editorial work and share what steps I go through to conceptualize, build a team, schedule, and shoot a fashion editorial.
Whether you're shooting for a client or just creating something for your portfolio, working with a team of people can be one of the most difficult and intricate parts of the job. Don't worry, because there is a simple piece of paper that can make your life a whole lot easier; it's called a Call Sheet, and I'm going to tell you why you need one.
In any service industry, frustrations can run high. Clients sometimes run late, don't always read contracts, show up with spray tans, don't pick the most beautiful venues for their weddings, fail to understand the cost involved in producing quality images, price shop, compare prices, question your prices, don't love their face in that photo, show up with a whole Pinterest board full of ideas, and expect you to just "fix it in Photoshop."
You can't work in the photography industry for any length of time without developing a few pet peeves; it's only natural. Surround yourself with anything for 8-12 hours per day, and a few things are bound to get on your nerves. So, what is it that drives photographers up the wall? A lot, it seems. A few brave photographers and other industry professionals shared what makes them crazy. Is your personal pet peeve on this list?
Constructive Criticism is a unicorn in online photography groups; much sought after, but rarely found. Good constructive criticism, or CC as it's often referred to, can be some of the most helpful and growth inducing feedback a photographer can receive but, in the wrong hands, it can be a sword that cuts confidence to ribbons. Here is how to give, and receive, CC in a way that wont destroy your soul.
Caitin Stickels, a 29 year old model, actor, and singer from Seattle, Washington who was born with a rare chromosomal disorder known as Schmid-Fraccaro, or "Cat Eye Syndrome," realized a dream she never dared to hope for when she recently starred in a high-fashion editorial, photographed by famed photographer Nick Knight.