In August 2015, I quit all working commitments and took the leap in to full-time photographer. In March 2016, I wrote an article of advice about being a photographer I wish I'd known earlier after I began to scrutinize my performance under the new, professional microscope. Well, time has elapsed, shutters have shut over 100,000 times, and more things have been learned. My photography business has grown in this interim and I found myself thinking about this aforementioned article again. Here are seven of the most important things I have learnt about being a professional photographer that I wish I'd known earlier.
Articles written by Robert K Baggs
Shooting live music appears to polarise photographers, with some enjoying it and some disliking the lack of creative control. While it isn't my favourite genre to put my camera to work, I do get some satisfaction from the atmosphere, unusual lighting, and singular poses. I noticed, however, that I had a bad habit: I didn't move very much and simply reframed the images using different focal lengths of my 70-200mm. So I decided to take a risk.
I'll start with a rather obvious warning: this video and article may contain spoilers for anything that happens up to and including episode 2 of season 7 of "Game of Thrones." With that out of the way, we can look at how the incredible fight scene of that second episode was created.
Whenever my girlfriend and I see antique stores or vintage markets, our eyes light up. Her eyes are lit up with dreams of bone china tea sets and antiquated woodworking, whereas mine are bright with visions of a dusty Hasselblad in a forgotten corner, or spools of unprocessed and antiquated film. On a Sunday morning in sunny Englandshire recently, my lady-friend and I went for breakfast and on returning to our car, saw a small sign for a vintage pop-up market.
There's something I've always loved about the photography community and in the age of the internet, it's nearly a unique quality: we give constructive feedback and rarely tear in to a photographer unprovoked. It is a welcoming environment that cultivates growth, for the most part. One particular area in which all previously mentioned qualities are magnified many times over, is young photographers. Their successes are fawned over and their mistakes excused, as they should be. Unless, of course, you're called Brooklyn Beckham.
This morning, Carl Zeiss have announced the tenth lens in the Milvus series for full-frame Canon and ZEISS DSLRs, boasting a new optical design that offers "practically no chromatic aberations". Previous Milvus lenses have been impressive, but often specialized, whereas this new addition is more of an all-rounder.
I worry about becoming stagnant. I'm quite sure lots of us share that worry and conversely, most of us will know people who don't have that worry at all. I envy them in many ways; they want an easy life and concentrate on enjoying things. As far as I can tell, that sentiment isn't compatible with self-employment, or if it is, it's so far away on the horizon I can't make it out yet. In my efforts to always grow and always be moving forwards, I invented a minor way to achieve this and I'd like to see if it works for other people.
Perhaps this article is a risk to my career by virtue of being too honest, but it's a subject I have wanted to discuss publicly for some time. In the era where social media is the backbone of perception, it's all too easy to feel you can never measure up. This isn't new information and in fact, it's a rather well-trodden path. Even armed with the knowledge, however, I still feel I walk in to the trap of taking the world that is presented to me as the only facts worth knowing. I want to sacrifice my self-consciousness to do my bit to rectify this.
Two things converged for me recently: an increase in questions sent to me regarding my commercial photography and the unexpected popularity of my bite-sized Photoshop tutorials. Both occurrences are born from the same inquiry of understanding how certain things are achieved. I used to bother people constantly with questions on how I could attain a certain look in post-processing, or how an image is so sharp, and so on. From time to time, I still do. So, I'm going to do my best to make the answers to the most common questions readily available with this mini series.
For us English folk, Spain has been the go-to summer family holiday location for decades. So much so, in fact, that I'm almost repelled by how familiar it is to me. Then, this morning, I received an email from Peter Jablonowski of FilmSpektakel informing me that he and Thomas Pöcksteiner produced a time-lapse of the Spanish island Tenerife and all my preconceived notions melted away.
One of the most obvious telltale signs of an unprofessional commercial or product image is color. The most famous and readily cited issue is color grading, but it's not the only problem and the uniformity of color is often neglected. That is, the even color of the object or two objects' colors truly matching. As always, I will couch my method in the sentiment that it may not be the optimal technique, but it works very well for me.
Generally speaking, losing detail in your image is a bad thing. However, there is a creative way to do so that is most commonly employed in cinematography, known as "crushing the blacks." I alluded to this technique in my recent article on creating your first Photoshop actions and I received a number of queries about this technique. This article will give you a brief overview of what the effect is used for, why you would use it, and how.
Everyone and their Auntie seem to sell Photoshop action sets these days, as if they're the answer to something. I'm primarily referring to action sets which create entire "looks" for your image, but there are uses for actions which are less comprehensive and arguably more useful. For example, I use an action for sharpening my images which creates a layer I can lower the opacity of or mask until it is satisfactory. Actions like these are easy to create and can result in accrued time saved. This guide will ensure even people whom have just picked up Photoshop for the first time can create actions.
I remember when I first started photography, I'd try and find out what lens and camera had been used for every photograph I liked. I was convinced that if I had that combination of glass and mirrors I would be creating masterpieces. Unfortunately, that train of thought is closer to smoke and mirrors, and I soon knew better. Curiously, however, I now think there's some truth to it, and that truth was revealed to me by a lens that is now my secret weapon.
Us photographers are bizarre creatures. It is as if holding a camera exchanges the focus of your preservation instincts from yourself to the camera and lenses. The camera's tunnel vision sometimes appears to extend to its user and all that matters is what is in that frame. Perhaps we are brave and valiant artists capturing beauty in whichever obscure corner we find it. Then again, perhaps we are idiots seeking notoriety through the capturing of the unique and the rare; the jury's out. Whichever answer -- or anywhere in between -- this common mentality among 'togs yields entertaining anecdotes.
Every year Getty Images releases their forecast for visual trends in the coming year as chosen by "visual anthropologists" who have analyzed vast quantities of data. This forecast not only predicts trends that will influence every facet of the creative industry, but the forecast itself has immeasurable impact on design, advertising, and myriad other formats of visual media. On behalf of Fstoppers, I spoke with Pam Grossman, Director of Visual Trends at Getty Images about trends and the coming year.
Ad hominem is often the type of fallacy rolled out when Trump has come under-fire for his misogynistic quotes in the past. The problem is, Trump's words about women and his political acumen are not easily separated out. This wide-spread difficulty has lead to backlash manifesting itself in a number of ways. One of the recent and most powerful ways has been Student Aria Watson's photo series.
If I'm brutally honest, I felt as if I'd become a bit numb to time-lapses. There's a sense in which the bar has been raised so high of late, that it's difficult to create anything that's likely to capture my attention (not that anyone's trying to). However, if there's one place that can deliver over and over again, it's the frozen tundra that feels as if it has been designed by a landscape photographer: Iceland.
The race to conquer new frontiers of innovation is not a new event, but it is well known. What can be learnt from history about these types of competitions, however, is that it is not always to the winner go the spoils; the lightbulb and telephone are infamous examples, but the moving picture can be added to that list.