Archive for Recommendations
Are you ready to turn an interest into a passion, a hobby into a career? Photography is about accurately recording reflected light. Record an image properly, use interesting composition, and tell a story using a camera–that is photography.
What kind of photographer do you want to be?
Knowing what style of photography you like best is probably the first choice you will make. Different types of photography require different kinds of equipment and knowledge. A few areas of emphasis are landscape, portrait, wildlife, commercial, industrial, photojournalism, wedding, fashion, sports, documentary, events, architectural, and stock photography, just to name a few.
What kind of photography education will you choose?
Education in the area of your interest can be found in a variety of magazines, schools, and associations.
Dig into print and digital magazines.
You will find many magazines at your local bookstore. The magazines geared toward professionals will probably not be found on the magazine rack.
The Professional Photographer by Professional Photographers of America www.PPA.com is a terrific magazine included in a PPA membership.
Rangefinder, The Magazine for Professional Photographers has a free subscription for applications meeting the qualification criteria for the magazine. AfterCapture is also part of the family of magazines and I am just guessing it is automatically available with signing up for RangeFinder, mine is.
Photoshop User http://www.photoshopuser.com/ is a magazine that comes with a membership to NAPP, National Association of Photoshop Professionals.
Schools. Many local community colleges offer credited photography classes or adult education as part of their curriculum.
If you are interested in a photography degree or certificate, there are accredited professional photography schools. Although there are many, I am personally aware of three.
Hawkeye Community College in Waterloo, Iowa (where I went) is accredited with Professional Photographers of America. This is a two year Associate of Applied Arts degree. http://www.hawkeyecollege.edu/academics/programs/arts/professional-photography/default.aspx
Hallmark Institute of Photography in Turners Falls, Massachusetts has a ten month program. http://hallmark.edu
Brooks Institute in Santa Barbara, California http://www.brooks.edu/
Mid-America Institute of Professional Photography http://maipp.com/ is also an affiliated school of the Professional Photographers of America held on theUniversity ofNorthern Iowa campus inCedar Falls,Iowa for one week each year. I have attended this program a number of times.
Before spending your money, I would suggest asking a working professional in the field of emphasis you are interested in for their recommendations.
Join professional photography associations that have conventions, seminars, and trade shows.
The educational opportunities as well as the networking opportunities are endless at a seminar, convention, or a trade show. This is a great way to jump start a career. I remember I got my first job leads from a well connected photography supply salesman. Start by asking around. Be prepared with a resume and/or business cards.
Professional Photographers of America www.PPA.com is the industry’s leading international organization. They have a yearly convention, trade show, a monthly printed and digital magazine, as well as other educational opportunities.
Each state also has an affiliate state organization of PPA as well. Contact PPA.com to locate your state association or Google “[your state] state photography association”.
Photo Marketing Association International, http://www.pmai.org
Wedding Photographers International at http://www.wppionline.com/
Photoshop User http://www.photoshopuser.com/ is the National Association of Photoshop Professionals (NAPP) also has a print or digital magazine.
Join a Camera Club.
There are hundreds of camera clubs of all kinds. Many large companies host their own clubs. Camera clubs often hold contests, bring in speakers, and go on field trips. This is a very affordable option.
You Tube has become a source for all kinds of informational videos.
There is a multitude of on-line and home study courses, forums, and groups.
What kind of equipment do you need?
Purchase the best photography equipment you can afford. At the bare minimum you need a camera, a computer to down load your image files to, and software to manage those files. Adobe Photoshop is the industry’s leading software.
I can get you a started with some information about choosing cameras with my article “What Camera do I Buy” which is also free on my website at http://barbgordonphotocoach.com/blog/free-articles.
Getting to know a local camera equipment sales person you can trust for advice is a great idea since most of us can’t possibly keep up on all of the latest technology and brands.
Do you want to start a photography business?
Download my free report where I discuss nineteen important steps of starting a photography business. It is called “Making Photography More than a Hobby, planning for success before you take the leap”. You can get if for free on my website at http://barbgordonphotocoach.com/blog/free-articles. Sign up in the box on the right, you will also get my e-newsletter.
A professional photographer produces consistent results that people are happy to pay them for. Generally they make their living strictly from photography.
A professional would also purse excellence in lighting, exposure, color management, posing, composition, and presentation.
Run a profitable business then you are a professional photographer.
Of course experience and on the job training is the best teacher.
Get a job in any area of photography you can. That can be a stepping stone to where you want to go. You never know who you will meet that might have a job opening or know someone who does. Everyone in any profession learns new things at their job and experience is the best teacher.
Being an intern can lead to bigger things. It is an opportunity to learn more about a future possible employer and get a stong foot in the door. Internships do not always pay but the education is valuable and your dedication will be impressive.
Show your work to people.
If you put any work on-line, like Facebook, be sure to use small, low resolution file sizes. The images are less likely to be enjoyed in print if the print quality is poor. Be sure to put your name or studio name on the front of the image rather boldly as well.
Start building a portfolio.
Print your best images no smaller than 8×10 and mat them neatly with a neutral color. If you are going for a job interview, it is best to find out what that studio is looking for so you can tweak your portfolio to their preferences. Some may prefer to see prints and others want a DVD.
So get out there, take photographs and network!
Remember to sign up in the upper right corner for my free reports and weekly e-newsletter!
Since we talked about promotions in our December’s F2.8 Protégé Club call, I thought I would share an excerpt from the framing manual I am putting the finishing touches on. This doubles as a promotional idea and a mistake that I made to help you avoid the same problem.
As a promotion to high school seniors one year I wanted to offer a free 8×10 frame with a qualified purchase. The first part of this mistake is that no one cares enough about a frame. A free frame, no matter how cool it is, is not going to get someone to select your studio over someone else’s so why bother with it as a promotional effort.
A better use of a free frame is as a thank you gift for a purchase, bundled within a package, or to use when an organization requests a door prize.
Anyway, because I am the type who likes to be prepared, I ordered thirty frames, at a great price, so I would be ready when the clients started coming in. I never needed thirty frames. I could have waited to order frames after I started getting the bookings and knew that people were actually coming. Maybe only ordered ten at a time instead of thirty. Even if the price wasn’t quite as good on fewer frames I would have been ahead. Now I am looking at a pile of frames on a shelf three years later. This was not a money saver at all nor did it bring in the clients.
I also made a similar error with a bunch of 5×7 frames I ordered for a promotion I did to drum up maternity portraits that was to lead to future child and family sessions. The idea with this promotion was that the new mom to be would receive a gift of a framed 5×7 of her choice from her session. I asked my current clients to let me know if they had a pregnant friend and I would send them a gift with their compliments. I got a few names but no response from this promotion directly. Again, more frames on my shelf.
If you want to buy some frames, I still have plenty, I can share!
Another way to sell wall portraits:
Educate your clients on what proper wall size images are. Help them determine what size image actually fits the space they have.
Most people purchase art that is too small for their spaces, especially when they buy photography. They are most comfortable buying 8x10s because that is what so many people do. They do not stop to think about how an 8×10 will look like a postage stamp on a wall.
The decorating rule of thumb I go by is that 50% or more of blank area should be filled with art. If you have a wall that is sixty inches wide, the minimum width of the art piece, or photograph in our case, should be thirty inches wide.
In the sample image, the wall is 80 inches and the images filled 65 inches of it. Way more than the minimum 50% and it looks great!
The best way to educate your customers is to have your images in the studio displayed correctly. Go take a fresh look at your displays in the studio. Are they appropriately sized? Are they framed really nice? Are you showing what you want to your customers to buy?
Photographing children can be rewarding, endearing, or awful! In this five part series, I will share my years of experience that probably could earn me a psychology degree. I have many strategies and tips that I will share with you in the next few weeks as to what I have found to be most effective.
One book that I would recommend is “The Strong Willed Child” by Dr. James Dobson. I also love all books by Kevin Lehman. His “Have a New Kid by Friday” is excellent. And I don’t even have children of my own! But I can so understand and relate to them. I have shared these books with my customers as well.
Photographing Children – Part One: Bribery
Bribery is not helpful so I do not recommend it. This is true of children and dogs! Having a treat or a snack to bribe either a child or a dog generally does not work. Oh, it might get you by or fool you into thinking you won but you truly will get better results without the treat. You need patience and a better plan.
Bribing a child is common with many parents who do not know what else to do (or maybe their parents did it to them). “If you are good, we will go to McDonald’s after we are done.” This might get the child to pretend to cooperate but it does nothing for actually changing the mood and temperament of the child. You might get one sort of faked and forced smile that way.
Telling a child to be good is not helpful. Does a child really understand the definition of what being good is? That seems like a lot of pressure to me. Adults are good at putting pressure on others.
Your job as the photographer is to be the liaison between the nervous parent and the unsure child. All a parent wants is for everything to go smoothly and be embarrassed, and of course have great images of their children.
A story I use to put parents at ease is an example of me taking my dog to the vet for a nail trim. How embarrassed I was that it took three techs to do something that should be quite easy. I think we even put a muzzle on my perfect little doggy. They must have thought I was a bad pet owner if this was how it had to be done. That is when I recognized that this might be how parents feel when their little Jimmy is not behaving like the little angel they want him to be.
So think of your own personal experiences you can use to relate to your clients. Put them at ease by showing them you understand and this is not unusual or a problem for you. Maybe a session with a less than perfect kid is more fun and challenging!
So how do you help these parents? Talk to them ahead of time. If you wait until you are in the camera room to ask them not to bribe their child it may not go over so good. They may feel like they are making a mistake and being corrected. If you can educate them prior to the session, then you are not picking on just them. You tell them that you talk about this with everyone, just in case it comes up!
Next week, we will talk about how to get a good expression without bribery!
Barb Gordon, of www.BarbGordonPhotoCoach.com, is a Master Photographer, Photographic Craftsman, and Certified Professional Photographer with the Professional Photographers of America (PPA) to which she has belonged since 1984. She is a nationally published and award winning photographer, entrepreneur, speaker, and author including being published in the prestigious PPA Loan Collection 2006, PPA Showcase 2003, twice named Iowa’s Top Ten Photographer of the Year, 2010 Iowa’s Master Photographer of the Year, and 2010 PPA’s Photographer of the Year, Silver Level.
One of the major decisions of starting or expanding a business is where to locate it. Do you ever wonder what you should know and consider before taking that step?
A FREE Teleseminar Event:
“Location: A Key for Studio Success” with Barb Gordon
On this complimentary call you will learn…
- The Pros and Cons of locating your studio in a retail or home-based location.
- Doing it right will make you profitable, doing it wrong will burn you out.
- How to decide what is right for you.
- What changed my mind after 25 years.
- What I am doing next in relocating my studio operation and why.
No matter if you are just starting out or ready for a change, you will gain insight and courage to take your next step. So don’t miss it!
Wednesday, May 5, 2010 – 5 PM Pacific / 6 PM Mountain / 7 PM Central / 8 PM Eastern
To get the email with call in information, simply get on my mailing list by subscribing to my FREE weekly ezine in the upper right! You will get an email on the day of the call with the log in information.
Three Tier Case from Barnes and Noble $19.95
I love this case for storing my compact flash cards, batteries, and other treasures. Each section zips closed individually. It is sturdy protection and not oversized. I keep it on my camera shelf and toss it into the camera bag when I need to go on location.