Brief Intro to Real Estate Photography

Real estate photography or also known as architectural photography is an important part of the commercial photography niche. Those operating in the real estate photography business are aware of how challenging and attractive this job is. If you have just began or consider beginning to work in the field, here are some useful tips and information to help you keep up with clients’ demands.

What is Real Estate Photography?

To put it simple, real estate photography reduces to images showcasing properties for sale. This doesn’t mean that this type of photography is less creative than others. It is true that real estate photography limits your artistic freedom and it is driven by marketing purposes more than any other niche. What is the advantage than of pursuing a career in this sector?

Is real estate photography profitable? As in the US today, real estate is one of the most competitive industries, we can clearly say that yes, now is a good time to start a business in this area. Even if you love performing in other areas as a freelance photographer, real estate photography can be a great opportunity not only to earn some extra cash, but also to improve and diversify your skills.

Basic Equipment Needed

What you need to get started is a digital camera, lenses, tripod, and a computer which will allow you managing the post-processing phase.

  • Camera and Lenses

Real estate photography is a competitive area for professionals like you. That is why a good DSLR is your best bet. Choose one with high ISO performance for indoors shooting, and the possibility of using off-camera flash.

As regards the type of lenses you should use, wide angle lenses and tilt-shift lenses are a must for this type of photography.

While wide angle lenses are meant to help you shoot narrow spaces like bathrooms, tilt-shift lenses increase the depth of filed and enable sharper, high quality images taken outdoors. Tilt-shits lenses are required when shooting wider spaces, mainly correcting converging verticals.

The only thing you need to be super careful with is not to distort images by getting too enthusiastic with the use of lenses.

  • Tripod

Tripods are the key to a professional outcome, among others. We advise you to choose a sturdy duty one used for studio purposes. If you are at the start of your career and wonder what type of tripod would fit your needs best, check our post on top considerations when buying one.

  • Photo Editing Software

 

Not all images will turn out the way you or the client want. That is why a good knowledge of either Adobe Lightroom or Photoshop can save your life.

The Importance and Specificity of Lighting

It is never enough to emphasise the importance of lighting in photography. Needless to say that natural light sources are desirable in comparison to artificial lighting techniques. Let’s have a look at what you need to keep in mind depending on whether you shoot outdoors or indoors.

  • Exterior Real Estate Photography

 

Once you have been contracted for a real estate photo job, first thing to do is check the weather forecast. Also, planning is really important prior to the photo shooting. Ensure you are there early in the morning, take the equipment you need and get ready to spend a few hours working. Leave some time for post-processing too.

While on the scene, avoid shooting in the sun and search the angles that enable a broader perspective over the property. If there’s a yard, patio or garden, take advantage and capture a wider area.

exterior real estate photography

Great exterior images also benefit from an overcast sky. Don’t forget to take it into account.

  • Interior Real Estate Photography

First thing to consider is profiting from window light. Apart from that, you will need to work with interior light sources and even turn to supplemental light for dark corners.

interior real estate photography

Using flash is common for real estate photography as the time of shooting is too short for mastering sophisticated lighting techniques. In this case, be careful with the exposure of the image. Using a flash requires adjusting camera settings, like ISO, shutter speed and aperture.  We have already discussed about ISO settings in low light conditions. Have a look at our post on ISO and learn more about how to capture high quality interior images.

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Post-Processing in Real Estate Photography

Editing tools such as post-processing software are essential in improving images of the property you were assigned to shoot.

The main advantage of post-processing real estate photos is pricing. Special editing will result in some extra cash for you as edited photos are charged more as compared to unprocessed ones.

However, real estate agencies demand accurate images. The key to a successful real estate photo editing process is thus making properties look amazing without distorting reality.

Real Estate Photo Format and Aspect Ratio

If you are new to real estate photography, inform about the marketing media format and aspect ratio preferred by real estate clients and use your equipment and tools accordingly.

Normally, each real estate agency decides on what photo dimensions and format are required for their websites. As a tip, try to get familiar with MLS sites and requirements in your area. These sites usually process and send images to regional and national real estate sites.

If you found this post useful or have any questions and suggestions, don’t hesitate to drop us a line.

Image Sources: 1,2

5 Maternity Photography Ideas for Expecting Clients

Becoming a mother is a special, special time in the life of a woman who chooses to walk that path. As cliché as it might sound, women who want a child and manage to become pregnant with one are truly experiencing a touch of the miraculous in their lives, and expecting couples are often so touched by this experience that working with them as a photographer can be the source of great inspiration. It is very often that these couples – or women – want to immortalize the special time they are currently experience through a beautiful photo shoot, and this is where you come in. If you take these few maternity photography ideas into account when you get contacted by expecting clients, the results will surely make them happy, and make you a better photographer in the process.

1. Combine the maternity photography niche with the boudoir photography niche.

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Sometimes, the altered body appearance of a pregnant woman is the main thing which she wants to immortalize in the special photo session, and posing semi-naked for it almost comes naturally. Although for most photography outsiders, the ideas of maternity and of boudoir photography don’t mix very well, in professional practice they mix perfectly, and quite often (as we’ve shown you before in a post about boudoir photography). If you think about it, it actually makes perfect sense: a woman who wants to document her journey with professional photographs wants to beam with joy over her swollen belly, but wants to feel feminine and attractive too. Therefore, nude or semi-nude photos (perhaps just with a silhouette) are one of the best maternity photography ideas ever.

2. Make the belly important, but don’t make it your sole focus.

Styled maternity session at the Propel Workshop 2013

One of the most common novice mistakes when it comes to experimenting with maternity photography ideas is making the belly the main focus of each photo. Sure, the unborn baby is sort of the main point of the shoot, but if you center your photos on it, all of them will end up looking the same, and you will have missed other crucial aspects which should have been captured. Try alternating the focus and concentrate on other things like the people’s facial expressions, how your props are making the whole setting change and so on. Speaking of props, when shooting indoors in your studio (though it shouldn’t be a must, as we’ll develop further on later), some of the best maternity photography ideas include using unlikely pieces of furniture for comfortable poses. If the woman feels very comfy in an armchair, try creating the same pose with her in a kid’s wagon, for example, and so on.

3. When photographing couples, make the other partner feel important as well.

Butter Media Inc.

Another potential mistake you could make is to overlook the other partner or make them just a supporting character within the photos. Maternity photography ideas should be more than simply photographing the pregnant woman with her partner behind her and holding her or her belly. Ask them to play around until you find the potential for something funny, like the partner’s surprised facial expression being the focus of the photo, right next to the pregnancy itself. In real life as well as in photographs, the non-pregnant partner of expecting couples can sometimes feel like the third wheel, and it’s part of your job to counteract this effect in the photographs and make everyone feel like the united family they are.

4. Help your subjects relax and feel attractive.

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Keep in mind that your subjects are not only non-professionals who don’t know how to pose and how to not get tired by it, but they are also pregnant women who may have some trouble feeling attractive during this delicate time. The better they feel while posing, the better will the photos be, so do our best to help them feel relaxed, to prevent exhaustion and to keep their spirits up.

5. Don’t settle for classic poses and try something creative.

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Your first two or three couples who come to you for this kind of photos may challenge you enough just by requiring a classic maternity photo shoot, but after you become a bit more experienced in the field, you will soon notice how all studio photos will start looking more or less the same. After gaining a steady hand, try a more creative approach. Your artistry and your customers will both have to gain from the fresh view. For example, go outside the studio: try shooting the photos on the beach, if conditions will allow it, or simply somewhere outdoors. Some of the most creative maternity photography ideas we’ve seen around often involved being outdoors, so don’t be afraid to experiment. Have fun and good luck!

Take Precautions to Prevent Your Subject’s Exhaustion

As most of our readers are amateur photographer trying to make the transition to professional ones, we address this post to them as part of the things one must learn at the beginning of the journey. There are many things to learn, it seems, so many that at times all the effort you’re making can feel a little overwhelming. While no one can guarantee that you’re going to make it as a pro in the business, what we can promise is that if you do, things will get easier, and they only seem overwhelming for now, when paid gigs come in very rarely if they do at all. To most of us in the beginner days, putting that much effort and money into something that is still only a hobby can seem hopeless at times (especially if you also need to maintain an unrelated job for the time being). Since this post is about exhaustion, this is a point when you can feel a sort of exhaustion yourself, but if you persevere, better things will come, eventually.

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The point we are trying to make is that amidst all this info which you’re supposed to acquire, it’s easy to get lost in the technical details of ISO and lighting and forget the people skills which a good photographer needs. Helping your clients relax while you photograph them is very important, both for preventing exhaustion and for making sure the photos are actually good and don’t feel artificial or forced. The so-called bedside manner is indeed a requirement in many professions and photography is definitely one of them. Moreover, if you lack this quality or skill as a photographer, this can modify your whole work for the worse, unlike the other professions who only require it to make the people you work with be comfortable. Not that we’re implying that’s optional or anything.

The one thing to keep in mind is that most of the people you will photograph will not be professional models, familiar with the whole drill. They will be people hiring you to help immortalize a precious moment of their lives, like, for example, if you will become a wedding photographer. Since they are not used to the routine of posing, exhaustion will catch up with them rather quickly, leading to the portraits being less good than they could be, leading in turn to a lessened satisfaction with your services. But the good news is that you can keep this in mind throughout the photo shoot and take little precautions at all times to prevent your subjects from getting too tired too fast.

These precautions you can take would depend a bit on your personal style too, but an example of a good strategy you could develop is this: spend the first 10 minutes or so helping them relax and feel comfortable enough to pose, then ask for the poses you want in a series of more intense minutes, then tone down the rhythm and suggest breaks.

During the breaks, you could suggest refreshments like water or juice, then, after removing the drinks from the scene, you could allow a semi-break by telling them to act more natural or pose whichever way they feel like it. This may lead to very good photos (which is a win-win situation), or to not that good photos, which are still useful for the respite and for allowing you subjects to become more and more comfortable with posing. Few things beat exhaustion better than being allowed to pose however you want to every now and then, so if you only take one tip out of this post, take this one.

Get More Exposure for Your Work: Curate a Themed Gallery

Struggling to make a name for yourself as a (relatively) young photographer is quite challenging, as we all know. One of the main challenges of this convoluted process is developing your own voice. In an age where visual information seems to prime and the old cliché about a picture being “worth a thousand words” seems truer than ever, this shouldn’t be too hard. Unfortunately, against this apparent set of good premises, there are so many other aspiring photographers out there, that things are often harder than they seem to the outside world. This increased competition is precisely why developing a unique voice as an entry level photographer is crucial in securing a spot on the photography market and in transitioning from an amateur to a pro.

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In the effort to develop a more unique voice, you need to secure yourself a photography niche; but in order to make your work more known within the field, you are required to invest a different kind of efforts. While the first task requires more artistic vision, in addition to a good knowledge of what other photographers in the game are currently doing and what the main trends are, the second task of promoting your work has more to do with marketing strategies. Indeed, knowing how to bring the right people’s gaze upon your work can be the key difference between a success story and an ordinary one. Today we will give you a hint on how to promote your work better, besides using social media and such: why don’t you try to curate a themed gallery of photos somewhere?

Yes, it might sound like a huge plan and a costly one too, or at least too costly for an amateur photographer aspiring to go pro. Don’t worry, while it’s true that a professionally organized photo gallery can require quite an investment, no one is expecting you to host one of those. On the plus side, you might even have more appeal by adding an indie charm to yours precisely by not making it a traditional established kind of gallery. The underground air of the whole thing will work in your favor, especially if you’re a relatively young photographer with a fresh approach or a controversial theme.

As to how exactly would it help you gain more exposure if you were to curate a themed gallery, this is how it works. You think of the theme in your photographs that you like best, or which is the most interesting and fit for a whole story; in other words, something which would qualify to put you into a certain niche. After picking it, you select 4 or 5 photos of yours that best illustrate that vibe and think of how you could highlight them when you’ll curate a themed gallery to be built more or less around those picks. Next, you launch a call for contributions to all photographers who may be looking for ways to become more visible as well. The only condition will be respecting the theme (and not asking for money from you, obviously, but you should make it clear that this is a no-profit event).

The rest are just organizational details which may seem prohibitive at first, but after you manage to relax you’ll see that they’re not so impossible to work out. So what if you can’t afford to actually rent a place to curate a themed gallery in? Do it at your place or a friend’s house, if it’s big and cozy enough. Heck, do it in an abandoned factory or a cool underground venture, whatever. Just make sure to send invites to all the people in the business and especially to photography magazines which you’d like to see featuring your event. Good luck with everything and don’t fret with the preparations more than necessary.

The Best Small Investment Tips to Become a Pro Photographer

A lot of young photographers to be are trying to make the transition between being just a passionate amateur to being a fully legitimate professional photographer. What separates the first from the latter isn’t necessarily the skill or talent and or even the experience; but more like an arbitrary convention that differentiates between a hobby and a business. In other words, if you get paid for it, or if you open some kind of official start-up, it means you’re a pro. If you just do it for pleasure, you’re an amateur. In a way, it’s completely unfair, because if you’re striving to become a pro photographer, the term “amateur” stuck to your current identity somehow implies that you’re not doing a really awesome job, but the truth is that you may be very skilled and talented, but you just didn’t get a paid gig so far.

Still, if you want to make that transition once and for all, either by founding a small photography start-up or simply by charging fees for your services, you need to do a couple of things first. The most important thing is to be really good at photography and to keep getting better, but we’re sure you’ve already got that covered. As a young photographer striving to prove yourself, it’s probably the main thing you’re working on when it comes to improving your odds of making it to the pro league. But the other thing you should pay attention to, in addition to simply improving your skills, is investing a bit in some essentials that would help you become a pro photographer faster. Here are our tips on what small investment you should consider, the matter is of course debatable, but our suggestions do make a fine starting point.

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A tripod: We will not start this list with a good or professional camera, because it’s the first thing photography aficionados think about by themselves. Chances are, if you’re trying to become a pro photographer, you already though about it and invested in your camera by now. But our experience with aspiring photographers tells us not all think about getting a tripod as well, many preferring to just point and shoot. Perhaps it’s time to reconsider this approach.

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A cheap old film camera: Nowadays everything has of course gone digital and that has become the standard for quality and everything. Vintage film cameras are, in consequence, very cheap now, and somehow regarded as being not so good. While it’s true that digital photography opens up a world of processing possibilities and filtering options and so on, film photography should not be despised by an aspiring pro. Not only would it help your overall skills and understanding of photography if you experiment with such a camera for a while, but it would also allow you to produce some wonderful pictures which current cameras couldn’t really achieve in the same way. Just look at the wonderful work people like Oleg Oprisco are doing and you’ll understand. Also, a vintage film camera looks really cool and makes you seem the master of all equipment. If you can create amazing images with that, you can do it with any kind of gear.

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A high-power Monolight:  Professional lighting can make the difference between an amateur photo and a truly stunning and impeccably done photo. It would be a shame not to highlight your good camera and good skills with the proper accessory, and this one should be the first on your list. Why a Monolight, in particular? Because one of these can be also used indoors to create a studio-like setting, but it’s also portable enough to take with you outdoors as well (or to other locations). Until you can afford an actual photo studio, it will give you the best chance of shooting like a professional photographer and of impressing the people you work with as one. If you’re on your way to become a pro photographer, these three are the magic tricks you should have up your sleeve.

YouTube Video Optimization for Photographers: 5 Tricks

youtube-video-optimization-for-photographersIf you’re a professional photographer, not only do you (hopefully) have an online showcase of your work, as well as a website and a regularly updated blog – but you are also active on social media and know a thing or two about SEO. Now, content optimization for search engines is neither brain surgery, nor rocket science, but it’s the sort of differentiator that can turn your business into a highly profitable one, when used properly. This is why today we bring you five ideas on how YouTube video optimization for photographers and videographers can bring you new business leads and help you grow your profit margin. They can be used both for branding, as well as for marketing purposes and are a great way to increase your visibility. So here’s what you need to do:

#1 Create a video

It goes without saying that the building block of YouTube video optimization for photographers is actually putting that video out there. Some photographers are camera shy, understandably enough: after all, your job is to stand behind the lens, not in front of it. But the thing is you don’t need to be on camera, in order to create your video ‘business card’, as it were. You can use a platform like Animoto to turn your pictures into a video – and you will definitely want to do that, since, in case you didn’t know, YouTube is the world’s largest search engine, second only to the web giant that owns it, Google itself.

#2 Tagging is essential for YouTube video optimization for photographers

All right, so now you’ve got your video ready to hit the intertubes – but before you upload it, there’s one essential step you need to fiddle with and perfect. That’s tagging, i.e. attaching tags to your work. They work like labels and are best employed as keywords that potential clients in your area are already searching for. They can be anything along the lines of “wedding photography in [your area]”, “[your area] wedding photographer”, or anything along those lines. Choose top targeted keywords as tags and make sure to enter them into the Details tab of the video’s properties, in the title, subtitle, target, and comment areas. In order to find the most appropriate keywords to use, you can always get some hints by using the Keyword Planner function in Google’s AdWords platform.

#3 Use a good title for your video

This one might go without saying, but it’s important to mention, since it’s the second step in our crash course on YouTube video optimization for photographers that needs to be performed before the video is uploaded. Use the top ranking keyword among those you’ve culled out to use as tags. Another important tip is to use the keyword in the beginning of the title, since this lends it more ‘weight’ in the eyes of search engine crawlers.

#4 Drive traffic back to you

The main purpose of YouTube video optimization for photographers is to lead potential business back to your main HQ, which is probably your website or online portfolio. For this purpose, you’re going to want to include a link to said domain as early on as possible in the video description. Use a clear call to action and make sure the link is visible, or else risk losing a business lead in the endless pool of distraction that is YouTube.

#5 Use GeoTagging

Chances are that, if you’re a wedding photographer, you’re going to want clients in your area to find you – receiving the admiration of viewers across the globe may be flattering but, at the end of the day, it doesn’t help lift those profit margins. So add Geo Tags to local videos, via the Advanced Settings option of your account on YouTube. Input your address, then get the precise coordinates on the map that pops up and remember to “Save Changes”. Presto – your vid is now optimized for local searches!

Is Photography School for Professional Wedding Photographers a Must?

photography-school-for-professional-wedding-photographersGoing to photography school for wedding photographers is a personal choice, determined by numerous factors, such as a desire to learn, but also time and financial constraints. The general outlook on this topic can seem divisive: some extoll its advantages and believe attending such courses is mandatory for those who truly wish to call themselves professionals; others, on the other hand, fail to see the perks of it and regard it as a general waste. So, which one is it? Read on, for our version of the pros and cons, and don’t forget to tell us your own opinion in the comment section.

Yes, it is!

You get all the information you need

The main way in which photography school for professional wedding photographers can help is by providing  with the time, space, and structure to accumulate all the essential information you need, on the art of taking pictures. After all, you’ll be dedicating several hours a day, 5 days a week, for at least a few weeks, to this purpose alone. When’s the last time you were able to take some time off for learning, as a pro photog?

You’ll get the degree to show for it

Now, you don’t absolutely need to go to photography school for professional wedding photographers in order to land gigs and develop a lucrative business. However, if you do, chances are that such credentials are going to make you look more dedicated in the eyes of your (potential) clients.

You get to connect and socialize

‘School is not for making friends!’ Well, that might be true for business school, but photography school for wedding photographers is a great opportunity to meet and connect with like-minded professionals. Not only will you get to exchange views with people who have the same interests as you, but you can also strike up lucrative partnerships, or business opportunities. And this social aspect is vital to the success of any photography business.

No, it’s not!

Photography school for wedding photographers disregards business

Sure, it’s great to learn about all the theoretical aspects of photography, understand some history of this art, and hone your technical skills. But what about the business aspect of this trade? Most serious photography courses nowadays do offer business courses, too, but they’re largely theoretical and no match from actual, hands-on experience in running a business. The best way to learn this skill is by going out and doing it.

It’s a waste of your time, really

And since we’re on the topic of running a business – ain’t nobody got time for school, as the popular refrain goes. Think about it: instead of learning a bunch of theory you’ll never use, you could be spending that time actually starting and running a business.

… Not to mention a waste of your money

A lot of the most influential professional photographers out there started out as self-taught amateurs. In the day and age of information, online photography resources, and the Internet, there’s really no need to shell out thousands of dollars for something you could be teaching yourself, for an infinitesimal fraction of those costs.

It doesn’t help with actually succeeding as a photographer

This is perhaps the most contentious moot point, between those who believe photography school for professional wedding photographers is important and those who don’t. At the end of your courses, you will have expended precious time and money, but without actually making any headway with developing your business. A business requires far more than technical, artistic, and even theoretical business knowledge. There’s marketing and branding, shooting and editing, business acquisition and shoot pricing – and, of course, learning. Photography is not the kind of field in which a one-time course will take care of your education. You need to keep learning and developing for the rest of your career.

Tips for Mommie Photogs: Shooting Weddings While Pregnant

shooting-weddings-while-pregnantSome women can’t wait to go on maternity leave once they find out there’s a little one on the way. Along the same lines, shooting wedding photography with a pregnant bride can be one of the most endearing, delicate, and special experiences you’ll have as an artist. However, today’s post is about neither one of those scenarios, but about what you can do if you’re shooting weddings while pregnant. Since wedding photographers are largely freelance, many female professionals choose not to abandon their business, or put in on hold, while pregnant. If you’re about to face this situation, you might wonder how you’re going to be able to manage it all – the baby that’s on the way, the business, and the actual, physical challenges of working when you’re a few months away from giving birth. We’ve scoured the web left and right and checked out some true stories from photographers who have gone through this. We’ve come up with a list of resources and tips you might find useful.

The checklist for shooting weddings while pregnant

  • Flip flops

If you’re the kind of photographer who cares a great deal about looking professional at all times when working, this might be a bit of a challenge for you, but it’s probably unavoidable. Chances are your feet are going to start swelling as your pregnancy progresses and if you want to keep working, you’re going to have to find yourself one (or several) nice pairs of flip flops to change into, in order to keep your feet from killing you. Shooting weddings while pregnant does involve a lot of standing, you know?

  • Back support

The same pretty much goes for back aches. They’re very difficult to handle for some women, even if they’re not up on their feet and running about, taking pictures all day. Those women who want to keep shooting weddings while pregnant might want to invest in Maternity Support or a similar form of support for their back.

  • A breast pump

There’s no way around it: if you want to keep working during and immediately after the pregnancy, you’re going to need a carry-on with a special portable breast pump.  Alternatively, you can opt to breastfeed at weddings, if you’re comfortable with this. Most wedding guests are tolerant about it, according to several real life mommy wedding photographers. However, if you can’t afford the downtime, or just want to pump for whatever reason, then an “on the go” breast pump is your best bet.

  • Water & protein

Much like you are going to have to feed the baby on the go, you’re going to need to nourish yourself, too. If you’re a newbie wedding photographer, don’t think there’s going to be any time for you to snack at the wedding party – there usually isn’t. And keeping hydrated and well-nourished while pregnant is essential, both for your health and stamina, as well as for the baby’s well-being. As such, make it a point to never leave home without plenty of water and protein bars, to keep you up on your feet all day long.

  • An assistant

Yes, it’s an added cost, but one which might just save your wedding photography business while you’re carrying. The assistant will help carry your gear and other bags – and they also come in mighty handy when it comes to remembering that you actually have to eat those protein bars if you want them to have any effect.

  • A backup

We’re talking an alternate wedding photographer that you can call on, if need be. Someone you trust is able to step in at the last minute, in case anything goes wrong with you and you need to step down from an engagement. Always have the phone number of such a trusty friend on hand, you never know when you might need to use it.

Why Photography Contests Are Good for Business: 3 Arguments

photography-contests-are-good-for-business01Photo competitions have been around since the art of photography itself, but their history in itself doesn’t mean they are without detractors. On the one hand, there are those photo aficionados who tend to believe  that such contests are a sheer waste of time, organized by money- and rights-grabbing brutes with no real interest in the art. Yet, on the other, photo competitions do have value for the artists, since they prompt them to take an honest, objective look at their own work, cull it, curate it, and put their best foot forward. That’s why we at Virtual Photography Studio believe photography contests are good for business, no matter if you’re into wedding photography, glam, editorial, or photojournalism. They can help you carve out a niche and build a name for yourself and they can also do a whole lot more – join us as we explore three essential arguments in favor of photo contests.

#1 The money

It might sound petty, but one way to tell apart professional competitions from lame ones is the cash prizes. The winner of the International Photography Awards gets $10,000 in cash; the winner of the Deeper Perspective section within the same contest receives $5,000, and there’s also a $2,500 prize for the year’s best new photographer. If you win the grand prize of the Smithsonian Photo Contest you get $5,000 and there are also five $500 cash awards for the categories, plus a Readers’ Choice award worth just as much. The National Geographic Photo Contest awards its Grand Prize winner with $7,500 and each category winner with $2,500. Petty or not, when a serious chunk of cash is involved, one can’t help but think of how great money would be for making further investments into business.

#2 The exposure

Some photography contests are good for business even though they provide no actual cash prize, as is the case with the Photography Masters Cup. This competition asks for a $30 entrance fee and promises exposure in the PHOTO Paper Magazine, as well as several online media outlets. The above-mentioned IPA has had the work of its winners published on Buzzfeed, as well as on EYEMAZING. It goes without saying that some photo contests are great for exposure even only by sheer association (Smithsonian and National Geographic are two examples).photography-contests-are-good-for-business02

#3 The business leads

If you win the IPA, you get a trip to the prestigious Lucie Awards in NYC – and if you’re double lucky, you can even get your image selected for a 45-photo exhibition in the build-up for the show. And most local winners will get automatic exposure in local media outlets, irrespective of how prestigious the competition is – you can usually count on national/local pride to boost your prestige. Many previous winners of the contests mentioned above explained that photography contests are good for business because they allow you to become more connected with actual buyers in your niche. As such, winning the right contests is highly likely to ultimately boost your revenue.

Verdict: Top photography contests are good for business every time

Yes, we did say top photography contests are good for business – because the shady ones can actually be detrimental. Here are a few guidelines, if you’re looking to expand the notoriety of your wedding photography business by entering a contest and don’t know where to start:

–          Be wary of contests that charge entrance fees, but don’t offer any cash prizes. These are the money-hungry leeches we were referring to in the beginning.

–          Always, always read each competition’s policy on copyright. You do not want to give rights to your work for free, no matter how otherwise prestigious the contest sounds.

–          Make sure you enter the right category, when applying – and also check out the profile of each contest. Some are geared toward editorial work, while others tend to lean toward photojournalism more.

7 Useful Tax Deductions for Photography Businesses

tax-deductions-for-photography-businessesLooking forward to filing your taxes on Tax Day? Well, to be earnest, who is? The good news is that, if you own and run a photo biz, there might just be several tax deductions for photography businesses that you are eligible for. Of course, take our advice below as just what it is: friendly advice, dispensed with the best intentions at hear; understand, however, that such advice is not meant to replace professional consultancy from your accountant and/or lawyer. That being said, provided you’ve kept good records of your spending throughout the past fiscal year, here are seven such deductions you should probably look into.

1. Car costs

It’s likely you drive to get to your clients or move around the area, from one shoot to the next. You may be able to pass off your automobile expenses as one of the tax deductions for photography businesses. You can track the mileage on your car, when using it for photography and apply the government’s per-mile rate to each mile driven for photo purposes (the current rate stands at $.565). Alternatively, you can work out the percentage of time that you drive your car for photography business purposes and deduct the costs for that span of time from your overall car maintenance costs.

2. Travel costs

Similarly, you can count all travel expenses that are accounted for and were incurred for your art as tax deductions for photography businesses. Of course, this means you will have to start storing and filing plane tickets, car rental receipts, taxi fare and public transport receipts, restaurant bills, hotel bills, and just about any piece of paper that proves you spent money while away traveling for a shoot.

3. Housing expenses

This one is probably going to come in handy for any photographer that runs a studio or office right out of their own home. You need to calculate how much space inside your home is allotted to your photography business, work out the costs for maintaining that particular amount of space and then file for deductions from your mortgage, home insurance, bills (for electricity, water, and anything else).

4. Office/studio costs

This is one of those tax deductions for photography businesses that’s mutually exclusive with another one – namely, the one listed above. In other words, you can’t get a tax deduction both for a home office/studio and for such a space that you’re renting out elsewhere. However, if you don’t operate your office and/or studio from the comfort of your own home, you will be able to file for a deduction for these separate business expenses.

5. Phone lines

In order to get tax deductions for photography businesses for phone lines, you need to have a separate line that you only use for your photography business. Also, it goes without saying that you need to keep a clear record of the calls you’re making, be they local or long-distance, in order to talk with clients or arrange other aspects that have to do with your business.

6. Internet and site bills

No, you can’t get all your internet bills written off as business expenses, but if you own a site dedicated to your business (and we can only hope that you do, given the fact that this is 2014) a fraction of those costs become deductibles. Figure out how much bandwidth you use for website maintenance, then file for a deduction.

7. Training

Photography is one of those fields in which an ongoing education really goes a long way. That’s why the government sees photography workshops, seminars, and courses as potential tax deduction areas. Keep good track of those expenses and make sure to include them  all, when you file for taxes.