5 Cute Photo Album Ideas

When trying to set up a photography business, one of the key aspects which gain most of your attention is, of course, your technique and equipment. There’s almost no end to the constant strive to improve your skills, learn more about how to use various tricks to obtain stunning effects, and to the desire to invest in the next best thing as far as equipment is concerned. This is all very well, but maybe you should spend a little more time considering the experience your clients have after working with you. This isn’t just about the so-called bedside manner, or making your subjects feel comfortable during the shoot, but it should also be about the mementos they’re left with. Of course, they’ll all order digital photos and a few large portraits, but not all of them will think about photo albums. Maybe it’s time to consider surprising your large-order customers with a custom made photo album featuring their best shots. Since there will be some clients who’ll think about it themselves and order one, having the skill to create beautiful photo albums will help you even more. Here are our top 5 suggestions.

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1. Center the photo album pages around themes and sub-themes

Even if the album is basically one big splurge of photos from a certain event or photo shoot, you can still organize them by the feeling they give you. Pair 2 or 3 photos per page either by what people are doing in them, either by seeking to create a funny effect by matching them together. Such a funny effect could be, for example, someone making a sad face, then a photo of another person appearing, and then another of the first person looking all bright and cheerful. You get the idea – just play around with the photos in order to create a funny and delightful walk down memory lane for the people who will receive it.

2. Handwrite labels for each photo, page, and cover

Handwritten labels look way better than printed ones, and an album without labels on its cover and pages looks like it’s missing something. Fill in the labels on the cover or inner covers yourself, and let the recipients fill out the rest of the labels from underneath the photos. They’ll surely appreciate the opportunity to caption it with funny or witty or simply emotionally significant things, and grow fonder of the album you compiled with each passing year.

3. Personalize the photo album with fabric and little insertions

You can get most of the props you can apply over a photo album in any large general store. You can start experimenting with decorations by gluing a large piece of fabric over the main cover, and cutting out a piece of its center so you can still feature a photo on it. Careful at how neatly you tuck in the pages so that the fabric can’t easily be torn off afterwards. Feel free to add all sorts of creative insertions on it afterwards, according to the theme you want to highlight.

4. Take it even further with metallic monograms

If you think you’d be willing to take the personalization even further for a couple of special customers, you could consider decorating the photo album with metallic monograms on the cover, or even on each page. The technique is pretty much a classic and won’t actually require that much skill, but it will look impressive to your more sober clients.

5. Try making a photo card as well, scrapbook-style

If most of your clients don’t really place such large orders as to justify the business decision of gifting them a scrapbook, maybe just apply the same idea to a stand-up photo card. Decorate its frame as nicely as you can, maybe even include two photos on it, and send it with your compliments. Your photographer renown will benefit from these small moves as well.

To maintain inspiration, it never hurts to keep an eye out for new photo album ideas which pop up around the web, gathered together in a growing collection like this one on Pinterest.

5 Ways to Deal with Bad Wedding Photos

It’s another one of those photographers’ nightmares that everyone has to deal with, sooner or later in their career. It usually tends to happen to beginner wedding photographers: you shoot the wedding, spend tons of time editing the pictures, then, one day, you get the dreaded call. The client hates your work. They are disappointed with it. They may even ask for their money back. What do you do? How do you deal with bad wedding photos? Here are 5 tips from actual wedding photographers, with enough experience in their portfolios to be speaking with the best of intentions.

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1. Don’t dwell

This is the most important step in learning how to deal with bad wedding photos, unless you want to end up too scared to ever pick up a camera again. The past is in the past and you can’t reshoot a wedding. You can analyze what went wrong, enlist the aid of a very skilled photo editor and try to do as much damage control as possible. However, at the end of the day, all you can do is learn from your mistakes (as everyone does) and move forward.

2. Analyze & acknowledge

Perhaps the conditions in which you shot the wedding were harsh. Perhaps you lack the experience to handle the weather, the light, the temper tantrums thrown by the wedding party, or anything else. Maybe your compositions are bad. Try to pinpoint the causes, in order to deal with bad wedding photos. Understand what went wrong, but make sure to be as objective and detached as possible. It’s actually a good idea to sit down with said ruined set and a trusted fellow photographer and ask for their opinion. A second call could be what you need, in order to prevent you from doubting your professional abilities altogether.

3. Pay up… or not

Sometimes, when you are forced to deal with bad wedding photos, you must simply understand that some clients are out to get their money back. Nothing you say or do will feel like compensation enough for them, before you pay up. You can comply to any other request they make, edit and re-edit the photos until you turn blue in the face – they want their money back and that’s final. At this point, your options are those listed in the contract you signed with them. If the client has just cause to ask for their money back, both legally and ethically, there is little you can do but pay up. Whatever you do, don’t let yourself be bullied away from your money.

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4. Get a second shooter, be a second shooter

The best way to learn wedding photography is by being a second shooter. Wedding photography pros recommend second shooting weddings for at least a year, before you attempt to go it on your own, as the main wedding photographer. Similarly, if you’re starting out as a main wedding photographer, it’s almost mandatory to enlist the aid of a second shooter you can trust. At the end of the day, they can make a world of difference, in terms of client satisfaction.

5. Trust your instinct

Lastly, the main takeaway, when you have to deal with bad wedding photos, is that you should always trust your gut when it comes to taking on a gig. If you feel you lack the experience and/or are worried the responsibility is too much for you to handle, find a gracious way to say no. You should never let a client pressure you into a booking, because chances are at the end of the day no one’s going to walk away happy – not you, nor the client.

How to Help Couples Relax in Photographs of Their Big Day

How to Help a Couple Relax in Photographs of Their Big Day Once a couple’s wedding day is here, their simply accepting to get married becomes a piece of cake comparing to the ordeal of getting photographed by a stranger. Well, this term is a bit harsh, but you get the picture. Never mind of you’ve known them your whole life or if you’ve just met them, you must be prepared for the worst-case scenario. You are just an outsider meant to mingle with their energy and show it all on camera. But it’s your job to help these couples relax in photographs  of their big day, photographs you are taking. People are different indeed, and so are the couples they form, and it goes without saying that life is better if you have a special someone to share it with, but what can you do, as a photographer witnessing their big day, to make things seem even more perfect than they could ever imagine? Here are some tips and tricks that are meant to keep the most self-aware bride focused on what you really need in order to take the perfect picture. For a more professional tutorial, find out more here.

Give Them Something To Do

How to Help a Couple Relax in Photographs of Their Big Day2 As a general rule, you should never leave your models without a focus point. Professional models are perfectly capable of finding their own concentration points, but as a wedding photographer, chances to work for professional models are quite seldom. So don’t get your hopes up high, but instead develop this simple trick that’s sure to work in every situation. No matter whom you are dealing with, just put your subjects to work. Ask them to tell jokes, to sing, to jump, to surprise each other, to tickle one another, basically any amusing action that crosses your mind. Take advantage of the fact that they can rely on each other. You can also apply this rule when you have to shoot separate frames, with just one member of the couple. Be creative. The explanation is quite simple: once your couple forgets about your being there, instead of struggling to capture natural and genuine beauty, it will just pop out! No one can act natural, they can either be natural or pretend. And we all know how the latter looks like. Not cool.

Make Them Think of Something Nice

How to Help a Couple Relax in Photographs of Their Big Day3 Well, some couples may be too agitated to think of games, or too excited, or too stressed, or too shy… But don’t panic, there’s always a plan B! Here is a softer version of the solution presented above. For introverts, try to delicately guide them into certain states of mind. Instead of bluntly asking them to stare into your lens, with an uptight smile on their faces, try to make them fall into pleasant states of mind.  Get them to tell you the story of how they met, or the day they decided to get married, or the best holiday they’d had so far, or about their honeymoon plans, etc. A nice mental image can always be seen in their eyes as well, and there you go! That’s your Kodak moment! When asked to think happy thoughts, people de-focus from the actual purpose of their being there. Therefore they will stop being uptight, because they will completely forget about you and focus on what made them happy at one time.

Don’t Forget That You Are Also in the Pictures

You’ll just need to click a button, and your work of art is complete. True, but not quite. It goes without saying that genuine human interaction can help you get the best of any situation. And that includes you as well. As a photographer, you are not only an invisible witness, but also an important part of the context. Even though no one seems to care about this, your not appearing in your photos does not mean that you are not there. So in order to help couples relax in photographs, be present, be warm and offer more of your presence in order to get the best from your models.

Tricks & Tools to Help With Your Night Photography

The number one rule for photographers is that light is their best friend. It can be terrifying when you’re still out for a shoot and the light starts to fade. In this situation many photographers simply pack up their stuff and go home. However, it is when light fades that real magic starts to happen. It is true that you will need some practice before successfully shooting photos in the dark, but with a few basic tools and tricks you will make it in no time. Just think about all the dramatic images you can take.

Recommended Read: Make the Most from Your Camera Exposure (ISO, Shutter Speed and Aperture

1. The Golden Hour

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The golden hour (or the golden 15 minutes, according to several photographers) describes the first and last hours of sunlight. There is something about the way that light behaves during that time, when light builds up over long exposures, that will create stunning photography. The sky receives incredible colors in the Golden Hour, from purple to orange to yellow and burnt colors. You should definitely take advantage of the Golden hour if you are passionate about night photography.

2. Tools Needed for Night Photography

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Source: Digitalcameraworld

A handy man is nothing without his handy tools. So before we share any tips, here are a few things that you absolutely need to prepare. Having the right equipment beforehand will significantly increase the quality of the image, and ease your efforts.

  • Cable Release: for longer exposures you need a very still camera. With a cable release you can minimize camera shake when you trigger the shutter (you can also use the timer option instead of a cable release).
  • Tripod: it is impossible to take night-time images with a shaky camera. A tripod will be your best friend on your adventure. With it you can get exactly the angle you want, without trying too hard. A tripod is a definite must-have.
  • Flashlight and External Flash: You need a flashlight to avoid accidents, or highlight dimly light areas that require focus. The external flash can be a great source for fill light when you trigger the off-camera manually. For long exposures, objects that aren’t illuminated don’t show in the end. Only objects with light are seen in the capture.
  • Wide lens: lastly, you will need a wide lens (a good pick would be a 10-22 used for architectural images or landscapes). Wider lenses work better in the dark.

3. Tricks to Help You with your Night Photography

Source: http://www.smashingmagazine.com/

  • Plan your compositions: Before you start shooting you should definitely get an idea of which angles and vantage points you want to leverage. Take a few rough photos before getting in the trouble of setting up your tripod and tools.
  • Use High ISO: If you are not a fan of long exposures, you can take photos with higher ISO. Naturally, high ISO is a must when taking night-time images. Although there might be noise in the final result, you can reduce it with post-processing editing software. Just make sure you don’t go over 6400 ISO because this will make noise nearly impossible to get rid of.
  • Motion Blurs: not all blurs are bad, some are actually interesting. You can experiment with your shots by moving the camera or capturing moving objects. Zooming while the shutter is open can also add an interesting forward-motion effect.

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Source: http://www.youthedesigner.com/

  • Shoot for HDR (high dynamic range): Place your camera on a tripod and take three identical shots, only with different exposures (dark, average and light). Load your images into Photoshop and create HDR file out of them. You can now apply tone mapping to your HDR image to reveal more details.
  • Setting your Aperture & Shutter Speed: Getting the right exposure for a dim-light scene is incredibly difficult. For this step you simply need experience and intuition. The more you shoot at night, the easier it will become. Deny the urge of bumping up your ISO to astronomical levels and opening your aperture. Try to close it down, and shoot at a longer exposure. You will need exposures of 10-30 seconds. Another rule of thumb would be to keep the aperture closed as much as possible, and the ISO to 100-500 (to reduce noise). This will enable you to create moody low-light images that you can later edit in Photoshop.

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Use Your Camera’s Depth of Field Better

The manual settings on your camera, if used right, can lead to far more marvelous photos than those done with the auto settings. It’s really quite unfortunate that most DLSR cameras come today with advanced auto settings, because it enables most users to postpone actually learning a thing or two about what the manual settings actually do and how they can be aligned to work together for perfect results. Don’t be one of those lazy would-be photographers who stick to the predefined options, as that will never lead to better than average photos. One of the first things you should learn to use better is the so-called triangle of camera exposure, composed of ISO, shutter speed and aperture. It can truly make the difference between average photos at best and good photos at least. But after learning more about those basics, the next thing which can influence your final photos for the better is your camera’s depth of field variable, a sub-setting within the aperture setting.

What is the Depth of Field?

The depth of field, usually abbreviated with an f-number, is something directly derived from the aperture of your camera. As a reminder, your camera’s aperture is the size of the hole within the lens, through which light travels to the inside of the camera. Considering that cameras are made following the model of the human eye, you could say that the aperture corresponds to the eye’s pupil, since they serve the same purpose of allowing light in. A bigger camera usually has a larger hole, and a smaller camera usually has a smaller hole. A larger hole equals a bigger aperture, while a smaller hole equals a lower aperture. The aperture of a camera is also expressed through an f number, with a higher number signifying a smaller aperture and vice-versa. This might seem counter-intuitive to some of you, but it can be easier sunk in if you look at this chart (pictured below). The white circles in it represent the size of the lens aperture, while the f numbers written below them illustrate the rule: the larger the number, the smaller the aperture signified will be.

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The depth of field is the size of the field that looks sharp in a photograph, and it is directly dependent on the aperture.  A large depth of field number (like f/28) will bring all the foreground and background objects into focus equally, while a smaller number (signifying a larger aperture) will bring only the foreground objects into focus, making the background of the photo appear blurry. A good illustration of this effect can be observed in the picture below. As you might have guessed, this is how those wonderful photos with faded backgrounds are made with, and it is indeed a wonderful effect to use. A skilled manipulation of a camera’s depth of field allows the photographer to emphasize whatever their heart’s desire is within a photo, and to make sure the viewers “see” the same thing the photographer has seen when they look at the image.

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Even though a camera’s aperture sounds like more or less of a hardware property, since it depends on the size of the hole and the lens, the aperture can be somewhat manipulated, within a minimum and maximum limit. Each camera comes with these min and max values stated in the manual or in the specifications of your lens, if you bought yours separately from the camera. The depth of field can be thus adjusted by adjusting the camera’s aperture, and you should play with it as often as possible to obtain better or more creative photos on the long run. Don’t be afraid to experiment, after a while you’ll get the feel of it and you’ll be able to employ the depth of field to create beautiful images seamlessly, just by following your gut. Good luck and have fun.

Make the Most from Your Camera Exposure (ISO, Shutter Speed and Aperture)

The basic key to taking good pictures is learning to make the most out of your camera exposure features, which unfortunately is something most beginners don’t look into. Most DLSR cameras now have “auto” modes that adapt the camera to the lighting conditions, enabling their users to not look into those settings themselves, but the results obtained using the camera’s auto mode are far from satisfactory. Also, no matter how much you play with your pictures afterwards in a photo editor like Picassa or even Photoshop, even if you use the most sophisticated auto-contrast and auto-lighting tools, you pictures still won’t be that great.

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The only thing that can make them truly spectacular and vouch for your truly professional photography skills is using the right camera settings in the first place instead of resorting to post-editing. Those camera exposure settings you should learn more about are sometimes called the camera exposure triangle: we’re talking about ISO, shutter speed and aperture. Here’s a short introduction on what you can do with each of those.

Camera Exposure Feature No 1: ISO

We’ve already talked to you about the importance of adjusting your ISO when we discussed a few tips on taking better family portraits. The ISO is a number reflecting your camera’s sensitivity to the available light. A lower number reflects a lower sensitivity (and must thus be used when there’s plenty of good light), while a higher number reflects a higher camera sensitivity. ISO 100 and 200 are considered low in most circumstances, 400 would be a medium, while every number bigger than that would be a high value. Greater ISO also comes with a cost: the higher the camera’s sensitivity, the more “grain” or noise in the photo’s quality. Still, when the lighting is poor or you’re trying to photograph a moving target, the payoff may be worth it. Experiment with this setting, get to know your camera and decide for yourself.

Camera Exposure Feature No 2: Shutter Speed

The second setting from the so-called camera exposure triangle which you should learn about is the shutter speed. This is a number reflecting the length of time for which a camera shutter is open for exposing light inside the camera sensor. Since we’re talking about advanced cameras here and not hundreds of years models, this number will obviously be a measure of fractions of a second. Really fast shutter speed settings (like 1/115) can successfully be used to freeze motion, while deliberately low speeds (like 1/15 or 1/20) can allow more light into the camera, making this a perfect setting for nighttime photography.

Camera Exposure Feature No 3: Aperture

Last, but not least, we should talk about the aperture feature. This is more like a technical built-in characteristic of the camera itself, referring to the hole with a lens through which light passes into the camera body. The larger this hole is, the more light can pass, making the camera more apt for certain types of photography. The depth of field (usually expressed through the letter f and is sometimes called the focal ratio) also depends on the camera’s aperture, and this refers to the portion of a scene which appears to be sharp. The larger the aperture, the smaller the depth of field will be and vice-versa.

Now remember: the important thing, besides learning how to use each of these better, is learning how to use them together. That means that if you increase one, maybe one of the others needs to be slightly decreased to compensate, and so on. For example, a large aperture usually calls for a high shutter speed, to prevent overexposure and so on. We can’t provide you with exact formulas here, because all this adjusting would depend not only on what your current camera settings are, but also on what exactly you’re trying to photograph, if it’s indoors or outdoors, in what kind of lighting conditions and so on. You need to research these things yourself, starting with your camera’s manual. Once you’ve managed to get those camera exposure features to work for you, the most important technical requirements for great pictures have been met.

A Few Tips on Shooting Great Family Portraits

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Many of you aspiring professionals have a hard time choosing a photography niche, but some of you already decided to have portrait photography as one of your main go-tos. And the rest of you striving to make it in this transition from an amateur photographer to a pro haven’t really wholeheartedly decided for portrait photography, but you end up doing portrait gigs once in a while because this is what is most often offered to you. Since building a portfolio always requires you to show off your paid gigs, it’s only natural to accept most of the employment offers coming your way even if you don’t need the money that bad (you have another main job) or even if the subject isn’t really your cup of tea. And this is how the matter of family portraits arises.

The customers employing you to take photos for them want portraits most often than not, obviously, so there you have it: sooner or later, every aspiring photographer needs to deal with portrait photography no matter how much or little they like it. But perhaps we’re getting ahead of ourselves and you really have a genuine interest for this kind of photography, well, even better in that case. You’ll need all the enthusiasm you can muster, just as in any other photography niche. We’ve previously shared with you a general outline about the dos and don’ts of portrait photography, but this field has its own subfields which can be very different from each other, like wedding photography, artistic nudes, mother and child photography and so on. Today we’re going to talk about what it takes to shoot really wonderful pictures in the subfield of family portraits, so that you hopefully end up with a product that satisfies both the client and your own artistic and professional exigencies.

1. Be as relaxed as you want your subject to be

Photographers complaining about how some subjects just can’t pose and how they freeze in front of the camera often forget that the subject’s attitude is very often dependent on theirs. Talk to clients beforehand about any previous experiences with photographers and, if they trust you, they’ll confess that photographers freeze too behind the camera and start fidgeting. The manner in which a photographer fidgets is something like this: continuously changing camera settings and lighting, giving contradictory instructions for the subject’s posing, seeming unsure of themselves and of what to do next, and generally conveying a discontent vibe about the whole thing. If you make your subject(s) uncomfortable and general

2. Adjust your lens to the group’s size

The lens you equip dictates what kind of angle your camera will be capable to sustain, as well as opening up a whole array of focusing options. If you’re taking the portrait of a large group, like multiple generations of one family or more than 4-5 people, you need to equip a wide-angle lens of about 18 mm, allowing more people to fit in your shot. A telephoto lens (greater than 70 mm) works, as the name implies, better at a distance, but don’t allow a great angle. If you’re shooting a group sitting further away, this could be a good option. Just climb on something that gives you a bit of an altitude and shoot away for some of the best family portraits ever; the distance will prevent you of missing the angle.

3. Use Exposure Compensation to get the skin tones right

The Exposure Compensation feature is something landscape photographers often use to brighten or darken up skies in order to obtain more realistic or dramatic images. When shooting family portraits, this feature can be used as a trick to make sure that the lighting isn’t tampering with your subjects’ natural skin tone. You can dial up this functionality (the exact place to find it depends on your camera so search it in the manual) by positive or negative ¼ measures until you feel that the skin tone is now just right.

4. Increase your ISO to counteract your subjects’ movement

People tend to move around quite a bit when they have their portraits taken and this is true especially of large groups. Imagine many generations and kids and pets all crammed up together in a tight group and having to wait for multiple shots to be taken. But don’t worry, this can actually work to your advantage, as they will be more relaxed and natural if they’re allowed to move and you may be able to capture some very fun family portraits. The only downside to all this is that movement can make the pictures blurred, depending on your camera’s aperture and shutter. To prevent the blurring, you should increase your ISO and bump up your shutter speed up to 400, and even higher in low light. This might produce a little bit of a grain effect (at higher ISO values like 3200), but even so the pictures will still look better.

Remember to practice patience and friendliness and keep researching and experimenting with various camera settings. Your portrait photography skills and photography skills in general will get better for it.

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.

Being a Portrait Photographer: the Dos and Don’ts

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In many lines of work where you have to deal with people, having special people skills is a must. The famous “bedside manner” of doctors is just the tip of the iceberg, since many, many jobs involve having an adaptable and light social touch, especially when the job is a serving one. But being a photographer isn’t really regarded in professional mediums as being one of those serving jobs where your diplomacy and people skills are that important, since being a photographer, as we all know, equates more or less to being an artist. While that last statement is by all means true enough, the corollary is that it’s the type of artistry where those sometimes dreaded people skills do matter, since you need to negotiate with people (your present and potential clients) the exact vision they are looking for and the point of view you are trying to convert them to. This couldn’t be truer than in the case of portrait photography: not only do you work with people that commissioned the photos to deliver what they paid for, but sentient humans are the subject(s) you have to actually shoot in those photos as well. To make sure you don’t leave any kind of bitter after-taste, make sure you take these dos and don’ts into consideration when interacting with people as a portrait photographer.

 Be extra careful to promote a positive body image for your subjects

People who want their portrait taken want to feel pretty, and some of them might even be a bit extra sensitive about how they look or have bodily image issues. Be careful not to make anyone feel uncomfortable (not on purpose, of course) by suggesting they would look better in a different pose or angle, in a way that reminds them of their potential flaws. On the other hand, you can’t allow someone to really pose in a way that brings out their flaws, because then the bad result would be on you anyway, so keep in mind that it’s a thin line and you must keep the balance in the most pleasant manner possible.

Don’t be afraid to suggest spontaneous changes of plans

If during a photo shoot for a series of portrait you suddenly get an idea to do something that wasn’t originally part of the plan, suggest it right away. Maybe you’d like to invite someone else in the client’s circle to join the client in the photo frame, or maybe you want to get out of the frame altogether and try shooting in another environment, even one that hasn’t been prepped for the shoot. Whatever your idea is, try voicing it out, with confidence and tempered enthusiasm, you don’t know what good may come out of it, and the people you work with will appreciate your dedication and creativity. If they don’t seem open to the idea, don’t push it, of course; but even so, it still strengthens your professional image even if they don’t resonate with your proposal.

Try your luck with strangers (in a non-awkward way)

If being a portrait photographer is your thing, then you probably agree that people are a fascinating thing to watch and make for the most interesting subjects. Why don’t you try out your luck the next time you go for a long walk and, if you find someone interesting to take a picture of, approach them? It will not only be a good chance to further develop your people skills, but you may be surprised of the good works that can come out of a spontaneous thing like that. Take a look at the Humans of New York photo project, if you don’t know it already, and you’ll know what we mean by it. The more you try to talk to people about it, even if you get rejected, the more you can explore what kind of approach makes them uncomfortable, or work out a more reassuring and trustworthy professional persona.

Don’t neglect your social media presence

Since being a portrait photographer means working with the public and directly with clients even more so than other branches of professional photography, it’s important to brush up on your people skills in other areas as well. Your overall reputation and business card-like things, for instance. Brush up on your skills of amplifying your impact and image within social media hubs, work towards making the people who are satisfied with your work be more visible as well, while tagging you directly, and you’ll attract more potential customers than in any other way.

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.