Underwater Photography: 12 Mistakes to Avoid

Is underwater photography something you want to become good at? Do you think you’ve got what it takes? We’ll have you know that underwater photography is not a simple walk in the park (or in this case, the sea). Snapping photos under the sea is sometimes very different than basic photography. That’s because there’s a whole new world down there, a mysterious labyrinth of corals, rocks, and wildlife, where the laws of optics get severely distorted.

Don’t worry though! You may know that Elena Kalis, Eric Engbretson, and Howard Schatz are famous photographers. Even they didn’t know anything about the subject at first. So if you want to make a career out of it and start publishing your snapshots in famous magazines, you’d better learn some quick tips and tricks.

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The beautiful marine wildlife is waiting for you, all you have to do is press a button. Here’s a guide of 12 mistakes to avoid:

1. Relaxation Is on Holiday

National Geographic has a great selection of animal photography. Let’s say you’re underwater and you see one of your favorite fishes lost in a dance with other sea creatures. It’s easy to get frantic while looking for your camera in a wild rush. You’ll not only get overly agitated and snap a blurry photo, you’ll also more than likely scare the fish away.

Other than patience, underwater photography requires calm, and a long period of training. Tell yourself that everything will be alright, then reach for your camera. Nothing, not even a wave can stop you now.

2. Blurred Subjects Everywhere

The Professional Association of Diving Instructors, PADI in short, have many tips for novice photographers. The oceans and seas Mother Nature blessed us with are rich in all kinds of fish species. Be they colorful, or monochrome, fast swimmers, or slow lurkers, you need to be prepared to press the camera button at any time to capture them.

Here is some advice from PADI: the best thing to do is pick a strobe and stick with it. Check and see if its shutter speed is good enough to freeze a subject that swims like a race car. That usually means higher than 1/70th of a second.

3. You Snap Pics Horizontally

Raise your hands if you don’t understand people who film vertically with their iPhone. When you’re underwater, though, no one will judge you for that since fish aren’t really virtual underwater photography connoisseurs. Snapping pics with the landscape setting on is a no-no, especially for reef scenes.

On the other hand, photos taken with the portrait option don’t include important background details. Once you know this, you’ll have no problem participating in a photography competition.

4. You’re Too Far Away from a Subject

This is one of the most common mistakes if you don’t know how to find the best distance to not to scare wildlife away. That also happens when you want to take professional pics of your beautiful dogs diving underwater with your GoPro gear.

The best advice you’ll hear: “Get close, then get closer”. There’s a good reason for that: the amount of water shooting through is minimal. Approach your subjects from a small distance. Things such as contrast, saturation, and color will improve.

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5. Irregular Lighting

Wide-angle images tend to be badly lit when shooting underwater. We recommend turning off the strobe, then exposing the scene with ambient light. This settles the blues. When you’re done, add the device’s strobe light back in.

There are many internship programs available for those wishing to learn more about lighting and how it can greatly improve the quality of a setting and the resulting photography.

6. Not Enough Patience

Calm isn’t the only quality an underwater photographer should have. Patience is key if you want to show your friends amazing images of the Coral Reef. It’s always a good idea to take your time when photographing your surroundings. Don’t just focus, press the shutter button, and be done with it. Such a happy snappy attitude will make you miss out on some amazing results.

Use all those 16GB in your camera. You will probably end up with something so good, NYC art galleries will be begging to organize an exhibition for your creations.

7. Loss of Color

What looks vibrant above water doesn’t anymore when you’re under the sea. Images turn blue and red is invisible. Water acts like a filter upon colors, absorbing and distorting most warm shades, and giving them a bluish hue.

If you’re too far away from the subject, you’ll get the same result. Getting up-close-and-personal and strobing the lights are the perfect and simple ways to solve the problem. A fisheye lens or a good filter offer some other quick fixes.

8. No Sharpness

Just like regular photography, underwater images need focus. When your subject isn’t sharp, the picture will look bad. If you want to photograph a fish, find its eyes and focus on them. Regular training done at a workshop or dedicated photography course can work wonders.

After you complete one of them, look for diving lessons and for jobs to practice what you’ve learned. Martin Edge shares helpful tips and tricks if you go to his online channel. He discusses macro photography, filters, and everything else in-between.

9. Too Much Editing

As we all know, beginner photographers love over-editing their images. This isn’t the way to make sure your photos are flawless. Martin Edge suggests that what you need to do is think of editing as a tool. When you want to increase exposure in post-processing, use manual exposure underwater.

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10. Don’t Look Down

When immersed in the art of underwater photography, it’s best if you don’t try to shoot from an overhead perspective. The lighting will distort your image and the photo will be out of focus. Instead of picturing things from above, try and take your photo from another viewpoint: from the side or from down below.

11. Too Much Backscatter

When strobes aren’t placed correctly, backscatter appears. Move them further out and make sure they’re behind the lens. If visibility is low, use ambient light by slowing the shutter and opening the aperture.

12. Too Much Clutter

Admiring semi-nude models at fashion underwater shoots in Hawaii or Australia is fine. Looking at a busy reef in photos, on the other hand, is tiresome. Concentrate on the details of your subject, even if it’s just your pet dog swimming in a pool. You can also try your hand at maternity photography where the model is the baby girl or boy.

underwater photography fashion

Shooting photos of brides and grooms during a wedding session are perfect opportunities to propose an underwater shoot! It doesn’t matter if you take 200 photos and all are bland. Post-processing will bring these photos to life. There are a couple of blogs you can take inspiration from. Several books have also been written on the subject. Another tip for you: surf the Internet for schools that offer underwater photography classes.

If you want to make a splash with your underwater photography skills, these are the things to avoid. You don’t really need professional equipment or special techniques as long as you listen to these small tips. A DSLR, digital cameras, or iPhones with waterproof cases work just as well. Simply follow the list of the most common mistakes for underwater photography included in this tutorial and you’ll be fine.

Image sources: 1, 2, 3, 4

8 Photography Contests 2016 that Are Worth Entering

Always wanted to show the world your incredible photos? The photography contests 2016 has in store might be the perfect chance to do that! This year is filled with exciting photo competitions that you will definitely want to take part in. All you need to do is register online and submit your work. The prizes at the end are sure to catch anyone’s camera eye. Your creation could even end up in the National Geographic magazine! Here are the best 8 photography contests 2016 you need to enter right now:

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World of Windows

Here’s a nice concept: windows. They make the world around us. They are the eyes of our houses and the gateways of sunshine. From the small wooden framed glass panes of a treehouse to the mammoth glass skyscrapers glaring in the sundown skyline. You can use any to capture a few pictures for this photography contest!

The theme (obvious by now) is windows and how you capture what’s going on inside or outside of them. The deadline is March 31, so be quick about it if you want to enter. According to the rules, the fee is $15 for up to 4 photos. The entries will then be reviewed by a panel of professionals in order to select the winners.

Here’s a look at the cash prizes:

  • First place: $250.
  • Second place: $100.
  • Third place: $75.

Apart from a prize in money, the winners will be offered their own gallery exhibition. Their work will also be promoted on social media. Last but not least: the photos will be included in the World Photography Network newsletter.

What’s New Pussycat?

Is your pet a cat and do you love nothing more than to snap photos of it? Judging by my personal Facebook news feed, most of my friends would be eligible for this purrfect contest. There’s nothing in the world that can come close to the cuteness of little fuzzy-wuzzy cat photo.

You can take part in this competition if you submit your work of photo-art by March 6. The contest is organized by the 1650 Gallery in Los Angeles. You can find out more from their Facebook Event page. The entry fee is $35 for up to 5 photos. If you want to show them more than five, you’ll have to pay $5 for every extra image you submit.

The best 3 photographers will have their photos published on the event’s page. The “Best In Show” winners get to see their 10 photos featured in the 1650 Spotlight online gallery. They’ll also be featured in the newsletter.

Showtime

The Showtime photo contest takes place every year. The downside being that it’s only open to Canadian residents only. If you like to dwell on summer dreams, catching blissful moments at parties, or anything that has red in it, then this year might be the one for you! Alight your aspirations of winning one of the photography contests 2016 holds by taking part in this one!

Local amateur and professional photographers are more than welcome to join the competition. Entry is free and you can send your images at showtime@photolife.com. Each participant can only submit 5 photos per each contest theme. The deadlines for each theme are as follows: March 15, May 15, and July 15. With such diverse themes and a total number of 15 photos that one contestant can submit, this contest is perfect for a debuting photo artist. Better yet, there’s no need for expensive DSLRs as this competition accepts even photos take with your iPhone.

photography contests 2016 summer dreams

A perfect summer dream photo example, well worth one of the prizes.

Abstract Nature

Looking at the world through a different view, seeing odd shapes, odd angles, optical illusions, and pixels made of dreams. That’s what the makers of this photography contest challenge you to do. The Digital Photographer Team will judge this photo contest. According to the jury, they “want to see a whole different approach to nature photography (…).”

The photos you submit should be abstract. You can choose an outdoor animal portrait, a child on a beach, or a horse in Iowa. The prizes for the expert’s winner and the crowd’s winner are two Lowepro Photo Sport BP 300 AW II backpacks, one for each. The Digital Photographer magazine will also publish the photos of the crowd winner, as well as the expert’s winner’s top 3 images. The deadline for the Abstract Nature competition: April 3.

Geometry

Looking at the world through a different view, seeing odd shapes, odd angles, optical illusions, and pixels made of dreams. That’s what the makers of this photography contest challenge you to do. The Digital Photographer Team will judge this photo contest. According to the jury, they “want to see a whole different approach to nature photography (…).”

The photos you submit should be abstract. You can choose an outdoor animal portrait, a child on a beach, or a horse in Iowa. The prizes for the expert’s winner and the crowd’s winner are two Lowepro Photo Sport BP 300 AW II backpacks, one for each. The Digital Photographer magazine will also publish the photos of the crowd winner, as well as the expert’s winner’s top 3 images. The deadline for the Abstract Nature competition: April 3.

The grand prize for the winner is a $200 Amazon voucher. She or he will be able to use it to buy any type of photography equipment. Furthermore, the winner’s work will be work featured on the website’s Facebook and Twitter pages.

Urban 2016 Photo Awards + Exhibition

The star of the photography contests 2016 has to offer, the Urban Photo Awards are centered on the urban, the natural, and the active. If you’re into equine photography, the Urban contest is one way to get your equine photos noticed. No matter whether your submission is a bird in Arkansas or a dog and its owner in Texas, the judges will be more than anxious to receive it.

The competition has 3 main themes: street photography, nature, and sports. High-quality images can be submitted by May 31. The entry fee is $11 for the first photo and extra images are $5.54 each. The winner of the Themed Photos section will receive $1,109 and a medal, second place gets $554.53 and a medal, while third place receives $332.71 and a medal.

Intrepid Travel

A popular contest, the Intrepid travel is open to people who love to snap photos while on holiday in a foreign land. You can use either a digital camera or your mobile phone. Shoot photos of exotic food, fine wines, or of teens playing on the seaside.

The deadline is June 30. You don’t have to pay an entry fee, but you do need to be over 14 to enter it. There are 6 monthly themes. The first three are “Food from the road”, “Local Faces”, and “Europe & Turkey.” The other three are “Streetview”, “Friends traveling”, and “Travel icons.”

The winner will receive an $800 voucher from Intrepid Travel.

photography contests 2016 destinations

Monochrome Awards

Photographers who like to shoot in black and white are invited to the Monochrome Awards 2016. Your images can range from fashion presentations to a baby making its first steps. A student going to school or teenagers participating in a state fair are also great ideas for submissions. You need to capture life as it is since inauthentic photos are very easy to spot. Try to incorporate everyday moments and paint them in black and white so as to give them a tinge of memory-like nostalgia. A good monochrome photo can bring even us grownups to tears.

Watch out, though! You have until July 3 to submit all your images. You’ll also have to pay a fee (unspecified) to upload them online. The Photographer of the Year will receive $2000. The Discovery of the Year winner will get $1000.

Conclusion

This concludes our list of the best photography contests 2016 has for us. Did you take part in a photo competition in 2014 and 2015 without winning anything? These 8 photography contests 2016 will give you offer another chance to make it big. Show these professional judges what images you’ve captured and your digital masterpieces could travel the world.

Image source: 1, 2, 3

The Quick & Dirty Guide to Wedding Photography Business Branding

We’ve written about branding at length before, with talk on finding your own niche and sticking to it, as well as several other techniques to help you stand out on today’s complex photography market. Today, however, we’re going to make everything simple and clear for your convenience, with a quick and dirty guide to wedding photography business branding. We’ll be covering all the basics, from getting your reputation off the ground, to putting it to work for you – all outlined in some simple, easy-to-follow steps. Oh, and good luck!

The definitive guide to wedding photography business branding: Newbie edition

1. Making a name and a living at the same time

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Back in the day, when print photography was much more important than it is today, in the digital era, photographers would make a name for themselves by getting gallery exposure, followed up with editorial work. Far be it from us, in our guide to wedding photography business branding, to dissuade you from garnering exposure via exhibitions. But, since they’re less likely to draw lucrative clients today than two or three decades ago, you’d be better advised to get some exposure online first, via curated websites. Promote any exposure you can get on your own social media channels and watch as the work rolls in.

2. Don’t underestimate stock photography

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As many a seasoned photog will tell you, stock photography doesn’t sell nearly as well as it used to, nowadays. However, if you manage to get a bit of reputation off the ground, you might be surprised to learn that stock will provide a welcome stream of steady income. The trick to making this work often entails taking up several assignments at once – the pay isn’t big, but it’s dependable, when you do strike a lucrative stock photography contract.

3. Have the best possible online presence

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In between running and maintaining a blog, several social media accounts (Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are nearly compulsory) and setting up a professional website, you might even want to look into hiring an assistant to handle the workload for you. At the same time, even if you do choose to go down this route, it’s important to maintain a personal approach to your online presence. In other words, don’t make your fans and followers feel like they’re been talked at by a company, but by a genuine human being.

4. Consider hiring an editor

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What’s all this talk about hiring someone else do the work for you?, you may ask. After all, the best way to take care of business is to do it yourself, right? Most of the time, yes – but not all the time. If, for instance, editing your work is not your strong suit (which, incidentally, is something that a lot of photographers struggle with), you should definitely think about hiring someone to edit the photos for you. After all, your end goal is to put your best foot forward, as it were, and make sure that the images that get out there with your name on them are the best possible ones.

5. Work on as many projects as possible

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We’ve mentioned this before, in connection with stock photography, but it’s a good rule of thumb to go by, no matter the type of assignment. From shooting weddings pure and simple, to taking on editorial assignments, it’s a good idea to put out as much work as you can. You will thus expand your scope, grow your business, showcase your skill, and make sure you get your name out there, on as many people’s radars as possible. And that can’t be a bad idea, right?

5 Online Photography Portfolio Mistakes to Avoid

Curious to know if you’re at fault for one of these common online photography portfolio mistakes? Read on – about loading time, the importance of contact information, the vital presence of passion, and plenty more errors that many otherwise skilled and professional photographers can succumb to. Bear them in mind, when you work on articulating a coherent online presence and business is sure to freely flow in.

Your contact info is not crystal clear

Let’s not beat around the bush about this one – one of the most frequently encountered online photography portfolio mistakes. If your contact information is not literally plastered on each and every single page of your website, portfolio included, then you’re definitely doing something wrong. Think about it: how else are you supposed to attract new business, if your potential clients don’t know how they could reach you? And, no, putting your contact information up on the first page is often not enough since, contrary to what you may think, most visitors to your website don’t start their visit with the main page.

You’re all business and no fun

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We get it: your job is photographing weddings. Or commercial products. Or architecture. But do you actually like what you shoot? Are you passionate about your job, your subjects, and the stories you convey visually? Another one of those dreaded online photography portfolio mistakes that we often run into is that photographers all too often focus on coming across as professional and don’t manage to convince us, their audience, that they’re actually passionate about what they shoot – be it weddings, clothes, or luncheon meats.

You don’t know your audience

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Be honest to yourself: in the day and age of SEO and Google Analytics supremacy, even your grandma would probably be able to take one look at the traffic data your website provides and understand the audience’s profile and needs. Your online photography portfolio needs to speak to actual people. What kind of monitor are they likely to have? What’s their age? Where do they live? What pages do they interact with and how? Are they more likely to browse your site off a PC or a mobile device, like a laptop, tablet, or smartphone? You need to know all these things and make sure your website design responds to them.

You avoid words

Yes, your main occupation is working with images – but you need to remember that one of the biggest online photography portfolio mistakes is to not include any words whatsoever on your page. On the Internet, words are your friend. Not only do they help with SEO, but they also enable you, the artist, to tell a more complete story. If your work ends up featured in a magazine or on a website, chances are your words are going to follow it there. And, most importantly, your potential clients will get a better shot at understanding how you work and what drives you.

The loading time is through the roof

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The one biggest pet peeve, for people who browse photo-heavy websites is a long loading time. A recent buyer survey from Photo Shelter has revealed that absolutely no one likes to be kept waiting around, until the pictures on a website have finished loading. We’re talking load times that need to be far lower than even one second. Otherwise, your visitors are going to perceive a break in the pace at which they’re used to browsing – and simply head elsewhere. There are plenty of website optimization tricks to help speed up loading time, including pre-loading a part of the images, as visitors browse, and so on. Don’t let such a seemingly small issue drag the quality of your whole website down.

Making the Most of Your Wedding Portrait Photos: 3 Trends in 2014

As many artists will tell you, wedding portrait photos are an art in and of themselves. They are very important to the clients, of course, and can also greatly enrich your portfolio and enhance its overall value. That’s why, for today’s post, we’re taking a look at three trends that have been dictating the rules for this segment over the past months. They’ve been confirmed enough for us to assume that they’ll also be around until the end of the year; so, pay heed and make sure you’re doing everything right, in order to make the most of your wedding portrait photos.

1. Posed shots are the past

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It’s not just wedding portrait photos that have become more dynamic and focused on storytelling. In fact, as seasoned family or pet photographers will confirm, the entire niche of photographic portraiture has become far more focused on natural settings and dynamism. Most photographers nowadays choose to photograph their clients in natural outdoor environments, thus lending an air of freshness and vivacity to their shots. It also helps place the subjects in a setting they love, since this will help them feel far more relaxed in front of the camera.

Another trend, which only comes to complete the above, is that of wedding portrait photos that could easily pass for photojournalism. What does this mean, in terms of actual images? It means that both the photographer and the clients take on a more candid approach. The end images are more natural and raw, less processed, more creative, and with a more ‘in the moment’ feel to them than ever before. Since photojournalism is all about spontaneity and capturing a good story within an instant, it goes without saying that the photos created like this are far more unique, fun for everyone involved and creative.

2. Pricing goes up with experience

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Given today’s rather harsh economic climate, many wedding photographers are reluctant to increase the pricing of their services overall – and of their portrait sessions in particular. However, as seasoned pros will tell you, this is not necessarily a good approach. After all, if you’re investing in your business, it’s only natural to expect the prices to match your level of experience. What’s more, portrait photography can even be regarded as a separate niche within the wedding photography segment. It requires specialized equipment and technical skills. If you’re committed to creating ever better wedding portrait photos, you’re probably also investing in this. Classes, lenses, accessories and other investments should be reflected in your pricing options. What’s more, as you continue to grow your wedding photography business, it’s probably also a good idea to book more clients – in the long run, this increasing roster of customers will also act as an argument in your favor, when it comes to asking for higher fees.

3. Don’t underestimate the power of the print

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Sure, everyone is online these days: wedding portrait photos garner impressive amounts of likes on Facebook, they’re shared by your clients over Instagram, and maybe even featured on Pinterest. But the problem is that they all too often end up forgotten on a CD or DVD somewhere. To help your wedding portrait photos enjoy a longer lifespan, but also to help increase your business, you should perhaps try offering a special print as a bonus to your clients, thus encouraging them to print more photos.

Also, one clear 2014 trend is experimenting with print materials. Canvas is very popular at the moment, but there are so many options the list is virtually endless. Some photographers over shadow boxes, others print on glass or wood, while others are experimenting with artwork products like metal and acrylic.

5 Tips on Building the Best Photo Portfolio Website

Say what you will, but building the best photo portfolio website is still important, even in 2014 – the day and age of social media, mobile apps and all other great digital trends. Why does a good website still matter? The answer is simple enough and has a lot to do with one of the most basic principles in marketing: a website for your photo brand is the most comprehensive way for a potential client to sample your work and decide whether or not they want to hire you. They’ll be basing their decision on what they see there to a great extent, so it pays off to know how to best represent your brand and showcase your work. That being said, here are five efficient tips on how to build the best photo portfolio website for yourself.

#1 Getting praise for website design? Think again

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There’s nothing inherently wrong with having a website design that gets a lot of compliments… if you’re a website designer. But you’re not; you’re a wedding photographer and that’s what your site should convey. Forget complex Flash animations and other artifices. Keep it simple and clean, let the photos speak for themselves, keep the number of buttons at a bare minimum, and, if possible, even add an option that conceals them when they’re not being used. K-I-S-S, as they say, and you’ll be on your way to building the best photo portfolio website possible.

#2 Reconsider your views on image theft

This point might turn out controversial, but it bears mentioning. As you may or may not have noticed, more and more photographers with a strong online presence choose to put their images up at full-screen size on their website. They’re also keeping the area of the picture that’s taken up by the watermark at a bare minimum (as do major image repositories such as Getty Images). Of course, you want to protect your images from being stolen, but you also want to see them featured, shared, and admired. It’s easy to protect your full-size images from being downloaded with a right-click blocker, for instance; similarly, too big a watermark might deter your visitors from actually looking at the pictures.

#3 It’s a website, not a brain puzzle

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Another sure-fire way to create the best photo portfolio website you can is to make sure it’s efficient, in terms of user-friendliness. Keep your number of featured categories at a bare minimum, too. Don’t get too creative with naming them, or the labels, tags, categories, and menu buttons you’re using. It might seem fun at first, but you also risk alienating visitors. It should be simple to get to see the pictures – and this involves a choice of wording that your viewers will understand and that is also typical of your niche.

#4 Go mobile

This is 2014 – everyone and their grandmother is browsing the web off a smartphone, tablet, or another type of mobile device. These devices have smaller screens and they also react differently to usage patterns. As such, make sure you’re investing into the development of a mobile, responsive design version for your website. The best photo portfolio website you can build is definitely not one that looks the same on a computer screen as it does on an iPhone.

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#5 You are your own worst editor

It may sound harsh and it could even be too much to stomach for some photographers, but the truth is that you’re better off hiring an editor, when trying to build a website. They will do a far better job than you at selecting the pictures in the first place, since they’re not as emotionally attached to them as you are. And, as they say, a photographer’s portfolio is only as good as the worst picture in it.

How to Photograph Food at Weddings – The Bare Essentials

We live in a society that seems to be more obsessed with food than ever before. Not only has the cultural trope of the foodie risen to mainstream media prominence, but the endless streams of Instagram hashtags that revolve around food confirms this obsession. In such a food-centric day and age, the question of how to photograph food at weddings may seem simpler to answer than ever before. After all, if your smartphone touting 15 year-old cousin can do it, so can you – a seasoned professional of this visual art we call photography. Right?

Things are obviously not that simple, of course. In order to truly photograph food at events like a professional, you still need to bear a few essential tips and tricks in mind. So, here they are, for your convenience, dispensed in numbered list form.

1. Bounce those whites

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There are few things likely to make meals look more unappealing than harsh shadows, the kind caused by natural light in mid-day, for instance. As such, one way to fill in those shadows is to bounce the whites and silver highlights in a picture with the aid of some easy-to-carry bounce cards. Not only will these simple aides make your images look better, they will also restore the level of detail you’re looking for, which you’d otherwise lose to deep shadows.

Such shadows are often unavoidable, especially at indoor events such as wedding parties. If you were shooting in direct sunlight, the situation would probably be different, in terms of contrast, colors and texturing. However, since you’re often stuck photographing courses in light mediated by windows, it’s important to keep things looking soft and delicate. So, if you’re wondering how to photograph food at weddings, one simple answer is to try and soften that harsh window lighting.

2. How to photograph food at weddings? Just focus on the food!

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Sounds commonsensical enough, right? When photographing food, you should be focusing on the dish itself, not the props, or other decorative elements in the shot. As such, one good tip is to focus as close to the front edge of the food as possible. You’re aiming for shallow depth of field, which means your aperture needs to be as open as possible. One strategy is to find that one detail of the food shot that stands out most prominently. It can be a sprig of rosemary, a drip of whipped cream, a beautiful slice of fruit – or whatever looks most appetizing to you. Chances are it’s also going to look scrumptious to the onlooker as well. Not to mention you’ll be achieving great bokeh.

3. A bird’s eye view always helps

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When the above tip on how to photograph food at weddings doesn’t seem to be working, as there’s no wonderful detail to focus on, you can always shoot straight from above. This way, you can add props and other interesting details – while also avoiding that common pitfall, shooting food that looks like it’s about to fall off the plate. This trick is especially useful for flat dishes, such as pizza, platters, or soup. If you’re working with a taller dish, like, say, a beverage, a layered cake, or a sandwich, you are probably better off shooting from an angle. This will help you reveal all the multiple interesting layers. But overhead photos also allow you to include the cutlery, the way the table is set, and the dishes, too. for weddings and other special events, this is a particularly good strategy, since it allows you to create visually interesting images with no more than a single click.

Got other tips on how to photograph food at weddings? Let us know in the comment section below!

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 Relocate Your Wedding Photography Business in 3 Steps

No one’s saying they’re easy steps, but we’re saying it’s definitely feasible to relocate your wedding photography business. Now, if you’re interested in wedding photography and the business aspects of this field, you already know that the issue of location is very important. It’s relevant for a wedding photographer’s digital marketing efforts (think location searches), for acquiring new business leads, for building a brand identity and for raising brand awareness. As such, with location being so inextricably connected with the very nature of the wedding photography business, how does one successfully transition from one location to another – without killing the business in the process? Check out our three helpful tips below, with input from real-life photographers.

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1. Future-proof your business for location changes

This is one step to start working on as much ahead of the time when you actually relocate your wedding photography business as possible. Your plan should be to target global audiences, even before your physical move. If you do this successfully, you will have already built a bit of a reputation for yourself, by the time the move comes around. Easier said than done? Perhaps. But in the digital age of social networking, it’s not that difficult either. Update your website and/or blog regularly, announce your upcoming move via social media profiles and keep your online presence pleasant and likeable. The Internet basically works as a global market place, so drumming up a bit of hype before you relocate will allow you to step forward with that much more confidence.

2. Get to know your new market

This second step in your plan to relocate your wedding photography business is all about pricing. The thing about different markets is that… well, they are different, in terms of pricing, client expectations, and requirements. Get a feel of the market by gauging the experiences of local photographers. They’ll give you a fairly accurate and comprehensive idea on what to expect. Should you stay at the wedding until the very last guest has left? Are your current prices too high for a different market? Yes, bear in mind that you might have to lower your prices in order to penetrate a whole new market; however, it’s important to know what the local expectations are, as you don’t want to go too low. Once you get there, your mission will be to get as many weddings booked in as short a timeframe as possible. Since most weddings are booked for about a year in advance, you will probably have to sacrifice making a profit in the beginning, in order to build a locally relevant portfolio. If you play your cards right, though, this will only be temporary – so grin and bear it. It’s definitely worth it!

3. Network, network, network

The third and final step in your efforts to relocate your wedding photography business is also probably the most difficult one to complete. That’s because the effort of networking needs to be sustained and ongoing, in order for them to be efficient. Not to mention that having like-minded peers as friends in a new market is good for your mental health. It will make you focused, accountable for your work, and will also provide a regular dose of inspiration. A word of advice, though: you might be tempted to follow the big names, the big shots, the big leaguers in your new market. Don’t. Keep an eye on them, to stay in the loop, but spend most of your energy building genuine connections with people you respect and look up to. In the long-run, that’s where your support system and life-long friendships will come from. Also, chances are that’s where your referrals and gig leads will come from, too.

3 Updates on Social Media Tools for Wedding Photographers

We’ve written about social media tools for photographers before, but here are some fresh updates for you, for summer 2014. The wedding season is upon us and we bet you’ll come out at the other end with some great new material to showcase all over the Internet. Check out our three tips, which will hopefully help you make the most of your work, in terms of branding and exposure.

Wow them with pictures

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These social media tools for wedding photographers have been hyped endlessly already, but this is one tip that bears repeating: you need to put your content out there on Pinterest and its wedding-focused ‘little sister’, Lover.ly. You can target your audience very accurately through these websites and bring traffic back to your website and blog. However, you will need to optimize your pictures, add credits to each image, and make sure your name is included in the file title. This tiny personal branding effort will go a long way in the long run. Pro tip: you will need to be relatively active, especially in the beginning, since these sites are already teeming with great content from your direct competition. Find a way to create content that stands out, such as color-themed boards, wedding guides in pictures, etc.

Follow the right crowd

Since we’re on the topic of social media tools for wedding photographers, we have to acknowledge that there can’t be any talk of social media without connecting, following, and accruing followers. Connecting with the right crowd can be a daunting prospect, especially for an up-and-coming photographer who doesn’t have much exposure. However, if you keep a blog, a website, or at least maintain a social media presence, you might want to get bold about it and reach out to some of the big names out there in the online wedding business. There are a few blogs and websites that we would recommend anytime, like Green Wedding Shoes, Bridal Musings, and Style Me Pretty.

What makes these blogs and websites great? For one thing, they are among the most important sources of images shared via Pinterest, Tumblr, and Facebook. For another, their numbers of followers are impressive to say the least. But, most importantly, they consistently feature great quality content – which is exactly what made them massive to begin with. If you can get them to showcase some of your wedding photography work, you can count on being credited and in seeing a traffic spike on your own website. And if your outreach efforts turn out to be less successful than you’d hoped, you can always promote your work on these websites via paid advertising. It tends to run cheaper than the standard promotional fees on Facebook and Google.

Pay for promotion

The debate on the efficiency of Facebook advertising continues to rage on. Some believe that the decrease in organic reach that the social network has imposed on its users will spell the site’s demise. They argue that Twitter and YouTube are still keeping social media promotion free – and they don’t seem to be losing market share; quite the contrary! On the other hand, another faction believes that Facebook is entirely right to capitalize on its paid advertising potential. After all, they say, “if you’re not paying for a product, you are the product”.

Debates aside, investing in Facebook ads might be one of the social media tools for wedding photographers to consider, if you want to increase your reach and score new sales leads. Yes, it can be expensive, but it’s also easy to refine, in order to reach very specific targets in the audience. You’ll probably need some expertise with CPC and CPM ad campaigns, as well as with SEO and keyword research. Experiment with the keywords that connect with your particular photographic niche, target people in your area, and also target audiences connected with some of the major wedding-focused websites we mentioned above. Throw in a sweet deal or discount for your first clients and you’re all set!