Guide to starting out in photography – 2016
2016 guide to photography
Starting out in photography for hobbyists and professionals
So the new year is well and truly upon us – we survived blue Monday and payday is not too far away. You may have already blown the new year resolutions but there is still time to make the start to the new year a good one.
You may have received a new camera during the holiday period or dusted down the old one either way you can make 2016 the year that you pushed your photography forward. It may be that you are completely new to photography and want to take better pictures of your family or you may be determined to finally pursue that new career – either way here are a few pointers to get your new year off to a flying start.
If you are completely new to photography here are a few pointers:
(1) Move away from fully automatic straight away. Fully automatic tends to focus on the nearest object to your camera, the flash tends to fire off sporadically making everyone look ugly and most of your controls are disabled.
(2) Don’t sweat over shooting in manual – it has a couple of advantages but for most people it is just too much like hard work. Modern cameras are so good that you really don’t need to use manual – try shooting in P (programme) mode – it is like fully automatic but you will have a few more options. If you find that your pictures are blurry when shooting at night or indoors (you may feel the camera becoming sluggish also) then look for your ISO setting on your camera and keep raising the ISO until you can take pictures without camera shake.
(3) Learn to start editing your pictures – let me clear up a few points on editing; its not cheating but finishing of the process, it doesn’t have to take long 9a couple of minutes per image), anyone can do it – look for Adobe Lightroom it isn’t hard – (we have an intro video here if you are completely new to it)
How to start a new photography business in 2016
Its a great time to be a professional photographer – then demand for images is high across social (portraits and weddings), and commercial (working with businesses & brands). You need to be innovative about the products and services that you offer as competition is fierce (but this is true in all walks of life). I suggest that you get a good balance across the following three areas:
(1) Technical – you need to understand how to get the most from your kit and your software. You need to be slick in using it and grasp a good understanding of light. Having said that you don’t need to understand every control on your camera and you don’t have to be the most technically gifted photographer out there. You need to reach your desired level and be able to produce consistently high levels of work, thats the key.
For many people new to photography they spend all their money on kit and leave nothing for marketing and sales – this proves fatal. Use the kit you have to start with and understand it – only invest in more kit if you need to.
You must develop a good software workflow for editing your pictures – far too many new photographers spend too long editing and don’t charge correctly for their time – become slick. if you haven’t started using Adobe Lightroom then start (we have an intro video here if you are completely new to it)
(2) Creative – you need to work on developing your style and stick too it. As a photographer, people expect you to guide them in what works and looks great – don’t expect everyone to like your work – they won’t but that is whats ensures there is room for us all.
I would suggest that you look in magazines for images that you are drawn towards and start creating a scrap book that you go to and use as a source of inspiration (you can also use Pinterest but I find that I just start dragging images to boards rather than spending any time really considering them). The images will help give you an idea of where to head when you are editing and save you precious time which you would have spent pondering your changes.
By creating your own style then people will be drawn to your work and pay a premium as you have stopped becoming just a commodity or editing chimp.
(3) Commercial – I should have put this point at the top of the list as I value it the most. Start thinking as a business first and foremost and ensure that all of your decisions make sense. You need to work out where you fit into the market and who your customers are. Don’t try and be all things to all men and hope that everyone will like your work – they won’t.
Try to calculate an hourly rate for your work(if you have no idea then start at £50 / hour) and ensure that all the activities you do get charged. It is so hard to start cheap and then put your prices up without getting a bad name. If you must then start by offering discounts but ensure that people know what your regular prices are and make them earn the discount (give them flyers to hand out or discount vouchers for their friends, get them to complete reviews and write testimonials).
I always recommend to the guys on our professional photographers marketing programme that they try and identify 20 marketing activities that they routinely do and turn into processes to generate work – if you are thinking of just creating a website and Facebook page then you won’t succeed – no business would.
Don’t fall into the trap of just copying your prices from other local photographers – most of them are not making any money and will be under charging for their work.
If you are new to photography in 2016 then this is the year to push on, let us know what your plans and aims are for the new year and let us know if we can help. If you are new to photography then check out our beginners photography courses whilst for those looking to turn pro then get in touch to discuss our mentoring programme and other courses.