New to photography (business side)

Discussion in 'Business of Photography' started by william_smith|20, Jun 24, 2016.

  1. Hello.

    I been in photography for about five years now never once took an class. I was going go to an community college for a course, but the school dropped the class. I tinker around in lightroom and photoshop cc (2015). I want to expand myself now and actually start an career. I guess I just would like to meet like minded people to help me out, I know pricing is all determined on the photographer. <br />

    I use an Nikon D3000. <br />

    How can I get started? <br />
  2. SCL


    William - congratulations on beginning to think of a career in photography. It is a tough field to break into and make money out of, so you are probably best served by securing a firm foundation in the business end, ie learning how to run a business. You can attack the technical and creative aspects later on. Few people want to hear this, and most of those who disregard it fail to see their dreams come true commercially. Being able to profitably market your services or end products is what puts money in your pocket. Some people accomplish this be apprenticing themselves to somebody in the business, others get a firm educational background, making contacts along the way which lead to future business. Good luck in your endeavors, whichever way you choose to go.
  3. Business part is the hardest firm of anything in any field you look into. I have a few years of management under my belt from my work as of right now. Thankfully it made me little knowledge in the management field. I know Food vs Photography is both different. I been reading, and looking all over google the entire day, just learning what I can. I posted a few photos of my work on my portfolio. I'd love some feed back if you wish to look.
    For not taking any kind of lessons. I think my work is pretty good, but I know what I think vs someone else, who is going to put money out of their own pocket is two different things lol.
  4. Business. William and Stephen are correct, it's the gorilla in the room. Sadly, it's true of almost every (creative) profession. EVERY business needs business knowledge to succeed.
    Look around for business classes aimed at photographers/creatives. Creative Live, perhaps, or even (don't quote me on those, just ideas, but I know they are out there, I've seen some successful local photogs offer Meetups aimed at business). Read books on how to market, budget, accounting, etc., for creative fields. There are tons out there.
    The photography and photoshop are the easy, fun parts. NO business will succeed w/o business savvy. TONS of incredibly talented folk fail all the time because they lack the business side while plenty of awfully untalented succeed because they do have the business side.
    You've got a lifetime to get better. If you can get the business and income side, the rest will be fun and you'll persevere.
    ALWAYS remember that the MOST difficult part that any business owner faces is to get work and new clients. Getting the work done is the easy, and fun, part.
  5. SCL


    I did get a look at your portfolio. Not sure if it was my monitor or your post processing, but the pictures lacked vibrance and appeared to be underexposed. Perhaps a good read of a book on lighting, something like the book, "Light, science & Magic", would help improve your lighting and exposure techniques. If you're comfortable you have all that down, then maybe some post processing refresher would be helpful.
  6. As of right now, I don't any lighting so its just raw natural light. so I'm an "Naturalist light photographer" lol.
    I am looking at some lighting, or enhance flashers.
  7. Natural light is the easiest light to look "great". Start here. I agree with Stephen's comments.

    Read some books on lighting, how the past artists used lighting in their paintings, study it and see how it falls across a subject (like someone's face) when they stand next to a window.
    AVOID - photoshop cliches like masking out colors w/ bw, filters, etc. Skip all that, it looks amateur-ish. Focus on simple, natural lighting. It takes great care to get lighting to look great, but natural light should be the first step (and the easiest). Best of all, it's free!
  8. it


    You will need much better photos than the ones you display here if you want to make money as a photographer.
    Careful editing of your portfolio is important. Your camera body is not.
  9. I though my work was pretty good, for never taking an class. I am confident in my photography, but then again I think we are all like that when it comes to our own work. That is why I am here, to get better and get feed back on my work. I would like to find someone who can work with me on my photos. Be like an mentor or teacher, or friend lol. IF you sa "You need much better photos" give me an feed back on what I can do to enhance the "much" better side of it..
  10. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    You can start by taking a look at Ian's photos here on Check out the "Kids" section. The faces have light on them. There's light in the eyes that make the subjects look very "alive." Your photos are lacking that feeling.
    It's not about using natural light or not. I think most, if not all, of Ian's photos use natural light. What you need to do is understand light before you look at artificial lighting. If you can't take a photo that's properly lit and shows the subject in a light that separates them, it will be much more difficult to get anywhere on your business skills. I shoot a lot with flash, but I learned without it.
    It's more than just lighting though, you need to find backgrounds that work. Whether they are blurred out or used for environment, it's important to find backgrounds that enhance your photo. Most of your photos look like you weren't thinking about the background.
    Finding the right mentor has a lot to do with personality. When I was trying to up my photography, I picked the most ruthless critic I had ever run into. He was merciless. I figured I would find out quickly what I could do. As it turned out, I worked with him for a number of years and he made a huge difference in my photography. And one thing I learned is that a mentor doesn't have to do the same type of photography at all. He is a landscape photographer with a Nat Geo books and all sorts of exhibitions. I've shot about five landscape photos I would show to anyone.
    To find a mentor, email people who have good critical skills and some understanding of what it takes to succeed. It isn't always essential that the mentor be a success, some people are better teachers than doers, but they can coach people to the right point.
    Just for yucks, here's an example of a portrait I did recently that I thought worked out well. There's light on the face, a catchlight in the eyes, enough background to add some context for likely viewers yet not intrusive.
  11. Thanks Jeff,
    Eyes have always been the hardest for me, even in drawing I always have that hard time catching the eyes. I love feed back even if it is harsh, sure its an gut hit cause no one enjoys being brought down on their work when they think they did good.
    But if no one gave feed back on where to improved we are just going go through not knowing what to fix and just give up because we think over all the work is all bad. you saw my work, can I get some pros and cons by chance?
  12. 1. Study the BEST - skip looking at random people's photos that may or may not be good, go straight to those that are respected throughout the photography world (I'd be happy to suggest some, but would need to know what type of photography you want to focus on).
    2. Learn and understand WHY they are the best - there is a reason the "best" is the best. Some is luck, some is business savvy, but they have talent, understand what makes their work stand out.
    3. LIGHTING - understand how this works, know the names of different lighting and what makes it unique.
    4. Editing - lastly, but not insignificantly, editing is crucial. I've been using Photoshop for 20 years now and consider myself a novice, particularly when it comes to high end retouching. It's an entire profession people dedicate years to mastering, don't think you can have one photoshop book, play with a few pics and think you are "good" at editing. It takes years.
    My personal favorites:
    Chris Chrisman - he hires out for his editing, each photo takes about a day just to edit
    Erik Almas - a master of composition and compositing, and a really nice guy (his DVD's are worth it once you truly understand photography, it wouldn't be worht the investment until you really know things, though). It takes days per photo, at least.
    Damarchelier - master fashion photog
    Irving Pen - another master fashion photog, timeless
    Joel Grimes - not the best, talent wise, but has so many helpful videos he can't go overlooked (you can find them on, Creative Live, etc.)
    Scott Kelby - like Grimes, not the greatest talent, but offers so much education you should know who he is.
    Kelby's books are a great place to start. Super easy to follow and takes you through everything, all the say through advanced studio lighting.
  13. For me I enjoy taking photos of Nature, people, and animals.. I want to get into sports but as far as now. Those are my three I enjoy. I go to a lot of conventions so I take tons of photos of people (cosplay). I want to be able to focus on that so I can take photos of of everyd ay people.
  14. i am john from california i am graphic designer ,if anyone need any photo retouching service or photo editing service just contact with me i hope you will must get proper work .Happy Days
  15. The business side is tricky, I tried selling stock photos only to realize my quality had to improve greatly! I have friends who have started a photography business, some successfully others not. Those that are not as successful it is rather obvious why they are not successful, all they have going for them is a fancy new camera with all the bells and whistles! One of my unsuccessful friends looks like they never edit!
    Mod: Signature URL removed, not allowed per Terms of Use.
  16. If you like to capture pictures of wildlife, nature and landscapes, then you can join photo tours. There are many firms that offer photo tours to various places around the globe. They have professional photographers who will guide and teach you the ways of clicking a perfect shot and help you in improving your photographic skills.

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