Photography Tips – How to Shoot the Perfect Night Shot with a DSLR Camera – It’s easy to take pictures in the dark if you know how. Learn how to shoot night shots without flash and make your own star trail images and light trails with this guide!
As the days get longer, many of us long to be outside. This is especially true for photographers, who know good photographs are waiting to be taken in uncharted territory. If you have the itch to get outdoors, consider going beyond your neighborhood park and tackling a true adventure: a hike.
Once you’ve filled your backpack with the essentials you’ll need for the duration of your hike, it’s time to pack up your camera gear and head out. Before you leave home, though, read through these tips that can help you snap phenomenal photos while also enjoying breathtaking views.
Map Your Route
The first tip is something you’ll need to do before you leave home. Carefully research different hiking spots and choose one that can add to your portfolio. Look for a trail that will add diversity to your portfolio, rather than shots similar to the ones you already have. Once you’ve identified the perfect trail, map your route, highlighting significant hot spots along the way. Apps like MapMyHike can help you plan your journey electronically, allowing you to go offline once you’re on the trail.
Don’t Pass Up a Photo Opp
As you start your journey, it’s important to stop and capture every photo opportunity you see. You may pass something and tell yourself you’ll catch it on the way back, but by then the lighting may have changed or you may choose a different return route. Make plans to arrange your hike around the photos you’ll capture and you’ll find you don’t rush past the highlights. If capturing the perfect shot means varying from your route slightly, make sure you can safely do so, then go for it. Some of your best shots will be completely unplanned.
Look for Unique shots
Nature scenes are so prevalent, they can tend toward mundane if not handled correctly. Develop an eye for noticing a picture that will stand out and take your hike as the opportunity to capture unique images. Along your hike, search for long streams or tree lines that span the length or width of the photo, drawing the viewer in and creating a unique, interesting look. Use leading lines and the rule of thirds for photos that will stand out in your portfolio and possibly even get you noticed.
Avoid the Obvious
Thousands of photographers have snapped photos of streams and mountains. Your goal as a photographer is to find a way to portray nature in unique ways. Look for reflections and shadows that add interest to an otherwise average photo. Even the way the sun peeks from behind the clouds can make an ordinary photo extraordinary. As a photographer, you already have an eye for the unique. A hike merely gives you new ground to explore, where you can potentially find something unique every step of the way.
As a photographer, your portfolio can be dramatically limited if you stay within the same area every day. By venturing out and taking a refreshing hike, you can expand your portfolio with shots that stand out. With a little careful planning and an open mind, you’ll come back with more than a full portfolio. You’ll also have made a few memories that will last a lifetime.
One of the hallmarks of mastery is the ability to get more done with less effort. It can be a treat to watch somebody work with a tool or do an activity that they are truly fluent in – no superfluous movement or wasted energy.
In this article, I’ll share 5 shortcut tips and tricks that I use every day to streamline my workflow. The goal of these shortcuts is to allow editing to progress in a smooth, uninterrupted fashion. Whenever I need to click into a menu – or, worse, dock my stylus in order to type something with both hands – it’s like hitting a speed bump. It kills my productivity.
To maintain efficiency, I keep one hand on the mouse or tablet stylus as much as possible, and use the other hand to update tools, settings or contexts via keyboard shortcuts – I call this “fluent editing.”
Here are the shortcuts that I find most useful, along with tips for combining them in a fluent manner. While many of these shortcuts and techniques may be familiar to you already, they can be combined to minimize context switches for maximum efficiency.
1. Scrubby zoom
While using zoom (magnifying glass) tool: click and drag left or right
Scrubby zoom is a feature that some users find annoying until they start using the “fluent editing” (one hand to mouse / one hand to hotkey) approach. To use this feature: while using the zoom tool, click and hold the mouse button, then drag the mouse left to zoom out or right to zoom in – no extraneous clicks and no extra keys to zoom out. Just click and drag until you reach the appropriate zoom level.
2. Scrubby hand
In any tool, hold space bar and drag the image
I don’t know if this feature has a proper name – I call it “scrubby hand” since it feels similar to scrubby zoom to me. Regardless of the name, it’s incredibly useful when you’re working on an image at a high zoom level.
Rather than mousing over to the scroll bars or switching to the hand tool to pan your image, just hold down the space bar – your pointer will turn into the “hand” tool icon; you can now simply click anywhere in the image (while continuing to hold the space bar) and move the visible part of the image, similarly to how you would move an image on a tablet or smartphone.
3. Temporary tools
Hold any tool shortcut key
Let’s say that you’re using the paint brush tool to paint on a layer mask, and you want to change zoom level before continuing to paint.
The non-fluent approach requires 3 steps:
Type (z) to switch to the magnifying glass
Use scrubby zoom to change the zoom level
Type (b) to go back to the brush tool
It’s even worse if you’re not yet familiar with the tool hotkeys.
The fluent approach: just hold down z and drag to use scrubby zoom. When you release z, Photoshop will automatically return you to the brush tool.
This technique works for temporarily changing to any tool, not just zoom. Simply hold down the hotkey for the tool you wish to use temporarily.
4. New layer
With options dialogue: Ctrl+Shift+N / Cmd+Shift+N
Without options dialogue: Ctrl+Shift+Alt+N / Cmd+Shift+Option+N
On many of the images I edit, this is the first command I execute. I often start with a new empty layer for baseline retouching. I use a non-destructive editing workflow, which means that I make changes to my images in a way that allows the edits to be tweaked or reverted at a later time. This is useful for situations where you learn a better way of doing something, or the capabilities of the software you’re using improve.
For example, after I started using the color blending mode to adjust odd skin tones, I was able to go back and update photos on which I’d originally used a less-effective combination of hue/saturation and curves adjustment layers, but I didn’t have to start from scratch.
5. Merge stamp visible
Ctrl+Alt+Shift+E / Cmd+Shift+Option+E
Once you have a pile of layers and adjustment layers, it is sometimes necessary to composite them together (e.g., to apply a filter to the overall image). This command is a one-handed shortcut that creates a new layer comprised of all of the currently visible layers in your layer stack. I don’t know how I survived before learning this one.
It takes some practice to stop mousing over to tool palettes and use the keyboard hotkeys instead. Investing the effort pays off in the long run – you can save a lot of time while editing images by getting to know the hotkeys for actions you perform frequently, and getting into the habit of leaving your non-primary hand on the keyboard so that you can access those hotkeys quickly. These tips are time-savers that I use every day, and I hope they are useful for you as well!
Photoshop has been a valuable tool for photographers of all kinds for years in the photo industry. From basic color adjustments to full-on photo manipulations, the sky’s the limit when working in this program. If you’re new to the world of photography, you might not fully understand the benefits of using Photoshop. That’s why we’re going to discuss exactly what makes Photoshop so useful for photographers in this post.
Photographers use Photoshop for a variety of purposes ranging from basic photo editing adjustments to photo manipulations. Photoshop offers more advanced tools compared to other photo editing programs, which makes it a valuable tool for all photographers.
So what exactly are those tools that add so much value? Well, let’s break it down and go over a few of the most important reasons why photographers use Photoshop.
Reasons Why Photographers Use Photoshop To Edit Photos
No matter what type of photos you’re working with, Photoshop offers tools to enhance any image. From color, exposure, spot removal, and image blending adjustments, there’s a long list of advantages. Although I could talk about this all day, let’s focus on the most useful aspects of Photoshop.
In some photo editing programs, each adjustment is directly applied to your photo. In Photoshop, you can use layers to keep every adjustment separate from the image.
This is a huge advantage for any photographer since it’s much easier to go back and refine certain adjustments. Especially when you’re editing for a client and need to do a re-edit, you can target the exact adjustment faster than in other programs.
In Photoshop, every adjustment or adjustment layer is put onto a new layer. With layers, each change to your photo is added in front of the previous. Just like makeup, the different adjustments combine to create a new look to your image. However, the starting image remains unchanged beneath all of the layers.
It Uses Layer Masks To Refine Adjustments
One of the huge advantages of Photoshop is something called layer masks. This is a tool that helps to change where a certain adjustment is visible.
For example, let’s say you wanted to brighten the subject in your photo. With a regular exposure adjustment, it would brighten the entire photo. However, with a layer mask, you can make that exposure adjustment only appear over your subject.
This same idea applies across all the different adjustment layers in Photoshop, making it very easy to refine color and exposure in your image.
Using black or white on the mask to identify visible or transparent areas, it’s easier to understand where an adjustment is taking place. Even if you have a hundred different layers, all with their own layer masks, you could easily identify what each one is affecting.
That same ability isn’t as simple in programs such as Lightroom or Luminar. In those programs, it can get confusing where all of your adjustments are targeting after you start adding more and more.
The one tool every photographer needs is a spot removal tool. This type of tool works to remove unwanted distractions from your photo and clean up your image.
In most photo editing programs, there are only a couple of basic spot removal options to choose from.
With Photoshop, there are 5 different spot removal tools, each offering a unique purpose.
Whether you’re looking for an automatic spot removal adjustment or want to do it manually, Photoshop has a tool for the job. This program does a far better job at retouching images and blending those new spot removal adjustments into the photo. After only a few minutes, you can easily remove even the most complicated objects from an image.
One powerful aspect of Photoshop’s spot removal tool is the content-aware feature. This feature scans your entire photo to find the best possible match to fill a selection area with. That means the program can make accurate spot removal adjustments that look flawless in the final image.
Sometimes better than what you could have done manually.
It’s Easy To Blend Multiple Photos Together
There are a wide array of photography techniques that require you to merge multiple photos together. For example, you might want to focus stack, blend exposures, or create a creative composite image.
In other editing programs, it’s difficult or impossible to blend photos because there aren’t any layers.
With Photoshop, you can add multiple photos into the same project, but on different layers. Then you can use layer masks to refine where each photo appears in your final image.
For creative effects, having this ability is second to none and is what separates Photoshop from other programs.
There Are Graphic Design Options
Every photographer will come to a point where they need to do a little more than just edit a photo. Especially if you’re running your own business, you need to make video thumbnails, promo images for social media, or even to design a logo!
Although there are options such as Canva for this, a lot of photographers prefer to use a program they already have and know how to use.
And in Photoshop, there are countless tools for creating professional-looking graphic designs.
Whether you want to make a simple text-based thumbnail or get more in-depth with textures, lighting effects, and shapes, it’s all possible with Photoshop. It’s truly an all-in-one program for any creative looking to work with digital images.
So now you have a clear idea of why photographers use Photoshop in their work. This program offers countless advantages that simply aren’t available in other editing programs. With more advanced adjustments, non-destructive editing, layer masks, and better tool options, it’s a no-brainer to use the program.
If you’re looking to see all these features in action, contact us
Do you know that strange red tint on all of the photos in your family albums? It has a name – it’s called a color cast. Most old pictures have one, and if you can and upload them to Photoshop, you can easily do away with it.
Essentially, though, what Matt means is that to get the best results you’ll close the gaps between the edge of the range for each of the channels: red, blue, and green. It’s a simple technique that just requires a little slide of the mouse. And even though it’s a simple action, the results are impressive
Steps to Restoring Old Photos in Photoshop
To enhance your old photos, we’ve listed down several steps you should follow. These steps apply to digital photo restoration using the latest version of Adobe Photoshop.
Digitize your old photo.
Open the image in Photoshop.
Crop, straighten, or rotate the image.
Make the necessary adjustments to your image.
Apply a filter to reduce noise.
Save the newly restored image.
Digitize your old photo
The first step is to scan the photo to get a digital copy. You can use a regular photo scanner, take a photo using a digital camera, or use a scanner app on your smartphone.
Whichever method you use, make sure that it will yield a large, high-quality copy of the photo to make it easier to work with.
Open the image in Photoshop
Next, open the digital image in Photoshop. Then create a second copy of the image. You’ll want to keep an original copy for reference, so you’ll be working on altering the second copy.
How to create a duplicate copy of an image in Photoshop:
Select a layer in the Layers panel.
Drag the layer to the Create a New Layer button, or select the Duplicate Layer option from the Layers menu or Layers panel menu.
If you’ve selected the Duplicate Layer option, give your layer a name, and click OK.
Crop, straighten, or rotate the image
Before you can begin making any adjustments, make sure that you’re working with a clean, properly oriented image.
If there’s any unwanted white space (or any kind of space that shouldn’t be there) around the edges, you can simply crop all of that out.
How to crop your image:
Click on the Crop icon on the toolbox (on the left side of Photoshop’s default workspace).
Draw a new cropping area or drag the edges of the crop box to the desired positions.
Press Enter (Windows) or Return (Mac OS) to crop the image.
f the scan of your image is a bit crooked, you can straighten it out using the crop tool.
How to straighten a crooked image:
Click on the Crop icon, then click the Straighten icon on the toolbar.
Drag a line along a horizontal or vertical element in the photo.
Let go of the mouse so that Photoshop can rotate your image and crop its uneven edges.
Once you are satisfied, press Enter. Photoshop will also remove the excess image if you’ve enabled the Delete Cropped Pixels checkbox.
How to rotate your image:
Photoshop CC lets you rotate your image through its Image Rotation setting or the Transform function in the Edit menu.
To rotate your image using the Image Rotation option:
Click on Image in the taskbar.
Select Image Rotation.
Choose your preferred rotation.
To rotate your image using the Edit menu:
Click on your image to select it.
Click on the Edit menu, then choose Transform.
Choose your preferred rotation.
Make the necessary adjustments to your image
There are two ways to do this step in Photoshop: adjusting your image’s color and fixing its damaged spots.
Make color correction adjustments.
Old photos are usually faded, but if you want to improve the tone, color, contrast, and overall vibrancy of the photo, Photoshop can do these, too.
If you select Image from the taskbar, you’ll see a drop-down menu that will pretty much give you everything you need for some basic color correction. Under Adjustments, you’ll see three options: Auto Tone, Auto Contrast, and Auto Color. Try these out first and see if these automatic corrections deliver your desired effect. If not, you can do these corrections manually.
Depending on the condition of your photo, the best thing to do is to play around with these different adjustment tools to get the right tone, color, and contrast.
If your image has a color cast, here are a few steps to follow to correct the effect:
Highlight your duplicate layer, then click on the adjustment layers icon under the Layers panel.
Choose Levels from the adjustment layer options.
To adjust your photo’s RGB (red, green, and blue) levels, click on the dedicated tab. A RGB menu will appear.
Click on any of the color options, then bring the white and black sliders to the histogram’s upward line.
Once you’re done adjusting the RGB levels, click on the Layers panel to exit.
Highlight your duplicate layer and your adjustment layer, then right click on the area and select Merge Layers to combine both layers.
Fix the damaged spots.
This part is where it gets a bit tricky—you’ll definitely need an eye for detail and a whole lot of patience! If there are any scratches, stains, and other unwanted marks on your photo, you can use a few beginner-friendly spot correction Photoshop tools: the Spot Healing Brush, the Patch Tool, and the Clone Stamp.
How to use the Spot Healing Brush:
Click on the Spot Healing Brush icon (the one that looks like a band-aid) on the toolbox.
Choose your desired brush size in the options bar.
Choose between the Proximity Match, Create Texture, or Content-Aware Type options. Any of these options should work for what you’re trying to achieve.
Select or deselect the Sample All Layers option if you want to sample data from all layers or one active layer.
Click on the spot you want to fix, or click and drag the brush over imperfections in a larger area.
How to use the Patch Tool:
Select the Patch Tool.
Select the area you want to repair by dragging, then select Source in the options bar. You can also select your sample area by dragging and selecting the Destination option.
Adjust your selection by using the Shift-drag, Alt-drag/Option-drag, or Alt+Shift-drag/Option+Shift-drag combinations.
Select Transparent if you want to extract a transparent texture from your sample area, or deselect it to put the sample area over the target area.
Adjust the Diffusion slider.
Place the pointer inside your selection, then drag it to your sample or patch area.
Apply a filter to reduce noise
You can’t magically get rid of the dust and scratches with just a press of a button—you’ll have to do it manually. However, you can make that job easier by using Photoshop’s Filter functions to reduce some of that unwanted noise.
Save the newly restored image
Once you’re happy with the image, delete the unedited layer (the original reference layer) or right-click the edited layer and select Flatten Image (make sure that your edited layer is on top). After that, just follow the steps below to save your photo.
Are you a small business owner, entrepreneur or a brand enthusiast looking for a social media transformation? Having a library of custom images for blogging and social media will drastically improve your digital strategy and have an enormous impact on how people engage with your brand.
Photographer and brand strategist Jasmine Star’s teaches that memorable content begins with a strong point of view, authenticity, and consistency. In this sneak peek from her upcoming class ‘Your Social Media Bootcamp’ she explains how to create content that shares ideas and educates your ideal clients while still promoting your brand.
5 Tips To Prepare A Branded Flat Lay
Don’t back away from collaborating with your photographers. They can help identify a visual story that speaks to your brand and create a series of flat lays that will cohesively work together.
Identify your brand’s visual style. Create a mood board or Pinterest board that speaks to your ideal customer that inspires and motivates them. The more visual references you have the easier it will be to collaborate with your photographer for the perfect shot. Subtle differences in color palettes, finishes, and quotes will make a big difference in how people remember your brand.
Less is more. Photography is a subtractive art form. Be selective about what you choose to include in your flat lay images and leave negative space to add text in post-production with apps like Canva or WordSwag.
Incorporate motivational quotes as an engagement driver. Blank labels and smartphone screens are great to add text post-photoshoot.
Create a list to get all your props ready. Start by identifying props that compliment your brand story then divide your props for styling business and casual photos.
With research suggesting that people are more likely to remember content they’ve seen in images, rather than text, it’s crucial that the photography representing your business perfectly reflects your brand.
Tone And Palette
It’s important the tone of your photo incites the feeling you want your audience to associate with your brand. For a calming, high quality effect, high-exposure images with a large depth of field, creating out of focus foreground and background should be used. Minimalism and warm and neutral tones are important to create a sense of relaxation. Take luxury body-care brand Aesop. Their use of warm tones and minimalism reflects their packaging and each photograph across their website and their instagram reflects this aesthetic.
The people in your photos communicate a lot, as humans are hyper-intelligent when it comes to recognizing emotions on other people’s faces. This can be used to quickly communicate how your product makes people feel. For example, university images are likely to show people looking intrigued or engaged – demonstrating the interest they feel in their studies; while images from a day spa are likely to depict relaxed, serene people. Swap those styles around and suddenly things get very confusing – why are the students asleep at university, and what kind of day spa makes you sit exams?
Now that zoos and wildlife parks are open again, here are some tips to take photographs worthy of a safari.
Unlike safaris, where there’s no guarantee of seeing your favorite animals, wildlife parks offer assured access to these incredible creatures – but the drawback is that there’s a physical barrier between you and them. Though that’s no bad thing, considering these are predators that could consider a photographer to be a snack!
By following these steps, you can take brilliant and natural-looking images that look like they could have been shot in the wild – but you’ll need to try to get closer access than a regular zoo can provide.
We used a Canon EF 100-400mm telephoto-zoom – but as we got close to the animals, we could get away with a standard zoom too. Longer focal lengths and faster apertures enable you to achieve a shallower depth of field – all important for that ‘on safari’ look.
02. Exposure and aperture
Shoot in aperture priority or manual and start with an aperture of around f/5.6. This will ensure that the animals’ facial features are sharp, with their bodies slowly falling out of focus – and distracting backgrounds, such as fences that give the game away, will be blurred.
03. Spot metering
It’s crucial that the animal is properly exposed – set spot metering so that the exposure is weighted towards the selected focus point, which will be on the cat. The center-weighted metering mode would try to expose the entire scene, but the subject is more important.
04. ISO and shutter speed
The big cats we were shooting weren’t running around, so we didn’t need a super-fast shutter speed – just enough to avoid camera shake. Aim for at least ‘one over’ the longest focal length of the lens – so, 1/400 sec for a 400mm. Increase the ISO, if needed, to achieve this.
05. Continuous focusing
Set continuous autofocus mode to track the animals, combined with a low-speed continuous burst mode. You don’t need to be shooting at 10fps for these cats, so avoid high-speed continuous to avoid filling up the memory card.
06. Pinpoint focus
Set a single AF point mode and position this at one side of the frame, so that there’s negative space for the cat to move into. Keep focus on the animal’s nearest eye so that it’s sharp as you follow it around. Zoom in and out to capture a variety of body shots and close-up portraits shoots.
07. Set-up: zoom in close
The combo of wide aperture, telephoto focal length and your focusing distance will mean your depth of field is so shallow that the bars on the cage will vanish. For the best results shoot as close to the fence as you possibly can, then be bold with your composition and fill the frame with these strong animals. As we discovered up close, male lion’s heads are huge – so it’s easy to get a tightly framed portrait even when shooting at 100mm.
08. Set-up: exposure compensation
Big cats come in all colors, from near-white lions to black jaguars, and spot metering will ensure that your camera biases its exposure to the subject. However, your metering system will still try to expose for a mid-tone, so you will have to dial in negative exposure compensation for cats with dark fur, and positive exposure compensation for animals with lighter fur (if shooting in manual mode, increase or decrease the ISO and/or shutter speeds).
09. Set-up: better backgrounds
Try lots of compositions, and try placing your subject to one side of the image and leaving space for it to look or ‘move’ into. Look to avoid man-made objects in the frame to maintain the natural ‘safari’ feel to your shots. If you can’t blur out the fence at the end of the pen, try composing with some more natural elements positioned behind the animal.
10. Set-up: capture behavior
Look to take dramatic photos that capture the big cats displaying emotion – and their impressive teeth! This can help show a powerful predator on the prowl, rather than a captive cat. These beasts love to climb up high, and this offers a great chance to zoom in with a super-telephoto to capture them against the sky. A good tip is to find out from your guide which cats are likely to show off, then be patient and sit ready with your lens raised and pre-focused on them; it may be a fleeting display, so shoot with a fast shutter speed.
When it comes to photographing your food, it’s all about setting the “right” scene. If you want your honey-baked ham or apple pie to make your Instagram followers salivate with envy, well then expert food photographer, Andrew Scrivani has a few tips & props that will make your shots really look like you know what you’re doing.
Ideal food photography props need to walk the line between neutral and nondescript, and personality-based and playful.
“You don’t want your propping to distract from your food,” explained New York Times contributor Andrew Scrivani in his essential class, Food Photography, emphasizing the importance of neutral props and props which don’t compete with the color or texture of your food.
That said, it’s worth acquiring some versatile, beautiful pieces to keep around, just in case. These staples, which will add something to a future shot (even if you’re not sure quite what yet), are, says Andrew, must-haves for any food photographer.
“Anything that catches your eye as interesting or may fit into your workflow at any point is something worth keeping.”
You may also need to do a little bit of repurposing, says Andrew, who “has gotten some great props from the garbage.” So when you’re shopping around for food photography props and pieces for the studio, remember to look for what a piece could be, not necessarily what shape it’s in right now.
Here are a few props to keep an eye out for when stocking your food photography studio.
Solid, neutral serving items
A white dinner plate. A silver platter. A beige soup bowl. These staples are so important because they’re both versatile and they aren’t distracting.
“You want to use things that are able to be used over and over again. You always want to keep it neutral so that it doesn’t challenge the food,” says Andrew. “The majority of the time, the food is the star.”
Look for hearty dishes or other serving items that can display a lot of types of food, with shapes that are easy to work with
A really gorgeous cutting board
Finished food is great to photograph, but preparation is also important. People like to see food in action, and food being handled or manipulated. A wooden cutting board is essentially a neutral surface but adds an element of movement or change. Prop your in-the-works food with a utilitarian knife and you’ve got a classic shot.
A surface that does the work
Andrew uses the same piece of marble, which he got for $20 from a junkyard, for many of his images. Almost purely white (but not totally white), it’s so important that “if I could ensure it, I would.”
“I put things on top of it, instead of moving it” Andrew explains, because it’s just so functional.
There’s no need to drop a lot of cash on these kinds of surfaces; beat-up door panels, old tiles, and just about anything else that at one point might have been used in home repairs are all fair game. Find a surface that you can lay on top of any table, whether it be a piece of concrete, a chunk of marble, or any other neutral foundation and you’ll have a tool you can use for years for any number of shots.
A “panic button” dish
Sometimes, the food is not the star…because the food is not particularly star-worthy. When you’ve got unattractive or unappetizing food (it happens!), Andrew says it’s best to have some dishes or utensils that are so beautiful, they make the entire shot look like fine art. If you’ve ever been truly struck by the beauty of a bowl or the curve of a glass, keep it!
Pepper, flour, sunflower seeds — these extras can be great props themselves. Stock your food photography studio with some seasonings and other edibles that can make otherwise bland or textureless food come to life. These items are inexpensive, shelf-stable, and can add a lot of intrigue to what might have been quite mild-looking.
Linens that lend a sensibility
We’ve covered the hard pieces, but what about the soft? Dishcloths and other textiles can help not only add color or texture to an image, they can also give the picture a sense of place, time, or emotion. Gingham looks like a picnic, a white napkin is high-class, and a slightly-used dish towel says “work in progress” and also “hand-made.” Used under a plate or off to the side, linens can be hugely useful in your studio — plus, they’re easily laundered and reused.
A personal piece that you really love
Food isn’t your only passion — and you want to make sure that comes across in your photos. Andrew says that one good goal is to “show that you have a range of interests.”
“Not everybody has the same aesthetic,” explains Andrew. Whether it’s family heirlooms or funky flatware you picked up at the flea market, keeping around a few personal items is great for your branding and your unique images.
From capturing the food to showcasing the decor, from snagging a quick family portrait to freezing that sparkle in grandma’s eye, Thanksgiving is ripe with creative possibilities for photographers.
But add in a group of people who haven’t see each other in a while, social distancing, indoor lighting, and eating entirely too much turkey, and Thanksgiving photography isn’t exactly simple point-and-shoot photography. To make the most of the holiday, we’ve put together some photography tips to capture the best memories of the day.
Don’t forget the behind the scenes
The camera shouldn’t stay tucked in the bag until that dinner call. What happens pre-turkey often makes up many of the family memories. Record Grandma making her infamous recipe, the mid-cooking jokes, and all the work that goes into that big meal.
Find a window
Thanksgiving photos are often tricky because, frankly, November is too cold to eat a nice dinner out on the patio in most areas. Indoor lighting means using wide apertures and higher ISOs, but you can also improve your shots by using natural light from a window.
Look for details.
What are your favorite memories of Thanksgiving? Often, the smaller details make up some of that list. Take a macro shot of the whipped cream curling on top of that pumpkin pie. Create a still life of that gravy river through mashed potato mountain. You can’t photograph the smell of Thanksgiving, but you can get pretty close to capturing the sense of it by getting up close.
Watch for distractions.
The little things make great photos — and they also break them. Check the frame for anything distracting from the subject. Adjust the table setting to get a shot that focuses on just one element. Move the dirty dishes out of the background. Work to make sure everything in the photo is supporting the main idea rather then taking away from it by moving objects, adjusting the crop, or changing the angle.
Capture the not-so-perfect.
Distractions are one thing, pretending you have a magazine-worthy family Thanksgiving every year is another. Maybe family tradition requires that someone always burns those rolls. Maybe (or rather, probably) the kitchen looks like a war zone at the end of the meal. Capture the tears clinging to eyelashes when the toddler can’t eat dessert first. Maybe the dog makes off with one of those rolls. You’ve captured the food, now capture what makes that day belong to your particular family.
Mix it up with different angles and focal lengths.
I know it’s hard to move around with all that tryptophan pumping through your system, but avoid shooting every photo from the same height. To create variety, shoot from different angles. Shoot that food photo from both that popular top-down spread and using a side angle. Get a tall shot of everyone around the table, and an eye-level shot of family members together. Changing the focal length, if you use a camera with interchangeable lenses or a zoom lens.
Capture what you are thankful for.
Thanksgiving photos don’t necessarily have to be about turkey, cooking, and family gatherings. Try a different angle on Thanksgiving photography and photograph what you are thankful for. Maybe that’s a person (or people). Maybe that’s an item that’s important to you. Or, maybe you’re thankful for something a little more abstract. Ideas that aren’t things are tricky, but with some creativity, you can capture that abstract thing you are thankful for.
It’s the drive to showcase their innovation or helping people eternalize what is special to them, that tempt photographers to turn their passion into a business. If you are running a photography business or plan for a photography startup, it pays to know what can be done to ameliorate your enterprise so you can establish a firm foothold in the photography industry
#1. Act Like A Professional
Growing your photography business requires a lot of hard work, determination, commitment, and enthusiasm. Professionals follow through on their allegiance and deliver their products and services on time. They show up on time and always deliver great customer experiences.
They answer their phone on time, return calls and are easily accessible. Mentor young people and provide internships with professionalism, this is the only way to generate good reviews and future business.
#2. Write A Business Plan
A successful business begins with building a perfect plan, a design draft that will guide you in creating a strong foundation of your firm which is a solid support. The simple act of writing down your vision and working on it accordingly gives you a outline of how the business will operate.
It is very helpful to assure that your idea is conveyed more effectively and all your customers are on the same page. You will find a clear path to your destination, if you set your business goals and work according to that outline .
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#3. Have A Professional Looking Website
Once you’ve come up with a idea to start a photography business, you’ll need an attractive and impressive website as your website is like your store front. So, it’s best to take guidance from professional web designers as they have a huge amount of innovative and creative photo website design templates that better suits your photographic style.
Your website is like a showcase of your work which your customers will visit to see your sample work. It should include samples of your work and a page that describes your background and experience. It’s a good idea to list your pricing details. It will help in managing customer expectations and keeps people from trying to negotiate for a lower price. Contact information is also mandatory.
Your photography website is the most powerful tool to propagandize your brand to a global audience. In today’s digital era, usually most of the clients will find out about your business and interact with you through your website.
#4. Engage In Social Media Marketing
Social media is the best platform for promoting your brand especially when it comes to photography so you must add a social icons at the top of your website. Social media is a best platform where you can join social media groups and online forums that are involved in your industry so that they can help you in promoting your business and reach new heights of success. Apart from posting your own work, you can hire a graphic designer to create amazing social media content for your business.
You can also learn a lot from fellow photographers and other experts of your industry and you can use that knowledge to further take your business to next level. You’ll be astonished to know that many people in the social groups are actually eager to know you. Introduce yourself, share your working experience, give some useful photography marketing tips, provide exhilarated opinions, or connect with industry experts all over the word.
#5. Expand Your Network
Expand your network of customers, experienced photographers, and other people engaged in the field of photography. They offer indispensable help in the form of knowledge, constructive advice, referrals, and much more. You can expand your network by attending valuable seminars, joining photography networking events and photo shoots.
You can also grandstand your work by organizing a photo exhibition, whether on your own or with a group of photographer friends. Exhibitions attract a lot of forthcoming clients and professionals whom you could add to your network.
#6. Clearly Define Your Service
A mistake that most embryonic photographers make is that they fail to identify themselves as experts in one circumstantial niche. Always Remember that potential clients need to know the type of photographer you are, your photography style, what kind of best mirrorless cameras you use and your ability to aspire their specific needs.
#7. Come Up With A Pricing Plan
The most challenging question for every photographer is- How much will you charge for your services? Especially when you have just started your Photography business. Figure out the worth of one hour of your time.
For every hour you spend while shooting, you’ll spend about three hours editing the photographs. You need to include all the factors in your pricing. Of course, your pricing pattern is your own, this is just a way to come up with a starting point. Therefore, Clearly state the price of your service in your photography to avoid any future complications.
Determining a feasible pricing structure is one of the most daunting tasks a new photography entrepreneur faces. There’s not a magic formula when deciding how much to charge for your work, but there are some helpful guidelines you can follow.
The proliferation of digital media has made it much harder for photographers to charge for prints in the traditional way. So rather than adopt a “nickel and dime” pricing strategy where you charge for each print of an image (or photo shoot, proofs, photo album, and/or prints), consider charging only for what clients really value — your ability to capture moments.
One way you can capitalize on that is by offering specials on your social media
accounts. For example, many family photographers offer “mini-sessions” themed to various holidays or times of year via their social media channels. Sign-up is available to social followers only, and the price is a set one — usually a basic sitting fee for a small package of photos.
A photographer’s estimate is usually based on two elements: creative fees and expenses. On the creative side, you need to think about the quality of the image and what value you place on it. Photographer Jerry Clement says his formula for gallery prints includes the cost of production and what he calls an “intrinsic, artistic value,” with some profit margin on top of that. “You also have to take into account the gallery’s commission,” Clement says, “which usually averages 30 to 40 percent.”
You might also want to charge a sitting fee when working with clients. The sitting fee should cover your time as the photographer, editing of images, and, if you offer one, an online gallery of the client’s photos they can share with family and friends.
As part of your fees, factor in labor, supplies, and materials. Will the images be shot on location or in a studio? If you’re operating a studio, take a long, hard look at your local competitors to see what they’re charging for similar services, then start your pricing somewhere in the middle.
Wedding, portrait, and event photographers have an easier time scoping out the competition because it’s easy to stop by and pick up a price list and other information from competitors or simply visit their respective websites. Although it’s simple enough to pick up the phone and call a commercial photographer about their fees, it’s highly unlikely you’ll get a standard rate because fees are usually developed on a project-by-project basis. To cover yourself, be sure to pad your fee a bit to include unexpected issues.
Location shoots are more complex and involve considerations like site logistics, travel, special equipment, lighting equipment, props and additional personnel (e.g., models, assistants, technicians). In addition to the complexity of the project, you also need to consider the number of finished images needed, scheduling and pre- and post-production time.
Pre-production responsibilities may include client meetings, site location and/or visits, and set arrangements. After the shoot is over, post-production tasks may consist of restoring a site to its original state, returning props and equipment, and more client meetings — along with image editing, selecting, and finalizing the images.
Many commercial or location photographers charge day or half-day rates, with fees adjusted to weekly for long-term shoots or hourly for shorter projects. Don’t forget to add overtime (hourly rate plus 50 percent) for days that go longer than eight hours or for weekend assignments.
Whenever in doubt, use the industry standards found through different photography associations and organizations, like American Society for Media Photographers (ASMP) or Professional Photographers of America (PPA). Local chapters have monthly meetings where members can network and learn a wealth of information, including local marketing and industry standards.
The other part of the pricing equation is expenses. Many photographers — especially in the beginning — try to absorb minor expenses, like supplies, postage and basic camera gear. But these little things quickly add up and chip away at your profits. Your fee structure should cover these incidentals. For example, if you decide $50 is a fair hourly rate, charge $75. Then use the hourly charge to calculate daily and weekly rates.
Overhead should also be a calculated expense that includes rent, utilities, insurance, gas, mileage, and anything else that you’re not billing clients separately for. Big ticket expenses for individual assignments, like travel, equipment, or personnel, should be billed separately, depending on your — or the client’s — preferences.
And don’t forget to include your own salary in your cost of doing business — if you do, then you’ve made a grave business error. Pay yourself first, then consider the rest of your costs as overhead. Ultimately, if your business can’t cover its payroll and expenses, you’ll need to charge more for your work, find other ways to increase revenue and/or cut costs.
After factoring your costs into your pricing structure, find ways to reduce those costs and increase profits. Monitor your progress each month by using profit and loss reports, which your bookkeeping or accounting software should allow you to generate with ease if you’re using it correctly.
If you want to become successful and grow your business, you’re going to have to handle tasks you don’t like, including bookkeeping and accounting. Many photographers think of themselves as “creative types” who don’t deal with numbers. However, if you don’t understand the finances related to your business and maintain proper records using accounting or bookkeeping software, you’ll quickly find yourself in financial crisis.