Becoming a Certified Photographer- The “How” and “Why”

Making a living as a professional photographer is tough.

Especially these past few years.  With the relatively low-cost of entry into our profession, thousands are picking up cheap DSLRs, turning them to P-mode, and calling themselves professional photographers.

The low-end and middle-markets have been hit hard for the past few years, with the new photographers pumping out action-covered sub-par work and undercutting the long-time professional photographers on price, and giving it all away for nothing.  The high-end market has not escaped this either.  Even the five-star hotels are giving deals on weddings now, if that tells you anything!

So what sets you apart from the influx of new and “faux” photographers?  How does a client know you are legitimate?

Obviously client testimonials, longevity in business, and a solid body of work are all good ways to show your skill, talent, artistry, and professionalism.  But if you want to take it a step further, …

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How to Incorporate Holiday Cards Into Your Business This Year

Holiday Cards are good for any client and any photographer! Even you male photographers out there that might think they’re a tad too girly for you. Your lady clients will love them. And they mean free advertisement for you!

*Wedding, portrait, and even some commercial clients (think realtors) are great clients to offer them to.

First start by either designing or purchasing Holiday card templates that you like. We offer them on our Art-Is website here:

Second begin contacting your 2010 past clients and share that you’re offering Holiday cards this year. Even if a brides wedding was in February, this is a great way for her to share her awesome wedding photos with friends and family! And of course begin offering the cards to your current and future clients as well.

Third have your clients get in touch with you directly to place their card order. Something we’ve done in the past …

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Hey everyone,

I am gearing up for Pictage Partner Conference in New Orleans. This year will be even better than last year. I am even teaching a shooting workshop this year. It is not your typical shooting workshop. I am calling it “Shooting with Socrates.” Well in thinking about all of my lectures and workshops at the Partner Conference, my usual Lightroom how-to post turned out to be a bit more about photography and less about Lightroom, but I think it is a worthwhile thought to make.

In addition to speaking at Partner Conference and teaching a shooting workshop there, my Lightroom Workflow Workshop at the Pictage Partner Conference in New Orleans on November 8th is FREE for all Partner Conference attendees. So sign up for Partner Conference and come learn how to speed up your post-production workflow.

My Lightroom Workflow Workshop will be in a city …

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Seeing the Light

I’ve always been fascinated by light, you could say I’m a seeker of light. Without light we cannot practice our craft. Lets take a moment before we take the picture and see the light. Is the available light going to fulfill my creative vision? Often times I don’t have the luxury to shoot when the light is at it’s best. That’s when I ask myself can I use the light that is available and compliment it in some fashion to complete the image in my minds eye.

Recently I did and engagement shoot and came upon a cool location, tall prairie grass with the urban skyline of Chicago for a backdrop, awesome juxtaposition. The only challenge was the hot, direct sunlight. It was harsh! I made a few frames and knew I could do better. I thought to myself “I can light …

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Tips for Offering Holiday Specials

Besides the obvious profit incentive, offering holiday specials and promotions is just another excuse to be creative and to offer existing and potential clients a great experience. Here are some specific tips and tricks to doing this.

–Start early. Be ready early and give your clients a reason to book early such as a print credit.

–Re-release previous events on Pictage and opt-in to Holiday promotions and specials. This is an easy way for you to make money without providing an additional service. For an overview of Pictage’s holiday promotions, order-by dates, and additional tips, click here.

–Holiday shoots and mini-portrait sessions marketed specifically toward the end product of Holiday cards.

-Offer Holiday portrait packages including the shoot and Holiday specific products such as Holiday cards.

-Find a cute Holiday card templates. You can customize them as you wish, but this is a great start for you to offer a great creative product for your …

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How to be a Great Second Shooter [Weddings]

How to Be a Great Second Shooter

1. Shoot 50/50 – 50% of your shoots should be in the style of classic, traditional photography. Capture all the key moments of the day. Remember to shoot safe and smart. Pick a safe ISO and F/stop to get that shot. You are not going for art here, you are going for documentation of the day. The photos you take may never see the light of day but they have to be there in case of an emergency. If the main photographer happens to lose images due to a failed card, theft or computer problems, your shots are now playing 1st swing.

2. Shoot the other 50% in the mode that you’re going to compose the best photographs ever. Go for the shots, be creative, change yourself, push the limits of your abilities. Create photographs …

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Using the Adjustment Brush in Lightroom 3 (Part 2)

I have already done a video about the adjustment brush, but I just finished working on an engagement session, where I used the adjustment brush to do something you would think you need to go into Photoshop to do. So I thought I would pass it along to you.

It always amazes me how far we’ve come. I feel like my grandfather who talked about growing up without cars and how he remembered the very first crank ford in town. Well, I remember when instant review was a Polaroid (and not an iPhone Polaroid app). I remember retouching images with a brush and some spot tone and a q-tip with bleach. I remember when Adobe programs didn’t even recognize RAW files. And now, I am free to do almost everything I need to do to an image without ever leaving the RAW format, without touching …

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Shooting in Manual – Part 1 – Back to the Basics

Photography is one of those weird arts, like music, that requires both creative talent and the ability to understand some math (ugh!). Don’t be discouraged just yet, because if this dyslexic can figure out how to shoot in manual, I know you can do it, too.

We ought to learn to shoot in manual and control the camera’s settings, because we can discern things like the difference between backlit scenes, a run away toddler, and a race car but the camera (or Program Mode) cannot.

Since our goal is a creatively composed photograph with appropriate exposure, there are three primary settings we must master. We’ll cover additional settings at another time. What follows is a quick start guide to demystify the complex settings of shooting in manual.

Let’s think of exposure like this triangle.

The big three are: shutter, aperture and ISO.

Good exposure is generally defined as maintaining details in both the highlight and …

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Finding the Pricing and Packaging Method That is Best For You

Did you know there is a science to creating your pricing? Yep, I’m serious. There are many ways to do it right, and plenty of ways to do it wrong, but most importantly – there is a science to pricing your services. It’s important to understand the different methods that are available to you, so that you don’t miss out on the method that fits your business best.

In the photography community, there have historically been three different ways to price yourself. One – the package method. Two – the a la carte method. And three – the upsell method. All three are very effective methods of pricing and packaging, but it is common for photographers to choose ONE way to price their services, and to stick to that ONE way no matter what, based on what is working for those around them.

The first …

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