10 Things Every Portrait Photographer Needs to Know!

1.   Know How to Save images for web:

Knowing how to save for web is crucial if you plan on showing your work on your website or even on a social media like facebook… Saving images in the wrong color profile could cause your images to appear green once shown online…saving your images too large could slow down your server, and saving your images to small could sacrifice the quality…also its a good idea to name your images based on what you want your clients to look for in search, for example if your image showcases your child studio work, name it as such, this helps search engines like google, yahoo, and bing find appropriate matches to searches.

                      Set resolution to 72 dpi

                      Set the longest side to 1000 pixels or less

                      Select file > save for web and devices

                      Select Jpeg

                      Adjust quality between 60 – 80

2. Know your camera!

                      This one is sooo important! know how to use MANUEL on your camera or at lease know how to use priority modes if nothing else! It is important to know how to manipulate your camera to do what you need it to do, setting your camera on auto is not ok! If you set your camera on auto you have literally bought an extremely expensive point n shoot camera 😦 The camera does not make a photographer, and if you do not know how to use your camera your wasting your money because this is the main thing you spend the big bucks for 😦 Also always shoot in RAW! You need to do this so that you can have full control during your editing process.

  3.  Know basic photoshop

or at least lightroom, you need to know how to basic process your images, for exposure, adding in your own style, cropping for prints, and basic retouching. Every photographer has a different extent to how much they edit, but it is a MUST to know the basics 🙂

4.   Know how to price yourself

Sit down, calculate all of your cost (this includes gas to locations, equipment, equipment upgrades, equipment maintenance, prints, computer, software, computer repairs, marketing, website hosting, ect) Next decide about how much per month goes towards these cost. Now sit down and decide how much your time is worth an hour then figure out how much time you spend on your photographic work (include the time it takes to drive to and from the shoot, set up time, consultations, maintaining your business, post processing, retouching, website maintenance, social networking, preparing marketing materials, accounting work, ect.) Also take into consideration how much you need to make in order to make a decent living, how many shoots is feasible in one week to obtain, and use this information to decide how much you need to make per shoot in order for your business to survive and make enough of a profit to cover your cost  of living.

5.   Lighting:

Know what light is flattering (soft light) know lighting patterns (Rembrandt, split, butterfly, loop, and flat (flat is unFLATtering), and know how to use fill light. 

6.   Know composition:

Rule of thirds, s curve, color, leading lines, angles, ect. And PRACTICE these! 🙂

                     Opps! I meant top left intersection…

7.   Know how to engage your clients:

example if your clients are children (like me) pay attention to their personalities, are they outgoing & playful? Or are they shy & reserved? Know how to get responses that fit each child.

8.   Know how to market yourself and know who to market to:

 This one is a biggie, no matter how amazing you are photographically, if no one knows you exist, they won’t buy your services. Know who you want to sell your services too so that the right clients find their way to you. Example marketing ideas: blogging (this creates tons of keywords for search engines along with a brand new page on your site for every blog you create), direct mail marketing (promotional pieces sent to directed mailing lists) direct email marketing (use current client contacts for this to keep them engaged in new products, services, and promotions) Photography forums, pay per click ads for google, yahoo, and facebook. Just a few examples, possibilities are endless!

9.   Know Your rights:

Know your rights  great article on a photographer’s rights…know that each image you create is yours and is automatically copyrighted…know that you have the right to use your images for any of your promotional materials, including portfolios, website, business cards, ect… know that you need a model release to legally sell images to anyone other than the people in the image… know where you can and can not legally photograph, and who you can photograph…

10.   Develop your own style:

 You see all these amazing photographers… you think oh I want to do this style or no I love their style… but ultimately you need to become your own photographer, develop a style that is unique to you! Take bits and pieces from many of the photographers you admire, practice, tweak, change, adjust, until you start to see something that reflects you as a photographer…This is sooo important…This one thing will guarantee you will not have competition, you will become more than a price hunted photographer, people will come to you for your unique style!

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