Updated: Jan 29
I have friends that are photographers who you can usually catch at parties, weddings and festivals. You will usually see them walking around these events keeping an eye out to capture the perfect moment. This is harder than it looks and requires a lot of skill, as whoever you are providing a service for would require a high quality of work as they are likely to upload these photos to their website/social media. The foundation & contributions towards the Creation of capturing images were already set way before the actual invention of the camera, which was developed in 1816 by Frenchman Joseph Nicéphore Niépce. Niépce created photographic images onto silver chloride-lined paper, and the oldest extant photograph is one he made around 1826. The original shot is still on exhibit at the University of Texas at Austin. Now we know that in order to become a photographer these days it takes more than just buying a camera and taking photos of nature. To capture the true essence of a moment there are a lot of technicalities involved in regards to the equipment used to bring a photo to life. In an article by Photoworkout they break down an essential list of equipment for photographers. We can look at a few of these and I have provided links just to get you started: • Firstly you will need a camera which is quite obvious now these can be quite expensive due to the varying specifications. It might be best to consult an expert or someone that is knowledgeable within that area to decide what camera is best for you
• Investing in a prime lens can be of benefit to you as it can usually best the quality & versatility of an average lens.
• A good Tripod will help you decrease the risk of motion blur but the type of tripod depends on your specific needs. A hiker might prefer a model that’s easy to carry long distances, while a photographer sporting a bulky lens might prefer something that offers above-average support. • A speedlight offers a powerful burst of light that lasts a fraction of a second. It produces a powerful burst of light to illuminate your subject. This is great for adding effects to your images. • You will need a memory card to take pictures and it its important to get the right memory card for you camera. You would obviously like to store your images in a safe place so it would best best to buy an external hard drive in addition to save your valuable pictures. If you click the images below you can have a browse and get yourself familiar with some of the products.
Now simply imagine you have all your camera equipment, you are ready to launch your photography brand and get your portfolio of work out to the world. Now in an article by Squareup it breaks down some tips on how to get started. I will spare you the general/common details of registering your business, creating a name for your business, trademarking, open a business account etc. I will provide more business information that is specific to photography. You have all this expensive equipment, what should you do? Probably look at getting insurance and additionally get liability cover for any unforeseen accidents at an event or in the student. You may need a studio which can be costly so shop around to find the best deal for you. Some people engage in photography as a hobby and others would like to monetise this. So if you are looking to offer your photography skills for profit you will need to sit down a decide a pricing structure according to: location, events and time (as well as using a payments system).
Now there are different ways to expand your audience and build your brand. You want to create a portfolio whether its physical or digital; this can be done via Instagram, Etsy or your own website where you can target your audience. Your portfolio should have a consistent theme and style, so it is important to figure out your niche when getting started. Put a face to your work, you do not need to always be behind the camera, this works well for your personal brand. Maurice Jager in the video below gives a break down of how to engage more with your target audience when developing a photography brand.
Now you might decide that you do not want to do this alone but you actually might require a team to share some of the workload. Sarah Carpenter in her blog breaks down perfectly how she divides her tasks between staff for one job. For example in a team you may have the lead photographer but you may need a second shooter to capture other angles & provide backup images of an event. Sarah always has an assistant at her wedding jobs, she always emphasises their importance. The assistant can load the film whilst she captures her shots to reduce the loading time when capturing new images, or the assistant can carry all the lighting equipment to stop running her back and forth when capturing new shots. You may want to consider an associate shooter - this shooter never shoots alongside the lead photographer but they can cover other jobs if you unable to do so. The video below by TNK video shows the importance of selecting the right team for your photography team, as skills sets and knowledge will vary. They also provide some leadership tips & techniques when trying to organise/run a team.
Now I'm sure we have had a clear image in our heads (no pun) of a dark room with red lighting, containing wires of different pictures hung up by pegs. Well this method of developing negatives hasn't been completely eradicated but we have certainly transitioned to the digital era of producing photos. In particular the emergence of Non Fungible Tokens (NFTs)
" photographers often have to contend with unsolicited distribution of their images without permission, credit, or financial return for their work. Now that NFTs have entered the mainstream, this dynamic is set to change".
The technology behind blockchain makes it physically impossible to falsify, hack, or alter ownership of an NFT. Opensea and Mintable are two popular platforms that allow you to upload & purchase NFT. Creators can choose to sell their NFT photographs as one-off’s as part of a limited edition collectible, or as an unlimited edition of work. You can also add copyright laws to the image as part of the NFT trade which will provide more value to the buyer since they become the sole owner. What is great about NFTs is that original owners can receive royalty payments after every onwards payments from the original sale. Now I'm not telling people to invest in NFTs as there are a lot of technicalities involved that you need to research thoroughly but it is clear NFTs have helped protect the work of photographers. Now it is clear that there is a large scale of opportunities as a photographer whether your niche is sport, wildlife, photo journalism, travel, weddings etc, as long as you work hard at perfecting a craft you can create a financially rewarding career path. You need to establish a strong reputation and build customer loyalty. However it isn't plain sailing in a billion dollar industry and it's important to be aware of barriers in the industry as a guide on how to operate your craft. Digital innovations (user friendly smart phones and editing software) have allowed more amateur photographers with little industry knowledge or know-how to enter the market, which has helped to increase competition and drive down prices within the photographic services industry. For some extra inspiration we can have a look at some well known photographers and their work which I have provided links to.
Ansel Adams - was an American landscape photographer and environmentalist known for his black-and-white images of the American West.
Art Wolfe - Is an American photographer and conservationist, best known for colour images of landscapes, wildlife, and native cultures
Carrie Mae Weems - Is an American artist working in text, fabric, audio, digital images and installation video, and is best known for her photography.
There are access to photography courses where can enhance your knowledge & expertise there are always online courses readily available, You can click on the below image to have a look.
I do hope this helps any potential photographers who are looking to monetise their craft, please let me know your thoughts on this post. Feel free to drop me the names & work of photographers who inspire you, it will be interesting to look at different images and cool pictures. It might give me some ideas for artwork to hang up around my home as I am a big fan of wildlife photography in particular.