What Does It Take to Be a Photographer?

Hello, all photography enthusiasts! I do hope you are having a wonderful day! Today I want to help you follow your dreams. What is it going to take to become a photographer? Here are a few things:

  • Knowledge
  • Initiative
  • Drive
  • Creativity

Over the next few weeks, I will be addressing what it will take to become a photographer. Not the business side… yet. Simply what it takes to create AMAZING photos. Notice how I listed Knowledge first. Knowledge is powerful. You need to know many things to be a photographer. Like…

  1. How to work the camera.
  2. The difference between lenses.
  3. How to use light and shadow.
  4. How to compose a photograph.
  5. How to pose subjects.

And so much more. So, I declare hump day as Workshop Wednesday! Next week we will be discussing light and shadow! This subject will go over a few posts, so don’t forget to check back every Wednesday!

-Kristen D.


Pricing Your Services

Money

As promised, I am going to help you determine what you should be charging. Now before we get into it, there is no standard formula. In the end you need to do what you deem best. Entrepreneurs and freelancers all do business differently, and their pricing formulas reflect this. So, let’s go…

Okay, I am coming at this from a photographer’s point of view. Please feel free to adjust where necessary!

Value your time.

 

Start with a salary that you know you will need to sustain your cost of living and determine the value of your time. For example:

You need $3000 per month to live. This includes shelter, clothing, utilities, phone, car payments, insurance, fuel, food, bills, debt, etc. All of this adds up to $3000 per month. So that is $36000 per year after taxes. So you need to gross around $47000 per year. Wait! Don’t forget to….

Value the cost of business.

This is another constant. Write down everything that costs money to run your business. This includes anything and everything you need to buy to do business. Cameras, lenses, speed lights, light stands, computer, software, fuel, etc.

Now the investments (such as cameras, computer, and lights) can be divided up by the number of years you will be using them. I know I’ll be replacing my computer every four years. $1200 divided by 4 equals $300. Do this for all your investments.

Determine your yearly cost of doing business. Don’t forget to include electricity, fuel, rent, professional memberships, yearly services, etc. Let’s say you come to a value of $15000 before tax per year. So, you would need to make about $20,000. Now let’s…

Value your talent and experience.

If you have talent, display it proudly and don’t be afraid to ask for what you are worth as an artist. Experience is gold. The more experience you have, the more trusting your client will be. I put talent and experience together because of how I started in the Wedding Photography business. I had talent, but hardly any experience. So they need to be weighed together. So how do you value these aspects?

Think about this as a “raise”. You know you need a raise based on your experience and talent. So you march into your boss’s office and give a figure you think you deserve! The good news is, you are your boss. How much extra do you deserve based on your talent and experience? Let’s say you deserve about $5000 extra per year.

Okay, so your time is worth $47,000, cost of business is $20,000, and you deserve an extra $5,000. That amounts to $72,000 per year. So, you may average 20 clients per year. That would be an average of $3,600 per client. If you average 40 clients per year, that is $1,800 per client. Both are doable, but will be different clientele. Which is where marketing comes in handy!!!

I do hope this post has been helpful! Let me know your thoughts below. Thanks for reading!

-Kristen D.


3 Tips to Look Great in Photos

Hello!

A bride always wants to look amazing in her wedding photos. The single most important way to do that is by proper posing. No, really. You can the most exquisite gown, professional makeup and hair, and the finest jewelry available. None of it will matter if you are not posed properly. Your photographer will have quite a few tricks to help you, but here are some tips to keep in mind.

It’s all about curves-

  1. Leg Position- Even though your legs are not visible under a floor length gown, they make a huge difference in your posture. A general rule is to place most of your weight on the leg furthest from the camera. This creates more curve while making your hips appear slightly slimmer at the same time.

    Engagement Photography-12

  2. Chest- Move your chest forward slightly to emphasize curves. Also, you can take a breath and hold that position. A deep breath helps correct posture and expands the chest.

    Fireplace-3

  3. Create Space- Move your arms away from your waist. An arm resting against your body will look larger than it is, and it does nothing to define the waist. You need some space next to the small of your waist to emphasize your figure. Many people believe you have to have space on both sides of your waist to look the slimmest and this leads to robot arms. Usually just one side will do.

    Wedding-400
    Another way to position your arms to define your waist is to place your elbow behind you as much as you can with your hand resting on your hip. While this doesn’t have space, it still shows off your figure.

    IMG_6437-2

 

These are just a few tips to keep in mind! Look for more upcoming blog posts on posing! Thanks for reading!

-Kristen D.

 

 

 


How to Get the Best Wedding Photos

Hello!

Engagement-57

Want to know how to get the best wedding photos? Here are a few tips.

  1. Find Your Dream Photographer– This is number one because it makes all the difference. You will not like your wedding photos if you are not impressed by your photographer’s portfolio. Be sure you like their style and personality. Click here for more advice on this topic.
  2. Make a Shot List– Once you’ve booked your dream photographer you need to communicate your wants clearly. Write a formal shot list of everyone you want in each group photograph. Make another shot list explaining special moments, people, or items. Such as the moment your mother gives you an heirloom, or Grandpa is 94 and you want a really nice portrait of him.
  3. Understand What You Want– Do you want a first look? Do you want a bridal session? Are you okay with the photographer(s) moving all around or would you prefer them to be unseen? Are you okay with flash photography during the ceremony? Most of these questions will be asked by your photographer, but it’s good to think about what you want.
  4. Read About Posing Tips– Posing has almost become like a four letter word. Candid is great, but you aren’t going to get those drop dead gorgeous photos you dream about through candid photos or simply looking at the camera and smiling. Posing sounds so static and tense, but it’s wonderful if you are directed properly. Anyone will look bad if you photograph them a certain way. With subtle changes you can transform the way you look in a photograph. Much of this will come from the expertise of the photographer, but it’s good to know some general guidelines.
  5. Workout– If you are in shape or not, this is about feeling great about yourself. Exercise can be tough, but what a thrill it is when you complete a workout! It releases endorphins that just makes you feel great! That newfound confidence will shine through in your photos.
  6. Consider Other Sessions– Many of the beautiful bridal portraits you see on Pinterest were done during a bridal session and not at the wedding. Yes, your photographer can get some great photographs of you on your big day, but time is a major factor. My brides get an average of 40 more bridal portraits if they have a bridal session as opposed to the wedding day alone.
  7. Construct a Timeline– Be clear on how much time your photographer will have during the wedding day to photograph the formals, bridal, groom, and other photos. Also, allow ample time for them. I require an hour for just the bride and groom portraits. I prefer to schedule an hour and a half because things happen and I like to be prepared.
  8. Clear Communication– Tell everyone in the formal photos when to be ready and where to be. This includes the family and bridal party. Inform them of the time and place you set with your photographer. Then remind them two weeks out, and the day before. Once, I had scheduled an hour and a half for each side of the bridal party. The groomsmen were not ready until it was time for me to photograph the bridesmaids. Did I get the photos? Yes. However, I didn’t get to give them as many photos as I wanted simply because of time.
  9. Relax– A wedding is stressful. Things are going to go wrong, and the best thing you can do is go with the flow. If you are stressed, it will show in your photos. You can do two things that will ease your mind on your big day. One, hire professionals that can handle issues on their own (i.e. the AC goes out and the flowers are starting to wilt, but the florist knows just what to do to keep them looking fresh!). Two, dedicate someone to handle all the problems that arise that day. Whether that is the wedding coordinator, the maid/matron of honor, or a family friend, be sure that everyone knows to ask them first before bringing any problems to you.
  10. Trust Your Photographer– You may feel like your photographer is asking you to do things that seem odd. Such as moving you to another location while getting ready, or choosing a different location than the ceremony site to do formals. Trust them. We are looking for great light all the time and want to give you the best photos possible.

 

I hope these tips help take some stress away. Thanks for reading!

-Kristen D.