Professional Photography - A Few Tips

April 02, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

Being a professional photographer is more than just holding a camera in your hand, snapping a bunch of photos, looking for the good one and running it through post processing software. It takes an artist, years of practice; honing your skills in lighting techniques, posing and learning the ins and outs of how your gear works. There is also insurance, forms and becoming a legit business involved in order to protect your business and clients. Some would think you can go buy the most expensive camera and lens combination, put it on the auto setting you can take great pictures every time you push the shutter button, but this is far from the truth.

Bad lighting is nearly impossible to fix in post. You would think you can just open it in Photoshop, select an area and bring up the exposure of that area. Yes, this can be done in some cases, but it won’t look like a pro photograph. You need to have lighting correct when you snap your shot. Learn how to use a light meter, learn correct strobe placement for a certain look, determine whether soft or hard lighting fits the situation and the subject , decide on how many light sources and what light modifiers to use in a particular situation. A lot of inexperienced photographers will pick up a canon DSLR, put it in aperture priority mode, lock on the subject and blow out the background every time on bright days. Why, maybe, they want look or don’t understand exposure. Bottom line is knowing how to light a subject is very important and in most cases won’t be correctable in Photoshop. You need to learn the correct lighting for the situation, how to meter correctly and adjust your camera settings accordingly.

The subject’s expression is a very important component of a great photograph and is just as important as getting the lighting right. You cannot have a dull expression and make a great photograph, even with great lighting. Eyes are important as they unlock the soul of a subject. Minute changes in facial expressions create an entirely different mood and photograph. This goes the same for slight changes in hand placement, torso and legs. You must learn how to tell a story without words and that is not an easy task, especially for those subjects who have been in front of a camera before in a professional shoot situation. Without establishing a connection to your subject, you cannot get a realistic expression. So being able to read the mood of your subject and atmosphere of a situation is also very important part of being a professional photographer. I consider this one of the main components next to lighting because without establishing a connection, you cannot achieve a true expression and a truly great photograph.

Any camera from a cell phone camera to a $49,000 Hasselblad is capable of taking great photographs as long as you know how to use your equipment and learn the craft of photography and it is a craft that takes time to develop. So take the time to develop your skills, buy the equipment that suits your needs, not what people tell you need. I shoot Sony because it suits my needs and I was a Minolta shooter pre digital days and have many Minolta lenses that fit the Sony A-Mount System. I am now slowly moving over to the more compact Sony FE and E-Mount systems because I like the lighter weight and adaptability. Any camera in which you can control the ISO, Aperture, shutter speed and has hot shoe is all you really need, unless you are shooting in very low natural light situations or action sports. Learn the craft and don’t worry about your gear. Gear does not make a great photograph, the photographer and subject do.


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