10 Tips To Tell You How To Start A Photography Business By Finding Your Photography Niche

Sooner or later, most photography enthusiast give some thought to “how to start a photography business.” Unfortunately, there are a ‘few‘ challenges that “doom” us to failure. One of the biggest challenges that we bring is our failure to make the distinctions between our love of photography (re: our enjoyment and passion for photography) and the business of photography (understanding buying and spending habits of people that are photography customers).

For example, many of us think that because our photography work is “so good,” that we shouldn’t have that much trouble selling it. We, sometimes, mistakenly, think that great art and photography “sells itself.” Big mistake! Great photography does not sell itself. In the business world, nothing sells itself – nothing! Knowing this is critical to start a photography business.

Our failure to make the distinction between our passion for photography and our desire to be in the photo business is also evident in how we try to tell people about what we do. For example, photography customers don’t care what type of equipment we use. They don’t care how many mega-pixels we have, nor how much our equipment cost us, nor what brand of camera we use. Photography customers (current and potential) want to know that we can, and will, produce the highest quality photography work for them.

Think about it, the mechanics that repair our cars don’t tell us what tools that they use. The chefs in the restaurants that we patronize don’t tell us what type of pots, pans or stoves that they use. In those businesses, it is already established what customers want and how best to give it to them. In other words, other businesses do a better job of understanding their ‘niche.’ In order to start a photography business that is consistently successful and growing, we must be clear on what niche we are offering and how to sell the benefits of our niche to the customers.

Another mistake that we budding photography business owners repeat is failing to “specialize” (know our photography niche) in what we do. As photography enthusiasts, we enjoy shooting any and everything. As photographers, that’s just fine. However, when we start a photography business, we, mistakenly, try to be ‘all things to all people’ – we take every photography job offered us.

One of the obvious problems with this approach is our failure to recognize how it drastically cheapens the value of what we do as skilled photographers, in the eyes of the customers. Mistakenly, we want our customers (current and potential) to know that we can photograph anything – after all, we’re very versatile photographers! What the customers actually see is that we’re not “versatile photographers,” we’re just someone with a camera that’s available to take pictures when they call us. Serious photography customers (re: those that can afford to spend regularly) want to do business with specialists – photographers that know their photography niche.

Successful wedding photographers are clear on this, as an example of my point. Their ‘primary’ customer (usually the bride) has dreamed about her wedding day for most of her life. She isn’t looking for a vesatile photographer. She wants a “wedding photographer” that can make her ‘look’ as good, happy and beautiful as she has been in all of her lifelong dreams of ‘her day’ – her wedding day. There’s a special skill to this type of photography service. In fact, this niche has more to do with well developed ‘people skills,’ in my opinion. Successful wedding photographers that are clear on these nuances are more successful in business.

Do your research.

  • Inventory Your Photo Collection – Take a look at your photo collections. Determine what it is that you 1.) shoot the most; 2.) shoot consistently well; and 3.) enjoy shooting. Identify your and categorize the photos into various niches, i.e. portraits, sports, glamor, pets, children, landscape, etc.
  • Research The Photography Markets – Do internet searches using the words “photography niche.” Also, use the type of niche that you think your photos fit. For example, “event photography niche,” “wedding photography niche,” etc. Also, a good source to help identify some of the photo markets is “The Photographer’s Market.” This is a book that is published annually and claims to provide photo buying contacts and information. Online searches are the most useful, in my opinion. Books by author and photographer, Dan Heller are good places to get a better understanding of the vast world of photography, without all the ‘artsy-hype,’ in my opinion. He also has a very informative website – DanHeller.com
  • Identify ‘Real’ Markets – Find out what type of photography (of your specialties) your customers currently are purchasing. What type of photography is selling? At some point, you’ll have to ‘balance’ the realities of the different niches. There can be some factors that aren’t consistent across all photography niches. For example, some niches require longer “workflow” (workflow is the post production process of taking photos) periods and tasks than others. Higher quality portraits normally require photo editing – which is time-consuming. Event photography requires the processing, packaging and delivering (presenting) of photos. True story: I went through my large photo collections and found that I had a very large number of outstandingly beautiful flowers. I can’t begin to tell you my disappointment when I found out that there is ‘virtually’ no market of photos of flowers – it seems that everybody has them already, everybody! Lesson learned – identify ‘real’ markets.

Ten Tips To Assist You To Identify Your Niche

  1. Identify specialties that fit your style:
  2. Determine if you have the necessary equipment for the niche
  3. Do you have identifiable and specific skills in this niche area – can you articulate them?
  4. Who is your target audience
  5. What type of photography do they purchase the most
  6. Where are they taking their photography business currently – your competition
  7. What will be different about your services
  8. Does where you live support your preferable niche
  9. Is your niche ‘stock photography’ or ‘assignment photography’ – do you know the difference
  10. What is the future potential and tendencies of your niche

Fortunately, the internet makes this information just a few clicks away. The information isn’t difficult to find and learn. Knowing your niche increases your confidence tremendously. Truly know your niche – and your photography business will follow!

Ways to Get Cool Photo Effects With Your Digital Single Lens Reflex Camera

The majority of people who only take occasional photographs like the ones of family events, tend to leave their Digital Single Lens Reflex cameras on the default or automatic settings. If someone taught you how to use the manual settings to make cool photo effects would you then use the manual settings? If you left the shutter of your camera open for longer than normal and you were taking a picture of a moving cars’ tail lights, the picture you would end up with would have long red streaks of light. Which you may have done before but this time you knew why it happened and that you did it on purpose just to see what it looks like. Here is a major bonus, you don’t need a really expensive DSLR to make cool photo effects only one you can operate manually.

Having the imagination is of more benefit then having the best gear, as long as it’s a DSLR camera you’re good. Once someone shows you a certain thing on your camera you will be able to apply that knowledge to any photographs you take. Like with any skill once you get the fundamentals down pat, your imagination is your only limitation. Going back to the shutter speed, picture this, a moving swing with coloured lights and a shutter open longer than normal, I think that would look really awesome.

Or taking a picture of an object and then while the shutter is open you move a light, (like a flashlight) in a pattern, photographing the light trails, it’s called light painting, now that is a cool photo effect. Going with digital photography has the added benefit of not having expensive processing fees, so if you aren’t happy with something you delete it.

Another thing that you can do with the manual settings on your camera is HDR photography, another cool photo effect. You would use this technique to gain more detail than is possible with only one photo. Put your camera on a tripod and take 3 photo’s of the same space, at normal exposure, under exposed and over exposed to get the shadowed detail, and then you can use software to meld the images together creating a high dynamic range photograph with so much detail in the fore and back grounds and with definition that just pops.

You can use your camera to make cool photo effects such as 3D images. Your camera is capable of creating perspective illusions and even infra red to change the colour of typical photos making them look surreal. Your friends and family will be totally amazed and will want to know when you had the time to take a professional photography course.

There are many photo artists who use these cool photo effects in their art and you can learn to do this as well.

Complete Tips For Street Photography, What To Do When Confronted, and the Best Camera Setting

Hi! How are you doing? I hope everything is going pretty well on your side.

Street photography is getting more common in the photography world. While it is quite simple, yet there are some things that you want to keep in mind when you hunt for street photos. I would like to share you some tips to help you shoot great street photos. Well, here they are!

1. Crowd is your golden nugget

The key to successful street photography is people. This means that the more people you encounter in an area, the better your chances are to witness a moment and capture it. For that reason, it would be very helpful if you know your area well.

By knowing your area, you know where the crowds are, and you will know where to go to take street photos. I don’t say that you have to solely rely on the crowded places that you know already. In fact, sometimes having a walk to random places may be very rewarding too.

One thing for you to keep in mind is that hunting photos in a big area will overwhelm you. My suggestion is to focus on a small section of street or a corner for each trip. Either way, to start with, I would just plan my roaming route before I go out to take photos. This will make my quest be more focused.

If you are new to an area, I would suggest you visit the community center to gather information on where the people gather. Another alternative is just go and roam around the neighborhood and see what the town has to offer.

2. Risk Versus Reward

Street photography is quite different compared to other types of photography. In street photography, in case you haven’t read my previous article, all moments are captured as it is, spontaneously. Whatever you in the frame is what is really happening.

You may be encountering some ‘golden’ moments for street photography such as gang fights, drug dealer transactions, wars, etc. I would say those things are super rare for street photography. Yet are they worth it? You can make those kind of photos in a studio with the help of professional models anyway.

Another moment which you may want to think twice before capturing it is like a mother changing her baby’s diaper. It’s like, do you really want to capture the moment?

Keep in mind that street photography is also an art which has to be done for aesthetic reason.

3. Permission, Law and copyright

Do you really need permission from the people you are taking photos of? I don’t really tell people for their permission. Asking permission it is not necessary as long as you are not using the photos commercially.

If you are selling your photos, let’s say on microstock libraries, then you have to get the model release from the person you are taking picture of.

Using the photos for commercial purpose also requires you to get rid of any logo, brand, and symbols. Those things are copyrighted, and you’d better erase them or otherwise you have to pay royalty for using them commercially.

For a private collection or putting them on your private blog, you don’t need to sign any release. The photos are the manifestation of your own creative intelligence. You have a full right on your creation.

4. What to do when confronted

At some point you will be in a situation where the person you take picture of gets upset. The best response you can give is to smile. You are not doing any fraud to anyone. If he demands to know what you are doing, just explain humbly. You are an artist or a photographer, and tell the person that the photos are for your own collection.

Most of the times it’s enough to just look at anything but the person. If the person calls the police, then just explain that what you are doing is an art or street photography project. As street photography tells what happens in society as it is, you also have to explain what you are doing as it is. Just be honest and in most cases you will be just fine.

5. How to not attract people’s attention

Preventing is always better than curing. Here are some tips to minimize the possibility to get noticed by your street photography objects.

• Wear dark clothes. Bright colors attract attention easily.

• Keep your elbows in when taking the photos. Spreading your body makes you stand out.

• Have the camera set. Get the photos quickly.

• Keep the camera strip high, closer to your head. It minimizes the movement required to have the camera ready.

• Get use with the camera. Always carry your camera everywhere, as if it was your second skin.

6. Find interesting street photography subjects

Street photography is about telling a story on what is happening in the society through your camera. You can get an interesting story with a proper preparation. There are some ways to get a good story for your image.

You can find an interesting people and follow them, expecting they will encounter an interesting moment for you to capture. For example, during the autumn season last year I was planning to shoot a picture of people enjoying the foliage. So I waited in a spot where I often saw people walk by, which has autumn foliage. After a while a couple of young people walked by and I took the picture. Easy.

You can spend a good amount of time before coming to a street photography theme. For me, I don’t like to spend too much time on planning, instead I would plan a simple subject and then hunt for the photos immediately.

7. Get your camera ready all the time

You don’t want to lose the moment. Some moments in street photography may not happen again forever. I have to admit that I have missed some precious moments because I did not bring my camera when I needed it the most.

The bad news is that moments may occur unpredictably. The good news is that as you become more experienced in street photography, your instinct is getting better.

Train yourself to be at the right place at the right time.

8. Good time for street photography

Here is the thing. You would need high shutter speed to capture a precious quick moment, right? Then you have to have much light to compensate. I personally, many other photographers may argue differently, prefer more light quantity than quality.

With a bright light, you can maximize your shutter speed to freeze your frame completely.

Having said that, my favorite time for street photography is morning and evening, especially during the summer time when the sunlight is abundant.

9. Where to shoot from

This one could be tricky. The point here is that you want to capture the whole scene, but you don’t want to look so suspicious.

I would suggest you to stand close to your object. The first reason is that you will be able to capture the scene perfectly. Secondly, standing too far will make you look suspicious.

When you encounter a great moment, take plenty shots at it. You don’t want to leave too early and regret later.

10. Camera Setting

What is the best camera setting for street photography? I would say first is maximizing your shutter speed. But remember to compensate with the light. If the light is less then you may want to reduce your shutter speed.

Most of the time I use shallow focus 1/5 so that I could emphasize the object I want to focus on. But when I want to capture the whole scene, then I go with smaller focus 1/22 or lower.

There is no exact textbook correct camera setting for street photography. It is an art. If you are happy with the photos, then you are doing perfectly fine.

11. Color or Black/White?

Again, street photography is all about your own preference. Nothing is better than the other.

Black/white, for my opinion, is good to give a retro impression. If you have big desire on classical-type photos, then black/white may be suitable for you.

If you feel that the color has the power to tell the story of your street photography image, then colored photos are the best.

12. Take action now!

Street photography totally requires you to go out and take photos. There is no other way to be a great street photographer other than going through a decent hours of practice.

I hope these tips are useful for you. Have fun taking photos!