Just starting out in photography

      Firstly this is a bit of a read so go grab a Gin, pre school run grab a brew 😉

      So there are a few things I would have loved to of known when I first started out in photography.

      I thought I’d share some of it with you.

      There is a big misconception that photography is easy, you just take a family to a field and point your camera at them, deliver their gallery and charge them a small fortune.

      This, however, couldn’t be further from the truth, photography as a full-time job is hard work, you will spend hours on your business, you will forfeit weekends with your family to photograph other peoples families and all profits from your first year will be spent on equipment, after the first year you’ll use them to pay tax and grow your business!

       

      Boring but essential bits first

      Just starting out in photography?

      You will need to know your costs, yes it will cost you to run your photography business, even if you run it from home, below are a few expenses you will all have to pay whether you’re full time or part-time.

      1. You need public liability insurance.
      2. Some of you will need indemnity insurance.
      3. You will need equipment insurance.
      4. You will need to pay for an online gallery space to host your clients’ images.
      5. Back up storage for all your clients’ images.
      6. Professional editing software.
      7. Website costs and domain costs.
      8. The cost of running a car to & from shoots (Petrol, wear & tear, etc).
      9. If you use props cost them in too.
      10. An accountant or accounts software.
      11. If you want to run a studio or rent an office, add that in at a full 12 months plus deposits and running costs.
      12. Broadband and telephone costs.

      You will also have to pay yourself a monthly wage and have money sat to one side to pay your tax and national insurance contributions, along with some cash for replacing, repairing and servicing equipment.

      So you need to factor all these in when you work out how much you need to charge each client.

      Just starting out in photography – Wrexham child and family photographer

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      Tips

      Just starting out in photography

      Comparison

      When you’re just starting out in photography this can be done too much.

      Don’t compare yourself to other photographers, especially local ones, at the start we can all be a little guilty of this and it will do you no good, you can look to other photographers for inspiration, but at the end of the day what matters is how you see things.

      People will come to you for the way your images look and also for you, after all, you are the shop front and mechanics of your business. You could put five photographers in the same spot with the same family and I can guarantee all 5 images would differ.

      There are enough clients for everyone, be you not someone else.

      Backgrounds

      Watch your background, don’t choose fussy or busy backgrounds they can be distracting. Make sure the horizon line is straight and doesn’t cut through someone’s head.

      Blurry backgrounds might be your thing but this is best done in camera rather than in photoshop as you can also blur the background a little more by pulling your clients forwards rather than standing them right up against the wall or hedge.

      Shoot with a wide open aperture so depending on your lens drop it down to the lowest it will go and that will blur your background more by making the depth of field more shallow.

      I would advise anyone just starting out to buy a 50mm 1.8 as these are reasonably cheap and a great starter prime lens.

      Wrexham Family Photographer

      Focus Points

      Choose your focal point, you should always focus on the eye nearest to you. You can move your focal points around I would never use the in-camera automatic autofocus especially on wide open shots at f2 or below.

      When you’re starting out you may only have 9 or 11 focal points on your camera to move between so make them count, my camera has 65 and I can move through them fast because I learnt how to use them from the start on my old 350d which only had 9.

      Just starting out in photography

      Composition

      This is a rule that can be broken a lot, but in general, you should always frame your image. I tend to shoot quite tight, but when I don’t I tend to place my subject to the left or the right of the image rather than the middle.

      If your subject is stood in a field looking one way then the direction they are facing should be where the open space is, not behind them or the image will make no sense to the viewer as you want to draw the viewer in.

      It is expensive

      There’s no hiding it, camera bodies and lenses are expensive and if you plan on being a studio photographer then you can add the cost of lighting and backdrops into it.

      You will also need a backup camera in case something happens to your main body. Every time you upgrade your camera always keep the old one as your back up.

      Wrexham Child photographer

      Spend your cash right

      Prioritise lenses over camera bodies, glass is what really makes the difference to your images, a good lens makes your job easier.

      I love prime lenses and I only own one zoom which is my 70-200 I love this lens and use it a lot but my prime lenses are my babies.

      Prime lenses are a set focal length, so, for example, a 50mm or an 85mm and they won’t zoom. Expect to pay anything from £350 to £4000 for a lens, but every hard earned penny will be well spent.

      Lighting

      So there are two parts to this, the first is you need to constantly be changing your camera setting as the light changes. If like me you are an outdoor natural light photographer, regularly check the back of your camera to ensure you are not under or overexposed.

      The second is to understand light, make friends with it, its the light that makes a photograph and until you learn it your photos just won’t be as good as they could be.

      Know your locations

      This for me is crucial, clients rely on me to take them to good spots, I need to have been and checked these locations out at different times of the day and different seasons, especially if a client has suggested their favourite place.

      I need to ensure these places are dog and family friendly, safe for the children to run about freely and have enough spots for a full session. Knowing your ideal client base will help you pick the best locations.

      When I started out I would use local parks but they are no longer my first choice as they can be busy, have too much-dappled shade and tend to not have a lot of variety.

      However, saying that they do make the perfect locations for autumn shoots as there are plenty of trees. I love a meadow or country park, but it’s all personal taste and what suits your style and ideal clients.

      Wrexham child and family photographer

      Shoot RAW not Jpeg

      I only shoot RAW because you can do so much to a RAW file, if you over or underexpose a jpeg you can’t save that image, you have to bin it.  Yes, they are bigger files and you get fewer pictures on your SD or CF card than you would if you shot Jpeg but I don’t care.

      Learn manual mode

      Once you understand this you are good to go, it is not an easy task and is frustrating at times but once you’ve mastered ISO, shutter speed and aperture you’re prepared for whatever the weather and location have to throw at you.

      Criticise your own work

      For you to grow you have to be able to see where you can improve, where you made mistakes and learn from them, this also makes culling clients images much easier 😉

      Have a network of Photography friends

      No they are not competition they are lifesavers, photography conversations are so boring for your non-photography friends, and Nan will always tell you your work is awesome, but your photography pals will tell you how it is and also help you out when you need it.

      If my lens or camera were to break tomorrow, I’d have 2 local photographers I could call on to borrow me stuff and vice versa. I have a little messenger group with 4 awesome female togs I speak to daily, they are my ”happy place” for all things photography and also mum chat, being a working mum is hard.

      One of my best friends is a photographer and I used to a second shooter for a local wedding photographer who has now become one of my closest friends. Don’t be scared of other photographers, you need them and they need you.

      Training, workshops and one on ones

      Ok, so I have a love-hate relationship with all of the above. So I’ve paid for a lot of these over the years, they promise to teach everything from understanding light to how your Favourite photographer creates a connection.

      Be wary this is your hard earned cash you are handing over, so you need to be sure you will get exactly what you need from it.

      Ensure the following

      You will really learn something, only choose the courses that benefit you.

      Question the host a lot before you pay to ensure you will get what you need.

      Ensure you will still be able to get what you need from them, in all weather conditions.

      Make sure you really like ALL the artists work and that it resonates a feeling in you, sounds hippie-ish but if you love everything you will learn something. From how they manipulate light to posing tips and tricks.

      I wish I’d known this at the start.

      I’ve only ever really learnt from the interactive online courses, the in-person stuff tends to be good for the portfolio building but that’s about it.

      Workshops tend to be about who can speak the loudest and they flit in and out of a few aspects of photography without going in depth on any one subject, you will get to meet other photographers though.

      I personally would say the only way you can truly learn is to practice, even if it’s not paid work practice. Learn light, go out and shoot (or set the lights up in the studio) at different times of the day and practice.

      Even spend that money on setting up your own shoots, get in a makeup artist and even a professional child or family models.

      It’s better to show you than emulate someone else.

      Just starting out in photography?

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      Just starting out in photography – Wrexham and Chester child and family photographer

      A little about me

      So I’m Nat I’ve been doing this for almost 3 years now and in May I will have been a full-time professional photographer for 2 years.

      I’m a natural light photographer only, I specialise in child and family photography. I’m based in Wrexham in North Wales, I travel outside of Wrexham and also cover Chester and Oswestry but last year I covered a lot of North Wales and LOVED it.

      I also got to work with some big companies in 2017 which I loved, it pushed me as a photographer and I learnt a lot.

      If you want to ask me anything just pop a comment below and I’ll get back to you 🙂

      Just starting out in photography can be scary

      Just starting out in photography

      Thank you for stopping by

      You can also find me over on Facebook and Instagram

      Nat x

      Just starting out in photography

      | Wrexham & Chester Family Photographer | Child photographer 

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