Where do I Go From Here?

Where to Go From Here?

I have been involved with photography now for about 7 years. I have tried all kinds of different types of photography. I have tried food photography, bird and wildlife photography, landscape photography, street photography, well honestly just about every type of photography out there. I have pretty well settled on headshot and portrait photography as my favourite genre. I really enjoy photographing people and trying to portray their personality through the lens of my camera.

I now find myself at a crossroads. Where do I go from here? I am pretty certain that my main interest in photography will remain headshot and portrait photography. I have developed the skills, both technical and creative to take the next step and turn “pro”. I have the equipment necessary for a small home studio to get started, but I realize that eventually I would need to invest in professional studio equipment and eventually get a space for a real studio. The kicker is I am sixty-four years old. Do I really want to start a photography business at my age or do I simply do the odd paid job to help feed my appetite for new gear?

The other consideration aside from age is I live in a very small market, a market that considers Walmart photos much more than adequate for their portrait needs. People like my work but are not willing to pay the price for quality work. I have done a few event photography gigs in the past and their idea of payment for a full day’s work was giving me supper at the event. Of course I was guaranteed plenty of exposure for my photography. I have done two or three portrait sessions for $75.00 with three fully edited images. I quickly realized that I was short selling myself at that price. I have since raised my prices to $150.00 a session this month. I have had some inquiries but no takers.

So for now, I will probably continue looking for potential clients to get started. I will continue posting on Instagram and Facebook and re-designing my website to better show my portfolio of images and see where that takes me. One thing I know for sure is no matter what I decide, I will continue my passion for photography.

Developing Consistency and Style in Photography

If you are just starting out in photography, and you are like I was, you just want to photograph everything. You want to photograph your kids, your dog, your yard and everything around you. You will soon find yourself taking photos of your food and maybe try to get your first wildlife photos. As you add new lenses to your kit, you will try other styles and types of photography. Continue reading “Developing Consistency and Style in Photography”

Style in Photography (con’t)

So in my last post I talked generally about style in photography. As I develop as a photographer I am noticing my style in portraiture is a combination of lighting and post-production. I light using speedlights. I enjoy speedlights because they are versatile and very portable. My general setup if using a white backdrop is one light to illuminate the background and then 3 lights for the headshot or portrait You can see a basic diagram here. I do not have two striplights at the moment so a use one striplight and a Rogue Flash Bender XL or another Westcott softbox.

 

This is a general idea of the type of setup that I use. You need to illuminate the background to get a pure white. I find the three light setup on the model provides nice even light and good catchlights in the eyes. Here is a sample of a self-portrait.

Now let’s talk a little about style here. Part of the style is the high key pure white background. One thing I am sure you will notice is the cut off head. I always cut off the tops of the heads. Check out Peter Hurley, professional headshot photographer, to find out more about this particular style. Also note that this is a portrait shot in landscape orientation.  I really like this for portraits. Again this is part of a particular style. Now I posted this on a couple of sites and on one I got the comment that the colours were too cool and blue. Now that is exactly what I was going for so that made me happy. I did not want this photo to have warm tones at all.  I was thinking of headshots for medical professionals, doctors, nurses, chiropractors etc. I wanted the “scrubs blue, antiseptic type look”. This look was achieved in Photoshop. I also took out some of the wrinkles from the shirt and did some minor skin touch ups to the face. What I was going for here was a  headshot for a working professional. I will definitely keep on practicing and trying new lighting set-ups. After all that is what photography is all about – lifelong learning. Next up the dark, moody style, fine art portrait.

 

Portraits, Headshots, Fine-Art, and Post-Processing.

 

When it comes to portraits and headshots, post-processing and retouching are often hotly debated topics. Some prefer their portraits straight out of camera with little to no retouching or post-processing while others retouch extensively. We have all seen those before and after post where a number of people will state that they like the before photo better. Often this is a result of over-processing and giving the model a plastic or unrealistic look. Continue reading “Portraits, Headshots, Fine-Art, and Post-Processing.”

From Enthusiast to Photo Maker

“There is a giant chasm between the taking and making of an image.  This notion is what sets apart the amateur from the professional in my mind.

Anyone in today’s world can take a picture or a video clip.  You point the camera, hit a button and see what the processor pulls up for you.  The art (for lack of a better word) of taking a photo is being in the right place, at the right time, and getting lucky.  Continue reading “From Enthusiast to Photo Maker”

So what is the difference between a hobbyist and an enthusiast?

A photography enthusiast is just a hobbyist on steroids! It is someone whose hobby really has become a passion. These are some of the traits that I think an enthusiast has. By this time they have a really good understanding of the basic fundamentals of photography –  exposure, composition and lighting. They most certainly shoot in Manual mode  most of the the time and experiment with different creative exposures. Continue reading “So what is the difference between a hobbyist and an enthusiast?”

From PhotoTaker to Hobbyist

When you get your first camera you  are a photo taker. Most likely you will set your camera on Auto and just snap away. At the very beginning, setting your camera in Manual or one of the semi-automatic modes would probably be a frustrating experience. You want to have fun and take photos. Taking photos has been made easy with the new range of DSLR’s and point and shoots, and the various camera phones. Continue reading “From PhotoTaker to Hobbyist”