5 Tips for Aspiring Wedding Photographers

With the downturn in the world economy over recent years, more and more people have been turning to their hobbies as a means of either supplementing a downsized income or replacing a lost one. This means that the photography market — particularly when it comes to the wedding industry — has become well and truly saturated, and it more difficult than ever to build a thriving business. If you’d like to find out some of the best ways to grow your profile in a competitive market, read on for five top tips you can take advantage of.

Screen Shot 2014-08-15 at 5.57.56 PMEnroll in a Photography Course

While it is possible to build up your knowledge of camera equipment, shooting techniques and the photography industry from practical, hands-on experience, one of the best ways to set you on the fast-track to becoming a full-time wedding photographer is to enroll in a respected photography school for in-depth lessons. A dedicated wedding photography course will teach you some of the best techniques for choosing and using equipment, taking advantage of lighting, finding the best settings for photos, deciding on camera angles, and editing photographs in your studio. On top of these elements, specific wedding photography training can also help you learn about the business side of the industry — after all, what good is a professional cameraman or woman without any clients.

Make Friends With Wedding Organizers

When it comes time to find clients and to start building a portfolio of work to entice future couples to choose you for their big day, making friends with wedding organizers can be very beneficial.

As planners often hire or suggest photographers to couples they work with, having some quality connections in this field can help you very quickly build up your client base. Attend networking events or utilize social media sites to make initial connections with wedding organizers, and then think about ways you might be of assistance to them so that you can build that relationship over time. You might consider offering wedding planners a referral fee for any clients they send your way, or perhaps offer to shoot one of their events at a heavily discounted rate so that they can find out for themselves how good your work is and how professional you are with customers.

Always Have a Prior Consultation With Couples

It’s also important to factor in time for a consultation with couples before their big day. One of the best ways to land new jobs is from recommendations from happy customers. As a result, it’s crucial that you impress each couple that hires you. In order to do this, you need to be clear about their expectations and desires. Have a comprehensive consultation with each couple before their wedding so that you can be clear about what type of photos they’re looking for; any potential family member rifts that need to be worked around on the day; which parts of the day need to be photographed; and if they require their photos to be taken in particular locations.

Organize Your Time and Expect the Unexpected

Wedding days can be hectic and go by in a flash, so it’s vital you plan out the day accordingly. Before the wedding, have a think about which elements of the day you need to capture and where you may need to stand for the best shots. Don’t forget to factor in driving times between locations, as well as potential holdups from wedding party members. Also ensure you are clear about how to get to each venue. Disorganized photographers miss out on capturing key moments at events, so make sure this doesn’t happen to you. As well, remember to have back-up plans in case of any weather issues.

Know Your Equipment and Have Backups

Even if you’re new to the industry, you should have spent plenty of time practicing your craft and getting to know your equipment inside and out before any paying gigs. Prior to an event, ensure that all of your equipment is working properly, charged up, and packed ready to go. Don’t forget to have backups on hand, such as a spare camera, flash, lens, batteries and tripod, so that if anything is damaged or suddenly stops working on the day, you won’t have an issue with completing the job.

 

Make Money By Selling Your Photos Online

Do you enjoy taking photos? Are you good at taking photos? If you can say yes to both of these questions, then you may be interested in selling the photos that you take online. It may not make you rich, but it may be a way to make some extra money by doing something that you actually enjoy doing.

Also, pictures that you took awhile ago may continue to make you money into the future, which can set you up for some possible passive income. Who doesn’t want that?

You may be wondering who buys photos online. Trust me, there are a lot of people who do this! Photos are bought online for many reasons: for magazine articles, for websites (such as in their logo or in a blog post), for someone’s home (to be hung on a wall), for a pamphlet, and more.

There are many different websites online that allow you to sell your photography online. These include:

  • Fotolia
  • Etsy. You can sell your prints on this website. You might be able to sell them fully ready to go with the prints in a frame as well.
  • Shutterstock.
  • Dreamstime.
  • iStockphoto.
  • Smugmug.

 

Make Money By Selling Your Photos Online

Here are my tips to sell your photography.

You need to be able to market yourself well.

One way to sell your photography would be using a website such as Etsy. You can sell prints, photos and so on, but if you cannot market yourself then it would be hard to make money through this website. If you have a following, then you can pitch your photos to those that follow you.

Most of the people who buy on Etsy are probably people who are looking for photos for their home, so keep this in mind.

You need to describe your photos well.

Once you actually take the photos that you plan on selling, you need to put these photos online and describe them. If you don’t have a good description of your photos, then no one may be able to find it.

You should make sure that you are using good keywords so that the photos will pop up in search engines.

Know the terms of the website that you are selling on.

Different websites have different terms. Some only want photos of certain things (such as pictures that are commercial-related), whereas other websites don’t really care.

If you want to be successful, then you should know the terms so that you are not wasting your time on a website that is not correctly fitted for the type of photography that you take.

Have you ever sold your photography? What tips do you have?

 

A quiet night in: an exercise in frugal saving.

image1As much as any couple, family or group of friends might like going out, it’s never cheap. Whether it’s fine dining or going out to your local bar or restaurant, these are costs that add up all too easily. They may seem cheap once in a while but once you start doing it on a weekly or semi-regular basis, it becomes a larger and larger chunk of your expenses.

In contrast to this, understanding the benefits of a quiet night in can prove useful. More than offering something different and relaxing it can demonstrate a way to stay cheap and cost effective whilst still enjoying the usual perks of life.

Food

If you go out to eat, you should know how much this can cost. Cooking for yourself is usually the cheapest but there are still other options. For instance, if you have the urge for Chinese food, it may be cheaper for everyone to pool money together for chinese takeaways than visit your local restaurant. It’s much cheaper and doesn’t have the added costs of additional drinks and restaurant prices and other service charges that are often forgotten about.

Entertainment

Likewise, if you’re not going out, there is nothing to stop you from being social. Your home can prove entertaining enough with the right company. Cheap entertainment can be anything from a movie rental (if you’re only going to watch it once, don’t buy something you don’t need) to various games, which offer entertainment again and again. These are all cheap, whether you use it once or buy it to use again and again. This is another lesson to be learnt in saving, by understanding the real value of something.

If you come across some movies that you and your friends love, it makes sense to purchase the DVD so you can all watch it whenever you like. Luckily, you can save money by ordering your DVDs online, so you do not have to worry about breaking the bank. To make things more interesting, consider having each person purchase a DVD online and then choosing between your favorites every time you gather.

Additional expenses

Hopefully the two areas above should highlight how easy it is to cut down on those little costs for every social occasion but there are always other areas to look at. Take your appearance, for instance. If you don’t go out to an expensive restaurant you might not need to risk your best shirt or shoes. It can also save on other expenses, such as getting a taxi home late if you’ve been drinking or other travel costs.  So, next time you think you might go out, suggest staying in to the others and see how much can be saved.

Stock Photography: 15 Sources of Inspiration to Explore When You are Stuck in a Rut (or Not!)

At some point in their career, every creative person deals with the same issue – how to create inspired work? Lack of inspiration does not discriminate between writers (read our great write up about busting the dreaded writer’s block if you are a writer too), designers or photographers. So what is a creative person, who relies on his creativity to put food on the table, to do? Fortunately, the world is littered with amazing sources of inspiration! You just need to know where to start looking.

In this article we will get you started with 15 sources of mojo to capture the most inspired photographs that you ever took.

1. Check out the explore section of flickr

Flickr has an amazing feature called “interestingness” based on how viral a photograph is in flickr. Photographs with the most interestingness score land on their explore page. These are the photos that have been most tagged, favorited and commented upon and can be a great source of inspiration no matter what kind of a rut you are in!

2. Stop at the local library and flip through a bunch of magazines

The magazines need not necessarily be design oriented (though that would definitely help the creative juices flowing). Even boring business magazines can give you great ideas for setting up your next microstock photo shoot.

3. Discover a model by offering a TFCD

There are so many struggling models out there desperate to put together a good portfolio. Offer to do a photoshoot for free – they get the prints or CDs of their pictures and you get some great shots to add to your micro stock accounts. Don’t forget to get them to sign the paperwork and the release forms!

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Ten Tips for Choosing the Right Keywords for Your Stock Photos to Take Them From “Uploaded” to “Sold”

Out of all the money making ideas floating around online (and even on this website), stock photography is one of the most creative. You get to be creative with your photos, how you present them, and even how you sell them using keywords. Now that you’ve decided to earn some extra money with stock photography, you’re obviously interested in ways to maximize your profits. One way you can do so is through choosing the right keywords to describe your work.

What is a keyword? A keyword is the word (or phrase) your potential customers type into the search box as they look for images. Within mere seconds, they’ll be rewarded with a flood of suggestions. Your goal is to be one of these–the closer to top of the first page of results, the better your chances are of making a sale. If your pictures stay buried on page 18 of the search results, chances are no one will even bother to look, much less buy. To ensure that doesn’t happen to your photos, choose your keywords with care. Here are ten suggestions to help!

1. Avoid generic terms.

If you’re posting a photo of a Golden Retriever, don’t tag it as “dog,” and be done with it. The microstock photography business has grown over the past few years; you have plenty of competition. Chances are good that your “dog” photo will simply be overwhelmed in an avalanche of “dog” photos. Your buyer, who really did want a great picture of a Golden Retriever saving the life of a young boy who was about to go over Niagara Falls, is going to give up in disgust after scrolling through the first 5 pages of dog results, and buy a “good enough” photo of a wet spaniel. Make it easy for people to find your work.

2. Be Specific

You do this by being specific. Look at every aspect of your picture. In the example mentioned above, you could use “Golden Retriever,” “boy,” “child,” “Niagara Falls,” “lifesaving,” “waterfalls,” “heroes,” “rescue,” etc. Which season is portrayed in your picture? Is there a dominant color scheme? What is the orientation of the picture: vertical or horizontal (these things matter to a web designer)? The more specific your keywords, the more likely your photograph will be presented to the people most likely to buy it.
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Stock Photography: How to Appeal to a Particular Demographic to Massively Boost your Sales

As a microstock photographer, your number one concern is how to boost sales and maximize profits with creative money making ideas. Is it possible, for instance, to target a particular demographic with your photography?

Who Are Your Customers?

First, of course, you need to know who’s buying your images. Not the name, address, race, gender, age and occupation of each customer, but the purposes for which most people need stock photos in the first place. Typically, you’re selling to artists, web designers (professional and amateur), advertisers, graphic designers, and others in the publication business–whether they work for popular magazines or are in charge of putting out the weekly church bulletin. Because they are buying images for a work project, and not for personal use, knowing their personal information may not do you much good. After all, the seventy-something woman in charge of her garden club’s newsletter may adore photos of dressed up poodles wearing rhinestone sunglasses, but when she has her wallet out while preparing the newsletter, what she’s really looking for is a good, clean image of a trowel on a white background.

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TFCD: An Insider Secret For Building a Stellar Modeling Portfolio for Free

There are many aspiring models out there, but only so many modeling jobs available. One way to rise above your competition is to be able to present a stellar portfolio. Unfortunately, the professional photography sessions you need to accomplish this can be prohibitively expensive. So should you give up your dreams that modeling may be one of money making ideas perfectly suited for you?

Well, don’t give up your modeling ambitions yet. It turns out that there is a way to build your portfolio for free. The method used by insiders to circumvent portfolio costs is through a practice known as TFCD–and it can work for you too.

What is TFCD?

TFCD stands for “Time for CD.” It’s also known as TFP (Time for Prints), TFDL (Time for Downloads) or, most simply TF. It’s a practice in which models pose for photographers in return for free photos from the session- either or a CD or prints or available for download. Both parties benefit. The photographer gets a model for no cost, and the model gets his or her portfolio-quality shots for free. Win-win.

Choosing a Photographer

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6 Questions to Ask Yourself While Getting Your Picture Ready for Submission

You’ve signed up with one or more stock photography sites. You’ve taken a slew of photos and they’re sitting there on your computer, waiting to go out and make you some money! Woohoo for money making ideas that let you continue doing what you enjoy most! Before you send your babies out in the world though, ask yourself these 6 questions –

Got the Instructions?

First, and most importantly, read and follow the instructions provided by your stock photography site. Each company has its own requirements and procedures. If you do not follow them, chances are your submissions will be rejected immediately, so it is a good idea to get real familiar with those instructions.

Got the Right Topics?

Ideally, you researched popular photo subjects, or targeted a particular niche, before you went out shooting. But just in case, or if you’re trying to get that old photograph on your hard disk to make you some money, make sure you’re sending images clients are interested in buying. Check each agency’s “bestseller” list, or examine each site to see if any subject areas are lacking.

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Stock Photography: A Definitive Guide To Turning Your Pictures Into “Money Making Shots”

As a novice stock photographer, you’re anxious to make that sale. You’ve got decent equipment, excellent skills, and devote time and effort to your work. You’ve even had several photos accepted. But will they sell? What can you do to ensure that every shot you upload will deliver? There are, of course, no guarantees, but here are some ideas on how you can choose pictures with maximum profit potential, since profits are what we’re looking for when it comes to money making ideas. So, here we go –

1.  People are Popular

When a designer punches in a search request, chances are she’s not looking for great shots of monarch butterflies. Photos of people outsell those of buildings, nature, and animals, simply because they’re so versatile!

Take shots of people in groups and alone, working, playing, arguing, praying, wearing all sorts of clothing, displaying every imaginable emotion, and from every conceivable angle. Try snapping both natural and posed photos. Ask neighbors, friends, family and co-workers to serve as models–people of every age, background, gender, and style sense.

Just remember: it’s imperative that you get a signed model release from every person in your pictures. Get in the habit of carrying a few copies of your release around, along with a reliable pen – money making ideas often require that you cover your butt for legal reasons.

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That Photograph Sitting in Your Hard Disk Could Be Making You Money

If you’re looking for great money making ideas for your spare time, you’ve no doubt come across the subject of stock photography. Stock photographers turn their best shots into cash by selling them online through agencies such as BigStockPhoto, ShutterStock, iStockphoto, and others. Designers, webmasters, and graphic artists search these images for pictures they can use on their projects. They buy the license to use each photo, which they then download, and the photographer gets a percentage of the sale. (That picture to the right – nope, not me.  I downloaded it from BigStockPhoto to pep up this article a bit, and a photographer just like you, made some money. See? It works! 🙂 )

Prerequisites

So, what will you need to begin?

  • A high-quality digital camera. Even though you could use a basic “point-and-shoot” model, it is not recommended since these are more likely to produce photographic “noise,” meaning colored pixels appearing where they should not. Stock photo agencies look closely for noise. To take pictures that sell, you’ll need, at minimum, a 5 megapixel camera; the higher the resolution, the better. A digital SLR model with changeable lenses is ideal.
  • Photo-editing software, such as Photoshop or NeatImage. You’ll need this to edit out the blemishes, and other less-than-desirable parts of a photo. [Read more…]