Tag: photographers

10 Photographers Talk About the Moment They Say “I Love Photography!”

“At 7 years old, when my dad gave me my first canon film camera. I would run around with him and we would photograph things from different angles – his as a tall, towering, strong man and mine as a small, curious little girl.”
– Fine

“It was 4 years ago, while I made photos with a borrowed camera. I had never had a camera before, so I put all my savings together and got it. At the beginning I had many doubts, but I knew that would be the beginning of something very good. I was attracted to the idea of starting to create something and translate it, especially to gather many ideas and see what things could be.”
– Pedro 

“My older sister started to get into photography when I was 12 and of course I wanted to be just like her, so I really wanted to try it. I got my first digital camera shortly after and I started posting on Deviant Art because that’s what my sister did. The community I found here encouraged me to try new things and keep going. What I love about photography is the equalizing nature of it. It’s not that photography is easy, but it’s very different from other areas of art. I enjoy drawing and other art media, but the learning curve is steep and I rarely like my creations. Whereas with photography, anyone has the ability to take a good photo so long as they have a good concept.”
Jules

“I have always been fascinated and inspired by photography. I can’t even remember the first time I fell in love with it.
The way some photographers manage to capture life and beauty in a photo is highly admirable and marvelous. For me, good photography is about capturing a moment in a way that forces us to stop for a second. When you look at a good photo, you forget all your thoughts for a moment and are filled with awe. And all of these good pictures stand out because you can experience in them a special quality of relatedness, a connection between your existence and the piece of art.

I think it must have been this deep inner feeling that made me fall in love with photography and kept me drawn to it all along. I love taking photos myself but I also deeply enjoy looking at photos with this certain kind of quality.”
Patrick

“I guess I didn’t discover photography as such, it was a gradual thing as I grew up with it as a child because my Father was a keen hobbyist photographer, and, so, at the age of 18 (which was some considerable time ago now!), I was given my first camera – a Ricoh KR10 Super 35mm film camera and Pentax 50mm lens, this is where it all started for me! I’m not sure I ‘fell in love’ with photography, but I remember it was something that I was keen to do, although due to its creative nature I’ve always had something of a love/hate relationship with it. I guess anyone in the creative arts struggles with their relationship to whatever they’re doing. However, I’ve been involved with photography (as a hobbyist) now for over 30 years covering both film and digital, and I also spent 14 years professionally during the golden days of film and printing in the 80’s and 90’s as a photographic lab technician serving professional photographers, I was young then, and so it was an exciting time to be in that industry, and I got to play with some awesome and strange (a 10×8 camera that ran on rails like a train!) kit over those years. So, I guess I must like photography more than not! I’m happiest with my photography when my images are published and used commercially, that gives me the greatest and biggest thrill, as it validates what I’m producing has genuine worth, is genuinely liked, and as a hobbyist means on some occasions I can compete with the pros!”
Andy

“The first time I fell in love with photography truly was on the Christmas of 2014, where I was given my very own dslr, the 400d. With that, it didn’t leave my side all Christmas and I remember taking it for walks on the beach so I could photograph my very first sunset. From that experience, I was hooked with the photography bug!”
Elliot

“The first time I fell in love with photography was summer of 2015 while I was living in London, England. Upon being there I met a variety of fine art photographers whose style was all so different, but so moving and incredible. I struggled a lot with self-acceptance and self-expression, being around these amazing people and seeing the wonderful creations they were capable of bringing to life once they expressed themselves gave me the motivation to do it too! I realized we are all so different and that’s the beauty of not just being an artist, but being yourself! 😃 Photography is such an impactful part of my life, it has brought many opportunities and great friendships to me. It gives me the ability to express myself and show people what I see in a very touching way.”
Davi

“I discovered photography when I was in highschool. I was a big fan of street photography and nature. At first, I just love to look at awesome pictures taken by photographers. I look at them for hours and hours thinking about how they capture that moment and be in that moment. I was inspired by it! I told myself that I wanna be in the moment too. I remember the first DSLR camera I bought. The feel and the sound of the shutter when I first hit it. It’s a surreal moment and it was a wonderful feeling. I fell in love with it. I took pictures on every single moment. Mistakes are common and you’ll learn eventually. I started to ask every photographer friends I know to learn more about it. Learning never stops, that’s true with Photography. Although I’m currently in a long hiatus because of my work, I would love to get back on track very soon for the love of photography.”
Jem

“I discovered photography by accident in 2008. I still remember the year because I was doing a mini research about Paris (which I went the next year) and then stumbled upon a Parisian blogger who that time used flickr! Then, I explored the magic on flickr and saw many beautiful creations there and instantly loved photography. I discovered Nirrimi, Taya and many local photographers such as Bak & Umar Mita who motivated me to pursue the field.”
Lala

“I fell in love with photography when I discovered a collection of breathtaking self-portraits on DeviantArt. I was amazed by how much effort a single photographer could put into a photoshoot. They did everything – modelling, planning the shot, placing equipment, and editing – on their own. I admired such strong independence and decided to try it out myself.”
Taya

 

Experiencing Belarus in the Spring: The Magic of Eastern Europe

Somewhere at the beginning of spring, a humble little country known as Belarus becomes adept at revealing the most heavenly parts of nature. Cities, towns, and villages alike come together to celebrate the beauty and value of spring’s precious gifts. These gifts can be found in both obvious and hidden places; those who find them are blessed with breathtakingly photogenic subjects. For photographers, this time of year in Belarus is pure bliss.

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Those who enjoy peace and quiet will find tranquility in smaller towns and in friendly villages. The inhabitants of these places never mean any harm – in fact, they rarely notice passing tourists. Everybody is quietly welcome, especially artists who desire to photograph life’s endlessly uplifting sides. Though there are many things worth cherishing during a Belarusian spring, here are the top 3 things which are guaranteed to bring a smile to any photographer’s face:

Fields

Thanks to the bountiful supply of fields scattered all over the country, there isn’t a spot where photographers won’t find creative potential. Since the countryside is an exceedingly harmless place, these fields provide both privacy and inspiration, giving all kinds of artists a chance to express themselves freely. The fields are most breathtaking before the day begins; soft morning light compels flowers to glow, giving them an otherworldly look. This is absolutely ideal for portrait, family, and couple shoots. Since these fields are experts at catching the light, you’re guaranteed to get brilliant results. If you’re not a fan of trespassing, you have no reason to worry. Many of these fields are open to visitors, so don’t let the fear of getting in trouble haunt you.

In addition to being indescribably gorgeous, these fields are safe. Insect-fearing folks needn’t worry about protecting themselves from buzzing wasps or clumsy spiders. Though insects can’t help but exist in these places (there are many friendly bumblebees out there), they usually avoid attacking harmless people, especially artists who only wish to photograph their charming little homes without destroying them. 🙂

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The golden hour

I often mention the magic hour in my articles because I find endless potential in it. No matter how many golden hours you’ve experienced, you’ll always find something fresh to document using that incredibly soft and warm light. The spring treats golden hour like royalty, allowing it to soak the day in honey-like colors. The entire experience leaves behind warm feelings and even warmer photographs.

The magic hour is perfect for portrait, animal, and landscape photographers. Since the light during this time evenly spreads out and banishes overexposure, portraits are guaranteed to look visually appealing and portfolio-worthy. Most importantly, the spring allows the golden hour to visit almost every day. Since the days are longer, there are many opportunities to find unusual, eye-catching light for all kinds of shoots. Combined with Belarusian nature, this creates perfection.

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Details

When it comes to the period of stunning florals and striking lighting conditions, it’s all in the details. Whether you’re photographing a travel buddy in a pleasant village or taking a walk with your pet on a hill, you’ll find photo-worthy details in every crevice. Exotic flowers, twisted branches, etc., can all be used in your shots. In addition to being marvelous subjects on their own, these gifts of nature can serve as useful backgrounds, foregrounds, and accessories. Something as simple as a foreground of branches sprinkled with blossoms can add mystery, beauty, and vibrancy to a composition. If you never underestimate the power of details, your photographs will improve and glow in ways you can’t even imagine!

Even if you’re not shooting for a campaign, you can still find wonderful artistic opportunities in places like parks, fields, bushes, and even in the middle of a bustling city. These minuscule yet significant joys exist everywhere, providing photographers of all kinds with sweet moments of creative happiness. Though you may not use them as individual pieces in your portfolio, they’ll inevitably come in handy when you create double exposures, photo manipulations, and more. Collecting photo resources for various art experiments will make you an observant and detail-oriented individual, something that clients value greatly.

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Spring is a blissful time for photographers who enjoy working with cheerful portraits and conceptual works of art. Thanks to the seemingly endless amount of nature in Belarus, photographers can shoot almost anywhere and produce unique results. Best of all, shooting in these locations will provide artists with valuable, timeless memories worth keeping forever.

Happy shooting!

La Garrotxa: a photographer’s destination in Catalonia

I feel lucky about the fact of being from Barcelona (Catalonia). It is a beautiful city with a great atmosphere and as a photographer I am aware of how charming it is. But as a local I also know that there are other places in Catalonia that are also paradises for photographers. Today I want to introduce you to one of my favorite regions in Catalonia: la Garrotxa. Although I will focus just in the places I have recently visited, I want you to know that this region has much more to offer. My objective today is to make you curious about this photographer’s travel destination.

What la Garrotxa is?

La Garrotxa is a county in the northeast of Catalonia. In the north of the county you find the Pyrenees mountains. But today I am not going to talk about this (also beautiful) part of the county. Instead, I am focusing on the central/southern part, that it is known for its volcanos. Yes, I said volcanos! Over 40 inactive volcano and lava flows cover much of the center/south part of the county. With my description, you might imagine this region as a dark and rocky area. But the reality is far from it. The region is green and fertile.  I like to go there because of its impressive natural landscapes and its beautiful towns and villages. You will be surprise for the diversity in architectural styles and you will be delighted by the local gastronomy. You won’t stop shooting.

La Garrotxa: a photographer’s destination in Catalonia
Sant Esteve Church, in the city of Olot (capital of la Garrotxa)

How to get there and other useful information

You can check the website of La Garrotxa turism to check options about how to get there, where to eat  or where to sleep. It can be really handy to rent a car for the freedom this will give you to move around the villages and to get to starting points of hiking trails. But you can also get there by bus (the company bus is called Teisa). If you are a hiker, you will have great times in this region because they make a lot of effort in developing their hiking trails. I would like to point out that tourism in la Garrotxa is mostly local (a lot of Catalans like to go there, as I do). The place keeps all its authenticity. On the other hand, you will find a lot of travel information and guides also in English.

What to photograph in la Garrotxa?

The list of things to photograph are endless: medieval villages, art noveau or modernism, forests, volcanos, regional gastronomy… all kind of photographers will find this region interesting because of its variety. In order to keep it short, I selected some photogenic spots in the region, mostly in the city of Olot and nearby.  I hope I will manage to show you the beauty of la Garrotxa and the love I feel for it.

Old city of Olot

Olot is the capital of the county. It is located at 92km from Barcelona and in 2015 its population was 34000. The first reference to Olot is from the year 872 (Middle Age). The original medieval city was destroyed by earthquakes in the fifteenth century. The city was reconstructed. Further on, it also suffered diverse wars. But besides all the historical inconveniences, the city grew and developed industrially.  Today we can enjoy its beautiful streets, churches and old shops.  Walking around the old city is a pleasure. The streets are quite typical from Catalonian villages and the colorful buildings are perfect models for any urban photographer.

La Garrotxa: a photographer’s destination in Catalonia
One of Olot’s main streets (Tomas de Lorenzana street)

La Garrotxa: a photographer’s destination in Catalonia

The streets of Olot are charming

You will also be impressed by the Sant Esteve Church, from 1763.

La Garrotxa: a photographer’s destination in Catalonia
Sant Esteve Church, Olot. I edited this photo using the Brik and Mortar Workflow

The old city is full of old little stores where you can have a look (and buy!) local products. I find these old stores interesting because they kept their authenticity. These stores have the same look already like this 40 or even 50 years ago!

La Garrotxa: a photographer’s destination in Catalonia
Perfume and beauty products store in Olot old city

La Garrotxa: a photographer’s destination in Catalonia

Little store that sells local meat products (mainly pork)

If you like to take photos of local products, you must also pay a visit to Olot’s market.

La Garrotxa: a photographer’s destination in Catalonia
You can find interesting products in Olot’s market

Photography tip: Locals are friendly and they wouldn’t mind that you take photos of their stores or the products they sell…if you ask them first! I saw that when I take photos without telling me, they give me strange looks. However, if you just ask them in catalan “Puc treure una foto?” that means “Can I take a photo?”, they will not just allow you to take the photo, they will also show you other interesting products or things to photograph! People in Olot are really hospitable.

Catalan Modernism in Olot

You might be familiar with the catalan modernism because of the works of Antoni Gaudi. Tha Sagrada Familia church in Barcelona is maybe the most well-known modernist icon. Modernism buildings usually have detailed decorations, a dominance of curved lines over straight ones and a dynamic use of forms.  This cultural movement can be also enjoyed outside the outskirts of Barcelona. In Olot you can follow a route that will take you to several modernist buildings spread around the city center. Some examples are: Gaieta-Vila house, Casa Pujador or Casa Gassiot.

La Garrotxa: a photographer’s destination in Catalonia
Gaieta-Vila House in Olot
La Garrotxa: a photographer’s destination in Catalonia
Casa Gassiot, Olot
La Garrotxa: a photographer’s destination in Catalonia
Casa Pujador

Photography tip: if you like to take photos of buildings or streets when there is nobody next to them, take advantage of the lunch break. You can walk around the city center almost alone between 14h and 17h because at that time the locals are at home having lunch and the stores are closed.

Volcano Montsacopa: Viewpoint in Olot

The Montsacopa Volcano is in Olot center. It is an interesting place to visit for several reasons. First of all, it is a good spot for nature photography without even leaving the city.

La Garrotxa: a photographer’s destination in Catalonia
The Volcano Montsacopa is a place where you can take wonderful nature photographs without leaving the city (Olot)
La Garrotxa: a photographer’s destination in Catalonia
Volcanic stone. The area is full of them.

Another reason is that once in the top the volcano provides you will an all-round views to the city and its natural surroundings.

La Garrotxa: a photographer’s destination in Catalonia
Views of Olot from the top of the Volcano Montsacopa

If this was not enough for you, once you get to the top, you can also take photos from two watchtowers that were built during the Carline war (in the second half of the XIXth century).

La Garrotxa: a photographer’s destination in Catalonia
One of the two watchtowers that were built during the Carline war on the top of Montsacopa Volcano

If you are more an architectural photographer, your desires will also be satisfied in this volcano: there is a church (Church of Sant Francesc) on the top.

La Garrotxa: a photographer’s destination in Catalonia
Church of Sant Francesc on the top of Montsacopa volcano

You can also go down and step on the 120m diameter circular crater.

La Garrotxa: a photographer’s destination in Catalonia
Mostsacopa volcano has a 120m diameter crater

La Moixina

La Moixina is a natural area not far from the old city of Olot that is a must for nature photographers. This area is characterized by its oak woods (it is the type of forest that once covered the whole Olor region) and the marshy woodland. The landscape of la Moixina is not a common one in the area, so it is worth it to visit it.

La Garrotxa: a photographer’s destination in Catalonia
La Moixina marshy woodland

La Fageda d’en Jorda

La Fageda d’en Jorda is another must-to-go place for nature photographers. It is close to Olot, You can access by car, a local bus or even walking (1h30min walk). It is a magnificent beech forest (Fagus sylvatica) that stands on the lava flow from a nearby volcano (called Croscat).

La Garrotxa: a photographer’s destination in Catalonia
La Fageda d’en Jorda is a beech forest (Fagus sylvatica)

This forest change a lot between the seasons. In winter, the trees lose all their leaves.  In spring and summer the forest is green and in autumn it turns totally golden. At any time, this forest has a fairy tale mood that makes this place almost magic.

La Garrotxa: a photographer’s destination in Catalonia
La Fageda d’en Jorda

Photography tip: The golden colors of autumn are pretty spectacular. Lots of people come to visit the forest, especially in the weekend. If you want to photograph a relatively  empty forest in autumn, you will need to schedule your visit for week days and walk a bit inside the forest in order to avoid the crowds that stays close to the parking lots that are near la Fageda.

I hope you to be interested in La Garrotxa. Feel free to contact me with any question. I will be happy to tell you whatever I know. Have a happy shooting!!!

Five Most Common Photographers’ Mistakes to Avoid

Although we tried to avoid it, we all do mistakes. But mistakes don’t have to be necessarily something terrible. In fact, mistakes are a great tool to learn and move forward. I learnt a lot from my photography mistakes. Some of them are quite personal, but others are pretty common in the photography community. I wanted to share with you five of my photographers’ mistakes because you might relate to them. But this is not a post about being ashamed of ourselves. Not at all!! Let’s take our mistakes and give them a positive twist analyzing what we can learn out from them.

Mistake number 1: Thinking that everybody in the world likes photography as much as you do

It is great to have such a passion for photography that I wanted to share it with everybody. I talked about photography with all my friends, family and clients. I explained to them the last things I learnt and my last photo sessions. I was also telling them about gear, post processing… It was way too much for them. They were not telling me to stop because they were polite, but I know they suffered from extreme boredom. Poor guys!

Photographers' mistake: not adjust your talk to your audience
If you want to see people yawning, share your passion for photography in a way that reaches to them. Adapt your stories to your audience. They will thank you.

What I learnt: think about your audience. Is the person in front of you a photography lover? If so, go for it and share your passion. But if your audience doesn’t even have a camera, try to control yourself. Of course you can share with them things because after all photography is a big part of your life. You don’t have to keep it as a secret. I just recommend you to adjust the things you explain to them. Imagine that your lawyer friend is coming to tell you everything about his last case. I mean EVERYTHING, including minor details and everything he needed to learn to face that case. I don’t know about you, but I probably wouldn’t understand a word of what he is saying. The same thing happens to them when we talk about photography in such a deep level. Share your passion, but make it interesting for your audience. Tell them a story but don’t go so much into technical details. They will understand how much you love photography without suffering for being your friends.

Mistake number 2: Getting all the new pieces of gear you find    

Gear is vital for us. Without gear we can’t do our art. But do we need everything that we see? I want to highlight here the word NEED. Because one thing is WANTING new gear. But do we NEED it? I have got new gear that I have used once and now it is sitting in a corner of a closet collecting dust. For what I saw around internet, I am not the only one that does it. Are you doing it too?

Photographers's mistake: get unnecessary gear
I wanted to get a set of ND filters when I saw them online. I kept myself of pressing the tempting “Buy” button and I thought for one month. During this time I realized that I had a lot of chances to use the filters. I finally got them. It was a good purchase because I really do use them for long exposure photography. However, it is not always like this. Sometimes, during this thinking one-month period I realized that I don’t need the gear. I saved a lot of money just by waiting some time and analyzing the usage I would give to the potential new gear.

What I learnt:  we don’t really need all the new gear that appears on internet.  I also learnt that although the lesson is easy to learn, it is not so easy to apply. Because we do need some gear. We are photographers, we need staff. We should aim for balance. We need to get enough gear to keep growing as artists without spending money in unnecessary things. Something that works for me is waiting to buy the gear for one month. When I see something I would like to buy, I hold myself (This part is the difficult one.  You need to be strong at this point). I say to myself that I will buy it in one month if I decide that I really need it. Along this month, I count how many times I would have used the gear. If the number is low, I don’t  buy it and I safe the money. If I see myself finding a lot of chances to use the gear, I go and get it.

Mistake number 3: spend too much time learning and few time practicing

There are so many interesting things to learn! And it is so easy to access them. Articles, video tutorials, online courses, books… we can spend the whole day learning new things. Sometimes I spent more time reading and watching videos than taking photos. And this is the problem: learning too much theory without practicing is not how you improve your photography. You can get inspiration from somebody’s else experiences, but until you don’t experience the things by yourself, you won’t really understand the craft.

Photographers' mistake: not non practicing enough
I read a lot about composition and the importance of highlighting your subject. One of the ways of doing it is by simplifying the background. I read that with flowers, you can add a simple black background. I wanted to try it, but I was spending so much time reading about composition, looking for inspiring photos, checking about subject isolation techniques and so on that it took me more than one month to grab my camera and take this photo.

What I learnt: it is important to keep a good balance between theory and practice. There is nothing wrong about reading and following tutorials. But always combine them with practicing sessions. You can learn in small time blocks (one chapter at a time, or one video) and instead of jumping to the next lesson, go and take your camera.

Mistake number 4: lose awareness of the surroundings

I am from Barcelona. There are a lot of interesting spots in the city where photographers accumulate. You have several buildings from the architect Gaudi, including the Sagrada Familia (the only cathedral that is still under construction in Europe), the old city, the Ramblas (one of the most famous streets in Barcelona). Is in that places where I see a lot of photographers forgetting about their surroundings. Some of them are trying to focus to the tall towers of the Sagrada Familia cathedral and they are walking back step by step, trying to fit everything in the frame. Some of them are so concentrated in their photography that they walk into the traffic line, without looking if there are cars coming. I myself almost run over some photographers with the car. Scary staff. In addition, there are some people taking advantage of this lack of awareness: the thieves. If they see you too concentrated in your camera they will come to still your wallet.

Photographers's mistake: lose awareness of where you are
It is easy to lose the awareness of where you are when you are taking photos. However it is important to find a way to avoid it. Close to this beautiful Gaudi’s cathedral (Sagrada Familia) I almost run over some photographers that didn’t realize that they have walked into the traffic line.

What I learnt: if you are taking pictures in a city or at any place where you are not alone, try not losing your awareness of the surroundings. If you see that you have a tendency to do it, look for strategies to avoid bad consequences. Put your wallet and important things in a place that can’t be access by thieves. You can also tell somebody to put an eye on you to tell you when you are getting into danger.

Mistake number 5:  follow the last fashion without thinking if you need it or not

There is always a last photography trend. Some of them are really cool and keep updated about the last techniques is always good. The problem is when you are carried out by these trends. Do you really need to use these techniques? Is it adding something to your style or does it go against it? This happened to me. I became an HDR fanatic. Internet was full of these hyper realistic looking photos. HDR all over the place. It was hard to ignore it. HDR is useful when you can’t capture all the dynamic range of a scene. There are situations in which your camera can’t handle the difference between the shadows and the highlights. It is just too much (too much contrast between light and shadows). In those situations, if you capture well the shadows, the highlights get burnt. Or when you capture well the highlight, you lose detail in the shadows because they are too black. What can you do then? HDR at rescue!! You can take photos at different exposures and merge them in post processing. Your problem is solved. You have both nice shadows and highlights in the scene. I loved it. But I loved it may be a bit too much because I found myself doing HDR even when I was able to capture all the dynamic range of the scene in a single shot. Such a waste of time in front of the computer post processing unnecessarily!

Photographers' mistake: following trends too much
I still love HDR. I like the dramatic effect you can get. However, I learnt to first check if I really need to take several shots at different exposures and merge then in post processing or if I just need one single shot.

What I learnt: Trends are great opportunity to learn new things. However, before jumping into the trend, learn about it. Check if you need to follow this trend or not. If it will add something to your photography or it will be a waste of time. That everybody is doing something at a certain periods doesn’t mean that it is the more convenient thing for you. Analyze first and then decide by yourself.

Are you making some of these mistakes?  I will be happy to know about your experiences. Feel free to share with me any comments or any other mistake I should include in this list! Have a happy shooting!!

Unpaid Shoots: When to Do Them and How to Handle Them

As photographers, we will all at some point get asked to do a photo-shoot for free. The Internet is filled with advice on how you should never do this. Every situation is unique. There are no rules on when to say yes. At the end of the day, it’s up to you to decide what works for you. When getting presented with an opportunity to do a photo-shoot for free, use the following to aid your decision.

Should I do Pro-Bono Work?

Ask yourself

To assess whether an opportunity is for you, start with asking yourself these questions: Is this opportunity worth my time? How likely is it that I’m going to benefit and get back something from this? How likely am I to cover my costs? Will I get new clients and profit in the long run? Do I know other people in your network who have done similar things?

connection

Trade pro-bono work for something of value

When you agree to take on a pro-bono photo-shoot, it’s important to know that you’re getting enough value out of it.

One thing to consider is doing unpaid shoots for your portfolio. If you like the project that is proposed and feel excited about shooting it, consider taking it on for the benefit of the images. This way you can turn it into potential work in the future when potential clients see the images in your portfolio.

If it’s a well-known person or organization like a charity, it may also be good to do the shoot for the purpose of adding the client to your client list. It may also be appropriate to communicate to the potential client how much you would typically charge for a project like this. This way if there’s a budget in the future, they know what to expect and they will value the gift they are getting.

social-media-552411_960_720_mini

Another thing you can do is trade services. If you have a friend who works in graphic design that needs photography services, maybe you can trade for a logo for your business or a new website.

An additional way to generate value is to ask for referrals and recommendations. In exchange for the favor, your potential client can refer you to 3 people and or write a nice recommendation you can include on your website or Linkedin profile.

Another scenario to consider is working with a person who has a lot of social media followers, which could generate promotion for you when the images from the shoot get posted.

social media

Make sure you’re happy to do it

There are many kinds of benefits you can generate from free work. In any case, whether it cost you your time or your soul, make sure that when you’re saying yes to something that you really want to do it! Make sure you’re excited and are looking forward to it. That it’s a “hell yes!” for you and not an “okay…sure”. If you don’t really feel like doing that photoshoot with the weird old guy who messaged you on craigslist, or shooting your friend’s band, or for that client that told you that shooting their product will be “good for your portfolio” when you know it’s not, then don’t.

Treat unpaid shoots like paid shoots

All of the above is completely useless without this point. In order to get the benefits from the unpaid shoots, you must do just as good of a job as you would on a paid gig. Consider that your potential client or referral will assume that however you handle the shoot is exactly how you would a paid one. If it’s a potential client, your future gig depends on this. If you do a poor job because you just don’t care, it will show. Maintain professionalism on this shoot. Smile, don’t rush to finish and do the best job you can.

How to Deal with Difficult Clients – Photographer’s Edition

In a creative field like freelance photography, it’s not uncommon to encounter difficult clients and have to deal with their strange requests. Don’t start pulling your hair out. Instead, consider the following when a challenge arises.

Smile

Yes, that’s right. The first thing you should do is smile. Whether it’s in person or on the phone, start on a positive note and don’t get emotional. Don’t criticize, condemn, or complain. This will only make the situation worse. This alone is likely to make them like you, and consider the situation handled without even knowing why. If they feel positive about you, they’re less likely to be difficult.

Difficult clients

Show that you care

Listen to what they say, repeat it back to them, offer a solution, and then ask them how their son’s graduation was. Becoming genuinely interested in people and talking in terms of their interests is important with any client, difficult or not. Showing that you’re listening to them is crucial here, even if you disagree. Proving your points about how wrong they are will not get you anywhere good. Tell them that their issues will be taken care of and take care of them. After doing this, encourage them to talk about another subject like something personal you know they care about. Their kids, an article they posted on Facebook, or simply ask them how everything else is going. This is likely to clear the air and leave them feeling happy.

Difficult clients

Don’t over-communicate with clients

Difficult clients are known to be creatures that harass you all day long with their requests. Consider that if you engage in this, you are using valuable time (typically unpaid) that you could instead allocate towards finishing the job or working on something else. Selectively ignoring your clients can be useful here. If your client tends to write you lengthy emails about what they want, do not reply to them with the same level of detail. If you understand what needs to be fixed, replying with “will do” is enough. I very often write emails using only the subject line. Putting “Updated images are in Dropbox” in the subject line and clicking send will take a few seconds, instead of writing a novel about your thoughts. If they interrupt you with many emails throughout the day, consider waiting until the end of the day to go over and reply to all of them at once. If they like to get on the phone and play personal therapy session for an hour, let them leave a message and let them know you have received their notes.

Finish the job

Don’t get immersed in the drama of it all. If you get frustrated, focus on finishing the job. Even if there are many disagreements, consider that it could be best to put money and creative differences aside, and just do what they ask. You can always introduce new terms for the next job you do for them. Doing this will show that you provide excellent customer service, something that may be seen as more valuable than getting an extra dollar or providing your best creative work.

When to fire clients: The 80/20 rule

If things get really frustrating, it’s important to consider whether you want to work with your client again. In the Four Hour Workweek, Tim Ferris explains that in any trade, 20% of the work equals 80% of the income. This means that 80% of what your time could be spent on things that are not efficient or effective for you and your business. Instead, it is better to focus on the 20% that you know brings you income. If this client is taking up a lot of emotional space and time, maybe they are not in your 20%. Consider saying goodbye and instead of generating new leads and focusing on jobs from other clients who are a better fit for you.

Difficult clients

Suggested Readings:

How To Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

20/80 Rule explained by Matt Bodnar

Where to sell your Fine Art Photography

I’ve been selling my fine art photography prints for a few years. The first few of which were spent experimenting, looking to see what works and what doesn’t. Lucky for you, I bring you the ins and outs of the where and how so you can get directly to work!

Is your work sellable? Finding your market

Before even looking to sell, ask yourself: “Is my work even marketable?” Whether you shoot landscape photography, professional nude photography, or make surreal photo manipulations, it’s always healthy to be aware of the demand. Even if your work is marketable, finding the right clientele might take some time. You could start off by making a small batch of prints. Then asking those around you if this is something they would want to put on their wall. Consider offering them at low prices, or even give a few away to those who are interested. Your mom will always love your work, now it’s time to make personal connections with experts like gallery owners and art buyers. When I say personal connections, I mean to meet them in person. These people are too busy to take cold calls from a stranger. Ask them if they know of the right platforms for your work. Remember that not all art types will have a same marketing strategy.

Sell your photography online

Selling prints online are becoming more and more common. The advantage to this is that you can sell artwork directly from your studio. One obvious element to selling more work is to get more people to visit your website. Consider getting your work on other art related websites with a link to your own website. This could increase traffic to your website.

Automated online stores

There are websites you can upload your prints to that do most of the work for you. Customers can buy prints, and products made automatically from the uploaded artwork in the form of mugs, t-shirts, laptop and cell phone skins, clothing and so on. This can be a great source of passive income. A percentage of sales is paid to the artist automatically once products are sold. The disadvantage is that these sites typically sell open edition prints at cheaper costs, decreasing the value of your photography. The percentage the artist makes this way is much smaller than selling independently (around 10%) so even if your products sell in large quantities, you’re not making millions here. My recommendation is to create or choose work from your inventory especially for these websites in addition to your limited edition prints which you can sell using other platforms.

Some examples of automated art print stores are Curioos, Society 6, Zazzle, Red Bubble, Cafe Press, Threadless, iCanvas, Eye Buy Art, 500px, and Art of Where.

curioos gallery
Limited Edition and online art stores

Unlike the stores above, these are stores that sell limited edition prints, typically at a higher price point. The sales are often handled by the artist, meaning that when an item is sold, you are is responsible for printing, framing, packing, sending, and handling client requests. You can set your own pricing, edition number, and keep a larger percentage of the sales.

Some examples of Limited Edition print websites are Etsy, Saatchi Art, Mammoth and Co, Stampa, 20 x 200, Art Fido, and Foxsly.

foxsly
Your website

You should always have the option for clients to purchase from your website. There are many website templates that allow you to build an online store, like the Squarespace E-commerce store which looks great and is easy to set up. Whether you choose to have an online store page or a contact page about prints depends on what works for you and your photography. It should be clear to your customers that the photography on your website is for sale.

Sell your photography at Art Exhibitions

Art Fairs

One of the best ways to sell your work is through different Art Fairs. You can start locally and perhaps expand internationally if and when you see there’s a demand for your work. Art Fairs are different than gallery exhibitions because they are typically a few days long, have more traffic, and are held at a large public space like a square or a convention center. There are Art Fairs exclusively for galleries, and others dedicated to individual artists. The summer season has the largest amount of outdoor art fairs for individual artists, and the outdoor shows are typically cheaper to sign on to than indoor ones. One advantage to Art Fairs is that after paying the booth fees, 100% of the sales go to the artist. These shows could be attended by just about anyone: art buyers, gallerists, artists, and much more. This makes Art Fairs a great way to get connected to people in the art scene. You never know who is going to walk into your booth. Furthermore, longevity pays off in this situation. Showing up year after year can help legitimize your work, showing buyers that you are consistently making art and that purchasing from you is a good investment.

I strongly recommend researching Art Fairs in your city and even contacting participating artists who have similar work to yours, asking about their experience.

Alice Zilberberg Photography
Alice Zilberberg Photography

Commercial fine art Galleries

Commercial gallery representation is often the first thing artists think about. Finding a commercial gallery can be a long process, and there are many things to consider before signing a contract. Having a source that sells your art for you is certainly an advantage. The gallery could an increase the exposure to your work by showcasing it in auctions and Art Fairs for galleries. However, galleries take a large percentage (typically 50%) of the sales. With additional costs like printing and framing, this leaves the artists with even less at the end. This model can work if the gallery sells a large volume of work. Some galleries have exclusive contracts, meaning that clients can only purchase work from them and not from the artist directly. Non-exclusive contracts allow artists to continue selling work independently or through other galleries in addition to the work sold at the gallery.

Choosing a gallery is a completely individual process and can take some trial and error. Remember that reading the fine print, keeping control over sales, and understanding legal issues are your responsibilities when partnering with a gallery.

Individual art dealers

Aside from galleries who have a physical gallery space, there are also individual dealers who may represent your work and put you in different spaces like group shows. They may also sell to clients of their own. Sometimes they take a smaller percentage of the sales than commercial galleries do.

art gallery
Alice Zilberberg Photography

Auctions

Auction houses and charitable auctions are a good thing to try. Some ask artists to donate a piece of art, or take a percentage of the sale. An advantage of auctions for photographers is that if your print sells, the losing bidder might come directly to you to purchase the next available print in the limited edition for that piece.

auction

Think Outside the box

You’re not confined to the platforms above. Be innovative! think of other ways to sell your work. Is your work tied to women’s issues? Maybe you can contact a women’s hospital to see if they’re interested in buying your work for their space. Do you shoot travel photography? Maybe a travel related company is interested.