Deal 7: How to make money through your photography
The road is for the journey, the real excitement lies in the ditches.
Acquiring good pictures is a very relative term. I have viewed images from seasoned and well respected photographers that have left me scratching my brow and asking “why is that image so important and stellar that it sends the art critics ga-ga? On the other hand I have viewed the work of amatuers that were sublime and left me in awe.
Such is photography as an art medium. As an amateur it matters not what others think of your images as long as you are true to yourself and have satisfied the reasons why you made the image in the first place.
Oftentimes magazines and articles on the web overlook the photographer who has acquired their first camera. The articles are written in such a fashion that the writer assumes the reader has a basic understanding. What if they don’t?
Below are five tricks for beginners that I have been teaching for quite some time.
Many flashes on entry level point and shoot cameras “over-flash” the subject, and often there is little the photographer can do. Until now that is. Carry a clean Kleenex brand nasal tissue with you, and carefully drape one layer of the tissue over the flash prior to pressing the shutter. Each layer of tissue will amount to lessening the flash output by an equivalent of one f/stop of light.
Many photographers find the most pleasing flash balance to be between one and two f/stops of fill light. Therefore take three photos: one with open flash, a second with one fold of tissue and a third image with two folds of tissue. Just make sure the tissue is white.
If the sun is hiding behind those cumulus clouds on a regular basis, just wait it out – it won’t be long. Oftentimes with autumn colour, when the red and yellow foliage is dry, it really lacks vibrancy if the scene is not lit with bright sunlight. Conversely, if the scene is damp with moisture from fog, frost, or light rain, the photograph will usually record better when the scene is bathed in a soft overcast light. Know your light and adjust your shooting to the conditions. Nice sunny days equal big blue-sky landscape pictures; grey overcast days are perfect for portraits of people and things with no sky in the picture.
Many cameras have the capacity to be attached to a tripod; if yours does, then use it. You will be amazed how the use of a tripod will almost single-handed make your photos that much better. The reason is simple: It will provide you the opportunity to stand, kneel or lay down behind you camera and study the composition elements in the viewfinder or LCD screen. How can you possibly do that if the non tripod-mounted camera is continually moving?
Simply by viewing the scene from a different angle of sight, or perspective, your composition will improve dramatically. Observe experienced photographers the next time you are out shooting in a group. I’ll bet those photographers whose work you admire will have very dirty knees and seats on their trousers. Heck, some of us even wear contractors knee pads when working along rocky shorelines (I swear I have periwinkles imprinted on my knees).
Just get out of bed and do it. It is usually advantageous when starting your photography career to give yourself assignments or participate in the weekly assignments found on the dPs website. To paraphrase my good friend Daryl Benson: “You can attend all the workshops in the world and you can read all the books ever published, but if you are not out there just doing it then it is all for naught.”
Most importantly, if you are having fun you are doing it right – disregard the critics!
January 2, 2013 04:43 am
I am only commenting here (this is not something I use to do even reading all articles sent to me on weekly mails) because I saw this much of useless and stupid comments.
Your article is just fine, and these are things every photographer needs to be constantly reminded of, no matter for how long he or she has been studying the subject.
Besides, I just love this site and this has been the best discovery I made on the few months while searching something on the web. I subscribe here for free and now I follow many nice pros I wouldn't ever had found if not by these articles I read here.
So just wanted to say something against all the BS on the comments, ignore them because you guys, and DPS totally rules =)
December 17, 2012 02:29 pm
I am an amateur in a lot of ways. I love photography. Lately I have been disappointed in the photos that I have taken. I read your article and it gave me a new way to think (and I mean think) about what I am doing and what I should do. Thanks for your advice. I am looking forward to a wet belly experience (and winter is coming on).
This is a great learning forum.
December 16, 2012 11:37 am
Yes! Thanks, Dave. It is entirely about the journey. I hope I'm never too good to listen to the basics. And I have a LOT to learn :)
December 15, 2012 03:42 pm
Is if just me or is Jai the wet blanket to every article on this site? My momma always said if you don’t have anything nice to say keep your mouth shut......
yeah I have noticed that too, so its not just you. It would be nice every now and then to see some constructive/encouraging comments from him :)
And Rebecca, as arichardson said, you have a really valuable lesson to learn :)
If you really want to progress in your photography, you will take in every bit of good advice you can get and experiment and practice with as many photography methods as possible.
You dont see Karl Taylor complaining about getting down and wet on a seashore with his $500 tripod and his ~$7000 camera to get his awesome low level shots!!
experiment and learn my dear ;)
December 15, 2012 03:30 am
I think many non beginners have got here and take space from the ones this post was intended.
December 15, 2012 02:18 am
Thanks for the article. I am the type of person you are writing for. Please do not stop writing because of critical people! Critical people.....please be open minded that others have opinions. You are ACTING totally
Again, please continue with your articles, they are appreciated. Love the Kleenex idea.
December 15, 2012 01:24 am
WOW! I find it amazing that a person who spends 10 or 20 years in a past time is prepared to share their knowledge for free on a website like this.
I am glad to see the support for the writer of the article, and I am begging that those who have the knowledge continue to share with the majority of us who wish to learn from those with specialised, as well as general information. Use the terminology, we will look up the meanings.
Keep posting and if I am not that keen on a type of photography that you are talking about, I wait for the next one that will give me another tip I can try and enjoy.
Dale you have my respect in your article and response and thank you.
December 14, 2012 12:43 am
As an amateur and relative beginner in my photography hobby, I would say the last point is the most important. I've learnt more by getting outdoors and taking thousands (literally) of photos, that there is no substitute for practise, practise & more practise.
I take anywhere from 10-20 shots of most subjects from different angles, on different days, seasons & light conditions and nothing beats reviewing the day's photos to find out what you did right or wrong that day. Even taking the same photo with a slightly different shutter speed produces a whole world of difference that no amount of reading or tutorials off the internet can explain.
You have to DO it, not read it.
(I've also found it helpful to look at other photographers websites and analyse what I like about their photos and why I like them - this helps channel your vision into what you might like to see in your own images or inspires you to be more adventurous in subject matter, or try different camera settings).
December 13, 2012 10:08 pm
I first heard if fill light 40 yrs ago. I didn't have a clue what it meant so I bought a magazine and taught myself. Great tips, always learning.Jumbybird and Rebecca seriously need to chill and get a life. Wow next minute they be blaming you for their shitty images.
December 13, 2012 08:14 pm
Dale, thanks for the tips. It's always nice to have these little articles and learn something new.
I'm glad that people like you take the time to write out articles like these that help out beginners like myself. Rebecca needs to chill out. Like Dale said, if you don't know what a term means you just do a quick search and a ton of things will pop out to explain them.
December 13, 2012 06:38 pm
Poor Dale. All he did was try to help and the salvos of frustration come flying in as a thank you very much for your help. I'll wager that some of these wheel chair aspirants don't even realise that they can invert the centre column of their cheap $100 (like mine) tripod, enabling it to get a very low perspective even without spreading the legs completely flat. Mores the pity.
I wouldn't take to heart criticism from someone who contradicts themselves in same paragraph;
"These were the WORST beginner TIPS EVER! yada yada yada There were A COUPLE OF GOOD TIPS(, comma omitted) but overall, as an article, this was a fail!",
as these are just camouflaged cries for help.
Be thankful you digital infants that you didn't cut your teeth on expensive film. Sheesh - what a blood bath revolution we'd have now if that were the case and you lot actually had to pay for your mistakes!
And @ Jade touché mate well said. Don't go away mad, just go away.
December 13, 2012 01:47 pm
Dale, thanks for these! As I'm just beginning on my journey, whenever I see the word "beginner" in the title I get all giddy inside.
December 13, 2012 09:02 am
Is if just me or is Jai the wet blanket to every article on this site? My momma always said if you don't have anything nice to say keep your mouth shut.
December 12, 2012 04:18 am
Thanks for the great article. I'm an experienced photog and love learning old thongs in new ways.
Rebecca Ednie needs to learn the most valuable lesson here: everyone learns differently. Rebecca, as you mature in both your photography and self, you'll learn that even what appears to be useless to you is valuable to others. Like they say; one man's trash is another man's treasure. Just sit back and enjoy the free advise because you might learn something if you take your blinders off.
December 11, 2012 11:58 pm
The tips are fine. Nobody can tell you what anybody knows or doesn't know about photography. Most of the time, the tips on here are things I know. Not all the time. I learn some good things and I earn my living in photography…having only been shooting for five years, full time for one year. I have been riddled with suggestions of "You MUST do this and you CAN'T do that" when in reality, breaking the rules is kind of the point. Do you know what my strongest skill set is? The 15 years I spent in Sales and Marketing before becoming a photographer. That is why I earn my living at it. Everything else I had to teach myself or discover.
Dale writes so cleanly and clearly and seems to be willing to discuss anything on just about any level. That's value for me. Particularly in a world where most of the people telling you that you "Can't" are other photographers. I find it refreshing. Photographers are kind of a pain in the butt and most of the time, I don't think they get it. All that matters is that my clients love my work and that I keep myself continually learning.
December 11, 2012 09:26 am
Dale - thanks for the post. Certainly some good basic tips for those beining their photographic journey.
As far as tip 1 goes I don't think the user needs to understand what an f/stop is to apply your tip. You have basically taught someone how to bracket exposures using a realitively easily found and inexspesive difuser. All they need to know and understand to shoot the shot and add tissus to control the light from the flash. In regards to tip 4 and tripods go I would think anyone who has purcashed a camera worth any amount of money and has done their research on photography as a hobby would know they need a tripod. I would go farther and suggest that when they purchased the camera and laid out all that money any camera salesperson worth their salt would have suggested a tripod of quality to match the tripod. Your home made bean/sand bag is a great idea or they could look at a gorilla tripod. ( http://joby.com/gorillapod)
I think what people need to realize is that you are offering free advice gained from your 20 some years as working as a pro and like all advice it is up to the reader to decide to take and use the advice or simply ignore it. I for one will take it and thank you for it.
December 11, 2012 09:04 am
You are absolutely right about point number five. My friends often think that I only take great photos - they don't see all the ones I don't print or put on a website. Take lots of photos - you will get better!
December 11, 2012 06:02 am
Addendum – As the author I intend to give readers the benefit of intelligence. If one hears a new term assume they will do a web search to find the meaning. Books and courses have been written on understanding the inverse square law as it pertains to light falloff; it cannot be explained in a 100 word, or less, blog entry. Google “what is an f/stop” and you will be rewarded with almost 800-million answers.
With respect to tripods and low angle photography the point was to suggest photographers learn to get low to change the angle of view to improve their images. Generally it is the detail in the foreground that makes the landscape an interesting image. There are many, many tripods on the market that are available for less than $100 that will allow the camera to go lower than 40cm, hence necessary to kneel or lay down behind the camera to see through the viewfinder. Should $100 be too expensive for a new tripod, again the reader can search online or go to a local retail store to purchase used equipment. I can guarantee you that should the wind be blowing the lower the tripod is to the ground the more stable it will be.
Another exercise to make an even more economical support for low angle photography is to remove the leg from an old pair of blue jeans and sew one end closed. Then fill it with sand and sew the other end closed. Voila, you now have a bean bag to settle the camera into and keep it stable. Uncooked baked beans will work as an alternative to sand – just don’t allow them to get wet!
Thanks for the criticism. However, I believe a teacher’s role is to entice, excite, cajole, encourage, and push for advancement of the student and not to lead by the hand to some fictitious promised land. My goodness, think back even 10 years when very little was available on the internet. Have we taken the joy of discovery out of learning? I sure hope not.
December 11, 2012 04:33 am
Oh, a beginner doesn't know what fill light is either.
December 11, 2012 04:33 am
THANK YOU JUMBYBIRD! I came here to make the same point! And as for number three, I read it 5 times to make sure I wasn't crazy. So I'm supposed to attach my $800 camera (for me a fortune) to a tripod then kneel or lay down behind my camera? What? Most beginner tripods do not have the ability to lower to the point where you can do those things and still see through your camera. At least not with the legs extended and everything I've read including my instruction manual and articles here say that tripods arent reliably stable otherwise. I know pro tripods can spread wide and remain stable low to the ground but not beginner ones. I'm not risking my camera like that. I can't afford to replace it even though it too is a beginner model.
These were the worst beginner tips ever! I was a beginner several years ago and I am still learning but I have way better tips than these. Seriously, this was not worth publishing. There were a couple good tips but overall, as an article, this was a fail!
December 11, 2012 04:06 am
Concerning #1, If a beginner doesn't have a basic understanding of photography, he or she won't have a clue what f/stop means. Maybe it should be reworded. In fact, I'm sure most people that take pictures with a p/s or cellphone camera, have no idea what it means.
December 11, 2012 02:41 am
These tips are perfect for my new dslr . I am so excited to shoot a lot of pictures, i mean better shots of views. Thanks Dale, i'm looking forward for more post that helps me with my photography passion.
December 11, 2012 01:21 am
Tip 6... Only go pro after taking 1 million photos. If not you will frustrate yourself and others.
December 10, 2012 10:16 pm
for the tips "Wait for the Right Light" is really hard. I ever wait for one hour but the sun is not coming back, so in the end, I cancel my plan to photo it.
December 10, 2012 06:39 pm
In regard to TIP number 5.
please post links to exercises or assignments that we can practice to further build up on our photography skills, also do you guys have similar tips for videography
December 10, 2012 12:24 pm
In regards to tip #1, I only have a non-Kleenex branded facial tissue - will that still work acceptably?
December 10, 2012 08:54 am
Agree with number 5, there's no substitute for doing it and trail & error has it's value.
I'd also suggest lookig at some of the project groups on flickr, they can get you out of your comfort zone.
December 10, 2012 08:26 am
I'd hoped you'd mention the flash compensation found on DSLRs and bridges - beginners don't always have a point and shoot.
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