Photography Insights for Beginners

photographer

With over 60 visionary examples of creative photography in his portfolio, Gavin Bond is a diverse photographer, understanding that a varied portfolio is a successful one. Although this is not the official website for Gavin Bond photography, it can help fledgling photographers start their careers as well as getting some basic knowledge to help narrow down your niche.

As an activist with a passion for fashion photography and behind-the-scenes perspectives, Gavin Bond deals with these types of photography:
- Portrait Photography – Photographing groups or individuals to capture the subject
- Photojournalism – Dealing with newsworthy events for magazines, journals or print
- Fine Art Photography – Artists that choose photography as their medium, much like a painter or sketcher would choose to paint or draw.

Inside these niches, Bond has worked with a plethora of celebrities and high-profile clients, one of which being the Victoria Secrets annual fashion show for 14 consecutive years.


How To Start Your Photography Career

1. Take Photos
It seems self-explanatory but the photography is what is most important. Taking lots of photos and putting yourself in new situations to capture the moment is the only true way to learn certain techniques, how to deal with challenging situations (e.g. low light) as well as understanding what you enjoy.

2. Define Your Niche
While many photographers are diverse, Gavin Bond included, you have to start somewhere and the best approach is to focus on honing your skills in one area before moving onto the next. The key question to this is; what do you most enjoy taking photographs of? Simply put, choose something that inspires you, it’s going to be a long road to being a global photographer so you might as well enjoy it while you’re at it.

3. Invest
While you can technically take decent photos on a smartphone these days, that is not going to sustain you long-term, particularly if you are planning on turning it into a career. Invest in some decent equipment and a camera that will last a while such as a DSLR as well as lenses, some decent lighting for indoor studios and decent editing software. Don’t forget if you are selling your photos then these can be considered tax deductibles because they are assets.

4. Read The Manual
Every camera is different and you’ll need to find the settings at a moment’s notice. You don’t want to be holding up your clients while you find the setting you want, it’s just unprofessional so instead practice, read the camera manual and know your camera inside and out.

5. Build Your Portfolio
You want to ensure that you have examples to show prospective clients as well as showcase your work so building a portfolio is an essential for every photographer. The best way to do this when starting out is things like:
- Attending public events and taking pictures of activities and entertainment
- Contacting a local established photographer to do an internship or become your mentor
- Offer services in trade, for example new models may happily pose for photos in exchange for a headshot or portrait to put in their portfolio too.

6. Market Yourself
There is often plenty of competition, particularly in local areas so you need to stand out and market yourself properly. This can be done in a variety of ways:
- Create your own website or blog
- Networking events
- Work with local charities, initiatives or communities
- Use social media
- Get business cards
- Introduce yourself
- Join associations

7. Protect Yourself
An aspect many new photographers forget is the corporate side of the business and these are assets that need protection. You should consider things such as;
- Public liability insurance if you are going to be attending public events or taking photos in public.
- Watermarking. This is something that protects photos from copyright infringement which is unfortunately one of the trickier legal parts of being a photographer, when someone uses your images without permission.
- Contracts. It is difficult in the creative industry to create contracts because the scope of work is harder to define, as well as expressing the standard. That being said, a contract protects your interests, as well as your clients so it is important to have one. This can include things such as; payment or delivery terms, how many copies the client receives, what happens with late payments or edits and revisions as well as being able to clearly define a price. Having contracts makes you more professional and any client should be happy to see their expectations in writing.

8. Get Referrals
Referrals are the bread and butter of the creative market because it shows to others that you can be trusted and your work is of high quality. You can offer discounts for referrals as an incentive as well as reward repeat clients. If a client is particularly grateful you can ask them to give you a referral or testimonial on your website.

9. Stay Organised
Invest in a large planner and organiser because you are going to need it. You will need to take care of invoicing, paperwork and creative notes as well as contracts, client details and the actual memory cards or images themselves. An unorganised photographer is doomed to fail so you need to have an effective system in place to ensure success.

10. Decide on Pricing
It is important not to price too low or too high, particularly when starting out! You can do a few trade offers where you get services in kind initially but you then want to start charging for your services accordingly. Ensure that you offer introductory rates and discounts to get clients in the door and keep them loyal by rewarding them, also ensure you don’t price too high you push them away. Always consider the budget of your niche before pricing. For example, if you work with small businesses they are not going to have the funds available that a big corporate company does.


Skills You Need

Many people imagine photographers as these whimsical creative types with no business sense, but that isn’t the case. In fact, they are highly talented individuals juggling many hats. Here are some of the skills you need to become a photographer.
- Organisation. You need to be able to schedule clients, viewings, meetings and business arrangements knowing how long projects will take and adjusting accordingly.
- Technical knowledge. The obvious one, photographers need to be skilled to back up what they are selling and create beautiful images and a photo that makes onlookers stop, stare and think.
- Patience. Some shots will take several days and others may take two minutes but getting the preparation; lighting, mood etc can be a fine art that requires a lot of patience.
- Eye for detail. Photographers notice the small and seemingly irrelevant details that everyone else miss and they ensure that tiny mistakes are removed. Particularly with post-processing photos it takes a keen eye to find all the subtle shades to be enhanced or removed.
- Academic ability. Most people don’t realise the research and understanding that goes into photography, meaning photographers are always learning. It needs an academic mind to approach this and look at past work and history for inspiration and guidance on how to improve.
- People skills. A portrait photographer in particular has to make their subject feel comfortable and often realise what they had in mind. You need to be able to communicate effectively to give the client what they want as well as a good experience.


5 Tips For Established Photographers To Boost Your Career

If you are already a photographer, here are some ways you can boost your photography career now:
1. Use social media. Show off what you are taking and show them to the world to gain traction. Images do well on social media so you should consider platforms such as Pinterest and Instagram which are image reliant.
2. Get your own website. You are your own brand so you need a website to showcase to prospective clients. An online portfolio if you will.
3. Become an expert. To become an expert in your field you need to show that you have the knowledge to help others and this is an excellent way to show to perspective clients that you have authority. For example, answering questions on forums, Facebook groups or even starting your own can be excellent ways to establish yourself as a knowledgeable and trustworthy photographer.
4. Never stop learning. Even award-winning photographers take bad photos because no situation or environment is ever the same. Constantly strive to improve, trying out new methodologies and even venturing into different niches.
5. Take care of your equipment. Probably the most important because a photographer is nothing without their camera. It is not just about understanding the technical, it’s also about the physical storage, cleaning process and maintenance that goes with it so you will always have the highest standards.

Just remember that regardless of where you are in your photography career, Gavin Bond didn’t get to where he has today without study and practice! Hone your craft and you will go far in the photography industry.