Is it worth it for photographers to include video?

My quick answer is yes. I feel you are not keeping with the growing demand for video and the additional income it can generate. I have been working my tail off for the last year to include video services for all. Events, behind the scenes,model promos etc. If you are already a photographer and have been on the fence about exploring video. Now is the time to step up your game. I admit it is little intimidating at first. But it will let you explore your other creative side I promise.. Here is a link to my favorite filmmaking gear as of the time of this blog..   Just copy and paste into your browser to see what I use..

 https://kit.com/chrischeek/filmmaker-a6500

 

Source: www.shapethelight.com

Photographers, this is how you know when you are ready to charge for your work.

Photographers, are you wanting to make a career out of taking photos? Models,families,seniors,weddings, or anything that involves people is a way to start earning compensation. We have all noticed a trend in the community of people reaching out wanting us to shoot them for free. Today I am empowering all photographers to charge something for your work. Keep in mind, this does not apply to a photographer who just bought a dslr recently. This is to the photographers who have put in work to be able to deliver great image quality time and time again. I know I know, some will say it is just a hobby. But the reality is models especially know there is always a photographer that will give free images to them. This has to stop today!!! Know your worth and charge something. Yes I know it is a scary thing to ask for at first, but believe me the better you get the easier it becomes. If everyone puts their foot down and says enough. Then all photographers will benefit financially for all the thousands that they have spent on gear, lighting, education etc. There is no reason not to charge what you feel your time is worth to complete strangers..Let today be the day you say no more. It can start with the subjects paying  for your gas and time until you work out a system of packages. If you are doing a personal shoot with other professionals that benefits everyone involved? Then go for it!! Anything else, know your worth:) Happy Shooting..

Are you planning at least 4 personal shoots a year professional photographers?

Staying inspired and creative can be difficult sometimes as a photographer. Doing the jobs that pay the bills sometimes, may not feed your creative mind enough. Or may not produce portfolio worthy images. So in order for us professionals to keep sane. Doing at least 4 personal shoots a year with other professionals is a must. Model, Hair, and make-up professionals helping you create your vision:) 

To really improve in your craft faster, doing 1 personal shoot a month is even better. Easier said then done. Just remember photography gigs have their slow moments. So when business is slow, plan your personal shoots to stay relative.:)

Stay creative and sane with personal shoots
Source: www.shapethelight.com

Should Photographer's Retouch Their Photos?

This is an important question. Some may feel retouching is cheating. The truth is retouching has been going on for a long time in the photography world. Starting way back in the film days. Yes that's right, shooting film has post-processing done to it as well. In my honest opinion retouching is essential in finishing the vision you had when clicking the shutter button. Retouching intention is to enhance what you got right in camera. What retouching is not, is to try to fix a crappy image. Getting the right composition, lighting, dof, expression from subject is just the beginning. In post the things I like to do is to clean the skin, remove bags under eyes, even out blotchy skin, color correct, and add that artistic style to my images. Over time, 2 years and longer. Your photos will have a distinct look to them. That is how people identify your work over others. So ask yourself, is retouching needed? I say yes. It is ultimately up to you as the artist thou.  Shoot in raw for best results...Happy Shooting:)

Do you know your worth as a professional photographer?

This can be a tricky subject. As a professional photographer it is my job to educate potential clients on what goes into the final product they receive. Most people do not know all that is involved into producing a quality photograph. It is important to know your worth and how much your time is worth. No one can or should tell you what to charge. You will be faced with people loving your work, and wanting pictures like that for their selfs. Once you give them a price, it seems hard for them to comprehend that type of money. Photographers i can't tell you how to run your business. But please don't give free work out like crazy or charge little and give everything. This devalues the industry and only will hurt you in the long run if you are wanting this as a full time gig. Know your worth, and stick to it.

Photographers, do you have too much gear? Read this to find out.

Gear is important. They are the tools we need to do our job. But how much do you really need to accomplish quality photos? The answer is dependent on you. Yes you. After a few years of trial and error. I have discovered what I need, and how much. For me 90% of the work I do only requires one strobe, modifier, camera, and 2 lens. My go to for my environmental portraits is my 24mm-70mm 2.8 lens. For tight shots like 3/4, 1/2 body I use my 85mm 1.4 lens. That is all I really need. I have also discovered the beauty of natural light. My go to for that is my Nikon d750 and 85mm 1.4 lens. That's it.  So photographers, don't go run out and get a studio kit of 3 lights before you even have mastered 1 light. Yes it is very tempting to have the latest and greatest lens etc.

Start slow and invest in yourself in the form of education. That is more valuable then a new lens any day of the week. What gear you need is for you to figure out on your own.  But don't be surprised if you buy or have bought stuff you really did not need. And end up selling it down the road..lol

What goes into delivering quality images for clients?

Ever wondered why good photography cost so much? I don't think people in general who are not photographers, know or understand why. It's just pushing a button right? Wrong. I say this to the general public, and potential clients of mine. It is way more then just clicking a button. You are paying for my eye, countless hours of shooting, education, cost of gear, software, hardware, time, artistic style ,hours of retouching and many more variables that end in the result of having quality photographs. Photos taken of you freezing time for that split second of you looking your best. Photos that your kids or future kids can be shared with. That investment you make into good photography is priceless when it comes to memories. Just remember photographers are people too. We have bills and need to feed our family just like you do. I love to make people look their best while getting paid for it:) Make sure you find the right photographer to invest your money  in. Thanks for reading.

 

How many lights should you buy for your photography?

Many new photographers think the answer is a 3 light set-up. I think this is because they see pros with 3 or more lights in a studio environment. Not knowing that those photographers have worked their way up to perfecting more then one light for a certain look or feel. For 90% of my work I use one speed light or strobe. Photographers it is important to master 1 light before moving on to multiple lights. So much can be accomplished with the less is more scenario.

In a photography it is normally all about the shadows. That is what gives a photo depth. The next time you feel you need 3 or 4 lights, use 1. You will thank me later:) 

P.S The sun is a great 2nd light source. It can be used as a rim,back, and hair light. Happy Shooting!!!

Do you have what it takes to be a model?

There is a misconception that you have to be a pretty female or handsome male to make it as a model. Let me tell you this is so far from the truth. Being attractive surely helps. Depending what genre you are going for, being tall and thin has it's advantages. Designers make their clothes with females 5'9 and up around a size 8. This is normally the industry standard. Let's put height and size to the side, and focus on the most important things that make a true model. These are only my opinions and not set in stone.  One of the best things an aspiring model can do is practice, practice, and more practice. A model must learn their angles, emote, and master posing. A great tool is a mirror to practice your range of expressions and angles. A model must be an actor or  actress in the moment and on the spot during a photoshoot. A photographer can only direct you so much. If you take being a model serious, you will constantly do what it takes to perfect your craft. Remember models this profession is hard work and not for everyone. I encourage you to only work with the best photographers possible to help excel your career path. Invest in yourself, and in your craft. Happy shooting and work hard and smart.

Are you a lazy photographer?

Now ask yourself, are you a lazy photographer or one who really plans your shoots? If you are not sure what I mean, I will explain. Setting up a shoot with a model or subjects requires planning. Scouting a location is one of the essential things that should be done every shoot. If you don't spend the time searching for a spot that may takes up to 1 to 2 weeks. Then you are truly missing out on providing the best pictures possible for your subjects. A tip that may help is, once wardrobe and a concept is planned. It's time to get to work on placing that look into the proper environment. Please photographers stop placing models and subjects under trees, leaning on trees, in front of a water fountain etc. Don't be lazy and get out there and use your creative eye.

Look for clean backgrounds that do not distract from your subjects. That is the least we can do to make our subjects/models look their best.

Location vs Studio Lighting

Spoiler Alert. There is no doubt that I prefer to shoot on location. That being said, studio shooting has it's perks. You don't have to worry about rain, finding a great location, and have total control over your lighting. Believe it or not. The same principles that you use in the studio to light your subjects, applies outdoors. Lighting patterns are the foundation of good portraiture. With out them an image is flat in my opinion. The advantages of shooting on location is that you can find great hidden gems outdoors. Old buildings, barns, industrial architecture, and beautiful sky's just to name a few. I love to find the beauty in such places in convey them in my images. So the next time you ask yourself which type of photographer are you? Do them both to be the best you can be.