Creatives and the Law

Thursday, August 27, 2015

You are a Business Person and a Photographer

In case you were wondering, I am a business person and a photographer. Oh, and so are you! Whether you are a new photographer or a seasoned veteran, there will likely come a point in your career where you will want to start selling your work. While it is fun to take pictures and display them for your friends and family, it is also nice to have a little residual income coming from something that you love. Well, this year I decided that I wanted to start making money from my photography so I built an online portfolio and began marketing myself. Unfortunately, I was not as well prepared for this undertaking as I originally thought. 

Friday, August 21, 2015

Become A Better Photographer By Defining Your Photographic Style

Whether you are new to photography or you have been a shutterbug for years, there is a good chance you have searched the internet for at least one "how to be a better photographer" article. In my opinion, however, these articles do not go far enough. If you have decided to invest hundreds of dollars into a camera and lens, you should be striving to define your personal style. It is relatively easy to improve your photography skills, daunting as it might seem, but defining your own photographic style will differentiate your photos from the rest of the crowd. Below are three tips on how you can become a better photographer by defining your style:

Thursday, August 20, 2015

New Camera? Now What?

Congratulations on your new camera! I am sure you are so excited to have your newest toy. If this is your first camera then let's shout out a big "WooHoo!" Your excitement, however, might be somewhat short lived as you now ask yourself, how exactly do I use this thing? If this is your first new camera in longtime then there may be some new features that you need to learn how to use. And, if this is your very first camera, then there are more than a few new features you need to learn how to use. Your first inclination might be to just take the camera out and start taking pictures. However, I recommend starting with a slightly different approach -- while you may not receive the instant gratification of being the "ultimate photographer" that you so desperately seek, you will receive the long-term benefit of actually knowing what you are doing.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

My Favorite Photography Blogs

In my opinion, growth never ends. Therefore, I spend a decent amount of time and energy into learning more about photography. Taking photography classes is one way I continue to hone my skills and another involves reading photography blogs. When I invest in reading through tutorials, learning new techniques or viewing beautiful photographs, I am inspired to become a better photographer. So, with the hopes of inspiring you to be a better photographer, below is a list of five of my favorite photography blogs:

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Quick Review: Nikon 300mm f/4E PF ED VR

Two weeks ago I managed to finally get my hands on the new Nikon 300mm f/4e PF ED VR. It is backordered nearly everywhere -- Adorama, B&Photo, etc -- due to the pesky VR problem at the initial release. 

In case you have not heard about the VR issue, I will fill you in. Shortly after the initial release of the lens in December 2014 many users began complaining that VR induced image blur when shooting at around 1/125s or lower shutter speeds. Users complained that handheld shots with the VR OFF were much sharper than shots taken with the VR ON. Nikon stopped shipping the lens, issued a firmware update and then shipped new lenses with the firmware update. If you are interested in learning more about the VR issue experienced by users and Nikon's response to the issue feel free to check out this link.

In light of the foregoing, I was rather hesitant to purchase the lens without first trying it out. Well, two weeks ago I was home visiting the family and I decided to stop by Creve Coeur Camera, my hometown camera store. The store happened to have a copy of the lens and offered to let me try it out in store before buying -- a huge plus! A quick side note, one of the perks of buying from a local camera store is the ability to try out the lens; while you may not earn the 2% rewards you would otherwise receive through B&H or Adorama, it can be nice to actually test out a lens to ensure it does not have any problems before purchasing. 

I tested the lens on my Nikon Df and took photos around the store at various shutter speeds. Needless to say, I decided the lens was amazing and that I had to buy it immediately. Last week I took the lens out for a little more testing around the National Mall. The results from that little field trip are below:

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Making Money Off Your Photography

I recently started marketing my services in an effort to drum up some photography business. A few months ago I left my six-figure salary legal job in order to take the time to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. It was the right decision for me. One of the activities I have undertaken during this time involves developing my photography skills. My hope is that I can use photography as a "side hustle." (In case you have not heard the term, a side-hustle is what you do to supplement your 9-5 income.) Fortunately, I have been successful in gaining some business from my work, which makes me really proud. However, one thing that I am noticing is that working with friends can be difficult because they simply do not want to pay.

Now, I do not think my friends are being malicious or trying to take advantage of me. I just do not think they understand the amount of time and energy it takes to get the image from my camera to their hands. In an age where "anyone can be a photographer," I believe people have an overly simplified view of photography -- point the phone/camera at something, take the picture, post on social media, DONE! In reality, it takes a lot of time and energy to develop the skills necessary for a photographer to be able to take great shots in any kind of light. And, it takes even more time and energy to edit those pictures and prepare them for final delivery to the client. On average, I might spend 10-15 minutes editing one picture and putting it on my website. Now imagine if I have 600 or 900 pictures from an event. While I may be able to decrease the editing time since all of the pictures were likely taken under similar light, I still have to look through each picture and edit it. Are you starting to get my point?

So, if you have a friend or family  member who is a photographer and you need him or her to take pictures for you, PAY that person. And, don't just offer to take the person to dinner or to buy him or her a drink, pay your photographer friend with actual money--MAKE IT RAIN! Your photographer friend will appreciate it and you will have better karma!