What is Wedding Photography?
For most couples, this may sound an odd question to ask, most would answer that wedding photography is the kind of photography done during weddings. That is partly correct. But that over simplifies the meaning of wedding photography. The art of wedding photography has change tremendously in the past twenty years. Today it may even have a different meaning for each couple.
In the past, wedding photographers are technicians behind a black box almost mystical that very few would even try to operate it. Back then, wedding couples are hiring wedding photographers to produce wedding pictures of their big day. It is to simply record the event. And the one they chose might be doing six weddings a day.
In 2010, almost all wedding guests have their own digital camera that could produce well-exposed pictures at very minimal cost. What it means is that the professional wedding photographers must have something more to offer to their wedding couples. At the same time, the digital revolution also allowed wedding photographers the new technologies to offer something different. This is one of the reasons why wedding photography has improved compared to what it was years ago. It also attracted people who would never venture into wedding photography if not for the new technology of digital photography. Wedding photographers who at their prime offer beautiful and stunning photos that record the wedding in an artistic and narrative, sometimes evocative and most of the time in a flattering manner.
But it also means that being a wedding photographer today; one has to be able to offer something not seen before. True to the complexities of wedding photography today, it would not be true anymore that all wedding photographers are the same and that all wedding couples desire the same kind of photography.
Here is a Guide to Photographic Methods
The good thing about the Internet is it makes it easy to research the work of a big number of wedding photographers. Check some photographers’ website and you will be amazed by the different photographic styles.
Reportage photography is also known as documentary or photojournalism photography; it is best described to have an approach which simply covers and document the event without directing the wedding couple or its guests. Instead it tries to capture the event as it happens in the most natural and creative way possible.
Traditional wedding photography is use to describe the old fashioned way of lining up the wedding couple, their guests and family for traditional photos.
Contemporary wedding photography can be described as glossy which can be trendier than traditional wedding photography.
My humble advice is to look beyond the labels of wedding photography. It can be more confusing than being helpful in deciding which kind of wedding photography suites you as a wedding couple. Another reason is that the style often times is a combination of several photography styles anyway. Third, it implies that wedding photographers offer just one style of photography during their wedding coverage.
In reality, weddings offer a chance for wedding photographers to show different photography styles. Wedding photographers sometimes just can’t ask the couple to move to a spot where there is a better light during the wedding ceremony. Also, it is quite often that couples expect to have formal photographs which show them at their best. Even the most modern weddings will require having traditional and formal family shots.
Many photographers excel in one style of wedding photography and emphasize their skill and it may even be part of their marketing strategy. Some would describe their kind of wedding photography as a mix of classical and modern. It may be a mix of reportage and contemporary. It is quite necessary to have a time with the wedding couple wherein they will be directed to be at their best. It will give them the kind of photographs that can be described as fine art. The limited time of weddings make it important for wedding photographer to be a good director.
Choosing Your Photographer
For couples, the best way would be to decide which wedding photographer is right for you is to decide together what kind of wedding pictures you expect You may want something traditional which means you like a professional account of the wedding day without having too much interruptions.
You may be a photography enthusiast as well, and desire to have a creative set of wedding pictures. You may be looking at high end and contemporary photography style.
Once you both as a couple decide on what type of wedding photographs you desire, you can start examining different galleries of photography for quality. Be warned that galleries represent the best work of photographers, so it is quite important to see a sample of a whole wedding to be sure of consistency.
Awards of excellence can help you decide which photographer could be best suited for your wedding. A membership to well know professional body is also something to consider.
It is of utmost importance that you as a wedding couple can communicate with the photographer and have the rapport to be able to share your wedding photography goals. As much as photography style is an important factor, you and your wedding guests would expect to have a high level of professionalism, organization and experience on your wedding day. Finally you need to consider the wedding packages being offered by the photographer.
Budgeting For Photography
There is no such thing as an appropriate budget for weddings. What can be more helpful is the percentage in terms of value to the total wedding cost.
Professional wedding photography will be what will define the memories of your wedding day. You are going to entrust a photographer to use his skills to document your wedding as if it was taken through your eyes. Discuss with your wedding planner what you think is the best budget for your wedding photography. A good wedding planner would be able to help you with the right budget and if you need to allocate more to get the kind of photography you desire.
The price of a good wedding photographer sometimes comes as a surprise to wedding couples. But quality wedding photography comes at a price. The better skilled a photographer is the higher the fees he can command. One should note that it is not a one day event for wedding photographers but it takes days to plan, shoot the wedding, and spend time on post processing the images and designing the wedding album Ultimately you as a couple must have to make the final decision on how important having a high quality of wedding photographer and if it the price is worth paying for.
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15 Photography Types
In the era of camera phones, people constantly click and share their photos; these camera phones are making people exposed to photography and to visual imagery in various forms. We look at the photos shared by our friends on social media, we see the advertising campaigns on the stores; photography is used to communicate or to express to the viewer. Many people click pictures every day but, few of them know that how these different photography types have been inspiring photographers? When we get to know the different photography types, we gain the knowledge of different genre which may fit to our photography habits.
Let us look at these following 15 different genres of photography:
Aerial Photography: As we fly or get above the ground level, we always try to shoot the beautiful scene which we see below us. For example, when we are in a flight we always try to capture the landscape scene which we can see from above. This is called Aerial photography.
French picture taker and balloonist, Gaspar Felix Tournachon, took the main aeronautical photo in 1858. He tested for a long time before he could create the photo. He had caught the French town, Petit-Becetre, from a hot-air swell, 80 meters over the ground.
Architectural Photography: Framing the colour, shape, layout or art of any structure can be soothing to eyes. All the visuals of monuments or buildings are including in this genre of photography. Both, the interior and the exterior of a building can be framed, but the challenging aspect for the photographer is to keep in mind of the lighting and distortion.
Candid Photography: In this form of photography, we capture the moments as they happen. The object isn’t aware of the photographer, so appear natural and hence the picture results into a very relaxed one.
Expert tip: Use a very long zoom for capturing the candid images. If you’ll use the short zoom lens, then the object may get aware that you are framing them and so you can lose a relaxed and natural picture.
Documentary Photography: These are the manual pictures that are used to highlight a particular picture or story. This genre includes manual pictures that create a photo story. These all are representational pictures which may include a story of war, science, fiction and many more. In this genre, we always try to capture all the details which in turn result in making a picture tell a story.
Fashion Photography: These photography types are basically used to advertise something and then finally to sell it. This genre includes the glamorization of the product which makes a product look attractive and so customers willingly buy it.
These types of photos must be very creatively and sharply taken. We can capture them anywhere like, in a studio, in an apartment or anywhere outdoors. We have to do the pre-shooting preparation before framing the product. The preparation may include makeup, styles, location, lighting and obviously the model plays a very vital role.
Food Photography: Every day we are served with at least something either on the dining table or in a restaurant. The food which is served, is clicked and is shared by us in the form of images. The photography which is used by restaurants, websites or bloggers to pull customers and to sell their product is called as food photography.
Expert tip: Food photography is most likely to be captured in natural light. Using flash is never suggested while capturing the food, as it can include unwanted things in our image. It’s a big NO in this styl
When you’re a keen photographer and you have the desire to spend your working life doing something you enjoy such as photography, it would be a shame if you didn’t pursue it further wouldn’t it? You really don’t have to join an institution or pay thousands of dollars to get started either. You simply need the passion to learn and persist. Most great photographers who rely on their trade to survive don’t even know they have these traits because they love what they do and they simply can’t stop.
It’s true that there is wealth to be made in photography and I’m not going to down play that or make a pitch to the opposite because in every case, it’s been up to the individual. Meaning – it depends on what mode of photography they choose, how much time they put into the business, do they have a commercial bent, are they more artistic than usual etc. All these points come into play when success in a photography business or studio is questioned.
I don’t want to create any false hopes by that last paragraph because success will require some hard work, tolerance and patience. These next thirty tips should help you along the way. There is more detail available on this subject matter at the link at the bottom of this page.
Where can I obtain information on building a photography business?
1. Always do some extensive research before starting out a career with your own photography business so that you understand the pros and cons involved. Some ideas include subscribing to a good magazine related to the photographic industry such as Professional Photographer, Camera Arts and Photo District News. Besides that, the internet is the biggest source of information and can provide you with a plethora of career opportunities or even more information on starting a photography business.
At which level do you want to start your photography business?
2. This is the trickiest question that a person interested in starting a business encounters. It is very important to decide what kind of photography business you want so that the relevant requirements and (sometimes) finance can be muscled up.
When is the best time to start a fully-fledged photography business?
3. After deciding on what you need and any extra necessary equipment that is needed to set up the basic infrastructure, you will need to consider carefully your main tool – the camera, be it digital or film. You must also consider carefully a reliable, high-quality PC and good relevant software to manipulate your photographs with special effects. If the business is being undertaken on a massive scale then maybe a developing lab needs to be planned and established.
o What kind of venues will yield real income to your business?
4. A newly established business in photography requires an assured location or a beat (working locally), as in journalism. For instance, wedding photography, sports related photography or developmental photography. Once established, business can also be diversified into many more fields.
o Building a photography portfolio
5. It is always important to compile a good portfolio as far as photography is concerned. A portfolio must contain a collection of pertinent photographic work that you believe to be impressive. Make sure that photographs are unusual in character and are from diverse fields. Your portfolio must be able to impress the client in the very first meeting.
6. Don’t keep all the photographs that you have in your possession. Only keep your best work in the folder so that you don’t embarrass yourself or find yourself having to explain photographs that aren’t relevant.
7. Showcase spontaneous photos that you believe are of good quality. You’d be surprised how many people respond favorably to peoples expressions when they are good shots.
Basic apparatus required
8. A canvas background of at minimum 7-9 foot and the background colors should be either navy or white as minimum requirements to start with; a well-branded studio lights system such as that of Norman & Speedtron; certified picture manipulation software such as Photoshop, Corel Paint Shop, etc.
Is there a need for establishing a makeup studio as part of your photo studio?
9. Makeup and photography often go hand in hand. Wherever makeup is involved it is often referred to as trick photography because makeup is capable of completely transforming an individual’s personality, and sometimes relevance to a product in the case of advertising photography.
What kind of photo-editing software available in the market?
10. Photo-editing software through which special effects and complete changes to a photo are possible and can also often save the need for a re shoot.
11. Some of the photo-editing software that are popular includes Photoshop CS; Photoshop Light room, iPhoto, i View Multimedia, MediaPro, ACDSee, Corel and Picasa.
Is storage and treatment of photographs crucial in building photography business?
12. Never adopt laxity while handling or archiving photographs. You will regret it later. Storage and access efficiency will either improve or frustrate your working environment. Often older photos become more valuable with time.
How can be photographs be preserved easily apart from the conventional method?
13. Today’s cameras are highly versatile and will allow downloads and transfers from highly surprising devices including your mobile but pictures can also be stored on a CD’s, USB’s and DVD’s too.
o Choosing a Camera
14. Stick to w ell known brand. The level of mega pixel offered and quality of the zooming facility must be looked into carefully. I have my favorites but there are many equally as good as mine.
15. Most of the cameras are compatible with computers and printers and moreover, because we now use memory sticks, we are truly free to operate unencumbered.
o What kind of a website does a person need to have?
16. Your collection of photographs must be properly classified under different categories. Visual appearance of your website will do wonders for your business so take consider setting up one with semi automation where the maintenance and hard work is done for you like photostockplus.
17. Remember to constantly upgrade and maintain your website so that each time people come across your website, they will find fine something new and interesting.
o Copyright of your photographs
18. Copyright is the right protects the person who owns or who took the photographs. A wise exercise if you are looking to use some stock houses for commercial purposes.
o Why is a business card helpful?
19. In every business, visiting cards are helpful. It is extremely useful in for people to contact you after your first meeting. It must contain all your contact details. If you’re a photographer, a clever impressive graphic or a picture of yourself with your equipment is best. Your contact number or email must be easy to read. I have seen cards that have large names and pictures and the phone numbers are so small they are difficult to read. Ridiculous! Make your phone number the largest thing on the card – that’s what most people will use it for.
o Which things must be kept in mind while you plan to build a wedding photography business?
20. Wedding Photography is almost another art unto itself. There are many things to remember for a truly successful wedding shoot. I have prepared another article to deal with this in more detail and it’s all about –Wedding Photography. –
o Advantage of assignment photography
21. Assignment photography is that branch of photography where a person is engaged or consigned to capture shots of something impressive and extraordinary, such as in the case of advertising or portrait photography; this can provide you a stable income after you’ve learned the ropes.
o Advantage of stock photography
22. Stock photography is that branch of photography where there is an accumulated stock of photographs which can be sold to interested buyers, designers, adverting agencies etc. This can be a slow haul but if your pictures are well thought out, it can be the source of an ongoing income. –My favorite is istockphotos–.
o Other places where you can sell your photographic collection?
23. Art shows are the perfect platform from where your creativity and work will be really appreciated because at such places you will find some niche customers that have a sharp eye for real talent. Such places have been known to bring instant fame.
24. Winter Park Art Show at Orlando, Oklahoma City Festival of the Arts, Old Town Art Show; Chicago, Boston Mills Art Show; Peninsula, Ohio, Similar art shows are held in different parts of the world and they are easy to find on the net. Simply do a Google search for “photography art show” and the name of the country you are in after adding the plus sign like this; “photography art show”+ Sweden
o Prices to be charged from the clients
25. In the initial stages of your business, don’t try to charge exorbitant amounts otherwise it will give the wrong impression and you will perhaps lose a valuable long term customer. Tread slowly. Ring other photographers and research. Five phone calls should do it.
Marketing your photography business
26. You must try to market your work at relevant places. Photographs can also be published over the internet. Publication over the internet will increase customer enquiry. Don’t forget to search for suitable local markets and get the snaps printed in a local journal or newspaper and always display your contact number prominently – always!
27. Establishing and popularizing a business is a tough call but if you adopt a proper marketing strategy. Today, Advertising is one of the most popular mediums of promoting. Ads can be placed on websites, online telephone directories, newspapers and magazines, etc. Research the right mediums before you rush in. Sometimes good deals get in the way of recognizing the right advertising vehicle.
28. You can develop a website of your own to effectively promote your photography business but one thing that must be kept in mind is never forget to include a testimonial section and gauge the response of the people visiting the website. Let them make comments.
o Career prospects in photo journalism
29. Individuals interested in setting up a photography business can begin their career by becoming a photo journalist. Appealing and unusual photographs can be supplied to newspapers, magazines, websites and the photography business is booming to such an extent that even international media organizations will offer you good money in return for rare and high-quality photographs.
30. Mainstream photographers are engaged in TV, parcels and copy services, newspapers, magazines and sketch photography. There are many more jobs also related to photography than there ever was previously and because of the diversity and flexibility of digital photography, more respect has been attached to this profession. Some of the avenues in photography apart from business are Journalism, Graphic arts, Advertising, DTP jobs, Publications and Motion Picture creation.
Go and make yourself a hot beverage and a have a long think
Sooner or later, most photography enthusiast give some thought to “how to start a photography business.” Unfortunately, there are a ‘few’ challenges that “doom” us to failure. One of the biggest challenges that we bring is our failure to make the distinctions between our love of photography (re: our enjoyment and passion for photography) and the business of photography (understanding buying and spending habits of people that are photography customers).
For example, many of us think that because our photography work is “so good,” that we shouldn’t have that much trouble selling it. We, sometimes, mistakenly, think that great art and photography “sells itself.” Big mistake! Great photography does not sell itself. In the business world, nothing sells itself – nothing! Knowing this is critical to start a photography business.
Our failure to make the distinction between our passion for photography and our desire to be in the photo business is also evident in how we try to tell people about what we do. For example, photography customers don’t care what type of equipment we use. They don’t care how many mega-pixels we have, nor how much our equipment cost us, nor what brand of camera we use. Photography customers (current and potential) want to know that we can, and will, produce the highest quality photography work for them.
Think about it, the mechanics that repair our cars don’t tell us what tools that they use. The chefs in the restaurants that we patronize don’t tell us what type of pots, pans or stoves that they use. In those businesses, it is already established what customers want and how best to give it to them. In other words, other businesses do a better job of understanding their ‘niche.’ In order to start a photography business that is consistently successful and growing, we must be clear on what niche we are offering and how to sell the benefits of our niche to the customers.
Another mistake that we budding photography business owners repeat is failing to “specialize” (know our photography niche) in what we do. As photography enthusiasts, we enjoy shooting any and everything. As photographers, that’s just fine. However, when we start a photography business, we, mistakenly, try to be ‘all things to all people’ – we take every photography job offered us.
One of the obvious problems with this approach is our failure to recognize how it drastically cheapens the value of what we do as skilled photographers, in the eyes of the customers. Mistakenly, we want our customers (current and potential) to know that we can photograph anything – after all, we’re very versatile photographers! What the customers actually see is that we’re not “versatile photographers,” we’re just someone with a camera that’s available to take pictures when they call us. Serious photography customers (re: those that can afford to spend regularly) want to do business with specialists – photographers that know their photography niche.
Successful wedding photographers are clear on this, as an example of my point. Their ‘primary’ customer (usually the bride) has dreamed about her wedding day for most of her life. She isn’t looking for a vesatile photographer. She wants a “wedding photographer” that can make her ‘look’ as good, happy and beautiful as she has been in all of her lifelong dreams of ‘her day’ – her wedding day. There’s a special skill to this type of photography service. In fact, this niche has more to do with well developed ‘people skills,’ in my opinion. Successful wedding photographers that are clear on these nuances are more successful in business.