amateur photography question

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kick_push
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amateur photography question

Postby kick_push » Sun Apr 15, 2007 11:00 pm

Are there any photographers in the building? I like taking random pics as a hobby (mostly nature and scenery stuff), and I was wondering if there's a simple way to make this a side gig? Any kind of info would be appreciated.

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Postby SoldierGrrrl » Mon Apr 16, 2007 7:39 am

I'm semi-pro, mostly because I have a photojournalism job for the Army and honestly, it's probably going to depend on what type of photography you want to do. Portraiture is a pretty light-intensive gig, and sports requires some interesting lenses. I'm trying to start up my own photography business, so it's a bit of a struggle.

Good luck! Amazon has some great books on lighting and the business end of it all.

Jen

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jdroth
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Postby jdroth » Mon Apr 16, 2007 7:57 am

Before I got sidetracked by this site ( :wink: ), I thought that my money-making hobby was going to be photography. I took a number of community-college photography courses, as well as a couple professional seminars. I know several people who have made photography a profitable hobby and/or full-time gig. (If Mike Panic sees this thread, I'm sure he can add some input, for example.)

Here are some random thoughts:

1. If you make quality photographs, you can sell them via online stock agencies like istockphoto.com. They're selective about which images the accept, and they don't pay a lot per image, but if you have a lot of photos with them, and they're good, your income can be good.
2. You can sell images online through your own web site, but I'm not sure how profitable that is or how the process actually works. I just know it can be done.
3. You can submit photos for publication in various magazines. Again, I'm not familiar with this process. I recently had a photo published in <i>Audubon Magazine</i> but they contacted me.
4. You can sell notecards in local stores. You'll need to be able to market yourself and your work, but I know two people who do this, and they actually make a living at it. They make prints of their best photos and then mount them on high-quality paper, creating notecards. They actually look fairly nice.
5. I think the best way to make money with photography, though, is to learn to make images of people. Practice working at your nephew's birthday party, or at a friend's wedding. (Don't be the official photographer, but make some unofficial images.) People will pay for high-quality photos of their special events.

I miss photography. I haven't done much in the past year. Maybe as I get a better handle on this site, I'll be able to get back into it again...

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Postby Mike Panic » Tue Apr 17, 2007 8:37 am

http://www.getrichslowly.org/blog/2007/ ... al-photos/ is the link to the GRS blog about selling stock, there are now 4 articles in the series, a 5th is coming soon.

you can def make a side income from photography, you need drive, motivation, marketing savvy, skill, talent, luck and a bunch of great connections. photography, like most art things is part you who know and part who you bl*w... it is as much about stroking egos as it is being humble and you need to have a solid book. if your book isn't top notch you better be really good at the talking game to get a foot in the door.

there are LOTS of ways to profit though, a friend of mine shoots his daughter's swim team and track team, they had been using a local pro but after seeing his work for 2 years (he's not a pro), they opted to go with him - they aren't really saving much money as they pay him about the same, but his quality is really good and he's made a total investment of about $3k into camera gear. for stock stuff you can def get started with a point and shoot but you will quickly outgrow it and for sports / weddings / portraits / etc - you will need a dslr with good lenses.

the orginal article i wrote is make money selling digital photos part I - at the bottom of that article are links to parts 2-4... 4 is the q&a thread

if you have specific questions, feel free to keep this thread going and / or ask them on my blog...

regarding the nba shot you have posted above, don't plan on trying to reproduce it w/out pulling a LOT of strings :). pro nba photographers all have their own strobes mounted in the rafters w/ wireless transmittors to get perfect lighting all the time, you simply can't reproduce that w/ a flash.

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Postby Gnashchick » Wed Apr 18, 2007 2:13 pm

I recently bought a Nikon D80 with a 18-55 "kit" lens, and the price of the lenses and other accessories that I want to purchase make me go green at the gills. I want my camera to both pay for itself, and give me a chance to stretch my creative wings.

My real love is retouching and restoring photos. My photoshop-fu is strong. I was able to turn my skills (plus my love of categorization) into a very lucrative career as an archivist & "digital darkroom" specialist for a vast collection. I manage and manipulate photos all day long, but the problem is that I don't get to take very many.

One of the joys of my job is regular contact with a local "Society" photographer. Her husband is a retired CEO of a local company, and that position gave her access to the local gentry. Everyone who is anyone gets their children's photos done by her, every executive or up-and coming business leader gets his/her headshots from her. She's a wonderful woman, the person I always turn to for help and advice, and a good photographer. Of course, I make her stuff look even better because every photographer who doesn't have top-notch photoshop skills needs someone like me in their back pocket. (grin)

My goal for this year is to build up a portfolio. I want some of my best and most difficult restorations in there as well as new portfolio-quality shots, both "raw" and retouched. (For instance, I'm going to take my camera to my sister's wedding, in hopes of getting some great portrait/wedding examples.) My plan is to get all of this together, and then ask my photographer-friend to take a look at my photos and offer any advice. I don't know where to go from there, but I'm ready to get out there and take my first steps to going "semi-pro."

Kick-push, do you have any resources like this? What kind of photography do you want to do?

One of the things I do from time to time is check my local craigslist.org to see who is looking for freelance photographers. I've seen jobs like "Show up with a camera & lights, and we'll pay you $100 to take photos of our executive team & our offices" and ads for kids' photo kiosks looking for part-time photographers. It would be a place to start, just to give you an idea of the side gigs available in your area.
Steal what works, fix what's broke, fake the rest

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Postby consultantjournal » Tue May 01, 2007 9:34 pm

It's pretty much like <a href="http://www.consultantjournal.com">becoming a consultant</a>. You need to establish a portfolio, get your name out there, set your fees, develop contracts, put together a website and business cards, and the like. Although I'm currently a business consultant, I got into the field by starting out as a freelance writer. And freelance writing is just photography with a different skillset.
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Postby kick_push » Fri Dec 07, 2007 11:44 am

had to bring this one back.. going to the book store later.. anyone recommend any books on learning the basics of digital photography?

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Postby jdroth » Fri Dec 07, 2007 12:19 pm

Oof. I have some good books, but they're at home. How much later is "later"?

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Postby brad » Fri Dec 07, 2007 12:37 pm

Steve Johnson's book (published by O'Reilly) is a good introduction to digital photography, especially good for people who are already film photographers. He's one of the pioneers, and has a very uncompromising approach and opinions. I got that book last year for Christmas and have read it through several times.

Here's his website, which includes info on the book:

http://www.sjphoto.com/

One of the most practical tips I got from reading that book is to keep your camera set at its very lowest ISO setting, which is the camera's native setting. Pushing the ISO any higher than that is going to introduce noise, no matter how good your camera is. Following that practice has improved my camera's image quality immensely. Simple and a no-brainer, but I didn't know it before I read the book.

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Postby sandycheeks » Fri Dec 07, 2007 1:19 pm

I'm not sure if you decided on a type of photography yet. But I recommend KIDS! (families portraiture etc)

I have a friend who started a side business of photgraphy b/c she was so disappointed in the quality of local children's photography. She had alwyas enjoyed it as a hobby but had never seriously considered making money off of it.

From what I hear, she could do it FT, but the hours don't work for her desired family/work balance. She was actually contacted by other local photographers and told she wasn't charging enough and was undermining the value of professional photography in the area.

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Postby kick_push » Fri Dec 07, 2007 2:50 pm

jdroth wrote:Oof. I have some good books, but they're at home. How much later is "later"?


no worries jd.. i can always go back and research anytime

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Postby kick_push » Fri Dec 07, 2007 2:52 pm

brad wrote:Steve Johnson's book (published by O'Reilly) is a good introduction to digital photography, especially good for people who are already film photographers. He's one of the pioneers, and has a very uncompromising approach and opinions. I got that book last year for Christmas and have read it through several times.

Here's his website, which includes info on the book:

http://www.sjphoto.com/

One of the most practical tips I got from reading that book is to keep your camera set at its very lowest ISO setting, which is the camera's native setting. Pushing the ISO any higher than that is going to introduce noise, no matter how good your camera is. Following that practice has improved my camera's image quality immensely. Simple and a no-brainer, but I didn't know it before I read the book.


thanks.. i'll check this one out

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jer
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Postby jer » Sun Dec 09, 2007 5:30 pm

There is no such thing as "digital photography". Digital is just another medium in what you're really doing, which is, simply, "photography". You need to learn about photography.

There are VERY few general, introductory photography books that I have ever seen that are any good. They tend to be full of gimmicks and, in many cases, outright bad information. The amount of things that get published about photography that are factually incorrect is staggering.

There is only one general photography book that I recommend: "The Camera" by Ansel Adams. Of course, Ansel Adams never picked up a digital camera in his life, and there is certainly nothing about them in the book. That doesn't matter. You need to learn photography.

Then you need to learn the medium of digital, so you can translate what you know and make use of it. Unfortunately, I know of no books on this subject that are good. The field is full of people trying to make a buck off peoples' desire to buy their way into better pictures, or looking for some kind of "system" of getting good pictures, or whatever. It's kind of like personal finance in this respect. :)

Frankly, you can do pretty well learning the "digital medium" on the web. Sites like dpreview.com, Luminous Landscape, and others are very helpful.

I'm not a professional photographer. My qualifications for saying this: I've been doing photography seriously since I was a teenager; it was my major in college; I've tried it as a profession.

Why am I not a professional? As a business, it sucks. I figured out that I can make more money for less work doing just about anything else.

The average people who make a decent living at it (weddings, portraits, etc) aren't photographers, they're businesspeople. Those businesses aren't about photography, they're about selling. If that is appealing, you can certainly make a living from it, but don't fool yourself that you're turning your hobby into a profession.

The people who do it for a living where it IS about photography work very hard, and don't get paid very much unless they are extraordinary in some way and also fairly lucky. (Think about actors. A few of them make millions; most of them wait tables to make ends meet.)

You say you do nature and scenery. So do I. There is NO market for this stuff any more. The problem is that, in the past couple of years, the market has been flooded with amateurs who are willing to give their work away for next to nothing, or in some cases, actually nothing. In photography, the only difference between "professional" and "amateur" is the money -- an amateur has access to the same equipment, can be just as talented and skilled, and often has MORE time to devote to it simply because he's doing it for fun. So amateur work can be just as good as professional work, but done by people who already have a job and don't need the money. So, they're happy to sell their pictures for a few dollars just for the ego boost.

Or else they submit to "microstock" agencies that totally rip off photographers, giving them a small fraction of a dollar or two per sale, while simultaneously being part of the problem that has devalued the entire industry. I won't touch those places out of principle. They have contributed to the elimination of an entire profession.

Now, as a result of all this, publishers trawl the internet, contacting one photographer after another asking to use their pictures, commercially, for free. When one says no, they move on to the next, and eventually, someone says yes. And, you have an entire industry that has been decimated as its product has been devalued to near zero. The market is completely different than it was even three or four years ago.

If you want to do portraits or weddings or some other kind of "business" shooting, that's still alive. If you want to do photojournalism, great. If you want to do porn, you'll probably make a lot of money. If you can put a lot of money into it and shoot the kind of commercial lifestyle images that amateurs can't shoot because they cost money, you'll do great. But if you want to shoot nature and scenery, keep it as a hobby. That market is dead.

I submit my stuff to a stock library and everything, but when it comes to nature and scenery and travel, it doesn't even come CLOSE to paying expenses.

I got an email not long ago asking for permission to use one of my pictures in a commercial travel magazine as a full-page spread, and that they would not be paying me anything for this privilege. I really felt like replying, "You want me to donate the picture to you? Who do you think you are, Doctors Without Borders?" I didn't, but man, when commercial magazine editors are asking for free use of pictures, things are pretty bad.

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Postby Myrtle » Fri Dec 14, 2007 1:05 pm

I'd say that it depends on your photographs and your style. How about wedding photography or portraits? To me, they seem the easiest way to make money through photographs.

I'm studying Fine Art photography and my approach to it may be a lot different, and I know that I won't probably be making money out of it too much. Some sell fine art prints on the net or elsewhere, maybe that could suit you too.

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Postby brad » Fri Dec 14, 2007 1:30 pm

jer wrote:There is only one general photography book that I recommend: "The Camera" by Ansel Adams. Of course, Ansel Adams never picked up a digital camera in his life, and there is certainly nothing about them in the book. That doesn't matter. You need to learn photography.


Actually, along those lines I would also strongly recommend the book "Looking at Photographs," by John Szarkowski, and Dialogue with Photography, by Hill and Cooper (interviews with some of the greatest photographers of the 20th century.)


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