The Best Things About Being A Photographer
Being a photographer, as an amateur or for a living, can be highly enjoyable. It is one of those pursuits where you are able to create something and have a record of it for as long as you want to. Indeed, if you can make some money out of it, photography can be one of the most enjoyable things in the world. There are many beneficial aspects to it as a career and as a hobby.
For one thing, there is the opportunity to make really good money if you are a talented enough photographer. For organizations and groups who hire a photographer – modelling agencies, advertising companies and even families with a special occasion on the horizon, a good photographer is worth paying top dollar.
If you do make a living from photography, the chances are that you will also get to travel and see some of the most beautiful sights in the world. Admittedly, you’ll see a lot of them through a viewfinder and this leaves less time to really appreciate them, but on your down time you can see the best of the world.
And there is also the advantage for an amateur that if you are taking photographs, you do not have to spend as much time on the other side of the camera with other people taking photographs of you. If you are shy, this is certainly good news, and it is also reassuring if you just aren’t photogenic. It beats having to smile and pose, too.
As children, we are often captivated by seeing a photograph – the thrill of seeing your likeness documented in this way is as close as most of us get to being on TV in our early days. As we get older, we are usually more reluctant to be photographed, and the magic drops out of the medium for us. However, being on the other side of the camera can be something of a buzz.
If you find that you are a talented photographer, then you can start to look at it as a career. Good photographers are often in demand. When you think about it, every newspaper needs one, as will many companies – realtors will always need someone to take photographs of the houses they are selling and there are very few companies that do not have a website.
Some of the best money available can be made as a wedding photographer. This is not an easy job by any stretch of the imagination – a bride, groom and two families are counting on you to get it right, and the best bet initially may be to photograph a family wedding for no fee, and use the best shots from that in your portfolio.
Good wedding photographers can make a lot of money, as families set aside a large budget for a wedding. For a short day’s work, this can be a figure in the high three figures or into the four figures, and you have the opportunity to spread the word – if the family like the photographs, then you may well be recommended and called for other weddings too.
Somebody who has just found themselves in a somewhat embarrassing situation will often shout at onlookers: “Why don’t you take a picture, it lasts longer?”. Of course, given that it is now easier than ever to do exactly that, this sarcastic rejoinder is something of a risk at the best of times. It seems like the only way to avoid the preservation of embarrassing memories these days is to not do anything embarrassing.
Most of us have an embarrassing photograph or two out there, but we tend to be fortunate enough that our parents keep them in an album and only bring them out when a potential life-partner is already too deeply enmeshed in our lives to make a quick getaway. However, with the innovation of digital cameras and online photo posting, this has become something of a minefield.
There is not much you can do about embarrassing photographs making their way on to the Internet, short of confiscating all cameras whenever you are around people – and due to the decreasing size of the average cell phone this is pretty difficult to manage anyway. So all you can really do is accept that you are not the first person to have it happen to them and will certainly not be the last.
What you need to be careful of is the increasing number of sites that are devoted to placing embarrassing photographs where the whole world can see them. There are several sires now devoted to bringing embarrassing Facebook photographs to the wider world. You don’t want to be noticed by strangers and hear them giggling “There’s the guy whose pants came down on the Eiffel Tower”.
Photo albums used to be sacred documents that families treated with a certain kind of awe, which usually meant that they would be shoved away on a high shelf until family occasions, when they would be taken out and looked at for a few hours. With the innovations that have taken place in photography, the Internet now offers us photo hosting – an album on the Internet.
Some of these albums are, or can be made, publicly viewable. The website Flickr has become a social networking site in all but name, as you can sign up to view a poster’s new photos and leave comments on the ones they have posted. This has made the site hugely popular and gives something of a “blog” element to the photo hosting idea.
Then there are other photo hosting sites that allow you simply to deposit your photographs there and, using the automatically-generated links, can post the photos to a blog, an online forum or on a dedicated website. This is a good way of saving on bandwidth and has the added advantage that you can keep your photographs password-protected and free up hard drive space.
The Internet is often blamed for published content decreasing in quality, but what is often not appreciated is the fact that it has given photography something of a shot in the arm by persuading more people to give it a try. For those who are willing to look around, there are some excellent photographs online.
If digital photography can be thanked for one development, it must surely be the rehabilitation of slide shows. If you have ever been cornered by a friend just returned from holiday who demanded that you come and see their slides, you have known what it is to die just a little inside. However, online slide shows are a lot less about looking at three versions of the same photograph of the Acropolis, and more about slick presentation.
Anyone can make a slide show now, with the innovation of digital slide shows. The process is a whole lot more dynamic and the photographs are displayed in a far more eye-catching way (although anything is more eye-catching than a series of out-of-focus shots beamed onto a wall). The option to add music also makes the process more enjoyable to create and to watch.
The ease with which photographs can be stored and rearranged online means that there is a far more persuasive sense of sequence to an online slide show than the old fashioned way. People can see the photographs more clearly, watch at their own speed, and click back to see a photograph that made them smile.
Of course, more slide shows means “more bad slide shows” too. But with the more modern way of doing things, you don’t have to sit around waiting for a bad one to end. This development is certainly a positive one for anyone who has endured a slide show from hell once too often.
There is a strong vein of opinion which dictates that the easier it gets to do something, the worse the whole medium becomes. A number of people are of the opinion that punk rock killed music because it stopped being about the ability to play an instrument, and hundreds of awful bands formed as a result. This vein of opinion has spread into all art forms.
Consider the fairly haughty opinions of many professional writers with regard to bloggers. To listen to a professional writer talking about the Internet is to hear someone who feels that they are at a high class party which has been gatecrashed by barbarians – as though the fact that it is now easier to self-publish means that bloggers are bad writers per se.
The same band of opinion exists in photography. It was once the case that to own a camera you needed to spend a lot of money, and as a result, there were fewer photographers – and when they took a photo, they had to make sure it was good. Now you can buy a digital camera for not much money, and more people are taking more pictures.
Has this led to the death of photography as an art form? Only the deluded would think so. With the innovations that have arisen, people with talent but not much money can now let their talent find an audience. Sure, there are now more bad photographers than ever, but this does not mean there are fewer good ones.
Too many people think that just because they can take a photograph of something, they should take a photograph. As a result, we often see online photo streams that are clogged with several photos of the same thing, or photographs that don’t really show anything. The more that you consider the photographs you take, the better you will become as a photographer.
Taking photographs has become very easy due to the innovations in camera technology, and as a result there are a lot of occasions where people take a photograph just because they can. By doing this, they never really learn how to capture a moment in the right way. Of course, it is no big deal if people are just taking photographs for their own enjoyment. But when you receive an email which has 25 photographs of the same thing, it gets annoying.
The advantage of shooting only when you have to is that you consider the photograph a lot more closely. If you want to get the best depiction of your chosen scene, you need to take into account the way that subjects are positioned, the way that you are positioned, and the light as well as a number of other factors.
If you want to seriously take up photography, you may have noted the fact that professionals will often have fifty or more shots to get the one that “really works”. However, they are working to an exceptionally high standard and often with motion and human models. They still need to be on the mark for all fifty shots, as the right picture does not happen just through luck.
Camera equipment can be extremely expensive, particularly if you begin to take photography seriously as a career option. Therefore it is important to make sure that you get the right equipment for the job. However, be careful of placing too much importance on the quality of the equipment, as you can end up spending hundreds on equipment that is not going to make much difference.
One of the harshest, but truest sayings there is, goes as follows: A bad workman always blames his tools. Now, it may well not be the case that you are a bad photographer – in any case, there is a world between good and bad – but the important thing to remember is that blaming the equipment you use, and replacing it, can sometimes hold back your improvement.
When you take a photograph and it comes out looking bad, it is important to bear in mind that there could be countless reasons for this. It could be the light, it could be the positioning of the shot, it could be any number of things. It could, indeed, be the camera, and if this is the case then replacing the apparatus may be the only way to go. Regardless, you have to know the difference between a bad photo and a bad camera.
Some of the best photographers around started with cheap cameras that had defects, and became such good photographers by learning to work with what they had. Rather than spending money trying to find the best camera, it is advisable to spend time trying to become the best photographer you can be.
Even in the light of all the changes that have taken place over the years, allowing us to take more photographs in a shorter space of time and to publish them within seconds, the fact is that sometimes less is more. You will not become a good photographer by taking a lot of photographs. You will never win the Tour de France on a bicycle with training wheels.
What this means for amateur photographers is that, just because it is easier to take a photograph these days, it does not mean that you can replace quality with quantity. It is better to critically survey your photographs, delete the ones that don’t pass muster, and keep in mind what you got wrong initially and how you can get it right next time.
You see, if you just snap away in the hope of getting the right shot, you are as likely to get twenty shots of which maybe five will be good enough to be considered “decent”. If, on the other hand, you take the time to get it right, you can get five photos of which all are impressive. Making the effort to get the shot right gives the shot a sense of occasion.
Photography is not easy, and anyone who attempts to claim otherwise is being either naïve or ignorant. Getting the right shot makes demands of a photographer, and the sooner you learn to meet those demands, the easier you will find it as time goes on.
There are many people who want to become professional photographers, and there is plenty of reason why they would. If you are a highly sought-after photographer, then you can get paid a lot of money to travel the world taking photographs of stunning locations, beautiful people and remarkable occasions. So is it worth getting a qualification in photography?
The answer to this question, frustratingly, is “it might be”. When you get down to it, there are not so many companies or agencies who will demand that you have a certificate to prove you can take photographs. The best way to document a talent for photography is by showing the photographs that you have taken. That said, doing a photography course may help in other ways.
It cannot be denied that, if you take a course in photography that is taught by a professional who has worked worldwide, you should learn a lot from them and may also be able to make contacts in the business. There is a major difference between being able to take impressive photographs, and being able to get the perfect shot when you are on the clock and conditions are being unkind.
It is not so much the certificate that will be given to you on graduation that will be important, but the things that you learn during the course. There are all sorts of tricks that can make a photograph look better, and make a good photograph great. Informing yourself about these is worth the effort.