Just How Much Money Do I Make As A Traveling Photographer?

I get asked this question a lot, “Beth, just how much money do you make as a traveling photographer?”

 

Well I promise to answer that question fully in a moment.

 

But first, you need to know that when it comes to being a professional photographer, there is much more to it than taking pictures.

 

You might just think you can get paid thousands and travel the world just for pointing and shooting a stupid camera at a few people or some landscapes. However:

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Event Photography Paid For My Trip Around Italy

Getting started as a professional photographer is a difficult proposition and one that I wrestled with for some time – do you go it alone, or do you join a studio and have security?

 

Do you open your own studio, or do you just travel around doing shoots here and there?

 

To open your own studio, you not only need to invest in all of the photography equipment and backdrops needed to take the photos, but you also have to lease a space to do business in, and lay out money for all of the marketing and promotion which will be necessary if you want people walking through your studio door.

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Turning A Bad Situation Into Something Good

So the other day I had a photo gig. It was for an estate agent who had booked my services, for me to take photographs of some houses that she wanted so she could put them on post cards and leaflets and send them out for her open houses.

I was all geared up and good to go and I even drove all the way to the first house only to find out that the estate agent canceled at the last minute. It’s not so bad as I do get to keep the 50% deposit, but still… I wanted to finish the job.

iPad on a Coffee TableLuckily as I was there in the house, the specialist kitchen designers who worked on the kitchen were also there. And they asked to see some of my work. Luckily I had brought my iPad!

Once I showed it to them and they had a proper look, they decided that they wanted me to visit their showroom and take updated photos that they could put in their marketing material. I got to see some really lovely kitchen there!

So that was me getting lucky and getting my bad situation turned into something good. But of course, that also did involve a bit of sheer luck.

So if you want to turn your bad situation into something good…here are some tips from me to you. Hopefully they will help. :)

Always Have Your Portfolio Handy
Portfolio SampleOne thing I learned is that no matter where I am, no matter what I do, it is important for me to always have a portfolio that I can show to people if they ask. Or even if they don’t ask.

I can’t tell you how many bookings I’ve gotten from meeting someone, showing my portfolio (they often ask, because they need a photographer for one reason or another), and letting them know I’m available for the job. So make sure your portfolio is ready. Don’t just throw it all together either – you need it to impress potential clients!

Don’t Be Shy – Introduce Yourself
When something like that happens where clients cancel last minute and you’re already there at the venue…don’t be shy. Introduce yourself. You might as well gain a new contacts and a few potential clients out of what has happened to you.

Steps To Easily Introduce Yourself

You always need a few new contacts – you never know when one contact can give you a really big break.

Have Business Cards
Business Card ConceptAlso don’t forget that you should always have business cards! When you are introducing yourself to somebody, it is best to have business cards to give out. You end up looking much more professional this way.

Plus there is also the fact that it allows them to keep your contact details too, so that they can find it and call you when they finally do have work for you to do, or when a company needs your services.

So there you go…those are my tips. Let me know if you manage to turn your situation around!

What I Almost Did Instead of Becoming a Photographer

When I was first looking into becoming a photographer some eight or nine years ago, I didn’t really imagine myself becoming this successful. I guess that’s why way back then there were still quite a lot of things I was considering becoming and doing.

Photography isn’t one of those career paths where you were guaranteed success… okay, truth be told really not a lot of career paths have any form of guarantee of success, but the world of photography is harder to find success in.

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Any photographer will tell you this. It takes a lot to make it.

So before I finally decided to truly become a photographer, I had other career options in mind. One of the biggest options I was really considering at that time was to go to university to get a degree in business.

But then it was a bit too expensive when I really thought about it (uni is expensive, let’s all admit this fact! Not everyone can afford it!), so instead I started thinking about training in business communication instead so that I could still get work in the field, although with no degree I was likely to get a lower ranking job.

Anyway, let’s talk about why I thought I might go into business…

Following Family’s Footsteps
My father is a businessman and had always been. And he always did inspire me as a child, to grow up and be just like him. I did go with him once in a while to the office on take your child to work days, and I always enjoyed watching him do what he did.

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He walked around with such confidence, and he was such a go-getter that it inspired me to become the same. This is why I thought I might do the training, at least in business communication, because I know that doing that would lead to me being able to be confident like him.

Actually I would have been happy to be even just a fraction as confident as him.

Wanting to Fulfill Expectations
My father had certain expectations of me. He didn’t exactly want me to be just like him and become a businesswoman, no, but he did have higher expectations from me.

He wanted me to have a university education and a true career path, one in which I could advance and climb a ladder, but I was younger and more impressionable then. I wanted to be like him, to impress him. So I thought I might go into business too.

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But in the end… I just could not deny my passion! I’ve loved photography ever since I got my hands on a camera, and I have loved it since then. I’m really glad that I have pursued my passion and do what I do now.

I’m glad I followed my heart and decided to find my own way in photography instead of trying to make my mark in the world of business…something tells me I just wouldn’t be all that happy in that field after all!

So ladies and gents… don’t be afraid to follow your passions! :)

Golf Photography Abroad

I have written before that my photography gigs have paid for my trips abroad. As a travelling photographer, I get to visit some pretty exciting locales that I have never been to before. I always receive some pretty great offers from all sorts of people around the world.

Golf Ball in GrassOne of the more interesting offers I have received was from someone who is a specialist in golf holidays to France. She was someone that I have met during my past visits to France, and made my trip very worthwhile. After becoming good friends, we had to part ways as I returned home to Britain.

Fast forward a couple years and she has finally e-mailed me, asking if I would be interested in a gig in France. She said that they were having a very important golf event and they wanted me to take the photos. I was flattered that she would ask me to do it, because I lived so far away, but she insisted that I was the right photographer.

I packed up my gear and booked a flight to France, and she gave me free lodging at their hotel near the golf course.

Now, when taking photos of a golfing event, there are a few things that you will have to keep in mind. Golf is a very serious sport and you are not allowed to do a number of things to prevent distracting the golfer. Remember, distracting a photographer during an important swing will have you sent off the green.

Bring more than one type of lens
Photography LensesFor a golfing event, you may need to bring a minimum of two lenses: one wide angle lens and one zoom lens. You will need the wide angle lens to take pictures of the hills and spectators, which looks great if you juxtapose the golfer against the shot.

Next, the telephoto lens will be used for close up shots so that you can zoom in and focus on the details of the golfer’s face. I like taking photos while they are putting, as they always have serious, intensely focused expressions when they do.

Avoid flash at all costs
FlashEven during an overcast day, you should avoid using flash at all costs. Event photography for golf is all about being inconspicuous, so respect the golfer by avoiding the use of flash.

Flash is fine for other sports such as rugby and football, but flash during a golfing tournament is a big no-no.

Freeze all of the action
Did you know that a golfer’s swing averages at 120mph? That is incredibly fast and your camera will not be able to capture all of the action unless you freeze it. Use a high shutter speed and focus. Remember that as the event photographer, you will be expected to take shots of the most crucial moments of the game – the swing.

Use bokeh
Like all event photography, the background can have too much going on. To avoid this, use bokeh, which is a photography term for the blurring in the backgrounds and foregrounds of your subject.

Bokeh Photography Tutorial

My event photography gig in France was a success. It did not feel like I was working at all, and felt more like a glamorous French holiday.

Are You a Budding Photographer? Here’s How to Get Your Start

If you are just starting out as a photographer or if you have recently figured out that you have found your passion in it…well, let me be the first to tell you congratulations!

PhotographerI remember what a rush it was when I first started taking photos… I absolutely loved it! I started with an older digital camera and I tried to explore everything that it could do. I pushed it to its limits.

And then when I was too limited by its limitations as a device, I decided that I would get a job, save up my money, and buy a new camera.

It took me a while to save up enough money to buy my first DSLR, but I never looked back since. These days what I save up for now are lenses…though I know there will come a time that I will need to upgrade my camera too. But that time has yet to come.

So now that you are a budding photographer… how can you get started on your way to pro photographer status?

1. Save Up and Invest in Your First Camera

One thing that you can do to jump start your new passion is to save up and invest in your first camera! It’ll be your most worthwhile purchase after all.

Without a decent camera you will have difficult time getting the results that you want. This is not good because you’ll just get frustrated with the results you need to achieve.

It can take you a while to get the camera you want, but I promise you that it will be worth it. It was worth it for me!

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2. Join as Many Groups as You Can

As a photographer just starting out, you will likely need a lot of feedback. You’ll probably want tips too, and some advice, especially on the more technical things.

The same goes for the creativity aspect. You will want to join as many groups as you can… forums, local after school clubs, photography groups on Facebook… whatever it is, get all the possible support that you can.

Trust me, you will thank yourself for it in the long run.

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3. Take as Many Pictures as You Can

If you want to learn to take photographs, you can’t do it without actually taking photographs.

So it’s best that you go out and take as many pictures as you can—landscapes, portraits, abstract, no matter what it is… Take a photo!

Volunteer to document any event that you are attending! You will need some pictures after all to share with your clubs and groups so that you can get some critique.

4. Learn to Take Critique

And since we are talking about critique… you must learn how to take constructive criticism. This is the only way that you will grow as a photographer.

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I’ve heard many tough words in the past but I took those words of advice and learned from them.

 

Not all critique will be constructive, however, so learn to brush off bad critique! Oh and of course..learn to tell the difference between the two!

Photographing Still Life

 

I once had a friend who wanted me to take pictures of her tableware gifts made from Welsh slate. Photographing the Welsh slate was quite a pleasure and gave me a chance to practice my still life composition, which is something that I admit I am not too familiar with.

 

While I originally thought that it would be a relatively simple project, creating appealing photographs of the Welsh slate tableware proved to be challenging. I took the whole afternoon, trying out different settings, angles, and lighting, until finally, I was able to put together some beautiful still life portraits.

 

My friend then helped me pick out the best photos from that batch, and I touched them up to improve the colour and the lighting a bit. It has proven to be an incredibly fun project. Based on what I have learned while photographing the slate gifts as still life, I have decided to put together a short list of tips to help you.

 

Use a tripod

tripod-image

Still life photography is not dynamic. It is still, silent, and relaxing. While some photographers can make due by holding the camera themselves, the truth is that you can get much better photographs by using a tripod instead. Tripods allow you to adjust and take photos without even the tiniest bit of movement.

 

Composition is everything

two-old-woman

Composition is the key to still life photography and can make or break your entire photograph. Still life photographers are expected to create a photo rather than to simply take a picture of it. You must therefore know how to arrange each and every element into the shot so that it works.

 

Here’s a few pointers on how to take a still life photography:

 

When I had to arrange the slate tableware, I first decided to use the existing backdrop of the table that it was sitting on. However, I came to realize that the tablecloth takes away from my composition, making it too overwhelming.

 

I went for a light box instead, which gave me a clear shot and allowed me to focus my camera on the slate.

 

Know how to contrast colour and texture

colour-contrast

To add a bit of contrast to the rough, grey, Welsh slate, I decided to add a rose into the shot to make it interesting. The Welsh slate tableware is a dark grey, almost black in colour, and had a rough, hard texture.

 

To contrast the cool hardness of the platters and table mats, I added a contrasting object. The rose is soft, feminine, and had bright colours that truly made the individual aspects of the slate pop. I arranged it in such a way that both objects display their finest features in the photograph.

 

Still life photography truly gives a photographer all of the control. I can see why it is more difficult than other types of photography, and I have a lot of respect for those’ that do this regularly. I hope that my mini tutorial has helped, even if I am fairly new to the genre. ‘Til next time!

How to Travel With Your Camera Gear

Hi, Beth here! In this article, I will be discussing how to travel with your camera gear in town.

 

I know that many new photographers can get pretty nervous while travelling to another country with their camera gear, afraid that it will get stolen, smashed, or rained on.

 

I know that when I received my first camera, I was absolutely mortified to bring it anywhere for fear of it being stolen or broken.

 

I know that I have saved a lot of my allowance to purchase it, and I did not want for it to go down the drain.

 

travel-camera-equipment

 

Unfortunately, keeping your camera at home will likely only make you lose some great opportunities for awesome photographs. So, here are some of my tips to keep your camera safe.

 

 

1. Consult with your immigration lawyer

Believe it or not, your immigration lawyer can help keep your photography equipment safe.

 

You can ask them what to do if your stuff ever gets stolen, and whether or not you should worry about customs officers that may try to take away your gadgets.

 

I spoke to an immigration lawyer in Manchester who gave me some fantastic insight on how to put together my travel insurance and how it can protect your stuff.

 

I am not that good when it comes to the specifics of travel law, but it is always a good idea to talk to a trusted immigration lawyer.

 

2. Pack your gear in protected casings

Your camera, as well as other accessories including extra drives, memory cards, battery packs, and the like need to be packed into protected casings.

 

My favorite is to use a good, sturdy, padded camera bag to keep my stuff clean and to avoid dents and cracks.

 

Some people prefer using hard, reinforced hard cases for their goods, but while they can be effective, they can be rather bulky and difficult to handle.

 

They can also be rather expensive, so it is really up to you whether you need the extra protection or not, though I do suggest you purchase a good camera bag.

 

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3. Hand carry the important things

While it is okay to put your tripod and battery packs in your check in luggage, you may want to bring the important things with you as hand carry baggage.

 

Your DSLR body and your lenses are the most sensitive items in your arsenal, so try to bring them with you to the plane if you can.

 

Just make sure that the airline that you are taking allows you to bring electronics on board.

 

Here  is a video about how you can travel with your gear:

 

 

4. Be vigilant at all times

Even if you have the best kind of anti-theft bags available complete with coded locks, your camera will always be small enough to be grabbed with one hand.

 

Be vigilant and keep an eye out for any thieves, and avoid taking your hands off of your camera bag.

 

I know that it can be very tiring to do, but it is better than losing your important equipment and your precious photos in one fell swoop.

 

Tips for Staying Out of The Way When Doing Event Photography

 

We all know that as photographers, our main job is to take photographs of the event and to commemorate it in pictures. Our job is not to be in the memories these people are trying to keep, but to capture them and make them so beautiful that they will be remembered through the ages.

 

During the event, it is important to capture every good moment as it passes, no to be in the frame, and not to be in the story. So it’s important that you stay out of the way so that you do not disrupt or interrupt the goings on of the event.

 

This one time I was asked to take photographs during a seminar or workshop about development finance for professional developers. It turned to be a good learning experience for me because I was able to pick up a few things that I will now remember for the rest of my days.

 

Here are the lessons I learned from that experience.

 

1.Take photographs without flash.

photograph-with-a-flash

Naturally it is difficult to take photographs without flash, especially when you are just starting out and you do not have all kinds of lenses just yet. But you must learn to work with natural lighting, or at least the lighting you are given in the venue.

 

It’s not easy, especially when there are two kinds of lighting sources making your life difficult. Flash can be disruptive during events, so unless asked to use it, do not. Get your lens and settings right so you can shoot even if it is relatively dark.

 

2. Use lenses to get close ups.

different-lenses-image

Of course we all know that the easiest way to get a close up shot is to actually come closer to the person to get the photograph. What not many people know however is the option of using lenses for long range.

 

These lenses however will need to have a good aperture in order to be able to accept more light in later. A good rule of thumb is f/2.8 by minimum, but the smaller the number the better—such as f/1.8 and f/1.4.

 

A good zoom lens can allow you to take a photograph all the way to the front of the room from the back, depending of course on the lenses’ capabilities.

 

3. Learn to be quiet as a mouse.

quiet-as-a-mouse

If you want to be virtually undetectable when you do your business taking photographs, then you will need to be able to be quiet as a mouse.

 

On top of that, you have to learn to be able to find good angles from different positions in a room, always making sure that you are taking photographs from somewhere, or from spots that are out of the way.

 

When I did that event, I almost never talked—I only did that one time when I was asked about something, but otherwise it was compete silence so as not to disturb anyone.

 

Meanwhile here is a video tutorial on how to shoot an event Photography (A Photography & Video Lighting Tutorial):

 

My Top Favourite Things to Shoot

 

Photographers usually tend to find something that they absolutely love taking photographs of. And as a result they normally begin to specialise in that particular subject or field more and more and more.

 

It just happens. Amateur photographers normally take pictures of everything and anything, and then they fall in love with a certain subject and that is it for them.

 

Meanwhile, here is a video about the Six Quick tips to Improve your Photography:

 

But not for me! Personally…for me, well. I did find things that I love to shoot photos of, but truth be told there are so many things I love taking photos of that I never did end up specialising in any single thing. Why would I deprive myself of taking photos of other things?
 
So what are my favourites? Well… here, let me tell you!
 
Weddings

 

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Okay, what kind of a girl would I be if I didn’t like weddings? I’m not married myself just yet but I love being there for other people’s sweet moments.
I take photographs of weddings and I love doing that—capturing those special moments in people’s lives and making sure that they remember it exactly as it happened. It’s a lovely experience.

 

My favourite moment was when I actually shot such a nice wedding in a small intimate wedding venue in Leeds, it was so lovely I even got teary eyed!
 
Children

 

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I absolutely love taking photos of children. I love catching them candidly, when they’re playing and talking and laughing. I love capturing their smiles and the way they interact with the things around them so curiously.

 

It’s so lovely. Sometimes I accept photo sessions with moms and kids, or even maternity photos—it’s just the best experience. Everyone enjoys! I can’t get enough of this, especially since playful children usually smile so nicely.
 
Pets and Animals

 

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Okay, this one seems pretty obvious, doesn’t it? I love taking photos of pets and animals…they’re just so absolutely adorable. Especially the furrier, fluffier ones.

 

I will have to say that it is quite difficult to get photographs of them since they move around a lot and you can’t exactly direct them to do anything, but when you manage to get them when they’re still and catch a photo then, it’s absolutely magical. 
 
Landscapes

 

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I’ve woken up early, before the crack of dawn even, many times before. And all just to manage to catch photos of landscapes as the sun rises. Or as the sun sets.

 

When I travel what I love to do most is take photographs of the scenery—it’s just amazing, and I love it. It makes for great frame able souvenirs—so no need to buy anything anymore! Less clutter. Though I do love making prints of my photographs…so, that’s clutter too. Haha!
 
Portraits
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And who doesn’t love taking portraits? I love capturing people as they really are. I love getting their essence on film (okay, on SD card, these days) and capturing their personalities in a photograph. I tend to do these a lot, too!

 

Speak Out: Photograph Something Controversial

girl-photosMaybe this is just my more rebellious side talking, but I think that photography is a window to the world — a window to both the light and dark side of it all.

That is why I think it is important that photographers know how to take pictures of more controversial subjects, and go beyond their comfort zone.

 

After all, the world does not revolve around cute children and puppies (though I admit, I can’t resist an adorable photo of a baby snuggling with a puppy).

I think that if you want to excel in photography, you should not be afraid to take photos of events, people, or objects in a way that would make people ponder.

 

These “controversial” photos, for the lack of a better word, causes people to think about the world around them.

 

I want photos that make you want to change the world and see a different side of people. Now, I am not saying that you should go out and take scandalous photos for shock value.

 

No, you should take photos with meaning. When you take photos of human subjects, make sure that you portray them fairly. Show people that they are human, and not just a subject.

 

My most controversial set of photos was when I took before and after pics of people who were entering a plastic surgery clinic in Scottsdale.

 

Now, I realized that for some reason, people tend to criticise plastic surgery and those who try it without even knowing the ones who did.

 

controversial-photograph

Many seem to think that changing your natural features is disgraceful and somehow not right. However, each and every one of these individuals, the vast majority of them women, have a story to tell.

 

Frankly, we do not know why any of these women decide to go under the knife, so I think it is unfair to judge.

 

As part of a personal project of mine, I decided that I wanted to find out what exactly goes through these women’s minds. I asked several individuals at the clinic what procedure they wanted and if I could photograph them.

 

Instead of the classic before and after photos of plastic surgery patients that feature them against a plain background and highlighting their new features, I decided to do something different: I took photos of what changed in their lives after their surgery.

 

So, I took photos of the women by following them around for one entire day (with permission of course) pre-surgery, showing them in different situations.

 

After they have had their surgery and after they have completely healed, I then follow them around for a second time to see what has changed.

plastic-surgery

 

I then take two of the best photos, one before and after picture, to highlight what has changed. Generally, I see men and women become more confident and satisfied with their lives after surgery, so I felt that it was more than just superficial vanity. It was a way to empower themselves.

 

I was absolutely floored! It was an interesting project and an experience I will not forget. So whenever you feel like you want to take photos that are considered controversial, just do it. Be brave and express yourself.

 

Now here’s a few extra tips when shooting a controversial photos like nude photography:

Learning Things on The Road as a Photographer

You’d think that busy as I am taking photographs I would no longer have time to figure anything else out and learn things on the job, right? Wrong! The truth is I learn something on almost every job, especially since I travel.

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I love learning things on the job, whether it’s about the culture or a certain industry or some sort of history. And with every job I do learn new things, which is absolutely another reason why I do adore my job.

 

If you want to know what things might be like when you work as a traveling photographer… read on to see what things I have learned so far!

 

I Learn the Most Random Things About Different Industries

Going to work for all sorts of different industries and all sorts of different jobs I learn a lot of things I don’t really need to know.

 

Meanwhile Take a Look at this video About What They Don’t Teach You In Photography School:

 

 

But at the same time it’s useful information that I could use for the future. Like how when I was working to take photos for a storage company’s brochure I learned that for bulk items pallet racking is best.

 

Or like how when I was working to take photos for a digital printer, I learned that there are so many things I need to know in order to make the colors of my photographs print out accurately.

 

 

I Learn About Different Cultures

This is more so something I learn during traveling for my jobs rather than while actually doing my jobs, but I love it nevertheless. Learning about other people’s cultures is something that I really like because I can compare it to my own life and see how things differ.

 

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I love learning about how people treat visitors, whether they are hospitable or not. I love to see how they go to work, how they go to school and get around I love to learn about their customs and traditions.

 

At times I end up missing those cultures at some point, but I know at some point I’ll be back if I loved the country enough.

 

 

I Learn About Different Kinds of Food

Traveling leads you to different places with different cultures, but at the same time all those cultures and countries mean you get all sorts of different delicacies. I love trying them all!

 

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I’m quite glad that I am one of the people who do not care about what food looks or smells like as long as it tastes absolutely amazing. I love trying food that I am served or just about any food that looks interesting to me.

 

I Learn Something About Myself

I love traveling because not only do I learn about so many things but I learn about myself as well. I learn about what kind of a person I am—am I finicky or do I go with the flow?

 

Am I a paranoid person or am I easy going? Traveling gives a lot of time to reflect and I do love this fact.