Innovate or die

Too harsh for a title...? 

We all know how important it is to innovate in any business to remain relevant. Innovations don’t necessarily have to be earth shattering because, small changes for the better can make a huge difference in the long term. It’s kind of like going to the gym (something I haven’t done in a long, long…long time) being consistent is what’s important.  

It’s amazing to see how the photography industry has changed over the last 10 years. The tools and resources available now are simply amazing. We have ‘moving images’ through the use of video stills thanks to the Cinemagraph app, mobile photography which can be considered as professional work and drones to create some amazing aerial images. With all of this happening the average photographer can feel a little lost, searching for a bit of identity.

on top of this the amateur market is growing fast and pretty huge by now, DSLRs are not difficult to get hold of and the amount of resources available is astounding for anyone with drive and ambition. 

One of the key resources are online tutorials and many successful photographers have come to understand how the growing amateur market can be tapped into. Online tutorials are slowly becoming big business. A single tutorial from Fstoppers has been sold to at least 850 individuals, at a cost of $299.00 each, it really adds up to some big figures. This is a great example of how some photographers have studied the market properly, saw the rise in the number of amateurs and took advantage of it. Even YouTubers such as Jared Polin cater strictly to the amateur market and provide information and tutorials.  

Filming and selling photography tutorials has become quite a lucrative industry and also a saturated one. The point is that simply being a photographer may not be enough anymore. Online tutorials are just one example of the innovations currently happening, the amateur market is growing fast, is there something you could offer? 

"Professional photographers are always going to be in demand", I'm not so sure, I believe as technology progresses the professional photographer may start to become a rare thing. We're already seeing signs of organisations being content with many of their smart phone images. When it comes to commercial work the role of photographer may become a small part of a larger position for many individuals and companies. I don't think this is necessarily a bad thing however the industry may be changing too fast for some of us. 

Aside from trying to find ways of catering to the amateur market and seizing any opportunities, you still need to cater to conventional clients. Professional photographers may dislike the idea of amateurs taking their jobs and charging less. You may even say, that they are bringing the value of the industry down, but does this matter from the clients perspective... the short answer is no. Should clients care... possibly, however, ultimately it's the market that decides value and innovations can keep you ahead. 

Does professional gear mean professional results?

Kinda.. 

In the video below Tony Northrup demonstrates how professional results can be achieved by almost any entry level camera. it's amazing how many times I'll be showing a client or friend some pictures and their reaction to it is "wow you must have an amazing camera". Well...  I do and thank you for noticing however I'd be able to get the same results with a cheaper camera, it's a matter of time and effort.

Now don't get me wrong I'm not having a go at the friend or client because I understand they're simply complimenting me, which is always appreciated. 

A professional camera can make a huge difference to the results and the workflow can be significantly improved, however at the end of it all it does come down to the actual photographer. I do believe professional equipment is important and not just for bragging rights, but there is a balance. 

Anyway enough from me please watch the video below. 

 

Professional Photography is Critical for Virtually Every Industry

My interaction with professional photography has made me agree that it’s a very significant part of every industry today. The job of a professional photographer is to be able to capture some of the best aspects of every industry.

You might be asking why interior and architectural photography. Well it’s mostly because of the fact that architecture as a visual art lets buildings talk for themselves.  With professional photography equipment and a creative attitude goes a step further and interprets it in a number of ways.

Whether it is photographing the interior or exterior or capturing the unique and magnificent images through various techniques, the professional photographer is helped by an observant eye capable of realizing different capture points and points of view. This is the kind of photography I love and provides both clients and artists, amazing images.

However, professional photography is real, diverse and very vital today. Every industry today deserves great, quality and perfectly captured images and moments. While everyone can take a selfie and some images it takes a professional photographer to bring out the details, points of view, angles and all kinds of aspects out of a simple item. Food related photographers are one of the key reason we make orders for groceries, pizzas, meats, ice creams, hamburgers, French fries and all kinds of delicacies because of the way they capture them. I love taking a peek at these photographs and marvel at the way they literary compel you to eat fruits, green leafy vegetables, salads, make an order or simply eat at a certain exotic hotel.

It is also the same with wedding photographs. They are so vital that while you can take another image of a delicacy a fortnight later, you cannot do so in the case of a wedding. Everything has to be perfect from the beginning and the expectations are way too high. Just any photographer is not sufficient. A professional is demanded, sought and given the job.

Any professional interior and architectural photographer will tell you why clients demand professional photographers. Even high school senior year photographers must be professionals and schools are very meticulous. This is the reason any yearbook looks awesome and perfect 30 years later. At the same time, professional baby photography is big business and a superb job is expected.

A real estate firm dealing with properties also demand professional photography. I love a well taken image of a building for sale, both the interior and exterior. A shoddy photography will not draw any buyers and this is counterproductive for any seller.

In a nutshell, professional photography is extremely important in virtually every industry today. I’m aware this post is very biased self-serving, however it’s difficult to refute the argument. I work within an industry that is over saturated for a reason and I absolutely love it.  

The Part-Time Photographer

Just like you I have noticed there are affordable DSLRs compelling so many people to consider photography either as a part-time or fulltime career. Camera equipment can really be expensive, but photography is one of those businesses with a low overhead and once you have your own photography gear you can enjoy a flexible yet rewarding part-time job.

As you’d expect, to begin with things were quite slow for me so I used that time to develop my craft and learn as much as I possibly could. A subscription with Lynda.com and a ridiculous number of hours spent on YouTube watching anything and everything about photography. I loved the technical aspects of photography and I think that really helps with my interior and architectural photography. Once I felt like I was ready (which didn’t take too long) I was able to get my first job through the help of friends. I gave them the world and got paid peanuts for it, amazingly I still made a profit.

Profit was the key thing because I needed to make enough money to leave my part time job, dear god I hated my part time job. The work was menial, I was not being utilised properly in any way shape or form and I had so much more to offer, so I set out to create something for myself. Working initially as a part time photographer meant the majority of my free time was taken up by something I love.

One of the most prominent thing I kept hearing was how difficult the photography industry was and how competitive it is. It seemed like every other video had a warning included about how tough it’s going to be. Honestly I don’t know what all the fuss is about I haven’t found it difficult at all. Anything is difficult if you don’t know what you’re doing, if you haven’t prepared a sound strategy or done sufficient research. Business fundamentals remain the same across all industries and I made it a priority to understand business before understanding photography. I think anyone who wants to set up their own business should do it because I can tell it’s an amazing feeling.

One of the great things about working as a part time photographer is that hopefully your part time job can cover your essential costs. This means the majority of your income from photography is extra income and can be used to properly develop a potentially thriving business. There is of course a pitfall in that when you have disposable income, fancy gadgets and shopping sprees starts to look very appealing. I know I've made a few questionable purchases and even recently I purchased a set of Bang and Olufsen headphones for £399.00!

 

 But they're sooo pretty....

But they're sooo pretty....

Fortunately I was quite disciplined when it came to my company and I'm very aware of the affliction known as Gear Acquisition Syndrome. I can’t stress how important it is to manage your finances and remain strict when it comes to any purchases.

The main disadvantage of being a part time photographer is the lack of time. Just when you’re in the middle of doing something amazingly creative, you’re rudely interrupted by that deep dark pit of a feeling… tomorrow is another day at work. Sundays were probably the most heart breaking days ever. Managing time is essential when it comes to being a part time photographer. The week is split into two sections, days when you’re working and days when you’re at your job. Utilising any and all time is so important especially in the beginning, in my mind any time I was not working on my company was time wasted. I keep asking myself one question, “Is there something I could be doing right now to further my company”, the answer is always YES!

It’s amazing how much time can be spent procrastinating, looking at Facebook and Twitter feeds, watching random videos, stuff on Netflix and just surfing the net. Don’t worry this post does not come with a familiar warning because I procrastinate too and yet I still manage a growing company :).

I've now left employment and set up my photography company. I worked at British Gas and while the company may not have had the best reputation in the industry some of my co-workers were pretty amazing. I used to hate every minute in that place and couldn't wait to get out and do my “real job”. It was strange, when I was close to leaving British Gas, I suddenly became very thankful for having that job and realised how important it had been. Without having that part-time job, I wouldn't have been able to set up my company, so in short,...

Thank you British Gas. 

We got Married!

We got Married!

Most people believe that architectural photography techniques can only be used for shooting buildings. That is not the case at all! There are plenty of situations and instances wherein you can incorporate architectural photography techniques to come up with a stunning image even if it is not of a building. Photography, as much as it’s about technique, has also a lot to do with passion. 

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