If changing an image to black and white is a careless afterthought, what are the chances that you’ve created a monochrome masterpiece? When we change our mindset from “I don’t know what else to do with this so black and white it is” to “I am going to create black-and-white photos today when I shoot,” a radical thing happens: Your monochrome images become more focused and striking.
Since the first issue of Shutter Magazine, I’ve shared one article after another with ideas to help you build a stronger business. I’ve shared ideas about virtually every aspect of your business today—from your website to your blog, marketing, direct mail, education and partnerships. This month I wanted to have some fun with a series of my pet peeves and easy ways to fix them. This list is not all-inclusive. I’m doing a brain dump, and this month’s article is meant to be a free-form collection of ideas all of you can start working on immediately.
Because digital cameras are complicated creatures, manufacturers have added a little gizmo so you can see if you are indeed gathering all the data and using the memory efficiently. But most photographers blow off this handy little meter as esoteric and unnecessary. That magical meter is called the histogram, and today we are going to master that bad boy to get cleaner, less noisy images.
You know me: I’m all about stopping the scroll, standing out and using dynamic maternity to build one’s brand and gain the audience’s attention. Changing things up isn’t that hard. It doesn’t require money or new equipment. It’s simply making small adjustments and mostly playing to find new ways to capture amazing images. Here are some great ways to change the game and blaze your own path.
So you think you want to become a wedding photographer? Be careful what you wish for. Yes, it’s true what they say: A career in wedding photography can be quite lucrative. For my wife Eileen and I (The Blumes), our decade-long career has allowed us to create a life of travel and comfort we never imagined. On the other hand, the vast majority of photographers who approach weddings as a golden goose get bitten, and there’s good reason for the burnout and high failure rates. This job isn’t for the faint of heart.
Burnout comes not just from how hard you have to work, but because you’re always trying to find a way not to be bored of what you’re doing every single day. It’s not easy to be a self-starter and conjure up a work ethic that could rival anyone’s. To add creativity on top of it and have to be creative on demand requires a magic formula that very few people figure out. I want you to be successful not just in photography, but in life as well. Here’s what helps me in photography and owning my own business.
Raise your hand if you’ve thought the same things: I want to create luxury photos, but I don’t want to deal with all the gear and equipment that I see everyone else using. I want to create luxury photos, but I don’t want to invest a fortune just yet to make them. I want to create luxury photos, but I want to do it in a way that makes me feel comfortable in my element.
Creating a light scheme that makes my subject look beautifully shaped right in camera allows me to save a lot of retouching time. This way I can also show a few photos directly on set during the shoot, let my client see the magic in the making and get her even more excited to proceed with the rest of the session. The confidence boost is incredibly helpful, empowering and attitude changing. Here are some of the light setups I use the most during photo shoots. I hope they help you create stunning maternity images.
Whether you’re as big a fan of classic commercial lighting as I am or prefer something different—perhaps the contrast of “dark and moody” or the flat “light and airy” look that’s trending on Instagram—I encourage you to closely study the four elements of a well-lit portrait. Understanding their rationale and the order in which they’re usually applied will help you become more efficient and better at controlling your own unique style.
Are you a natural-light photographer? Do you realize how ridiculous that sounds? Change your mindset. Be a photographer. As a photographer, you don’t identify yourself by your lighting choice. I don’t say I am a “Canon photographer.” I am a professional photographer. I take great pride in that, as should you. If you ever want to be successful in this business, you need to master all light. But make no mistake: There is a lot to do and it can seem overwhelming.