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Kodak Ektar 25 Warm

There are apparently different metrics for success in photography. Some would measure success in the size of an audience. Others would measure it in the number of awards and publications. Some would measure it based on the actual quality of the work. And some would tie it solely to financial success. Last week, a piece called “15 Statements Poor Photographers Say That Rich Photographers Do Not” with 32 unsourced quotes – 15 by poor shooters and 17 by rich ones – was widely shared. It is, at the very least, bad journalism, and if both sets of quotes are to be believed, utter nonsense.

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Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm 16-55mm f2.8 WR review Graham's images (16 of 19)ISO 4001-60 sec at f - 2.8

It’s extremely common for most photographers these days to simply just hold down a shutter button and hope that they get the right shot. But in the end, that just gives you loads and loads of extra images that you don’t necessarily need and you’ll end up with less keepers than you’d like. Fixing that problem means that you need to think about (in the brief window of time) the end result. And for that, you need to think about what you possibly see in a scene and how you can quickly capture it to ensure that you deliver a result that your mind’s eye saw.

Sounds really, really tough to do, right? It’s not that bad if you make the job easier for yourself by doing things like shooting in aperture priority where you have a bit of control over the image or you have an autofocus point already pre-selected for the scene. Automation of some of the settings lets you get to that end game image that you have in your head and greatly improves your chances of actually getting it.

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All images by Michael Afonso. Used with permission.

I found photographer Michael Afonso years ago on Flickr and other photo forums when he was still cutting his teeth as a portrait shooter. He would often ask for advice on how to make his images better in the same ways that others do. Today, he’s a Graphic Designer, Photographer and Videographer. “Currently living in Florida, my true home is surrounded by trees and nature without the tropical appeal. For the past several years i’ve been doing what I love most.” says Michael.

Michael’s edge is that he is always constantly trying new things even while being a busy creative. It’s often easy for a busy creative to become so busy with jobs that they can’t get other things done to keep expanding their own creativity.

Today, his work is the best that it’s been.

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All images by Szymon Świętochowski. Used with permission from Ars Thanea.

Ars Thanea is an advertising and production company that wanted new portraits done to show that they’re a creative bunch. For a long time, they’d had the idea and inspiration from the “holi” holiday–a reference to the Hindu holiday where folks throw powder at one another. Peter from the company tells us that they knew that they wanted to make the “people” section really awesome.

“…so the only plan we had was to stay still and shoot from the front.” says Peter. “It was the method of many trials. We were throwing the powder at each other and we used as much powder as we could hold in our hands.”

The images are a demonstration of the company trying to have a bit of fun at the expense of a huge mess. Peter also tells us that everyone had to hold their breath for a few seconds, just for a single shot. However, they had to pray that the photographer got the shot right the first time. Otherwise, they needed to take a shower, get clean and do it all over again.

Ars Thanea’s images are after the jump–and a great example at how creatives can express that they’re creative people in their portraits.

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Photo by Mike Lerner.

Photo by Mike Lerner.

All images in this post are used with permission from their respective photographers.

Perhaps the most vexing thing for any new photographer is pricing. There aren’t hard and fast rules, and while you want to make a decent amount of money commensurate with your skills, you don’t want to risk turning away potential clients with prices that are too high. Many photographers start out with fairly moderate prices, but after time passes and shooters hone their skills, the question becomes, “Should I raise my prices?” Of course, the better you get, the more you should charge because you have a deeper understanding of your craft and you can make better images. We set out to talk to some photographers who make their living from photography in order to make sense of the pricing game.

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Chris Gampat the Phoblographer Fujifilm Xpert Advice Portrait Lens Photo (1 of 1)ISO 4001-125 sec at f - 2.4

Lots of folks will tell you that you should always focus on the eyes when shooting a portrait. Why? Because eyes are the metaphorical windows to the soul. It’s very easy for those photographers to also get caught up in shooting portraits with their lenses wide open all the time.

Don’t do that–especially when working with portraits.

If you’re shooting a portrait and the eyes are all that’s in focus, you’re not giving your portrait subject more depth. Instead, try stopping down just a little bit to ensure that the eyes are not only tack sharp but that you also have a bit more in focus–like their face. Sure, the eyes can tell you a lot but so too can the face.

With Fujifilm’s X series interchangeable lens cameras, you don’t need to stop down a lot. Because of the 1.5x crop factor of the APS-C X Trans sensor, you’ll have more in focus at a given aperture than you will with a full frame camera. That means that at f1.2 on the 56mm f1.2 lens, you’ll have the equivalent depth of field of 1.2 x 1.5 which = f1.8’s equivalent depth of field with a full frame camera. So try getting more of your subject in focus rather than just concentrating on just their iris.

For even better results, use Fujifilm’s Astia film rendering. This film was developed for portraiture due to the soft colors and the way that it handles skin tones. We’d also be doing you lots of injustice if we told you to not worry about lighting. Backlighting your subject is often a great method, but try to go for softer light like that from a window.

Xpert Advice is a monthly collaboration between the Phoblographer and Fujifilm designed to teach you photography tips and tricks in a bite-sized package.