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julius motal the phoblographer sony 70-200mm f2.8 G product image-5

16MP–that’s what I say most people need at most though consumers may only really need as little as 8MP. But chances are that if you’re shooting professionally or semi-professionally with the intent of only publishing on the web, you don’t need many megapixels at all. As it stands, we always recommend that folks upload their images at 1000 or 2000 pixels long to the web even as displays become more high resolution.

This is a story that I’ve shared before with other sites but that I’m sharing in a different way here. Years ago, I was a celebrity photographer (a paparazzi, life was tough when I got out of college). My agency wanted photos of the celebrity up close and personal and what I didn’t know was that they wanted crops of just the celebrity. What I actually thought was that they wanted me to get up close and personal. So with a Canon 5D Mk II and 24-105mm f4 L IS, I was able to create many images that the agency loved and could sell to both print and for the web.

Part of this was because I was able to crop in majorly and still give them a useable image. But most folks don’t need to do this and in fact many people don’t even crop their images–they usually try to keep them as they were in the camera or the thought is just an oversight.

Here’s what we mean.

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Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Essentials for th Strobist Street Photographer (2 of 9)ISO 1001-200 sec at f - 3.5

“I want to be a pro.”

Don’t pretend like that thought hasn’t come across your mind at all. Many of us as photographers have always wanted to go pro. It’s in gear marketing, it’s part of the aspirations of many in the photo community, and it’s ingrained in so many tutorials that are all across the web. So what does being a pro mean? Being a professional photographer means that the large majority of your income is from photography. This means that you shoot for a living and if you’re not shooting then you probably can’t pay rent, put food on the table, etc. Is this you? Probably not.

But then let’s start to break that down a bit more: you could aspire to be a semi-professional photographer. This means that anywhere from around 40-50% of your income is from photography. The rest of the money may come from your full time job. Being the semi-professional photographer is a much more attainable ideal to strive for than relying entirely on photography for all of your income. No matter how good you are, you need to consider a couple of very big factors at play here.

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IbarionexPerelloThePhoblographerSabatoge01Making a living as a photographer has never been more challenging. We’re being asked to deliver more work for less money. Expectations  for transfer of copyright are being demanded in the form of a buyout or work for hire agreement. Newspapers are letting go of their photo departments and transferring the picture responsibility to a writer, toting nothing more than a smartphone. And new photographers are entering the competitive arena who are willing to work for far less than a seasoned professional would ever consider fair.

Yet, despite all these external challenges, the greatest obstacles lay not with others but with ourselves. It is often the choices that we make not just as photographers, but as business people the reduce the viability of making a living as a photographer. Here are some common ways that many photographers self-sabotage their work and their careers and some remedies to combat them.

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Imagebrief Infographic Who Shot The Photographer

If we can believe the statistics, then the professional photographer is a dying species. With “professional” gear being available even to the amateur, less and less professionals are being hired. And with the ever growing inventory of stock photography, fewer and fewer companies are willing to pay the price for individual photographic jobs. The guys from ImageBrief, a website that uses crowdsourcing as a means to deliver imagery to paying customers, have created above infographic exploring the various forces that are driving the professional photographer towards extinction. If you look at the trends, it becomes clear that it’s increasingly difficult to make a living from photography.

Nikon Professional Services Video Still Capture

We all know that the Japanese can be highly effective at what they do. But watching Kodai Matsumoto from Nikon Professional Services diagnose and repair a Nikon D4 in just over twenty minutes is simply mind-blowing. Granted, the video is a time-lapse, so everything seems super-quick, but still. Twenty minutes to disassemble, diagnose, repair and reassamble a beast of a camera that the D4 is, that’s pretty awesome. Probably the reason why Kodai has this job. NPS provides support services like check and clean, running repairs and equipment loans to accredited Nikon photographers at major events–this video (which you can find after the break) was taken at the FINA World Swimming Championships, BCN2013, in Barcelona, Spain.

Via Nikon Rumors

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When it comes to photo education, the industry has adopted a lot of the ideas and practices of the self-help movement. Whether it’s in a book or at a big photo event, there are people that get you psyched up about making the choice to “live the dream” and to become a professional photographer.

Some of these people are sincere in their encouragements, while others seem more interested in pushing a product or a service. In any case, they tap into a desire that many people have to lead a more creative and satisfying life.

Zack Arias’ new book, Photography Q&A: Real Questions. Real Answers is a welcome alternative that provides a frank and brutally honest perspective on what it takes to go pro.

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