How To Start A Successful Photography Business

Looking to start your own photography business? Camera+ app co-creator Lisa Bettany shares her advice on how to thrive in a competitive industry.

Award-winning photographer and best-selling Camera+ app entrepreneur, Lisa Bettany, started her first photography business without a camera. After a tragic figure skating accident that dashed her Olympic dreams, she borrowed a friend’s DSLR and she began exploring photography as a creative outlet.

“I was living in Vancouver at the time and I had access to a lot of friends who were actors, musicians and models. So I started taking picture of my friends and their gigs. They really liked what I was doing and they actually started to pay me. I thought, ‘Wow, maybe I can leverage this into something else.’”

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Five Modern Portrait Photographers With Beautiful Film Photography (NSFW)

All images used with permission of the photographers. Lead image by Paul Van Bueren.

Actress Keira Knightly said something very profound about film photographers once:

“I’ve noticed that the people who started on film still have the ability to see the person in front of them. Whereas for a lot of photographers who have only ever worked in digital, the relationship between the photographer and the person who they’re taking a picture of sort of doesn’t exist anymore. They’re looking at a computer screen as opposed to the person.”

Portraiture is something indeed that is very personal to many of us. But so is film. We’ve went through our archives to round up a number of film photographers shooting portraits that you’ll be inspired by.

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People of Copenhagen: a Street Portrait Photography Project


All images by Debabrata Ray. Used with permission.

Debabrata Ray is based in Copenhagen and takes a particular liking to the people there. We’ve interviewed him before, and his newest project “People of Copenhagen” is loosely inspired by Humans of New York.

“While the purpose of the HONY project was different, for me I wanted to take portraits of the people of Copenhagen with a different purpose.” he tells the Phoblographer. To start, he thinks that the people there are incredibly good looking.

“…the average person is really fit, they have sharp features and they have an amazing dressing sense (even though 99% of the color they wear is Black)”

Combine these fantastic subjects with the fact that he loves to take portraits and shoot fashion, and you’ve given Deb a street-style photographer’s dream.

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Fred and Jamie: Wedding Photography and Merging Creative Visions


All images by Fred and Jamie. Used with permission.

“Our shooting manifesto is photojournalistic. We don’t want to interfere or choreograph, we want to capture the feeling and personality of the day.” say photographers Fred and Jamie in their initial interview email to the Phoblographer. “We care more about a shot capturing a moment and evoking an emotion than getting sharp focus or finding the best lighting. I’d much rather see a photo that connects with the viewer than is executed technically well and we hope our clients do too.”

The duo have been shooting together since 2011, and care a lot about the emotion of the moment when it comes to their images. To that end, they see themselves as storytellers. “Having two photographers (as opposed to a photographer and an assistant) allows us to be in two different places at the same time. We sync our camera clocks and at the after the day, we order all our shots chronologically.”

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Will the Color War Ever Be the Next Big Thing in Photography?

Model: Bec Fordyce

Model: Bec Fordyce

It’s really easy for photographers and enthusiasts to sit here and geek out all day and night about dynamic range and high ISO results. Manufacturers started the war after all when the megapixel race happened. The High ISO wars have been happening for a while now and in some ways we see dynamic range wars to a lesser extent.

But why don’t we see the war that really, genuinely could matter even more to photographers in terms of what they can do when it comes to creative freedom? Why is there no color war?

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Learn Photography: A Comprehensive Beginner’s Guide


Looking for more than a beginner’s guide? Take Phil’s Photography Masterclass Course!

Note: This post is part of our “Getting Started” series of free text tutorials on some of our most popular course topics.

To jump to a specific section, click the table of contents below:

Editor’s Note: This is a syndicated blog post from Udemy. It is being republished here with permission.

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Rachel Ceretto: From Rolling Stone to Underwater Photography


All images by Rachel Ceretto. Used with permission.

Rachel Ceretto currently calls Hawaii home, but she’s originally from San Clemente, California and has always been in love with the ocean. Throughout her life she has traveled the world working for some of the most distinguished companies in the business.

At the age of 16, she moved to Serbia and started to hone her photography skills by shooting protests. Later, she moved to NYC to work for Rolling Stone. While there, she developed a yearning for the ocean. That’s when she packed up and moved to Hawaii. Since then, Rachel has been addicted to the ocean and capturing the sea life within it. When Rachel’s not swimming with dolphins she is working with nonprofit organizations ensuring all humans and animals are treated with respect and compassion.

Rachel is a free diver, which means that when she dives to take photographs, she does so on one breath. As she tells us, there is no room for mistakes.

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Yogi á Íslandi Combines Landscape Photography and Yoga

Yogi a Islandi by Tony Van Le and Nadia Nasiri-14

All images by Tony Van Le. Used with permission.

Photographer Tony Van Le is one half of a collaborative project showcasing yoga in a much different way. Peruse Instagram, and you’ll find yoga specialists doing all sorts of crazy poses in some of the coolest and most extreme locations. That’s pretty much what Yogi a Islandi is about–and it showcases the work of Yogi Nadia Nasiri. Nadia and Tony have been friends for years and as they travelled together, they were inspired by awesome locations until they got the idea to combine her yoga work with his landscape photography.

We talked to Tony about the project and the logistics behind it all.

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Romeo Durscher on Drone Photography and Learning Experiences


All images by Romeo Durscher. Used with permission.

Romeo Durscher is the Director of Education at DJI–and he’s quite the photographer. Soem of his work is being featured in San Francisco in a gallery exhibit called “Perspectives by SkyPixel.” The gallery features images by the SkyPixel community and is currently on a travelling tour around the US, Europe and Asia in an effort to inspire people to get out there shooting and making prints of their work.

The idea of taking photos with a bird’s eye view is a recent one, and even Romeo admits that it was tough to get used to. Romeo grew up in fascination at developing film in the darkroom when his father was so passionate about it–but the costs put him off. Instead, he got into digital photography then started experimenting with drones in 2012.

Romeo got a chance to tell us about the learning experience.

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Useful Photography Tip #146: Creating Vintage Filter Effects With Lightroom’s Split Toning

Screen Shot 2015-08-13 at 5.59.02 PM

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Adobe Lightroom has a little section that is most likely ignored by so many of you. It’s called the Split Toning panel. If you’re a concert photographer dealing with some crazy mixed lighting situations and you want to neutralize the problem, you can use this section and specific application of color theory knowledge to fix it. But by setting the highlights to one color at one end of the spectrum and the shadows to another color, dialing the saturation for each to an equal amount, then playing with the balance you can create similar vintage filter effects to what Instagram, VSCO, EyeEm and others will offer you.

For example, setting the highlights to a degree of blue and the shadows to a degree or orange, cranking the saturation of each to 32, and then messing with the balance between highlights and shadows you can create looks similar to that rendered from Instant film like that from Fujifilm’s Instant 100-C peel apart film.

Alternatively, you can invert the hues for the highlights and shadows then change the balance to be more skewed to the shadows. This will give you a much different look and effect closer to a very soft contrast film if you raise the exposure levels just a tad.

Again though, this is something that you’ll have to experiment with and try for to get the “best results” for you. While some love the extreme filter look, others prefer to dial theirs back to a very conservative amount. But consider this the next time you want to render these looks in an organic way and without destroying the sharpness of the image.

Make Time For Photography

julius motal the phoblographer darkroom photo essay-5

“I wish I had time to shoot more.” is something of a refrain among those who lament the state of things. Whether it’s work, family, or otherwise, life has a habit of getting in the way, making valuable time with the camera a fleeting concept. Photography isn’t always a viable career option, but you don’t need to be working as a photographer in order to produce good work. When photography isn’t your main gig, it can be difficult to set aside valuable time in between all of life’s obligations. Yet, the time spent bemoaning the lack of time could really be spent figuring out ways in which you can shoot more.

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Concert Photographers: You Have No Rights

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sigma 18-35mm f1.8 final review photos (6 of 8)ISO 64001-50 sec at f - 2.2

Photographer Mike Lerner has a special message for concert photographers complaining about their rights: You have no rights. Like he said before in an interview with us, if you don’t want to sign your rights away when it comes to shooting then just don’t do it. He also talks about the difference between shooting a concert and creating art as a tour photographer.

Further, he states that if photographers want to band together and protest what musicians and their labels say, then we need to consider the fact that photographers out there will shoot for free to get experience.

Mike, while he says that he really understands why photographers are angry, we need to understand that we’re getting involved with someone else’s living.

His message is embedded after the jump. But also be sure to listen to his advice he gave in our episode of ISO 400.

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How to Stay Committed to a Long Term Photography Project

julius motal the phoblographer long term projects arjen zwart 02

From “No one dies at a Gypsy wedding” by Arjen Zwart

All images are copyrighted and used with permission by the photographers.

In the pantheon of photographic endeavors, there few things more rewarding, and oftentimes more frustrating and demanding, than a long-term project. Short-term projects can take several weeks or a couple of months, but long-term projects take years, which can be both disconcerting and invigorating. Over the course of a project, you might amass several hundred or several thousand images, but the final edit will be much less than that, depending on the shape it will take: a book, a series, etc. There’ll be days when it feels like the images are fantastic, and there’ll be days when it feels like they’re terrible. The most important thing is to stay committed, and that can be the most difficult thing. Continue reading…

Alex Wroblewski: In the Heat of Protest Photography

Alex Wroblewski.

Alex Wroblewski.

All images used with permission by Alex Wroblewski. Lead image by the author.

The crowd gathered at the intersection with their flags raised. The main road led down to the center of town marked by a bull statue where police vans and water cannons were stationed quietly, waiting for the slightest indication to act. It was the one-year anniversary of the death of Berkin Elvan, a young boy in Turkey who fell into a long a coma ten months earlier after a tear gas canister struck his head. His visage has become one of the symbols of collective unrest in Istanbul since the Gezi Park protests two years ago. Alex Wroblewski and I were standing with our cameras ready about 100 feet from the crowd. We were about to leave when several protesters, some in Guy Fawkes mask and others in black scarves, broke off from the main group and marched down the main road towards the police.

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Kyle Dean Reinford: How to Be a Successful Concert Photographer


All photos by Kyle Dean Reinford. Used with permission.

When it comes to concert photography, Kyle Dean Reinford is no doubt one of the best in the business. But he also tells us that he’s still not sure that it’s his true calling. Kyle has been shooting professionally for years and has experienced lots of the changes that have happened as of recent: such as digital rights management and over-saturation of the market.

But most of all, Kyle thinks that concert photography is one heck of a thrill.

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What 7 Concert Photographers Wish They Knew When Starting Out

Photo by Todd Owyoung

Photo by Todd Owyoung

All images in this story were used with permission from their respective owners

Music photography is the passion of so many–and it can be a very tough business to get into without the initiative to build connections. This is true of so many different types of photography genres, but it especially true when covering the music scene. It can make starting out really tough.

We talked to seven famous concert photographers at the top of their game about what they wish they knew when they first started out.

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The Phoblographer’s 2014 Guide to Photography Lighting Tutorials

Model: Asta Peredes

Model: Asta Peredes

When it comes to lighting, you should absolutely never skimp on it when it comes to your photos. Photography is all about the act of capturing light and recording it. But knowing how to work with both natural light and artificial light is a skill.

Lucky for you, we’ve got over 53 solid lighting tutorials for you right here.

This post builds on our original lighting index.

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The Phoblographer’s Roundup of The Best Photography Accessories for 2014

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Great State Classic Skinny strap review images (3 of 8)ISO 1001-100 sec at f - 2.0

We’ve gone through our archive to find some of our favorite accessories for photographers that have come out in 2014. It’s taken us across a journey that appeals to the enthusiast, the mobile photographer, the street photographer, and the person with a discerning taste. This year, we saw a huge emphasis on items being handmade and those also finding a way to be very functional.

So if you’re looking for a great holiday gift, check out our roundup of the best photography accessories that we found this year.

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Six Great Cameras That Won’t Get Checked at a Concert


Heading into a concert? We’ve got good news and bad news for you.

Let’s start with the good news: you’re about to see what will hopefully be an awesome show.

The bad news: the venue may not let your pro-grade camera in. In fact, even as long as it looks pro grade, you’ll need to check it. So for that reason, you’ll need something a bit more low-profile that will fool the guards when they check your bag. The only way to do that is to not have such a serious looking piece of kit on you, but still having something comparable to the cameras that you may use.

Here are a list of cameras that won’t get checked at a concert.

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Useful Photography Tip #120: Underexpose Musicians With Bright Lights on Them

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm X Pro 1 review images mxpx (14 of 22)ISO 6400

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When you’re shooting concerts in large venues or even bars, chances are that the lighting on the musicians will be bright–way too bright for aperture priority. If you pay attention to your camera’s metering system, it will often look at the contrast in the scene and blow out much of the highlights.

Due to changes in modern sensor technology, we all know that it is much easier to lift details from the shadows than it is to pull them from the highlights. So in order to get a better exposed image, we strongly recommend underexposing the scene by at least a stop. This way, you’ll get the details on the musician and anything in the shadows can be pushed in post-production.

To get started, choose an ISO setting that you’re comfortable with and make sure that your shutter speed is at least the equivalent of your field of view to keep in line with the reciprocal rule of shutter speeds. Then select an aperture that you’re comfortable working with and keep in mind that your musician may be moving around. Then try to underexpose the scene by a stop. By doing this, you may either be able to capture faster motion, get more of a scene in focus, and also have better files to edit in the post-production phase. And all you need to do is just underexpose musicians.

Just remember that not everything needs to be an HDR–so as long as your primary subject is exposed correctly you shouldn’t have too much of an issue.

Keep this in mind the next time you do concert photography.