Money From Your Camera
People pay money for pictures. Why shouldn't it be your pictures? There are many
ways to earn money from a camera, some requiring more skill than others, but
with all of them the golden rule is "give the customer what he or she wants". In
other words, take the pictures people want to buy, not just what takes your fancy.
When choosing which markets to go for you need to take two things into account,
your own level of expertise and the camera equipment you own. A small digital
camera will do for some jobs but there are situations where only film or large
digital files of 12Mb plus will do.
This is the first thing many people think of but don't even consider wedding
photography unless you are a really competent photographer and have at least two
good cameras so that you have a back-up to hand. I carry two film-based SLR
cameras plus an 8Mp digital camera. Consider buying medium format if you are
likely to do many weddings so that you can provide larger prints if required.
There are three approaches to wedding photography - formal, informal and "artsy".
Most couples want a set of formal portraits as the core of their wedding pictures.
Agree to the groups required beforehand with your customers. Explain that you will
need plenty of time. Shepherding people is time-consuming. There's always someone
who goes missing when you need them.
If possible, visit the venue beforehand to find the best locations. Work out
where the sun will be and how you are going to fit in large groups. Look for
banks or steps to arrange them on. If you have them looking up at you make sure
they are not squinting into the sun.
Ask what other shots are required. Remember the cake, and perhaps the rings.
Arty shots are up to you and your creativity. Get the main group portraiture out
of the way first so that you have time to be creative. Most commercial photographers
leave the informal shots to the guests but it's worth grabbing any extra shots
you can. One favorite of mine was a shot of the bridesmaids climbing on a gazebo!
Magazines and Other Publications
Publishers vary considerably in their requirements. You won't get a look-in
unless you provide the right kind of pictures in the right way. Being based in
the UK I joined the Bureau of Freelance Photographers to keep abreast of what
editor's are looking for. Pictures must be sharp and well-composed.
Include both landscape (horizontal) and portrait (upright) shots in any
submission unless told otherwise. Cover shots may need some uncluttered space
for the title and other text and generally require high quality originals. Study
your chosen publications first to see what they use and how they use it.