Help on being a photographer

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by macuser1232, Apr 9, 2012.

  1. macuser1232, Apr 9, 2012
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2012

    macuser1232 macrumors 6502a

    macuser1232

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2012
    #1
    Hey, I'm 13 years old and I have been into photography for quite some time and I have a decent camera(not a DSLR yet). I was wondering if anyone has any advice on becoming a professional photographer as a hobby and/or side career. One of my ideas is to maybe find a magazine company in my local area and maybe be able to take pictures for their magazines. Another is to find a website to take pictures for. Also, I have a lot of experience with photo/video editing. For my photo editing I use Adobe Light Room and Photoshop. I am not yet allowed to take a photography class at my school but I still wanted a head start.
    Thanks!
     
  2. chrono1081 macrumors 604

    chrono1081

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    Isla Nublar
    #2
    The best thing you can do now is work on composition and lighting. (There are tons of books and websites on this very subject).

    These can be done with any type of camera and will yield the largest improvement in your pictures. Too many people will get a DSLR and get average shots with it because they miss the fundamentals of lighting and composition.

    When you do get an SLR, you'll be good with the fundamentals and can start creating a professional looking portfolio showcasing your skills.
     
  3. r.j.s Moderator emeritus

    r.j.s

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    Mar 7, 2007
    Location:
    Texas
    #3
    To echo what the post above mine says, work on the basics now, then get the gear.

    You probably won't find any work at 13, as laws may prevent places from hiring.
     
  4. 2oahu macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2012
    #4
    Although you can't get hired as a photographer due to your age, you can definitely sign up at http://www.istockphoto.com/sell-stock-photos.php and show your work to the public. You will need help from parents to be able to sign up but I think it will be a great way for you to get exposure, make a little bit of cash, and even get some profession critique.
     
  5. r.j.s Moderator emeritus

    r.j.s

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2007
    Location:
    Texas
    #5
    Are you sure? I'm fairly certain you need to be at least 18 to contribute (otherwise, contracts are not legally binding and for tax purposes).
     
  6. VI™ macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2010
    Location:
    Shepherdsturd, WV
    #6
    Learn this part of photography:

    http://strobist.blogspot.com/2006/03/lighting-101.html

    It's about small off camera flashes, which can be translated to large studio lighting, which in turn is all about learning light.

    If you're interested in shooting commercial and editorial work, a good lighting game can go a long way.
     
  7. crawler1975 macrumors regular

    crawler1975

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2011
    #7
    There is a course right now running at creativelive (www.creativelive.com - there are other course as well) about Fundamentals of Photography by John Greengo. I would recommend for you to attend that course (it's free until this Friday - April 13) so that you'll learn how shutter speed, aperture and ISO inter-relate and also to learn about your camera (what it can really do) ... You can also opt in to buy the video for your reference.

    Also, the only way to really learn photography is to SHOOT .. SHOOT.. SHOOT ... SHOOT .. building up on your composition as you go, you may also want to join Photography forums (sorry Flickr does not count) and submit your photos for critique.

    Hope this helps.
     
  8. Vudoo macrumors 6502a

    Vudoo

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    Sep 30, 2008
    Location:
    Dallas Metroplex
    #8
    Learn the business aspect of it if you plan to be a professional. That's what my professional photographer friends say. It doesn't matter how great the photos are, if you don't know how to market yourself then you won't be successful.

    I personally have done some paid projects, but I prefer to keep it as a hobby instead of trying to make a living out of it.
     
  9. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2007
    Location:
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    #9
    Someone has to be the curmudgeon here...

    First - I support your efforts to become a better photographer. And I will support your efforts. Post the results of your efforts in this forum, ask what people think and what they would suggest to make your images better.

    But "Better" is not the same as professional. As Vudoo says below - there is a business side to being a "professional", and you can't be both a professional and a hobbiest at the same time.... though of course you be a hobbiest that does some paid gigs. But it's not the same thing.

    If you want to work towards being a pro, then - Shoot Shoot Shoot - but that is not enough. Analyze, edit, critique, get critiqued every "serious" shot (OK, lets face it... at some point we all will take some mere snapshots that are just meant to be for fun and not pored over) - but serious shots need to be learned from. Whether you are 13 or 53.

    Find a photographer (in person or online) whose opinion you respect and have them critique some of your shots. Don't overwhelm them, but occasionally put together 5 or 10 of your best shots and get their opinion. You don't have to necessarily agree with them, but you must listen to what they have to say. Even include some shots that are almost working, and get their opinion on what's missing. Sometimes decades of experience makes up for youthful enthusiasm.

    Get gigs that will publish your photos.

    I think you'll find most photographers are nice people, and will support someone who is seriously trying to become the best the can in this field.

    This is advice on how to become a better photographer. If you truly want to become professional, then you need to learn the business aspect. Most jurisdictions offer free workshops in how to open a small business. At this point even that may not be necessary. Strictly speaking a professional is not a hobbiest. A professional makes their living (or the majority of it) at being a photographer. A hobbiest does it for the love of it. A hobbiest, by the way, can be a better shooter than the pro. It's just that they make their living doing something else. Usually a better and easier living too. We may be nice, but photographers aren't always the brightest bulbs.... [/tongue in cheek]

    Learn to price your images. Not just cheap enough to sell, but at a price that allows you to continue shooting. Lots of photographers have sold their images right into near bankruptcy.

    Learn about taxes. You will need to start collecting and paying. If you want help from the local photographers, don't undercut them by doing illegal things. You can be cheaper, as long as you don't have an unfair advantage.

    Learn about copyright. Who owns the images, what they can do. Different jurisdictions have different laws. By default, most of what you read on the web is about US laws. Great if you are in the US, but if you aren't then make sure you are researching the laws that pertain to you.

    Learn about contracts. You'll need them.

    Learn what you rights are on paper, and then when it's time to cut your losses and move on.

    Learn about insurance. Eventually you'll need some.

    In a perfect world, you would have all the business stuff in place before you actually started charging for your services.... but that ain't gonna happen. But you need to keep working at getting it into place as you go. Accept that you will get burned occasionally because you didn't understand copyright, or contracts.... that is to be expected. You get burned, you learn, you move on. We all do. Just accept it.

    There's an old saying.... "Someone buys a camera, and suddenly they're a photographer. Someone buys a flute, and suddenly... they own a flute."

    Good luck. We, photographers, are nice people.... especially if you have talent and/or work hard at it. Show us what you got, and we'll help you get better.

    So you make a living (at something else) and get to buy new camera toys... sounds ideal to me! :)
     
  10. Vudoo macrumors 6502a

    Vudoo

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    Sep 30, 2008
    Location:
    Dallas Metroplex
    #10
    I know people who are professional photographers, but can't make a full time living off of it. One actually was an official photographer during the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver/Whistler. Another person I know, who does wedding photography, remarked on how wedding rates have dropped due to people going out and buying a DSLR and undercutting the competition. Sometimes photos just need to be decent if the price is right.

    I make a living as a network administrator and that pays for the $10,000 in equipment that I have. The money I have made in shooting doesn't even cover the cost of one of my f/2.8 zoom lens. People have told me that I should go professional and I ask them why? Going pro means focusing more on the business than the art. I prefer to shoot without the pressure of getting it perfect and a deadline.

    My advice to the OP is practice shooting, read about photography and business. Take some photos of school sporting events and print them out as samples. Parents love to pay for a good shot of their kid so that may be a door to get into the business. Enter some work into a contest to get some recognition. Keep a level head and look for opportunities.
     
  11. MacCruiskeen macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2011
    #11
    Is there a particular direction you feel like going in? Fashion, news, art, nature? Go to libraries and check out books by other photographers, and museums and galleries where real prints are on display. There's a lot of stuff out there that's not well represented on the web. And shoot a lot. There's plenty of books and web sites and classes you can take to learn the technical stuff. The way to learn how to see what's in front of you and turn it into a photo is doing and studying.
     
  12. george-brooks macrumors 6502a

    george-brooks

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2011
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    #12
    I remember being in your shoes. I first picked up the camera when I was 8, now I'm 20 and majoring in Photography in college. My best advice is to think realistically. I haven't seen your photos so I don't have anything to go off of, you could be the most talented 13 year old in the world, but most magazines aren't going to hire someone so young for serious work. It is very good that you are ambitious and set high goals for yourself, that will pay off in the future, but it is also important to stay focused on your education, even if you are your own teacher. No one is ever finished learning, especially photographers and other types of artists. Like others have said, focus now on composition, editing, selecting your best images. Train your eye, begin learning what to look for. Don't get too bogged down with "gear acquisition syndrome," the best camera is the one you have with you. A DSLR would be a good next step but you are in no rush. Focus on your images, practice, practice, practice. Find a subject matter that you really like working with and stick with it, master it. Often young photographers get too focused on making lots of different types of "pretty" pictures. Find something that really means a lot to you, photograph that. The best images are made by photographers who are deeply passionate about their images. I'll give you an example: One of my professors is a real manly man and is quite fantastic at shooting manly subjects, motorcycles, hot girls, wrestlers, but he isn't the best landscape or sports photographer. All of the things he gets hired to do are with the aforementioned manly subjects, and he makes a lot of money doing it. He has a focus, he has been working with the same types of subjects for decades. Some of his early work isn't as technically proficient as his more recent work, but they are still good images because he understands how to capture a certain subject, the technical skills came along the way.

    In short, its very good that you know you love photography. Practice hard, always keep your camera with you, and make conscious decisions about which photos you choose to present, less is usually more. Keep your ambitions high but do not get discouraged if you don't get big league jobs right away. Offer your services to friends and family, take smaller jobs that come along the way. You have your whole life ahead of you as a photographer and, especially these days, it takes a lot of work to get to the top. Stay focused, set a goal for yourself but be realistic with your expectations. Your age will probably be an unfortunate roadblock between you and serious, well paying gigs for at least the next few years, it is just a fact of the industry. But eventually your hard work will pay off if you stick with it!
     
  13. Angelo95210 macrumors 6502a

    Angelo95210

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    Paris, France
    #13
    This.
     
  14. macuser1232 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    macuser1232

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2012
    #14
    Hey thanks for all the advice everyone! I will start taking some more pictures and upload some of them to this post or another post I create. I have been editing photos for a long time so it's nothing new to me. After I take photos I will edit my OWN photos. Currently, nature, and anything else that is in my sight is what I love to take pictures of. Sports also sounds really interesting but, I'm not exactly an expert at taking moving pictures yet.
     
  15. cocky jeremy macrumors 68040

    cocky jeremy

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    Jul 12, 2008
    Location:
    Columbus, OH
    #15
    Just got my first SLR this past weekend and you're definitely right. Lighting is kicking my butt hardcore. Inside and night time, at least.
     
  16. chrono1081 macrumors 604

    chrono1081

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    Jan 26, 2008
    Location:
    Isla Nublar
    #16
    Take a look at these two books (in order):

    Understanding Exposure

    Light, Science, and Magic

    Those will help get you on the right path :)
     
  17. puckhead193 macrumors G3

    puckhead193

    Joined:
    May 25, 2004
    Location:
    NY
    #17
    Since the OP is only 13, why not and see if your school has a yearbook club or photography club...
     
  18. cocky jeremy macrumors 68040

    cocky jeremy

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    Jul 12, 2008
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    Columbus, OH
    #18
    Thanks a lot. I get most of the composition rules already. It's something i've paid attention to in photos since long before i got my 550D, but lighting is really hands on. I test constantly. I try to stay in manual even though i'm new so i don't get too used to "easy" mode. I'll do the same shot 20 times testing exposures, ISOs, aperture, shutter, etc to see how it effects it. Reading obviously helps, but i'm a hands on person, so i test, test, test.
     
  19. chrono1081 macrumors 604

    chrono1081

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    #19
    Do you know how to read the exposure meter yet? (VERY important and will help greatly!)

    And good work staying in Manual :) It'll be hard at first but once it clicks it'll be easy to use and you'll be able to get better shots.
     
  20. VI™ macrumors 6502a

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    Shepherdsturd, WV
    #20
    By the way, I think Joey L did the photography for the first Twilight movie at the age of 15.
     
  21. Vudoo macrumors 6502a

    Vudoo

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    Location:
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    #21
    He was 18.

    He also did what I mention...entering contests and getting the recognition.
     
  22. jtara macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2009
    #22
    Ditto on sign-up for the yearbook and school paper. (Though they might not have that yet if you're in middle school.) This will give you experience you can put on a resume'.

    Though I'm far from a pro, I did have experience in high school and my friends all think I take the best pictures of them. I attribute that to shooting basketball photos for my high school paper and shooting anti-war protests (VietNam) with a rangefinder camera.

    The first thing is to see the pictures. Next thing is to actually capture them. Everything else is just refinement.

    I also echo the sentiment about SLRs. They have their advantages. But helping you to see and capture pictures is not one of them.
     
  23. cocky jeremy macrumors 68040

    cocky jeremy

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    Jul 12, 2008
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    Columbus, OH
    #23
    Actually, no. I tried looking stuff up on it, even more specifically for my camera, a little bit ago and couldn't find much. Going to look again later this evening probably.
     
  24. chrono1081 macrumors 604

    chrono1081

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    Jan 26, 2008
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    #24
    I"m not sure where it is on your specific model, it could be in the viewfinder or on the back of the screen but in a broad sense, when shooing manual and you look at the exposure meter, if the arrow is in the center (or as close to it as you can get), then you will have a properly exposed image when you press the shutter button.

    If your arrow is far off to the left, your picture will be under exposed and you have to either increase the ISO, widen the aperture, or lower the shutter speed.

    If your arrow is off to the right, then it means you will have an over exposed picture so you'll have to decrease the iso, shrink the aperture, or raise the shutter speed.
     
  25. Consultant macrumors G5

    Consultant

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    Jun 27, 2007
    #25
    Did you ever had non-family members or non-friends tell that your photos are amazing? (Not just "nice", or "good")
     

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