Make Money From Your Photography – The Five Fundamentals

OK, if you are like many photographers  you will probably want to make money from your photography and hey, that’s nothing to keep a secret. The secret is HOW to make money with your photography!

We have all heard about those photographers that have sold one picture a dozen or more times and have put thousands of dollars into their pocket. Or have seen that spectacular “one in million” image on the cover of a national publication that brought the photographer fame and fortune.

make money from your photography

We all have dreamed about traveling the world doing high power photographic assignments with the best camera system money can buy. These are true stories and great dreams, but how do you get these opportunities? Where do you start?

There are many steps to be taken when selling your photos. But one basic rule always applies, only good pictures sell! Sound too simple? Well many of us forget to go back and review the basic fundamentals of good photography.

A competent photographer that is at the right place, at the right time, with the right subject can and will make good money with the right picture! But that’s not a surprise.

The real question is what makes up that ‘right picture’? Is it using the right equipment, is it taking the picture at the right time of day, is it the subject?

Photography is the art and craft of blending many creative elements into a single image. While elements will vary from image to image, each and every successful picture will have important points in common.

These successful images will all have used the fundamental tools of photography. So what are these tools? Let’s review the 5 fundamentals that will always give your pictures a professional look.

Images In Critical Focus

Your camera system is nothing more than a tool and you, as the photographer, must learn how to use this tool. The first lesson to learn is to record images in ‘critical” focus.

You, as the photographer, must also know why, how and when to us a shooting platform such as a tripod. If your pictures are out of focus, they should always be discarded and never shown as an example of your work.

Over the years I have heard every excuse in the book for ‘soft’ focus pictures: “it’s art” “I wanted to show movement” “I didn’t have my tripod with me”. All of these excuses show a lack of understanding to this basic fundamental. Even specialty made “soft focus lens’ have a point of critical focus.

Use Of light

The word ‘photography” comes from the ancient Greeks and means, “to write with light.” Light and how to manipulate light is at the center of all photography. All photographers must become aware of the types, direction and forms of light.

Then the photographer must know how to record or expose for these different lighting conditions. The correct use of light will make your images stand out from the ordinary. Remember, professional photographers “make images’ we don’t ‘take pictures’.

Use of good composition: Good composition may mean simplifying your photograph by changing your viewpoint, moving higher, lower or to one side. Good composition certainly means using the direction and quality of light.

Good composition means many things, viewpoint, format, rule of thirds, background/foreground considerations and many other creative elements. I call good composition “Photographic Design.” Photography is a two dimensional media, the trick is to have the viewer (your audience) see that third dimension in your pictures.

Proper Exposure Control

Focus control, use of light and good composition are nothing if your image isn’t correctly exposed. Proper exposure allows for density, saturation, tonal and contrast control.

Learning to measure light: natural, available, electronic or artificial for proper exposure control is essential for any successful picture. All professional photographers know how to manipulate exposure, development and printing to produce images that sell.

Neat clean work: If you’re a professional and you obviously want to make money from your photography, your work is always neat, clean and spotted for any dust or dirt.

Your name, address, copyright date is clearly found on all your pictures. And you always have model releases from any recognizable people within your image.

There is nothing as bad as yesterdays breakfast on today’s assignment! Keep it neat, keep it clean, and keep it organized.

There is much more that goes into successful pictures then just these 5 basic fundamentals, but if you always begin with these basics, your pictures will have added value and reflect your professional look. Then when you find yourself at the right place, at the right time, with the right subject, you will be confident that your work will stand out and give you that edge to profit from your work.


Make Money From Your Photography –  A Summary

In professional photography there are few absolutes, but one to remember is that all photographers are remembered by their last assignment. That means that if you do 10 assignments for a client and the first nine were on target and professional, but the 10th assignment falls short, it’s the tenth assignment that your client will remember.

So strive to make these fundamentals ‘standard fare’ in all your images.

Image making offers thousands of photographers an opportunity to profit each year. So if making money from your photography is one of your goals, then use these basic fundamentals and you will be on your way to success.

By Brian D. Ratty ©

All written content (and most images) in these articles are copyrighted by the authors. Copyrighted material from Apogee Photo Mag should not be used elsewhere without seeking the authors permission.

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