Have you ever wondered how many different types of photography jobs there are out there? I have so created this page to highlight the different genres I've come across via interviews I meet in person, online, and who are making a living from their style of photography, or at least bringing in a decent supplementary income.

I hope you enjoy reading the interviews and perhaps they might inspire you to decide what type of photography you’d like to do. If you know of a category I haven’t included yet please contact me to let me know. Enjoy!

Capturing Life in Art

What is your name? Holly

What is your business name? Simply Life Photographs

How long have you been doing photography?

Oh Gosh, I guess since Santa Claus brought that turquoise polaroid when I was 7 or 8. Still love film and still love polaroids.

How did you get started?

I have always been fascinated with capturing life in art, and because I cannot draw I needed a new medium, and photography made that work for me.  And bending light, or capturing it became so interesting to me when I took a snap shot while my brother was being photographed by a professional when I was a kid. I won a blue ribbon at the county fair with that very strange shot because of his studio lights and my flash.  I could not learn enough about lighting then, and I might have been 12 at the time. I took classes off and on for years but always as a hobby and for personal reasons. After my kids were born, people started asking me to photograph their kids and one thing led to another.

Why have you chosen the particular type of photography you do?

I have to laugh, because I think it chose me.  My husband’s work has taken our family all over the United States and portrait work came simply by word of mouth, but moving to Dallas Texas was not the same as other places, seems like anyone with a DSLR has a photography business and competition is high.  Although we  do have huge differences in business practices.  But I have met several people in the local industry and have started more event work and product work that I really enjoy.  Objects never complain about wrinkles or how much they weigh.

Do you have any favourite shoots you’ve done? Or perhaps you want to share on one that was a disaster?

My favourites are always photos that capture something  important to someone.  I love a parent who comments that “I really love that expression, she only does that when she is very happy”, or the parent of a child with Autism who cries because they have never had a photo of their child looking at the camera.  It is in those times that I feel the weight of the importance of the job that I have the honour of performing.  And as for disasters… I cannot shoot moon pictures… EVER. But I never stop trying.

Do you have any hints or tips you’d like to offer to budding photographers for your field?

First and foremost, learn… never stop learning and I am not talking about new equipment.  Find a good photographer that is willing to mentor you.  I have a 17 year old that works for me at my events.  She has a great eye and wants to be a photographer, but for me, she schleps gear, runs errands, changes lenses and batteries, runs the printer if we are printing onsite, and helps tear down the lights and pack it all back up.  She understands the work behind it all and why we do what we do.

Secondly, join a professional organization.  In The U.S. I cannot recommend Professional Photographers of America, enough. They have ongoing training, certification, support, and a plethora of other info just waiting to help you run the best business possible and of course make sure you are competing in photography competitions so that you keep working on your skills.

And finally, do not undercharge or give your work away.  It is your work… and you have education, skill and time involved.  Be proud!

 

Please provide your website address so that I can encourage readers to visit your site.

www.simplylifephotographs.com

Do you recommend this vocation to our readers, as a great way to earn a living? I know that some will be interested to know whether they can consider it as a full time vocation.

I love doing what I do… and I have the luxury of choosing what work I do each month because my husband is the primary bread winner, but I could do it full time and make a good living.  I get to travel, and take my family with me, I capture people in times that they want to remember or cherish.  I have been with parents to photograph their child, who was dying from cancer; I have captured adults who returned to school graduate with a degree.  I create images of families that rarely get photographs made all together.  I would not trade it for anything in the world.

Horse photography

Another in our series of photography jobs. Hope you are enjoying these interviews.

What is your name? Judy Wood

What is your business name? Judy Wood Art/Photography

How long have you been doing photography?

Several decades, originally as reference shots (film camera) for my artwork created in other media, then seriously as an end in itself since I got my first digital SLR about ten years ago. On the art side I’ve gone from using photos as reference material for art created in other media, to creating and marketing photographs and photo-based images, now I’m evolving back to using photo elements in digitally created art images and in one of a kind artworks via image transfer and collage techniques. On the “straight photography for clients” side, I’ve been doing customer packages and individual shoots for about eight years.

How did you get started?

I was doing stained glass art and had horse owners wanting original design stained glass horse art. I was a novice rider and horse owner in those days, and began doing horse photography as the basis for my glass designs. The photography gradually became my main interest, and I stopped doing glass work about seven years ago when I got seriously into Photoshop work with my images. It’s been a long and ongoing learning curve, since I am totally self-taught when it comes to photography and Photoshop. I did start with the advantage of a basic art education, which has helped immeasurably with my “eye” for composition and design.

Why have you chosen the particular type of photography you do?

Horses have always been a passion/obsession, long before I learned to ride or owned one, which didn’t happen until I was in my mid 30s. Once I became part of “barn culture” as a rider and owner, it was logical that my art and photography would reflect and complement this great aspect of my life. As many others have said, your love for, and knowledge of, your subject matter is reflected in your work, so it makes sense to follow your heart when possible to create true and authentically felt images. To this day, it still warms my heart to have a horse person look at my equine images and say “you really know horses”.

Do you have any favourite shoots you’ve done? Or perhaps you want to share on one that was a disaster?

Any day out in the field with horses is by definition a good one. My favourites are when I get a shoot with good backgrounds (always a bonus), decent or dramatic light, and a nice herd in action. One I particularly remember was at the farm of a Friesian and Drum Horse breeder about an hour or so from where I live. They had only recently purchased their farm and didn’t have all their cross-fencing yet installed, so I had a lovely big open prairie field with a huge sky as the backdrop. The owner was happy to get the herd moving for action shots, and the sight of a mixed herd of galloping Friesian and Clyde mares, accompanied by the little Gypsy cob stallion, is a memory that still makes me smile. The main “disaster” scenarios are when I’m doing shots for clients in the pouring rain or the muddy aftermath at outdoor shows. That said, one of my favourite images came about when I had pretty well given up getting decent over-fences shots at a mud-fest, and decided that “you work with what’s in front of you”, which in this case was water and mud. I have a wonderful tight crop image of a pair of muddy legs splashing through the slop as a result of that change of focus on my part.

Do you have any hints or tips you’d like to other to budding photographers for your field?

Never stop working and learning. These days there are so many ways to do that with with photographer’s forums online, access to tutorials on any subject you might want to learn about, and with digital cameras allowing for endless experimentation and instant feedback. You can plug in to your “tribe” wherever you live, and learn from a variety of people with different worlds of experience. None of us is born knowing these things, and it can all be learned, but you have to be dedicated to the process and be willing to hang in there for the long haul. I’ve never been a traditional style show photographer, having evolved my own way of working with my show clients, but I understand that there is a big shift going on in that world with all the “Mom-tographers” out there now, so it is imperative that aspiring pros stay flexible in their approaches and be willing to adapt their ways of working to the changing times.

Please provide your website address so that I can encourage readers to visit your site.

www.judywoodartphotography.com
Blogs: http://judywoodartphotography.blogspot.com
http://judywoodartphotographyjusttheart.blogpsot.com

Do you recommend this vocation to our readers, as a great way to earn a living?

Making a fulltime career out of horse photography is a tough job, but it can be done. I have been fortunate in that I have not needed to rely on my income as a photographer/artist in order to keep the roof over my (and my horse’s) head. I believe that with a lot of lateral thinking, creative approaches to business, and working the niche aspects of the market, it is possible to build a career out of horse photography. You do have to have an intimate working knowledge of the horse end of things as well as the photography and business aspects. You can be an excellent photographer, but if you don’t know the riding discipline you are shooting, and what the ideal moment is to capture the horse and rider, you are going to be out of luck. I still struggle with aspects of this myself, as often the artist in me will really like an image, but the rider in me knows it is one that no horse person would want to pay for, and vice versa. For me it’s always a balancing act trying to capture the shot that will work to satisfy both parts of my life as a photographer/artist.

Underwater Photography

I met David via a LinkedIn Photographer’s forum and asked him if he’d mind being interviewed.  Below are his answers.

What is your name?

David Bryant

What is your business name?

Seapics Photography

How long have you been a photographer?

20 years

Please tell us how you got started

I got started after I finished my apprenticeship as a Compositor. I photographed my first Wedding when I was asked by diving friends if I would shoot their wedding day, so I borrowed a Nikon F60 with 20mm lens and pop-up flash and shot the whole day. It was so successful I took up wedding photography and 10 years later I also started photographing Real Estate, Wildlife, etc. I also started scuba diving in 1989 and it was natural to want to take underwater photos, so I bought my first underwater camera, a Hanimex Amphibian, then a Nikonos 2, then a Nikonos 3, twin strobes, wide angle lens and lots more.  In 2002 I bought the Olympus 5050 and housing and all my UW shots on my website have been photographed with this over the past 10 years.

 Why have you chosen this particular type of photography?

I chose this particular style of photography because I like to show my family (initially) and nowadays the World, what I capture when I dive. There’s just so much lovely stuff under the sea and people are always amazed at what lies beneath the waves!

Do you have any favourite shoots you’ve done? Or perhaps you want to share on one that was a disaster?

I’ve done many shoots but most were for fun – I almost photographed an Underwater wedding at the Melbourne Aquarium but that was called off, bugger!  Most of what I do with my photography is for fun but I do make a living doing  Real Estate, Weddings and other things….  none of these I would consider as ‘memorable’ though!

Do you have any hints or tips you’d like to offer to budding photographers for your field?

Hint and/or tips…..  Just get out there and push that trigger, and don’t be afraid to point the camera UP occasionally – most of us look at the world horizontally and very rarely ever look up, especially under water! – Also shoot using Natural Light…  just because we have a flash doesn’t mean we have to use it every shot!

What is your web address?

Website:  seapics.com.au.  My website is linked to a gallery of 1,000+ images on Flickr, which can also be accessed just by typing in seapicsdavebryant once you are on Flickr.

 

 

Being a Sports Photographer

This week we hear from Matthew Attard who is a sports photographer.  I ‘met’ Matthew through the Australian Photography Forum. I hope you enjoy his interview.

What is your name?

My name’s Matthew Attard, middle name Raymond.

What is your business name?

My photography business is called MRA Photography, with the “MRA” being my initials of course.

How long have you been doing photography?

I’ve been a photographer for several years but I guess you could class my work as semi-professional to professional for the past 2 years now.

How did you get started?

My pop was a photographer for the Sydney Waterways many years ago. He was very good at what he did and had several photography books and old slides etc. I took somewhat of an interest in it, however when I finished my HSC I really didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life or what I wanted to be.

My younger sister decided to take a photography course in high school and purchased an old film SLR with a zoom lens. I didn’t know much about SLR cameras or how they worked. In fact, interchangeable lenses were something new to me.

When I first picked it up, I went out in my backyard and zoomed up to the trees to see birds flying around through the camera with such clarity and thinking, “imagine what I could capture in life”. I instantly fell in love.

I went out and purchased myself a second hand digital SLR camera, I still remember what it was – an old Nikon D70 with a kit lens and an old 300 f/4 zoom. I taught myself how to use it, I studied for hours and hours online on the basics of photography, from aperture to shutter speed to ISO and everything in between.

I started taking free courses and watching countless hours of video, undertook projects and went out and around my town every day that I could, capturing whatever I could, especially sporting events.

Why have you chosen the particular type of photography you do?

I like to class myself as an all-round photographer who specialises editorial, however anyone who knows me will know I love sports photography.

Capturing the fast action of sport has a one-of-a-kind feeling. There’s nothing better than taking a photo of someone scoring a try in the rugby league or smashing a forehand winner in tennis and then seeing that photo printed or shared around.

As a sports nut myself (and a rugby league tragic) I would often go out to all kinds of sports and footy matches on the weekend when I was starting out and trying to get my foot in the door. I submitted some tennis photos from a local competition to the newspaper and they were so impressed that they ran the photo back page and then offered me a job. I was stoked to say the least and 2 and a half years on I’m still employed by the Port News as a photographer.

Do you have any favourite shoots you’ve done? Or perhaps you want to share on one that was a disaster?

I really haven’t had a disaster on a shoot and that’s probably more luck than anything else. I like to be prepared and to think that no matter the situation I can still walk away with a great photo, whether I was using a bag full of gear or one lens.

My favourite shoot was probably one of my most recent – my first wedding.

Two good friends of mine asked me to dip my toe into the world of wedding photography for their special day and while I was nervous I was very excited to take it on with both hands.

As you do with any new task in life it’s good to study it. I spent a while going over some professional wedding images and drilling into my own mind what I wanted to achieve and capture on the day. The couple were extremely happy with the results as was I and it’s something I’d like to do more of from now on.

Do you have any hints or tips you’d like to offer to budding photographers for your field?

I would suggest first of all having a passion for the sport you’re photographing. Knowing the sport will help you in capturing good sports photos and then getting better at it with any sport you shoot.

I would also suggest you invest in a telephoto lens as you do need to get in there to capture the action. Last of all I would suggest having a very strong understanding of ISO, aperture and shutter speed to ensure you know what settings to use to isolate your subjects and come away with a ripping photo.

My website isn’t functional as of yet but people can LIKE my Facebook page and can also check out my Flickr account.

Do you recommend this vocation to our readers, as a great way to earn a living?  I know that some will be interested to know whether they can consider it as a full time vocation.

It will definitely take some hard work and you need to develop a talent for photography as well as enthusiasm, leadership and a keen creative eye. However, it is definitely something that I would love to do for the rest of my life. If you’re passionate enough you can make a living out of photography. But don’t forget, it’s an expensive job and you need to spend money to make money.

Below are some of Matthew’s images.  I encourage you to visit his Facebook Page and his Flickr account to view more of his work.

 

 

Life as a Portrait Photographer

This is the first in a series of interviews I have done relating to the being a photographer making a living.  Tony is one of the BNI members of the chapter I belong to and I was delighted he responded to my request.

What is your name?

Tony Rawson

What is your business name?

Tony Rawson Photography

How long have you been doing photography?

38 years  (Kathie ‘wow!’)

How did you get started?

I had moved to Swan Hill, a country town on the Murray River and needed a job. A friend of mine had worked for an Adelaide studio doing home sittings so I asked if they would hire me to work in the Swan Hill area. I went to Adelaide for two days of training. I knew little or nothing about photography. They sent me back with a Yashica peer down twin lens camera, a flash, rolls of black and white film and some appointment cards. I started  door knocking. My area was all the towns within about 150 km of my home. Each week I sent the exposed films back to Adelaide and back would come the black and white proofs. I took them back to the client and spread them out on the kitchen table where they made their selection. The Adelaide studio printed their order and I then delivered it to the client.

After a couple of years I purchased a local studio and learned all that the retiring photographer could teach me. We developed film, printed colour and black and white photographs, made frames, the lot.

After he retired I realised that it was actually more economical to sub out the printing and framing to the experts and keep my shutter clicking, instead of spending hours in the darkroom.

Why have you chosen the particular type of photography you do?

Many years ago I decided to drop weddings as I figured that on a Saturday when most weddings took place, I could instead photograph five or six family groups. The work was easier and return per hour was more.

Most of my clients choose to be photographed outdoors but we still have an indoor studio.

Do you have any favourite shoots you’ve done? Or perhaps you want to share on one that was a disaster?

The great thing about being a pro photographer is that your camera gives you entry into places that would otherwise be shut to you. I have photographed the Hell’s Angels in their Melbourne clubhouse, Ben Lexcen the designer of Australia II in his Sydney home, the Fernando family who own the Dilmah Tea brand in their home in Colombo, but mainly my clients are Mr. and Mrs. Average and kids.

Disasters? A family engaged me to do an urgent family portrait as the mother was dying with cancer. The lab ruined the films. It was not my fault but a re shoot was not possible and I don’t think they ever forgave me.

Do you have any hints or tips you’d like to offer to budding photographers for your field?

Just because you like photography does not mean you can earn a living from it. 80% is marketing; getting bums on seats and then making portraits they like enough to part with their money for, plus all the other hidden things you need to do to run a business.

Please provide your website address so that I can encourage readers to visit your site.

www.tonyrawsonphotography.com.au

Thank you Tony and I encourage you, my readers, to visit Tony’s site to see examples of his work. For those who live in Victoria, Australia, Tony is available for bookings.