Viewing entries tagged
photographer education

New Year's Resolutions Every Photographer Should Make | Maryland Senior Portrait Photographer | Photographer Mentor | Education For Photographers

Comment

New Year's Resolutions Every Photographer Should Make | Maryland Senior Portrait Photographer | Photographer Mentor | Education For Photographers

3 New Year’s Resolutions Every Photographer Should Make For 2019

Entering into a new year is like hitting the “reset” button of life. For us photographers, it’s often the time when we are evaluating our work and business from the past year, and thinking about where we want to take it in the new year. Below are the 5 New Year’s resolutions every photographer should make this year in order to achieve growth, success, and balance in 2019!

  1. Learn how to say “no”.

It might sound crazy that I’m recommending you turn down paid work in 2019, but hear me out! Every photographer out there gets requests to do every type of session under the sun, myself included. During the very first year of my business, I said “yes” to pretty much every one of those requests that were willing to pay me. While it was great to gain the experience of doing all different kinds of sessions, I quickly realized that every time I said “yes” to a session that I wasn’t thrilled to do, it meant that I would have to say “no” to something that I DID really want to do, because I just didn’t have time. This meant that I was putting a ton of time and work into things that I didn’t really want to do, and it also meant that I kept getting more and more inquiries for those types of sessions, since that was what I was posting on social media. When I began turning down all the sessions that I didn’t truly LOVE and look forward to do doing, my business flourished because I was able to put all my time and effort into working on the sessions that really inspired me.

2. Set business hours and stick to them.

Being your own boss has a lot of advantages, but one HUGE disadvantage that we all suffer from, is the feeling that you should be working and available to your clients all day every day. We all need to let go of the guilt that often comes with putting off answering that email that just came in at 9pm, and instead take a break, and take care of ourselves as well as we strive to take care of our clients. Answer that late night email the next day, and wait until Monday to get to all those weekend emails. It might feel like the world will end and your clients will hate you if you allow yourself some time off, but there is no email that is worth more than your mental health. You do NOT need to be available to your clients at all hours of the night, and all weekend long. Own your business, don’t let it own you!

3. Shoot for yourself.

Make time this year for at least two shoots that are just for YOU. No client expectations, no time limits and outfit requirements. Style a session that is exactly how you want it to look. Let yourself be inspired by something new or different. Being busy with client work is AMAZING, and the ultimate goal for every photographer, but if you don’t take the time to shoot for yourself every so often, you’ll quickly become burnt out.

DSC_5548edited.jpg

Becca Mathews: Maryland Portrait Photographer and Photographer Mentor

Comment

What's In My Bag | Maryland Photographer Mentor | Photographer Education

Comment

What's In My Bag | Maryland Photographer Mentor | Photographer Education

DSC_7368gear.jpg

Any experienced photographer knows great work doesn't come from great gear, but how you USE your gear. While this is 100% true, it's still important to find the camera and lenses that you love and allows you to create the kind of work you want to. 

Pictured above is the gear I use for all of my portrait sessions. Yup, that's it! Just my D750, 35 1.4, and 85 1.8. Below I'll talk more specifically about what kind of shots I use each for, what I like or don't like about each, and what's on my radar to add. But first, let's chat about backups. If you are taking paying clients and running a businesses, you NEED to have backup cameras and lenses. Even the best gear being used by the best user can (and will!) fail occasionally, and you need to be prepared in case that happens. I have a D7200 and various DX lenses as my backup, and I know I can produce the same quality work with that setup if my 750 ever fails. 

Okay, now into the good stuff. 

DSC_7344gear.jpg
The incredible dynamic range of the D750.

The incredible dynamic range of the D750.

The D750 is an absolute workhorse of a camera. The dynamic range is incredible and it performs exceptionally well in low light situations. Since upgrading from the 7200, I have yet to find anything about this camera I don't love. I always shoot underexposed to avoid blowing out the highlights, and with the 750 I know I can bring up the shadows a ridiculous amount without noise to achieve a properly exposed image. The price of this camera is also amazing for the quality. Only costing around $1500 depending on where you get it, the 750 is a super affordable full frame that many pros choose instead of Nikon's more expensive pro level bodies. 

The Nikkor 85mm 1.8 is my go-to lens for sessions. It stays on my camera for 80% of the shoot, but I definitely have a love/hate relationship with it. I LOVE the compression and gorgeous bokeh it produces, and it handles backlighting extremely well. I use it for everything from wide shots to tight head shots. 85mms produce super flattering portraits, and when the focus is spot on, the sharpness is perfect. BUT. I've noticed only about 1/3 images are actually in focus with this lens. It misses focus pretty often, so I end up with a lot of soft images in between the sharp ones. Eventually I plan on upgrading to either the Nikkor 85 1.4 or the Sigma ART because of this issue. But in the meantime, it's still my most used lens and I love the images I'm able to produce with it.  Below are a few of my favorite images shot with this lens.

DSC_7359gear.jpg
DSC_7357gear.jpg

Next, the Nikkor 35mm 1.4. I absolutely love this lens. It's always tack sharp, produces gorgeous creamy bokeh, and never fails me in strong backlit situations. I LOVE the distortion it creates, and when used for close up shots, that distortion makes you feel like you're there in real life. This focal length brings images to life, so whenever I want a shot that's more close up with a strong feeling or emotion, I reach for this lens. I really can't say enough good things about it. Below are a few of my favorite images taken with it. 

Not pictured is the Nikkor 70-200 VR II that I just bought as my new sports lens. I haven't really been able to put it to the test yet, but I'm really excited about it! The next lenses I have my eye on are the Nikkor 58 1.4 and the Sigma 50 ART. Both of those lenses produce really unique images, and I hope to add one of them to my collection soon! Before I owned the 85mm, I used the 35 and Nikkor 50mm 1.4. To be honest, I really hated that 50mm. The focus was always soft, and it I never really got excited about the images I produced with it, but lots of people love that lens so it's really all personal preference. If you're looking to add a new lens to your gear, the absolute best thing to do is to rent the lens first to test it out and form your own opinions. 

Comment