Tag Archives: aspiring photographer

Why Photographers Should Stay Away from the Comparison Game

There’s one destructive hobby that many photographers share: comparing the quality of their work or income to their peers. Have you ever mentally roughed yourself up because you were convinced you didn’t measure up to another photographer? Ever tell yourself that you’re not talented enough or creative enough to hack it?

You are not alone. In fact, you’re in a popular club with booming membership.

Peer comparison is an enticing trap to fall into because it may appear to be a positive habit at first. After all, learning from those more experienced than you and taking inspiration from great works is an important part of getting better at almost any profession. Comparing yourself to other photographers starts doing more harm than good as soon as it becomes excessive or you use it as an excuse to put yourself down.

At their worst, excessive comparisons will lead to intense frustration and drive you to the point of wanting to give up. Even if the problem never gets out of hand, it will at least take some of the passion and excitement out of photography.
Are you caught in the comparison game? Here are a few thoughts to keep in mind the next time you get the urge to fall into a self-doubt spiral.

Remind Yourself that Success Takes Time

It’s easy to look at a successful photographer and assume that they got where they are overnight. The reality is that, in many cases, someone has more skill only because they have been practicing their trade longer than you have. They may have slaved away countless hours trying and failing to perfect a signature style before they hit on the breakthrough that changed everything.

Accept that you need to build your business from the ground up. Don’t assume that others found a shortcut, and don’t think one is in waiting for you around the bend. Success will come with time, dedication, practice, and a little bit of luck.

Give Yourself Some Credit

If you feel yourself getting too drawn into someone else’s work, in a negative way, it may be time for you to stop and cherish some of your achievements. Look back at your work, not to criticize, but to remember the milestones you’ve passed and the progress you’ve made. This process can be rejuvenating, and it just might inspire you to set some new goals and milestones that keep you looking ahead to the future.

Be proud of what you’ve already accomplished, and think about where you plan to take your career. That’s always a better way to spend a day than getting sucked into the comparison game on social media.

Photography Workshops with Landscape Photographer Jim Steinberg

For aspiring and experienced photographers, nothing is more valuable than spending time with your peers to learn about and improve your craft. If you’re interested in joining fellow photographers for a workshop or guided photography tour with Jim Steinberg, visit our homepage or contact us today!

How Aspiring Photographers Turn into True Pros

Few things are more exhilarating than realizing that a beloved hobby can become a professional calling. Many established and successful photographers started off their careers as dedicated amateurs. But as with anything in life, there are pitfalls to watch out for and best practices to follow. If you’re ready to step up your game from a “labor of love” snapshooter to a “day job” professional photographer, here are a few things you need to keep in mind:

Always Be Prepared

Compliments from friends and family on your photos are great, but aren’t enough to seriously consider making the leap to paid work. If you’re serious about becoming a pro, your portfolio should reflect that. Clients want to see something of a similar quality to what’s published in magazines and on TV, which means that you’re not ready to launch your brand until you’ve taken a serious, in-depth look at both your skillset and your body of work. Better yet, a photography workshop or critique session with some local photographers (or failing that, an online community of professionals) will yield valuable insight on techniques you need to strengthen to be truly competitive. Additionally, portfolio reviews are generally available at many professional conferences. I do them regularly, both at conferences and as one-on-one private sessions.

On a similar note, a flashy website isn’t the guaranteed, client-grabbing solution that many think. Yes, your brand should be attractively displayed — but even the prettiest Web 2.0 facelift won’t help if you lack both the breadth and depth of technically proficient, aesthetically appealing shots.

Master the Fundamentals

You should be rock-solid in your core competencies — particularly lighting — before ever printing a business card. All too many aspiring photographers start branding before they fine-tune their craft. “Natural light” photographers often let their passion for natural lighting become an obstacle, and never learn the intricacies of using flash either in the studio or especially in the field. Sure, you can take stunning images in natural light — but a professional photographer can’t go on a shoot relying on the weather to cooperate with his/her artistic intentions.

Invest In Your Brand — Not Yourself

“Awesome!” you may think to yourself. “Now that I’m a pro, it’s time to go out and buy all that fancy equipment!” Don’t be so hasty — overinvesting in expensive equipment is a common pitfall for aspiring photographers. Expensive gadgets are no replacement for a deep knowledge of photographic principles, and every purchasing decision should be in your business’s long-term interests. Put down that single-use specialty lens and consider your basic setup first. It should always be remembered that the camera is nothing more than a tool. And as with all good tools, it is the operator that makes the difference.

That being said, don’t go too far in the other direction. If you’re an aspiring photographer and you’re serious about being paid for your services, having a minimum of one backup kit and lens is non-negotiable. The last thing you want is to be on a shoot (perhaps with a deadline) and see the dreaded “ERR-99” pop up on your only camera. There are many Internet guides that can help you balance cost with reliability — peruse a few of them and choose a second shooter, for both your business reputation and your peace of mind.

If you’re looking to turn your hobby into a profitable career, we can help. You’ll learn the basics of light and landscape photography from professional landscape photographer Jim Steinberg, and have the opportunity to network with other aspiring photographers. Visit our homepage today to learn more about our affordable classes, guided adventure trips, and wide selection of prints.

Copyright Law: A Guide for the Aspiring Photographer

Many aspiring photographers make the mistake of not fully understanding copyright law before embarking on their artistic journey. Using material that is copyrighted by the creator without permission is considered infringement, which can lead to serious legal ramifications. On the other side, failing to protect your own work can lead to it being used by outside parties without credit or reimbursement.

To avoid these situations, we’ll give you an abbreviated refresher on copyright law and what it means for the aspiring photographer.

The Basics

The most basic definition of copyright is the legal ownership of a work, whether it be a mechanical patent or creative material like a photograph. Copyright gives the owner power to give permission for their work to be used or reproduced — usually with repayment stipulations in place — while still retaining ultimate control and ownership.

Copyright and Photography

The United States Copyright Office considers the copyright of a photograph or other artistic work to lie with the original creator (or, in some cases, an employee of the creator). For example, even if a wedding photographer goes to an event to take pictures of the bride and groom, the photographer ultimately own the photographs — not the wedding party. In some cases, the subject of a photograph will ask for the copyright to any material produced to be transferred to them along with the agreed-upon deliverable (in this case, the album of wedding pictures). Since copyright is considered a property issue, it is also transferrable via inheritance or succession to the creator’s heirs.

Publication and Infringement

The most critical issue in photography copyright law is publication. Although these terms are a little blurry with regard to digital display technology now available via the Internet, the generally agreed-upon definition of “publication” is anything that puts the work on display to be viewed by a large number of people.

A photographer may submit his/her work for copyright in individual photos or through a batch to the US Copyright Office. (If submitted in a batch, all photographs included must have been taken by the same person in the same calendar year.) After the formal copyright is granted, it’s a good idea to display notice either via a watermark or note on the portfolio. If your work is the victim of “innocent” infringement, where the user was not aware that the work was protected, you may not receive the full damages or recognition should you take legal action.

If your copyrighted photographs are used without permission, you have a few options. Simply asking the venue to take it down can be an effective and zero-cost way to stop the unwanted reproduction. You may also ask for a stipulated fee for the use. If you are met with resistance, filing a DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) through the user’s Internet provider or sending a formal Cease & Desist letter are stronger options. If all else fails, a trained intellectual property attorney can take the user to court, although this entails significant time and resources for all parties involved. Do remember that any copyright law issue going to court will be heard in the Federal Court system as state and local courts have no jurisdiction in these matters.

Take Your Hobby to the Next Level

If you’re looking to turn your hobby into a profitable career, take the leap with a photography workshop run by professional landscape photographer Jim Steinberg. To learn more about our guided trips overseas or to browse our wide selection of prints, please visit our homepage.