If you were having problems with your knee and decided you needed to see a doctor, would you prefer to take a trip to the general practitioner or would you rather see a bone & joint specialist? Since the knee is a joint, most people would probably rather see a bone & joint specialist – or even better, a bone & joint specialist that exclusively treats knee injuries. You would likely have to pay a premium to see this specialist because they have more extensive knowledge about knee injuries – they have special training, expertise, and experience with knee injuries.
Why am I talking about doctors in a post about photography? Because, like doctors, photographers can choose to specialize and become experts at a particular type of photography – and people are willing to pay a premium to work with experts. If you specialize in senior pictures, that’s a good start, but specializing within the senior market is even better! (Disclaimer: this does not mean you need to specialize and certainly you can photograph seniors, children, families, etc – but specialization is the business model I will be discussing today.)
For example, I am a senior portrait photographer that specializes in outdoor, natural light, natural looking senior pictures. My website is full of these kinds of pictures, most of which are taken out in the country with tall grass, gravel roads, trees, ponds, etc.
My clients tend to be fun, confident and easy-going. Some bring their animals with them (which I love) and some choose to use my vintage props to ‘stylize’ some of their pictures.
My website and all of my marketing material, packaging and branding compliment my specialty and reflect my style. This helps attract clients that will highly value me as an artist and who will most likely be happy with my work. It also helps deter clients that have something else in mind for their pictures, therefore saving me from experiencing dissatisfied clients.
There are other successful senior portrait photographers in my town that focus on glamorous, high fashion, highly-retouched senior pictures. That’s another example of specializing within the market. As long as there is a demand for the types of pictures you offer, you can specialize in whatever makes you happiest!
Now, just because you specialize in a specific type of photography doesn’t mean you can’t do other types of sessions, too. When I first decided to tailor my business towards seniors, I didn’t stop taking other sessions; I simply marketed heavily to seniors and began shooting more seniors than any other type of portrait photography. Now, about 90% of my inquiries are seniors because I’ve established the reputation as a senior portrait photographer.
You also don’t have to limit yourself to one specialty, although, I would recommend two or three at the most and to establish one at a time. This year, I have added lifestyle family photography to my business and one day I may add a specialized boudoir component.
How to start specializing in senior photography:
If you like the idea of specializing, where do you start?
- I began by finding young, senior-looking models and offered them free sessions. I shot the sessions exactly how I envisioned them.
- Then I blogged those pictures and put them on my website and all over Facebook.
- I tailored my branding toward my specialty and I explained my style on my website. Slowly I began to attract my ideal clientele.
Establishing yourself as an expert or specialist takes time. But once people begin to see you as an expert, they are willing to pay more to experience your premium service.
What type of photography do you want to specialize in? I’d love to see everyone’s responses in the comment section.
Up next: Posing High School Seniors
All images in this post were edited using MCP Four Seasons – Summer Solstice Actions.
About the Author: Ann Bennett is the owner of Ann Bennett Photography in Tulsa, OK. She specializes in high school senior pictures and lifestyle family photography. For more information about Ann, visit her website www.annbennettphoto.com or Facebook page www.facebook.com/annbennettphotography.
Uncover Camera Settings: Be a Photo Detective
Have you taken a photo and later been asked, “what where your settings?” Or have you looked at a session and thought, “how can I improve upon these next time?” Sometimes you may even see a photo online and wonder what settings another photographer used … For most photos, you can uncover information such as camera settings, metadata, copyright info, etc., even on photos that are not yours.
Where to locate the information: Photoshop
In Photoshop and PS Elements, you will find a wealth of information by following this path: FILE – FILE INFO. You can uncover camera settings of your images. Scroll down a bit if you have Lightroom to learn where to access it there.
Once there, you will see tabs with various choices. It WILL look different depending on what version of Photoshop or Elements you use. It has changed through the years – as the recorded information gets even more sophisticated. My screen shots below are from Photoshop CS6, the current version as of this writing.
Here is the basic camera info. In Photoshop CS6 it is under the Camera Data tab. You can see this image was shot with a Canon 5D MKIII and even see a serial number. You can see that I resized it for web since it is at 72 ppi and 900×600. You can also see that I used the NEW Tamron 70-200 f/2.8 Di VC lens. Additionally you can see that I was at a focal length of 200mm, an aperture of f4.0 and a speed of 1/800. My ISO was at 200, and metering set to evaluative. That is just for starters….
But there is so much more you can learn about this image. In the advanced tab, since I shot raw, you can even see what settings I used in Lightroom. I used the Enlighten Lightroom Presets and a few quick steps once in Photoshop. The raw edits are reflected as numerical data. This info shows in the Camera Raw Properties, so you can see the start of this edit documented: Blacks at +47, Clarity at +11 and so on…
And the copyright info and all the photographer’s info is there too – if you program it into your camera – or if you add it later when in Photoshop. I HIGHLY suggest you do this to protect your images by documenting your ownership of them.
Where to uncover camera settings and more: Lightroom
In Lightroom, you can see certain data on your image in the LIBRARY and DEVELOP Module – look to the top left side of your images. Click the letter “i” on your keyboard to cycle through the different views or to turn it off if it annoys you. It is just an overlay and will not appear on your image when exporting. Again you can see the same info from Photoshop – such as aperture, speed, ISO, lens used, focal length, etc.
If you are looking for more data, you can uncover much more. Go to the LIBRARY MODULE. Then look on the right side of your screen. And scroll down until you see this:
And if that is not enough – click the left corner where it says “default” – and you can choose from an even larger variety of choices to see more about your image.
Or even the IPTC – where you can add your information – such as your name, studio name, title, email, and website.
Why is it important to uncover your camera settings?
- You can learn from your settings and decide what you would do differently next time or what you did right this time. When posting for critique at places like our MCP Shoot Me Facebook Group, we ask members to give us their settings when they want constructive criticism, help or advice. These settings can help someone else tell you why your photo is soft or out of focus, why your image looks under or over exposed and even what you can do about it.
- You can view other photographer’s information – see who shot an image, what settings they used, etc. Some photographers may “save for web” in Photoshop and wipe this information out, so if you see a photo that comes up blank, that is why. Likewise if you do not want people seeing your settings, you can delete them. Being an educator, I strongly suggest you keep them. Just because someone sees your settings does not mean they get the same shot you did…
- Make sure you add your information in camera, in Lightroom, in Photoshop/Elements or some other way to show you have ownership of your images. This could come in handy should someone steal your work and use it as their own.
Got any other tips to uncover information and settings in your images? Add them below.
This week’s photo challenge was all about looking at things from a new angle. The MCP Shot Me Group photography challenge for this week is to capture a photo from a new or different angle. Shoot high, shoot low, the choice is yours.
Join the photography challenge! It is a great way to grow as a photographer. You can be creative, try new things and shoot these images free from the pressure of perfection. You will also have the support of a large group of photographers who can assist you and provide you with feedback as you work on specific themes and skills.
We loved seeing your “angle” on this challenge. Here are a few of our favorites:
Submitted by Justin Borden
Submitted by Megan Griffeth Barrow
Submitted by Nichole Harpel
Submitted by Sharon Peters
Make sure to check the album on the group page for more creative takes on the photo challenge this week. We want to thank everyone who submitted a photo for the challenge. You have one more week on this theme, so come join our Facebook Group and participate now.
The editing challenge continued this week with more edits of Maria Arcement’s heartfelt photo. It is amazing how the different edits create a distinct feeling to the picture.
Several of members of the group have shared new edits this week. Here are a few of the favorites:
Edited by Amanda Holowaty
Edited by Erin Niehenke
Edited by Melissa Robinson Dickie
The photo challenges give you a chance to edit other photographer’s images, share them for critique, and see how others edit the same photographs. Participating allows you to practice editing, learn how to give constructive criticism, and watch what steps or Photoshop actions and Lightroom presets are used in various edits. Join us to edit the bi-weekly photos.
If you have an idea on how you’d edit the image below, or want to see and learn what others did, JOIN US HERE.
Again, thank you Maria Arcement for allowing us to use this photo. The current challenges are linked at the top of the group. Remember, you can also ask for critique on your edit.
We will have a new edit challenge starting Monday, so come back to see what image you can edit then.