4 Ways To Be Taken Seriously As A Young Photographer

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If you’re a young photographer, or know of some younger photographers who have trouble getting taken seriously, here are some tips and tricks to getting the respect you deserve.  

1. Act Professionally

If you want to be taken seriously, you need to be professional. This component is involved in many aspects of the professional photographers life – from telephone calls to social media presence. Often times I will book a shoot with someone through e-mail and speak with them over the phone, but when I meet with them in person for the first time I can still see the initial hesitance in their eyes. I relieve this by continuing to present myself professionally (shaking their hand, keeping eye contact, dressing appropriately, etc.). It is so important for the client to have faith in you as a photographer so I find it crucial to attempt to wash away any doubt. Acting confident can also help to achieve this, so be sure to remind yourself that they booked you based upon your work – they booked you for a reason!

Social media presence is crucial to photographers. It’s important to set up a Facebook page, Instagram and other social networks specifically for your business. Keep your personal accounts separate. Even on your personal social media accounts, never to post anything offensive or immature. Even if you want to be yourself and have privacy, you need to consider everything you post, including comments, from the side of customer or potential client. They may stumble across it – so represent yourself well.

 

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2. Keep Your Brand Clean

On your business sites, such as your Facebook Page, post updates, recent photo shoots, and display your logo. While your brand may evolve, especially when you are young, you will want to make your brand recognizable. Try for consistency–see the black border with orange logo.  I place this on every photo. Also, work hard to maintain a sense of fluidity between your Website, Blog, Instagram, Facebook, and other places where you have a presence. While this can be said for any photographer, not just those of us who are young and starting out, it is even more crucial to gain and maintain respect.

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Continuing with the social media discussion, it is important to approach your photography pages as though you were the viewer, not the administrator. Would you want to see 15 Instagrams a day, and 20 status updates/photo posts? Probably not. This would clutter up your newsfeed and take the excitement out of seeing each post. Try to post when it you have something relevant to share but not so much that you overwhelmed your audience.

 

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3. Stay Organized

Staying organized is extremely important- and is often the hardest skill for younger photographers.  To combat youthful distractions, keep a planner and binder with you at all times. A planner helps keep track of photo shoots, and a binder helps with everything else.

When it comes to planning the hardest part is being honest with yourself. Don’t try to fit a million things into one day. If you do this, you’ll run yourself ragged, and it’s easy to end up running late or having to cancel on someone should one thing go wrong. And that is NOT professional. When too many things are stacked upon each other, the smallest glitch creates an avalanche on the rest of the day. The best advice is to cushion everything - leave extra time for travel and the unpredictable – this way you are prepared should something go wrong.

Keep all photo related materials together in your binder, including extra flyers and business cards, in case I am at a venue where people might be interested in my work. Also, have blank invoices, plans/shot lists for each photo shoot, and a price list of all your services and products so you don’t have to worry about telling someone an inaccurate prices. Keep examples of prints and some products in your binder too.  You never know when they will come in handy!

4. Be Confident

Staying confident when you are starting out as a young professional is much easier said than done. Sometimes it may seem as though you have been thrown into a shark tank and your just a little fish trying to find their way. I struggled for quite a long time with confidence in regards to my photography. I always feared that when people complimented me they meant that my work was “impressive for someone my age,” instead of accepting that it was just impressive. I never wanted to be talented for a 16 year old or 17 year old and so forth.  I wanted to be talented compared to anyone at any age. Remind yourself that photographers are booked because of their previous work. Clients see your photographs and desire something similar.

It’s easy to doubt yourself when you are shooting for free trying to expand your portfolio, but when someone is paying you, they pay you because they believe in you. If you seem nervous or doubt yourself, your client is going to begin to doubt you too. Smile, hold your head high, and do your best.

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It may be intimidating being the face of a photography business, but no amount of baby face can take away from the quality of work that you produce.

Bio: Mallory Robalino is a 20-year-old photographer from Long Island, NY. She specializes in sport, equestrian, and portrait photography. Some of her work can be seen at her website or her photography Facebook page: Mallory Robalino Photography.

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MCP Photo A Day Challenge: July Themes

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To learn more about MCP Photo A Day.

For July, our themes are inspired by Reality TV Shows.  You can really stretch your imagination with these - take them literally, represent the show, or do a completely unique spin on the words.  Use your creativity – anything goes.  We cannot wait to see how you interpret these! Use your dSLR, iPhone, P&S or even a pinhole.  If it can take a photo, it’s fair game.

It’s never too late to join in.  And if you miss a day or two, or get behind, that’s fine as well.  Just participate when you can.  Here are the fun themes for JULY. You are welcome to pin this and post it directly to Facebook, Google+ and Instagram too!

How to participate:

  • Take a photo with any camera you want (SLR, phone, P&S, etc). Post the image to your Instagram, Facebook, Google Plus or best yet – all of them.  Hashtag it #mcpphotoaday. If possible list the day, date and/or theme.
  • Bonus fun – You can also follow us and tag @mcpactions on Instagram. If on Facebook – tag the MCP Business Facebook Page and if on Google+ – tag the MCP G+ Page.
  • If you edited the photo with MCP products such as our Photoshop actions, Lightroom presets and textures, you can also hashtag it #mcpactions.  For more exposure, you may post MCP edited images to our Facebook Group and state what products were used.
  • Spread the word.  Tell others to visit this shortened URL to join us: http://bit.ly/mcp-photoaday
  • Make sure you FOLLOW US ON INSTAGRAM and OUR PERSONAL FACEBOOK as we will try and feature photos daily.

 

That’s it – super easy.  We hope you participate.  Make sure to check out MCP on Instagram. We will feature participants’ images – so visit to get inspired and maybe to see your image. 

Comment below and let us know if you will be joining us!

 

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4 Ways To Avoid A Disaster If You Edit In Lightroom

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If you use Lightroom to edit your photos, you may (or may not) realize that your edits are not applied to your image unless you export them out of Lightroom.

Lightroom is essentially a big, huge database of information.  When you edit, whether you use Lightroom presets, make manual adjustments or both, your changes just tell Lightroom what you want to do to the image when it leaves the program. They do NOT actually change the photo.  Since you can see the changes, and even view before and afters, it seems so permanent.

It’s easy to feel like this information in Lightroom is completely safe. And usually it is…   But what if your catalog (which is like a big notebook filled with every set of directions you’ve told Lightroom) dies or gets corrupted?

Here’s three steps you need to take right now to protect your future edits:

1. Back up your Lightroom 5 Catalog.  This backs up your “steps” you’ve told Lightroom you want to do, using presets or manual editing.   Only you can decide how often to back up your catalog based on the value of this information. Remember this does NOT back up the photos themselves. 

Need detailed catalog help?  Learn how to back up your Lightroom catalog HERE.

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2. Consider exporting your images once you are done editing them, even if you are not ready to print or use them in another way.  Remember that adjustments you make in Lightroom are not applied to your photo until exported. Yes, it takes up space on your hard drive but storage is affordable now.

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3. If you are in a storage crunch and really do not have room, here’s another idea.  Change the way the Lightroom catalog works.  Adjust the settings under METADATA.  Go to your Catalog Settings – the location will vary based on your operating system.  It is under the word LIGHTROOM on my Mac.  Then click on the Metadata tab.  And check off “Automatically write changes into XMP.”

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When you do this, the .XMP files will save alongside your Raw files!  This way, if your database corrupts, you still have your edits. It’s as easy as a check box. Boom!

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4. Back up your computer –  None of the above will “save you” if your hard drive crashes.  The most important thing in terms of protection for any photographer, and I cannot stress this enough, is a solid, reliable backup system.  I highly recommend you back up your photos, important files, and any other documents you’d miss if they vanished.  I backup my work in the following ways:

  • RAID – I have hard drives that mimic each other in case one fails
  • Time Machine – I backup everything on my computer to an external hard drive using Time Machine on my Mac.
  • Off-Site – this is the most important one.  It protects you from hard drive failure, theft, and fire.  The top two solutions do not protect against all three… I currently use Backblaze for my off-site backup.   It is easy and affordable! I need to know my files and photos are safe – this solution provides that assurance. 

 Don’t let disaster strike your Lightroom catalog or files. Keep everything safe from corruption using these quick, easy steps. Now it’s your turn… What methods do you use to keep your files, catalogs and photos safe?

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Editing Newborn Images the Easy Way

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Before and After Step-by-Step Edit: MCP Photoshop Action, Newborn Necessities, can make those Newborn session stressers a thing of the past

The MCP Show and Tell Site is a place for you to share your images edited with MCP products (our Photoshop actions, Lightroom presets, textures and more).  We’ve always shared before and after Blueprints on our main blog, but now, we will sometimes share some favorites from Show and Tell to give these photographers even more exposure.  If you haven’t checked out Show and Tell yet, what are you waiting for?  You’ll learn how other photographers are using our products and see what they can do for your work.  And once you are ready, you can show off your own editing skills using MCP goodies.  You might even make new friends or gain a customer…. since you get to add your website address right on the page. Bonus!

 

Today’s Featured Image:

By: Melissa

Studio: Captured Photography by Melissa B.

Equipment Used: No Camera Body information available, 50mm lens used

Settings: ISO 250, f/1.6, SS 1/320

Software: Photoshop

MCP sets used: Newborn Necessities Photoshop Actions, MCP’s Free Photoshop Actions

  • Steps taken to achieve result – edit newborn images the easy way:
    • Manual edits were done first, such as cropping, rotating the picture, and stretching the canvas.  Wrinkles were also cloned out.
    • Newborn Necessities Action items (adjusted based on personal preference):
      • White Blankie Fix
      • Magic Lotion
      • Brighten Midtones
      • Sharp Eyelashes
      • Web Sharpie
    • Added a linen texture using MCP’s FREE Texture Applicator

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The Beginner Photographer’s Guide to Understanding Resolution

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It happens to everyone, and it makes us all crazy. You spend months honing your skill, shooting in manual, perfecting light, diligent editing and finally having an image you want to print HUGE for your living room…and then it arrives all blurry and you are crying in the floor. Oh, that was just me? Huh, well, moving on…

Through the graces of a wonderful human being and local printer who took pity on me and my obvious lack of knowledge, I was given a sit down course in making the transition from camera to print and it simplified my life greatly. No more worrying about cropping images before loading into ROES. Yes, you heard me correctly. So, how does that work? By understand the relationship between PPI, DPI and somehow…PSI.

1. Forget DPI for now.

This is for printers. Dots Per Inch. Of color of ink. This does not correlate directly to your photo resolution when cropping and resizing.

2. PSI…think of this as a typo…

PSI has nothing to do with photographs. PSI is actually a measurement of pressure, used for the air in your tires for example. Somewhere along the line, photographers started using PSI to mean *Pixels per Square Inch.*  Think of PSI as a way to confuse newbie photographers. Just don’t use it.

3. PPI. Pixels Per Inch.

This is what you are looking at when resizing and cropping your photos. Here’s the thing, looking ONLY at the PPI will CONFUSE you. Why? Because in most cases, your camera is taking a large image size at a lower PPI. For example…  21inx14in @ 240ppi OR 72inx48in @ 72ppiBoth these sizes, though they have very different PPIs, are high resolution images. In fact…they are nearly identical…wanna see?

Look at the top two numbers for the first image size, 21inx14in @ 240ppi…

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Now for the second set, 72inx48in @ 72ppi…

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The results:

Uhm, wait a minute…they are EXACTLY the same size!!! 5184×3456. Meaning they have the exact number of pixels in both images, despite their obvious size and PPI differences.

  • Both will produce high quality images.
  • There is no reason to resize these images before loading into ROES to place orders.
  • When you load these high res images, ROES will then allow you to crop, tilt, rotate, etc. and still maintain the high resolution you are after.
  • If an image needs a stretched background, some cloning to straighten, those sorts of things, you may need to make those adjustments ahead of time.

Lesson:

You run into problems with resolution when you try to increase BOTH size and ppi at the same time. For example, taking an 8×10 @ 72ppi to a 20×30 @ 300ppi…is not going to work, but when going DOWN in size, you have much more leeway.To get a visual image of how this is works…think of it like this. You have 3 squares in front of you. Large, medium and small. In the medium square, you have 16 Lego bricks (don’t tell the children I played with their toys, then they want to play with mine!), your pixels, lined up in rows and they fill the square perfectly.
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Now, you can take these bricks and still fill the small square perfectly. There are even bricks to spare, but this smaller square is still nicely packed tight with bricks.
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But, if you take those same 16 bricks and try to fill the large square, you are going to have more space between them, more blank space showing through.

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Printing problems:

This is where your printing problems come in. As you try to use these same number of pixels to fill a large surface area, you are left with gaps. In order to fill those gaps, your computer is going pull from surrounding pixels sort of *guessing* what is needed to fill it up. This is where it starts to get *fuzzy* and not print well.

Okay now you are thinking…”so what does this mean when I crop and resize?” 

  • If I am taking an image that is the aforementioned 72×48 @ 72ppi, I can easily resize to a nice print that is 20×24 or other large size at 300ppi. Why? Because I am going down in physical size which allows me to use those extra pixels to fill up the resolution to 300ppi.
  • But again, I do NOT have to do this before I load to ROES. If I take my full size high res images, edit and save them just the way they came out of my camera (assuming I am taking RAW or high res JPEGS) I can simply load them into ROES and use their tools to do my cropping. The resizing will be done on the other end from my large file.
  • But their Q&A section says to resize to 300, right? Yea, I know… they say that because it is a frequently asked question, and they are answering based on the idea that you are going to do your own *pre-cropping,* in which case, they want you to do it at the right resolution. But if you just load it up and use their tools, all will be fine.

So now that you understand that, you find you have a slightly different problem…a client ordered a photo in different sizes, and while the small wallets look great, the desk print is slightly blurry and the wall print just looks bad.

  • This is normally more of an issue with your photo itself. It was probably slightly out of focus to begin with. But why do the smaller ones look okay?

Back to our squares…and now, that DPI I told you to forget temporarily. When printing, bigger isn’t always better. Sometimes you can get away with passing off a slightly not-so-perfect image off in a smaller size because smaller again means packing tighter. Now that we have moved over to the print side, we are looking at dots…as in dots per inch. ( Now this technically has to do with both DPI and PPI, but for the purposes of illustrating what’s happening, we are going with the dots).

With our squares again, we see what the image as an 8×10 looks like…

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Now, if I go DOWN in size, I can almost make it look better overlapping those areas that were previously gaps….

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So my wallet size actually ends up looking better, even though it is technically the exact same photo. And then when I take that *so-so* photo and go bigger…well….let’s not do that okay? It doesn’t end well.

{This is where I insert my disclaimer: Yes, those who have more in depth understanding of resolution and printing know this isn’t *exactly* how it all works, but for the purposes of helping beginner photogs understand what is happening to their photos, these visualizations work}

In the end if you have your camera set to take high res files, RAW or JPEG set to large file format…you are going to be just fine, no adjustment needed before loading to ROES, or even online consumer sites. If you MUST make adjustments, just be sure when you are done, your pixel dimensions, those numbers in the screenshots above, are in the THOUSANDS for good images, preferably the 5000×3000 range.

Kimberly Earl is the owner of K. Lynn Photography in Charleston, WV, a wife and mom to four kiddos. She has been snapping at the world since 1993 and been in business since 2007. You can follow her on Facebook, but she is currently on a short hiatus.

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