When you take up photography as a hobby you usually start experimenting with the settings on your camera to replicate work you have seen around the web or in magazines. This is all fine and dandy when you are by yourself and there is no pressure to produce quality or to keep a deadline. But once you start taking the step towards working with clients, and are actually getting paid for your work, it’s a different ballgame. To reach the expertise level needed for everything to be smooth while working with clients, a professional photography course is highly recommended.
So what knowledge do you actually need to work as a photographer?
Camera settings – While shooting in auto-mode may be acceptable for a hobbyist, as a professional photographer you need to craft an image, not only take a snapshot. This involves modifying the settings to achieve the look you are going for, and to calculate all the factors that make a great picture. Going full manual mode gives you the control you need, and as such you need to be an expert in shutter speed, aperture, white balance and ISO settings.
Lighting – Or the art of how you use light to your advantage. Hide or bring forth aspects of the subject, use shadows for dramatic effect, measure light for the best exposure and use equipment to modify the available light.
Composition – What actually makes a picture “good”? Many say that the composition is the most important part, how to use elements in the picture to create symmetry (or chaos). Rule of thirds, angles, leading elements, contrast, colour composition; there are a myriad of factors to consider before taking a picture.
Retouching – After the shoot there are probably adjustments needed to be done to the picture. It can be as simple as adjusting the exposure or colour ranges, to fully use software to alter the appearance of a model. Layering, cropping, curves, speck removal – these are all tools that are essential to produce the best results you can imagine.
On top of these areas there are things like building a portfolio, printing photographs, handling models and contracts and maintaining a website. While technically possible to learn all this from various sites out there, it’s far more practical and useful to sign up for a professional photography course where all this is covered.
Disclosure: A collaborative post
Images courtesy of London Institute of Photography