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Background and dismembered Nintendo Wiis
Competition and where to begin
Portfolio and how to start one
- The direction of the light
- The direction from which the photos are taken
- The time of day
- The position of the subject in the frame
- The amount of sky you include in the image
- The size of the subject in the frame
- The way you post-process the photos afterwards
Training and getting your CAA 'PfCO'
Equipment — What should I buy?
My general rule of thumb when buying equipment is that you should only upgrade to a more expensive model if your current model is starting to restrict you in some way. For example, the Inspire 2 that I use predominantly these days has the advantage over the Phantom series that it can take interchangeable lenses. Whilst I use a wider-angle lenses for the majority of my work, if I need to inspect the roof of a building, or I need to photograph a subject that’s a long distance away, I can switch to a lens with a longer focal length – you can’t do this with the Phantom. Similarly, the Inspire-series of drones have camera gimbals which can be operated independently of the drone itself, meaning I could fly the drone whilst a separate camera operator controls and points the camera – an ideal setup for complex tracking shots. The Inspire camera produces images which are more than sufficient (in terms of resolution and clarity) for the types of client I’m currently working with. If I were to start working with different clients that demanded higher resolution imagery, this would be the point that I upgrade to a different platform with a higher-resolution camera – not before. At the end of the day, why use a £50,000 drone and camera rig to supply your clients with 100 megapixel imagery, if they’re only ever going to use <1 megapixel images on their website? Choose your equipment based on the clients you want to serve.
Show me the money ...
- How much experience do you have? Have you just started out, or have you been working in the industry for 20 years?
- What type of equipment do you use? Do you have a 5 megapixel compact camera, or a 50 megapixel full-frame Digital SLR?
- Have you earned a professional reputation that means clients are willing to pay more for your services than those with a lesser reputation? Compare a world-famous portrait photographer like Annie Leibovitz to someone who’s just started taking portrait photos.
- What type of clients do you serve, and do you have specialist knowledge for working with these clients that others don’t have? Big commercial companies are usually willing to pay more than private individuals.
- Do you work on your own from a spare bedroom, or do you work in an office with the associated overheads? If you have lower overheads, you can afford to offer more competitive pricing, whilst still covering your costs.
- Do you restrict the usage of your images, and charge separately for applications which have greater exposure, eg. billboards or use in high print-run magazines?
- Do your prices include pre-shoot site visits, travel and image editing? Or do these incur additional charges?
- Do the clients you intend to work for require you on site for an hour at a time, or days at a time? Do you want to do fewer larger jobs, or more smaller jobs?
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