Portrait Pro: What You MUST Know to Make Photography Your Career

Portrait Pro: What You MUST Know to Make Photography Your Career

by Jeff Smith

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Droves of hobbyist photographers make a move to professional photography every year. They read a few books, watch rock star photographers shoot online, make business cards, and forge their path to a new career. When they book clients, work through the session, proof their images, and conduct a sales session, though, they encounter artistic, organizational, and financial problems they had not anticipated, and many stall out.

In this book, Jeff Smith focuses on finding an audience and a target demographic, honing your posing and lighting skills, working with clients, and managing business and personnel concerns.

Smith begins by taking a close look at the mind-set required for forging ahead as a professional photographer. He shows you how to define and target the clientele you want to work with and teaches you skillful approaches for creating and maintaining a strong photographer–client relationship. He notes that many photographers enter the business to create images that please them and explains that to be successful, photographers must instead learn to gain insight into just what the client wants to see in the final photos in order to maximize profits and keep clients coming back for more.

With a clearly defined objective and approach outlines, Smith moves on to tackle common technical issues that new pros find daunting. He provides tips for creating perfect lighting in the studio and outdoors. He also discusses positioning for every part of the body, to create an ideal presentation to the camera. Next, he provides compositional tips—from where to position the subject in the frame, to selecting the best camera angle, to cropping for impact—in order to maximize image impact and present the best-possible image to your client.

Finally, with the technical and artistic fields addressed, Smith turns to a discussion on the business side of the profession. He offers advice on acquiring equipment, understanding costs and pricing, creating new business opportunities, identifying an ideal studio location, and even managing your time.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781608957361
Publisher: Amherst Media, Incorporated
Publication date: 08/18/2014
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 128
Sales rank: 962,760
File size: 22 MB
Note: This product may take a few minutes to download.

About the Author

Jeff Smith is an award-winning portrait photographer and the author of Corrective Lighting, Posing, and Retouching for Digital Portrait Photographers; Outdoor and Location Portrait Photography, Step-by-Step Posing for Portrait Photography and many more. He lives in Fresno, California.

Table of Contents

Introduction: The First Step 8

The How vs. The Why 8

Being a Professional 9

1 Hobbyist or Professional 10

What's the Difference? 10

Look at Your Bookshelf 11

The Rush to Make Money 12

The Business of Service 13

1 Art Is Determined by the Buyer, Not the Creator 14

2 We Serve Those Who Pay Us 14

Evaluate Your Readiness 15

1 Don't Trust Your Friends and Family 15

2 Be Honest About Your Willingness to Take Responsibility 15

3 Don't Expect to Learn on the Job 16

4 Decide if You Can Be an Asset to the Profession 16

2 Learn How to Learn 17

Learn From Masters 17

The High Cost of "Free" 18

Who's Your Teacher? 18

Formal Instruction vs. Self-Education and Mentoring 18

Practice, Practice, Practice 21

1 Implementation Enhances Retention 21

2 Perfect Practice Makes Perfect 21

3 Practice with Real Subjects in Real Situations 22

A Few Great Images 22

Master Previsualization 22

3 Earning While Learning 24

Know When to Say No 24

Become an Assistant 26

A Letter of Non-Competition 27

Support Work Is How You Start 27

Don't Be a Poacher 27

Speculative Shooting 28

Shoot for Publications and Businesses 28

4 Gear: Think Like a Pro 30

Control Imaging Costs 30

Cameras: Tools, Not Status Symbols 31

Lenses 31

Lights and Modifiers 33

Make Purchases Based on Results 33

Learn to Use What You Have 34

5 A Salable Style 35

Understand What All Clients Want 35

Beautiful Eyes 35

Shape-Defining Shadows 36

Contrast 36

Direct the Eye with Contrast 36

Expert Retouching and Printing 37

Understand Your Client's individual Needs 39

The Purpose of the Portrait 39

The Client's "Problem Areas" 40

How to Talk with Clients 41

Other Factors in Salability 42

Idealization and Self-image 42

Bigger Faces Mean Bigger Sales 43

A Customized Look for Each Subject 44

Take Control 45

6 Consistency and Lasting Appeal 46

Consistent ≠ Boring 46

The Images Change, the Quality Stays the Same 46

Understand Your Clients' Tastes 47

The Eyes: Classic or Contemporary? 47

Shadows: Dramatic or Subtle? 47

Retouching: Glamorous or Natural? 47

Allow for Variety 47

Plan for Problems 47

Consistency in Postproduction 48

Consistency in Service 48

Design for Lasting Appeal 49

Tips on Video Consultations 49

The Impact of Emotions 50

7 Clothing Selection 51

Don't Limit Your Choices 51

The Story of the Angora Sweater 52

Guide Clients to the Right Look 52

For the Fashion-Impaired 54

Finishing Touches 54

8 Background Selection 55

Analyze the Background 55

Background Selection 56

Basic Analysis 56

Lines 56

Texture 56

Contrast 56

Color 58

Learn to Manipulate Backgrounds 59

Get the Client's Input 60

9 Posing Essentials 61

Analyze the Subject 61

Choose the Right Style 61

Traditional 62

Casual 62

Glamorous 62

The Face and Head 63

The Connection to Lighting 63

Control the Camera Height 64

Frame the Face 64

Tilting the Head 65

The Eyes 65

The Nose and Ears 67

The Mouth and Lips 67

Mirroring 67

The Neck and Shoulders 68

The Arms and Hands 68

The Bust and Chest 69

The Waist 70

The Hips and Thighs 71

Standing Poses 71

Seated Poses 71

Reclining Poses 71

The Booty 72

The Legs 72

The Feet and Toes 72

Why Show It? 73

Practice Building Poses 74

10 Lighting Essentials 75

Light Sources 75

Portrait Light Functions 76

Light Sources 76

Main Light 76

Fill Light 76

Background Light 76

Hair Light 76

Accent Lights 76

Broad vs. Short Lighting 77

Light Characteristics 78

Soft/Diffused Light 78

Hard/Directional Light 78

Controlling Light Characteristics 79

Size Relative to Subject 79

The Distance to the Subject 79

Light Modifiers 79

Control the Light 80

Feather the Light 80

Skin Tone and Light Characteristics 81

What Works for Me 81

Lighting Style 82

Metering and Exposure 83

Why Meter? 83

Consistency and Efficiency 83

How to Meter 84

Don't Overlight 85

Add Fill to Control Contrast 85

Flash Fill 86

Reflected Fill 87

Run Lighting Tests 87

The Eyes Are Critical 88

The Main Light Position 89

Catchlights 90

Develop Your "Camera Vision" 91

Get It Right-In the Camera 92

11 Outdoor Lighting 93

Problems with Available Light Only 93

1 Insufficient Variety 93

2 Too Little Shooting Time 93

Adding Light Makes It Work 94

Evaluate the Light 94

Add Reflected Light 94

Add Strobe Lighting 96

Try Dragging the Shutter 96

12 Composition Essentials 97

What to Show 97

Finish Off the Frame 98

Position the Subject in the Frame 99

Camera Perspective 100

High Angle, Low Angle 100

Camera Tilt 101

13 Portrait Presentation 103

Presenting Images to Clients 103

How It Used to Work 103

Why Instant Ordering Is Better 105

Learn How to Sell 106

A Skilled Salesperson 106

One Decision at a Time 107

Selling Is Serious Business 108

Printing and Delivery 108

Printing 109

Print Finishing Options 109

Packaging 110

14 Your Studio's Image 111

Marketing and Advertising 111

Consider Your Demographic 111

Repetition Is Critical 112

Ask Your Best Clients 112

Giving Work Away 113

Direct Mail 114

Create a Theme 115

Tailor Your Marketing to Your Image 115

Social Media 115

Blogs 119

Your Studio's Brand Identity 120

Conclusion: What to Know as You Go Pro 121

1 Don't Squander Money 121

2 Understand Your Costs and Pricing 122

3 Build Value Every Step of the Way 122

4 Create Opportunities 122

5 Manage Your Time 123

6 Determine the Right Location 123

7 Don't Get Overwhelmed 123

Index 124

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Portrait Pro: What You MUST Know to Make Photography Your Career 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
sobasphotos More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. He gives excellent advice on creating a salable portrait and building a solid business to be able to sell those portraits. I wish this had been available ten years ago when I was still in school.  I think it would be an wonderful addition to photography programs.