by Tina Martin

Source – Unsplash


They say that a picture is worth a thousand words, so it is important to take the best photos possible. While many of us envision ourselves as good photographers when we snap shots with our cell phones, there is nothing quite like having a great picture that was taken by a professional. Here at Great Photography Courses, we pride ourselves on taking outstanding images of events and outstanding portraits, so we have some reasons why you should hire a professional photographer for your next important event.

Why Do You Need a Pro?

Yes, we all have cameras on our phones and they get more advanced with every new smartphone that is released, but that still doesn’t compare to the shots taken by photographers.

One of the reasons for this is that professionals have the best equipment that puts most phones to shame and they know how to use it. The fact is that if you take every single picture with the same lens, you are not going to get the quality images that you are hoping for. Photographers understand this, which is why they have a large selection of lenses and filters that they can use for any given application. That way you are sure to get the best photo.

Professional photographers also understand the science of shadow, light, and angles. They know that they have to stand in a certain spot to get the best picture and they also know where their subject should be so they can be seen in the best light. Basically, photographers know all of the tricks that lead to the most awe-inspiring photos. If you cannot do that yourself, then you should spend the money on a professional.

When You Need a Photographer

There are some instances where you absolutely need a professional to take the best photo. One example is when it comes to taking pictures of your newborn baby or younger child. We all know the struggles of trying to take photos of a baby. It can be near impossible to get them to stay still for long enough to get the shot, and even if you do, you may not be using the best filter or lens to get the most high-quality image possible. A professional photographer knows exactly what to do to make this process a piece of cake.

You should also consider hiring a professional photographer when you are taking product pictures for your business for advertisements and promotional materials, especially if you intend to create a Facebook ad and want to make the best impression possible on your potential customers. A professional photographer understands the balance of lighting, subject, angle, and proportion that can ensure your commercial images are beautiful and captivating the first time. Commercial photos are often unique because they focus on a particular feature of the product and you will need that to be perfect.

Professional photographers are also best when taking photos of your home when you place it on the market. After you have made updates to get the house ready for sale, like upping your curb appeal and removing clutter both inside and out, hire a pro to get great shots of your home in pristine condition. They will know tricks to get the best perspective on a room when space is limited, and they will get the lighting just right to make your home look warm and inviting.

Considerations When Finding a Photographer

When it comes time to find a professional photographer, you will need to find the best person for the job. Go online and do your research as you look for photographers in your area and look at the reviews from previous customers to ensure that it is a reputable company. You should also ask for a price quote to ensure that you are getting a deal that fits within your budget.

When you talk to the photographer, mention the type of event that you need them for. It is important because the complexity of the pictures will determine how involved the production may be. So, real estate photos may take less legwork than a full family photo shoot. If you are still unable to find the best photographer, then ask for referrals from family and friends.

As you can see, there are some important factors that go into hiring a professional photographer. It can all seem a little overwhelming at first, but with a little research, you will find the perfect fit.

Great Photography Courses can teach you how to light an interior without the scene looking lit, how to find a storytelling angle, how to deal with poor light, how to fix bad color, how to work fast to be more profitable, and a whole lot more. Let us know if you have any questions!

by Tina Martin

Tips for Selling Your Photography at Art Fairs
Art and craft shows can be exciting opportunities for your photography business. Shoppers
are primed to spend money on art, giving you access to a wealth of potential customers. To
get the most from your registration fee, it’s important to plan and prepare appropriately.

Selecting Photos
As you select prints, ensure that the majority have a broad appeal. Eye-catching landscapes,
familiar landmarks, and abstract imagery often lead to higher sales. Photos with
recognizable faces, on the other hand, tend to have a more limited market. Invest in high-
quality prints to show off your work.

Displaying Your Work
A successful art fair booth is all about aesthetics. On the most visible areas of your display,
hang photos that draw people in. Don’t be afraid to use color, intriguing shots, or
spectacular images. Then, give customers a reason to stick around by hanging your best
photos on the walls, gallery style. Finally, use boxes of smaller, matted prints to encourage
people to flip through your affordable products.

Marketing Your Business
In addition to photos, you’ll need a sign to identify your business as well as business cards
and other marketing materials. Complete the booth with an attractive table or table
covering that matches the vibe of your work.

If you don’t have one, a logo is a must. It gives your photography business a professional
look and helps you stand out from other vendors. Don't have the budget for a designer? An
online logo designer is a free, easy option; all you need to do is customize pre-designed
templates with icons, text, and colors.

Choosing Prices
Pricing your photography is a big factor in total sales — it’s important to set prices that are
appropriate for the event, location, and expected clientele. If you’re displaying your work at
a small-town craft fair, bring a stock of smaller, more affordable prints. Fine art festivals
tend to attract collectors and people with higher spending limits, so you can get away with
larger, more expensive prints.

Managing Physical Prints
The supplies for a photo display can take up a surprising amount of space. In addition to
the prints, you’ll need to pack walls, a canopy, hanging supplies, a table, a chair, and
marketing materials. Ensure that everything arrives in good condition by renting a cargo
van or a small moving trailer.

Handling and Recording Payments
At a busy art show, a fast and seamless payment-processing system is essential. Consider
offering a variety of options, such as Venmo and a credit card processor from services such
as Square or PayPal. Make sure to bring plenty of change for cash payments.

After the fair, record all sales carefully in preparation for tax time. For more filing
flexibility, reduced liability, and less paperwork, consider registering your photography
business as an LLC. Read your state’s rules before you proceed; every state has the freedom
to regulate LLCs as it sees fit. If you’re feeling overwhelmed and want to avoid attorney
fees, a formation service can handle LLC registration for you.

Art Fairs Can Boost Your Photography Business
When you’re prepared, art fairs can be a great way to increase profits and find new
customers for your photography business. If you’re looking to expand your services, check
out The Real Estate Photography Course.

Image via Pexels

by Charlie Borland

(This article was originally written for the North American Nature Photography Assoc. magazine Currents)

During these tough economic times, many conversations among photographers are not so much on the timing of desert wildflowers or Yellowstone’s elk rut, but rather a sharing of information about survival strategies. Editorial ad revenues are slumping and weakened sales in publishing have reduced photography budgets. By looking at your business strategy now, you might be able to develop a plan for the next year or so that will help you cope with the vagaries of the economy.

Shooting Locations

First, evaluate the photo excursions you have planned for the next 12 months. Do they include locations where you have never been? Are these locations in high demand or simply on your wish list? Do you need these locations for your existing markets because you’re missing sales? Rethink each trip.

If you determine that some of the travel you have planned will increase business then keep it in your plan. On close inspection, however, you may decide that some travel can be delayed or revised and you can apply those monies, instead, to marketing expenditures.

Instead of planning a trip to a place far away where you have never photographed before, consider altering your itinerary to visit proposed new national parks or wilderness areas that are closer to home.

Dramatically improve your flower photography by adding light from a wireless flash. If you photograph flowers, you can make them stand out by adding light from a wireless flash.

While it is not difficult to photograph flowers, like all outdoor nature photography, we are at the mercy of Mother Nature and that means we don’t always get the light we want. You can solve this problem by using a wireless off-camera flash. It can in many cases dramatically improve your photography.

When I know I am photographing wildflowers I will take my Canon 580EXII and the NPT-04 radio triggers and the Fotodiox mini lightbox to soften the light on flowers. Also, several light stands for multi-flash setups.

My strategy for lighting flowers is I want it to look REAL and not flashed because contrast looks really ugly. I usually use a 100mm macro lens for smaller flowers but today I am using a 28-70mm lens because these flowers are so big. I have set my aperture to f/5.6. and my ISO is 100.

The last thing is when you have a grouping of flowers instead this little mini lightbox won’t cover it. The solution is a larger lightbox like this 18×18 inch one. I am holding the lightbox over the flowers and the additional light brightened up these foreground flowers nicely. On this final photo I darkened the background by changing the shutter speed from 1 second to 1/4 second and that makes the foreground flowers stand out nicely.

There are so many techniques you can employ to get amazing shots. The near/far technique discussed on this site before can result in very impactful photos, for instance, while backlighting can be particularly useful for landscape photography. Learning methods and practices like these will give you the tools you need to capture beautiful images even when it might not be particularly easy to do so – which is what brings us to the subject of this piece.

In this piece, we’re looking not at more techniques, but rather at some of the trickiest shots you can aim to take. The following can all be very difficult, but also give you excellent opportunities to practice what you’ve learned and see what you’re capable of.

Underwater Shots

Conditions underwater are very different, which naturally makes this type of photography quite challenging. Plus, of course, you may have to swim and/or scuba dive, and given that you’ll be carrying equipment with you, you’ll need to be quite a strong swimmer. All the while, you’ll be thinking about your composition, and which scenes you can capture, and you’ll be adjusting to the fact that everything appears bigger, duller, and slightly distorted (remember, water absorbs light). Choosing which lens to use can be tricky, too, though there is no particular lens that can lay claim to being the best for underwater photography. You’ll have to figure that out along the way, which speaks to the larger point – that great underwater photography is largely about trial and error.

GUANTANAMO BAY, Cuba (Feb. 9, 2012) Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Shane Tuck, assigned to the Expeditionary Combat Camera Underwater Photo Team, conducts underwater photography training off the coast of Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The team conducts semi-annual training to hone its divers’ specialized skill set and ensure valuable support of Department of Defense activities worldwide. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jayme Pastoric/Released)

Action Shots

If you’re based in Oregon (or just a sports fan), chances are you’ve seen great photos of Damian Lillard taking over for the Trail Blazers, or Diego Valero playing for the Timbers. These photos capture people in action, and getting them just right is quite a challenge. Broadly speaking shutter speed is critical for these photos, and more specifically, using a camera’s sports mode (if it has one) is also recommended, as this can automatically configure an adequate shutter speed. Once you figure out how to set up your equipment for an action shot, all that’s left is to put yourself in a situation to catch scenes that will produce beautiful and interesting images. Sticking with sports, the online oddsmaking sites (which are visible in Oregon already, even if sports betting isn’t quite legal) are predicting a possible postseason berth for the Timbers and a strong season for the Trail Blazers, which means events concerning both teams should produce some relevant opportunities. Beyond Oregon in 2019 though, you can always find popular sports and major events that can present the perfect challenge in action photography.

Low-Light Shots

Taking photos in poorly-lit conditions is quite the challenge, particularly for people who may not have as much experience. Something as simple as using the flash doesn’t always solve the problem and is unlikely to impress discerning viewers (or other photographers) with high standards. Instead, truly high-quality shots in these conditions require a mastery of the interplay between exposure, shutter speed, and aperture settings. Mastering low-light photography, therefore, takes plenty of camera know-how – and lots of practice. In this case, we can’t recommend something as simple as becoming a stronger swimmer or attending a popular sporting event as aa means of finding that practice. But there should be plenty of opportunities in your night-to-night life for low-light photography. Just remember to stay safe if you’re out taking pictures after dark!

Outdoor Winter Shots

The weather can be a formidable foe for photographer, and winter is perhaps the most challenging season. Just dealing with snowflakes falling from above can be difficult, not to mention light glaring off of snow-covered surfaces can present its own challenges. Then, often enough, there’s fog, which can significantly impact visibility. And on top of all of this, it’s cold, and potentially wet (which means you have to be mindful of your equipment as well). For the most part, you just need to grit your teeth and gut it out, doing your best to ignore the conditions and keep things normal. But just to be careful and keep your camera from the elements, make sure you place it in a camera bag while moving around. That way, whether you’re taking a photography break during a ski trip or skimpy wandering into the wintery woods behind your home, you can keep your equipment safe such that only you have to overcome the conditions.

As tricky as the above-listed photography challenges are, they can all be mastered. You may not need to try them all, depending on your goals as a photographer. But you can never have too much practice, and overcoming these kinds of conditions can make you better at whatever it is you ultimately want to do with your photography.



I had an assignment years ago to photograph a rafting trip on the Copper River from WR-SE to Cordova, Alaska, and it was one of the wildest places I have been.
One morning, we awoke to find our riverbank campsite flooding from rapidly rising water. We had about an hour to break camp before it was totally underwater and one of my last photos was my fellow guest standing on a patch of sand that was probably 6’x6′. We all got aboard and launched.
A couple days later the waters had subsided and left these amazing patterns in the soft mud. The guides said the cause was most likely an ice dam in the river, way up in the Chugach Mountains, has busted unleashing the water.
I was treated in the aftermath, to these amazing patterns along the riverbank. 
I used my Canon EOS 1N and Canon 16-35mm lens for the shot with the lens set to 16mm. That made the foreground closer to the camera which emphasizes the foreground. I next processed the photo in Photoshops B&W adjustment layer.
Want to learn more about adventure and nature photography? Check out my online courses at Great Photography Courses:

Here’s a photo from Pt. Imperial where I made the journey from outside the park to the rim before sunrise.  It was a perfect morning with pretty clear skies.

I took the photograph before sunrise at 6:40 am which was 13 minutes before sunrise. When shooting pre-sunrise, if you start early when the alpenglow type light is evident, you have less contrast compared to the minutes before the sunrise.