5 tips for the would be photographer

Tonight I found myself strolling down a marina dock in the sub-tropics with a banana daiquiri in one hand and a bottle of dark rum in the other.  When in Rome, right?

I’m working on a photography project for a museum in Florida right now.  The House of Refuge, a historically significant structure which played a part in the pioneering of the Southern United States as well as WWI and WWII.  Sound like a dream job to you?

Here are some tips to follow if you want to be a successful photographer!

1) Be a professional you

Photography is an art, art does not follow guidelines.  As much as you want to play dress up and run a business, don’t look like an stick in the mud idiot.  Be a comfortable you, it goes a lot further than you think.  Be punctual and be professional but you’re not in a suit and tie business, so don’t act like it.

2) Know what you’re doing

This seems self explanatory, but the hard truth is this; anyone can buy a camera, read a couple how-to’s online and start calling themselves a photographer.  Being a real photographer is a lot more involved.  Find a niche and run with it, keep taking photos until you discover a pattern in your photographs.  That pattern is the foundation for your style, build on that!  It will make your photos distinguishable and unique.

3) Scope your locations

There will come a time when you have to shoot at a location you’re not familiar with.  Get there early, walk around, check the best backgrounds and angles.  In general, the best lighting is produced during the golden hours, which is right after sunrise and right before sunset.

4) Have the right gear

Don’t show up to a photo shoot with a Sony Sureshot and a plastic Big-5 tripod.  Make sure you have the right gear for the shoot.  If you’re doing an adventure sport shoot, have the right equipment.  Same goes for you wedding photographers.  Do your research before you buy and be sure to rent lenses before purchasing.  There are lots of options, so make sure to try gear and buy what you use the most.

5) Networking is king

This is the most important part of being a photographer.  Networking means future jobs and the ability to command higher rates.  So remember, meet, greet, and make friends!

  1. Reply Didi March 11, 2012 at 8:17 am

    Cute article, it was a fun lil’ read! That photo is stupendous, by the way! What amazing and vivid colors! How did you do that? What type of equipment did you use? I am guessing maybe you used a filter of some sort? I am a beginning photographer, an absolute novice, I’ll take all the tips I can get, if you don’t mind sharing, that is. Thanks Travis 🙂

  2. Reply Trav March 14, 2012 at 7:16 pm

    I had to wait several days for the lighting and clouds to be just right. An hour before sunset is going to produce really good lighting for dramatic photos as well as an hour after sunrise. For this particular photo with me in it, it was at the end of the shoot so the light was a bit dark. I raised the ISO and it shows, the compromise is that you can use the right shutter speed to create a fluid water but keep the clouds sharp.

    Take lots of photos and try all sorts of things. Be creative and you’ll find all sorts of things you can do to create stunning photos!

  3. Reply Sheena July 26, 2014 at 6:32 pm

    I had to look you up and see who you were when I noticed your name at the bootom of the HoR photos. That’s where I go when I want beach time, as I live in the area. I felt special because photos that were taken of my daughter at the reef there are now on the HoR website with yours.

    I don’t believe you’re from around here, so how did you get the gig at the Refuge?

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