There are many misconceptions about professional photographers and the things they know and do. Many beginning photographers won't figure these out until they've been shooting for awhile themselves. But learning a few secrets ahead of time can save you some hassle. Here are seven things you should know.
You Don't Have to Shoot in Manual
One common misconception among many beginning photographers is that professionals only shoot in Manual Mode, and that to use this mode is to be a true photographer. This probably stems from the fact that, in order to get the most out of your camera, you must learn how to use the various manual settings. After all, a professional camera is essential a camera that gives you the most manual control. However, this doesn't mean that everything has to be controlled manually. Many photographers use Aperture Priority Mode and exposure compensation to get the photos they want. In this mode, the camera automatically meters for the scene at hand, but you can tweak this exposure by using exposure compensation.
Most Photos Suck
This is pretty straightforward. The majority of your photos won't be good. Doesn't matter if you're just starting out or you've been a professional for years. Most photos just don't work out. In fact, if you think that majority of your photos are good, then you may want to get a second opinion. Although they may have many acceptable to good shots, many photographers are happy with getting one great shot out of a hundred. You have to be a little ruthless when going through your images and choosing which ones to keep. Keeping all your shots will clog up your hard drive quickly with useless photos. Most just aren't worth keeping. Don't be afraid to delete hundreds or thousands of images if they're not worth saving.
A Lot Happens in Post
Most professional photographers will tell you that they spend more time editing images than taking them. If you're going to compete with the photographers in today's world, you're going to need some kind of post-processing software, and you're going to have to learn how to use it properly.
Not Everything Can be Fixed in Post
As often as post-processing is used, don't use it as a crutch. Many photographers will casually shoot and tell themselves that they can fix any problems in post. While many things can be touched-up and improved in post, not everything can be fixed, and Photoshop won't make a crappy image look good. It can bring out the best look in potentially good images, but can't turn a bad photo into a masterpiece. Get it right in-camera first and you'll save yourself a lot of hassle.
Saving Time is Saving Money
Ever notice how big-time photographers have a dozen assistants and a huge studio with a hundred pieces of equipment? All of this is for the purpose of saving time. Instead of setting up the shoot himself, the photographer has an assistant do it. Same for the make-up, wardrobe, props, etc. The photographer could do all this himself, but it would take him three or four times as long. Assuming he's being paid a flat fee, this reduces his pay per hour. So the faster he can do it, the more projects he can book, and the more money he can make.
Light is Key, Not Gear
Any professional will tell you that learning about your camera and how to control light is more important than the gear you carry. It doesn't much matter if you have a Nikon D4 if you can't take a decent head shot. However, if you can take great images with your little point-and-shoot, then you're only a camera away from creating great commercial work.
Learn About the Business
If you really want to get into the photography business, then you have to learn the business part. In fact, knowing the business side of things can be more helpful than learning the photography side. Regardless of how good your images are, no one is going to buy them if they don't know you exist. Business and marketing are must-knows to being successful in the photography world.
Written by Spencer Seastrom