Have you ever tried to explain a simple idea to a friend only to find yourself at a loss for words? Exposure is a concept that does that to a lot of people. From a technical standpoint, exposure is the amount of light your camera’s sensor captures when an image is taken. The question of what is correct exposure, though, is less technical, and more of the opinion of the photographer. It’s based on the type of image you want to create. A correct exposure is not too bright and not too dark, and that will be dependent on the result you want, not on any technical definition. A correct exposure is when the photograph looks the way the photographer intended it to look, which typically means not too bright (overexposed) and not too dark (underexposed). It’s important to learn how to control your camera’s exposure manually, because your camera can’t read your mind. If you’re seeking a specific look, whether it’s a brighter image, or a darker one, you’ll have to be able to use your settings to ensure your camera knows what you’re looking for. Water as a metaphor Consider exposure like a full glass of water. When it’s filled correctly, it’s not overflowing and it’s not under filled; it’s just right. There are two ways to fill the glass: You can turn the faucet on full blast, for a short period of time. As long as you turn the faucet back off before the glass overflows, you’ll have a perfectly full glass. Or, you can turn the faucet on to a slight trickle,... Read More
Something is missing in your portraits and you know it! In this video I explain the difference between PRO quality Portraits and Amateur snapshots. I just put the finishing touches on my brand new course Shoot STUNNING Natural Light Portraits! BONUS: To one person who shares the video on Facebook I’ll give away a free membership to the new course. Enjoy! In this course I teach the 3 Secret formulas for creating professional quality portraits using only natural light. Once I learned these formulas I was able to start charging money for my portraits and people started flying me around the world to photograph them. It could be the same for you! The course will be launching in December to the public AND I’m so excited about it that I’ve decided to do something crazy! I’m going to give away 3 actual lessons from the course for FREE before it comes out! CLICK HERE to sign up to get the first 3 lessons as soon as they are available. CLICK HERE to claim your access to the 3 free lessons. (I’ll email the link to the videos as soon as they go live on Dec... Read More
“Which camera and lens should I buy?” I get asked this question ALL THE TIME… I usually tell them it’s not about the camera or lens. It’s about understanding how to use the equipment, taking manual control, and capturing the images as you intended. It’s not the camera that makes a great photo. It’s the mind of the photographer. I guarantee you that a seasoned photographer could be given any consumer-level DSLR camera that was made in the last 5 years, and we would take photos that could easily be featured on the cover of a magazine or on a billboard ad. Regardless of which camera was in our hands. The reality is, any camera these days is simply amazing. Especially if it’s made by one of the leading brands like Canon, Nikon, Sony, Fuji and many others. The entry level DSLR and mirrorless cameras that are coming out nowadays put my first professional cameras to shame. Long story short, you have it good with the amazing quality in today’s digital cameras. That being said, I do have some recommendations for which cameras and lenses to buy when you are starting out. WORD TO THE WISE: Don’t get bogged down in the camera tech details. I promise you it is more about the photographer than it is the camera. Start where you’re at and learn to master your craft first. The perfect gear can follow later. Don’t go into a ton of debt to purchase gear. Get the equipment you can afford. I’ve always bought my gear slowly, with cash and only when I could afford to upgrade or add to the quiver. My first professional gigs... Read More
The question of whether or not to display your pricing on your photography site is a scandalous debate… Showing your pricing on your site can do a few things – it can qualify your leads, so you know they can afford you and it can also also prevent potential clients from contacting you because of sticker shock. Some clients may still contact you, but if your pricing is $4,000 to shoot a wedding and it’s not in their budget, they’ll be too scared to contact you at all. On the other hand, if you charge $1,000 to shoot a wedding potential clients might be suspicious of that low of a price, especially if the average rate is much higher in your area. They won’t be sure if they can trust you. They may not be confident in how professional or experienced you really are. If your pricing is on the low end of your local market, and you’re okay with being cheaper, then it can also benefit you to post your pricing on your site. You’ll attract more inquiries, and probably book more work. It’s not a good long term strategy, but if you’re a new photographer, this can help you get through the initial period of building your portfolio and your business. And if you’re selling prints, posting those prices online is important. Prints are a commodity, a hard cost. Show those prices. So the burning question… Do I or did I display my pricing? NO. I don’t display my pricing on my site. There was a time when I had “packages starting at…” on my website, back when we... Read More
Curating your photography portfolio is one of the most important things you’ll do for your website, and many people are doing it wrong. Here’s why: Let’s take a photographer, we’ll call her Susie. Susie loves shooting weddings, family portraits, and senior portraits. Susie hates shooting babies. So how should she set up her portfolio? Only show what you want to sell. If you want photograph weddings, don’t include pictures of bands. If you don’t want to photograph babies, don’t show pictures of babies. Don’t put your amazing product photos in your portfolio, if you hate shooting product photos. Susie just doesn’t want to photograph babies, so there shouldn’t be a single image of a baby anywhere on her site. You only need ten to twenty images in each gallery. You don’t need to show an entire wedding from start to finish in your portfolio. You don’t need to show an entire portrait session. Your portfolio is a collection of your very best work. Susie’s site should start with a featured gallery on the homepage, with two to three amazing, take your breath away photos from each of the types of sessions she likes to do. These images should be blended together so that someone won’t get all the wedding images at once, but so they can clearly see the variety within six to nine images of her very best work. Create clear categories. Susie will have three categories. You might have less, but you should try not to have more. In each category, you still have to follow rule #2 – no more than ten to twenty images per gallery. Do... Read More
If you asked ten of your friends what the most important page on your website is, chances are you’d get a bunch of different answers. Some would say it’s your Portfolio. You’re a photographer after all! What good is your website if it doesn’t show off your work? Others would insist it’s your Contact page. You can’t book any work if they can’t contact you. Still others would believe it’s your Pricing page. A person who can’t afford you is a useless lead, right? They’re all wrong. The most important page on your photography website is your About page. It’s also often the most neglected page, the page you’ll find a “Coming soon” message on for months, or even years, or the page that includes a super artsy (and barely understandable) description of you, your feelings and how your art can be found in the meaning of the Earth, nothing that a potential client really cares about. The truth is, people want to know who you are, what you look like, and whether they like you. Can they trust you? Are you someone they feel comfortable enough to navigate them through what is quite possibly one of the most vulnerable times in their life? (Being in front of the camera.) As photographers, we should anticipate seeing people in their most open and insecure state. Your About page is the best way you can show them that they’re going to feel comfortable, and not judged. Your About page will be your invitation to like-minded clients, but only if it’s authentically telling them about who you truly are. For example, let’s... Read More
David Molnar is a celebrity, music and advertising photographer, the author of iPhone Only Photography, husband, believer, and new daddy. His work has been seen on over 28 million Pepsi and Mountain Dew cans, in People Magazine, on American Idol, and in The New York Times.