Monthly Archives: May 2016

5 Tips For Managing Your Event Photography Client

Event photography is a common way for photographers to make the first step into paid work. It could be a birthday party, a christening, a promotional event, a corporate day, a wedding, or another event. Being able to produce the photographic results is one thing – and being able to deliver what the client wants is another. Here are 5 tips for managing your event photography client.

Wedding couple

Be clear with your client about the hours you will attend the event

Tip #1 – Know the hours you are expected to attend. You need to be clear on the hours you are expected to attend an event. Be direct and ask your client “what hours would you like me to cover?” This is a small part of making sure you are on the same wavelength as your client. It will also be a component of what you charge for a job. It’s likely that you will charge more for a 4 hour shoot than a 2 hour shoot. Once you know the hours you are expected to attend, make sure you are early and stay through until the finishing time. If the client is at the event, check in with them before you leave (this is also a great time to ask “would you like me to stay longer? My rate is $XX per hour and I am happy to stay another hour”)

Tip #2 – Be clear about the key moments of the event and be ready to shoot them. Make sure you ask your client “what are the key images you would like from this event?” If it is a birthday party the client might want images of the child blowing out the candles on the cake, an image including the child’s parents and grand parents, and one of the next door neighbor who has baby sat the child over the years. You really can’t deliver the images the client needs without a good understanding of the key moments. It’s about knowing what is important to your client. Once you know the key moments, be sure you shoot all of them and more.

Tip #3 – Understand your client’s key deliverables. Often your client will have a deadline to meet and it is important you understand this. Let’s use the example of a corporate event. The client may need the images to be used in a brochure which will go to print in 2 weeks time. This is critical information so that you can agree with the client when you will deliver the images. There is nothing more frustrating for a client to have organised a photographer to be at the event, and then not have the images delivered to meet their deadline. (If your client has a really short deadline, you may consider charging more to give that client’s job the highest priority in your workflow).

Business woman

Ask your clients how the images will be used and deliver the files in a size and format which is appropriate

Tip #4 – Understand how many images your client is expecting and how they will be used.  This tip is also to gain clarity about the client’s expectations and to some degree will influence your pricing. If you attend a full day corporate event, your post production time will vary greatly if the client is expecting 100 images compared to 500 images. Ask your client in advance so that you both have clear expectations.

It is also handy to know how the images will be used. If they are going to be used only on a website, you can deliver low resolution images ready to be immediately uploaded to the client’s website. If they are going to be printed, try to deliver the images in the appropriate resolution which will make things easy at the client’s end.

Tip #5 – Get payment in advance wherever possible. Event photography is rife with situations of the photographer not getting paid in a timely manner, or not getting paid at all. To minimize your risk, get payment in advance wherever possible.

If you are shooting a wedding you are making a big commitment of time and effort. For weddings it is standard to be paid in advance. Wedding venues asking for payment in advance which makes it easy for the photographer to request the same.

If you are shooting a corporate event, be sure to submit your invoice early. Corporations sometimes take time to pay their suppliers, so the sooner you have submitted your invoice, the sooner you will get paid.

Thanks for reading 5 tips for managing your event photography client. Good luck with your event photography.

Stock Photography using a Point and Shoot Camera

One of the things I love about photography is that there is always something new to try and something new to learn. Recently I decided to experiment with stock photography using a point and shoot camera.

Why? I am a long time DSLR user and really haven’t used anything else for the last 10 years. At the same time, I’ve believed that a point and shoot camera would be handy for shooting images of everyday situations which could be used as stock. For example, when commuting or out for a walk. It’s times like those I don’t want to carry a DSLR and multiple lenses, and at the same time there are interesting images to be made. So, I’ve recently expanded my stock photography using a point and shoot camera.


The Canon Powershot SX610HS compared to a DSLR with 70-200mm lens

Which camera? About 3 weeks ago I ordered a Canon Powershot SX610HS. It is a mid range point and shoot camera, available for less than $300 where I live in Melbourne, Australia. (For the gear nerds – it has a 20.2MP sensor and 18x optical zoom – that’s the equivalent of 25-450mm range. So it can produce fairly large files and has an extensive zoom range). But it’s biggest feature is it’s weight. It weighs 191 grams. Yes, that’s right, less than 200 grams compared to a couple of kilograms when I’m carrying a DSLR and 2 lenses. It is also small enough to easily fit in a jacket or jeans pocket.


Weighing just 191 grams the Canon PowerShot SX610HS is very compact.

What stock images do I plan to create? I plan on using this camera as a lightweight ‘carry it anywhere’ camera. It will be for days when I leave the DSLR in the studio but don’t want to be restricted to images from my phone camera. I expect to shoot editorial style images which will be more opportunistic than planned. Street scenes, lifestyle, city life – slices of life and moments as they happen. They will have a genuine and realistic feel – the kind that is popular as new stock content as opposed to the traditional stock content of images shot in the studio on a white background. And importantly, I expect to be able to use the point and shoot camera freely, as a tourist would, and avoid any disapproving looks that you get when you pull a full frame camera and long lens from your bag.

Progress so far? I have only just started using the camera and have begun to upload the images to my stock portfolio. So far, all the images I have uploaded have passed the image library’s inspection process. It is encouraging that a simple point and shoot camera can meet the technical specifications required. Yesterday I had my first download of a stock image shot with a point and shoot camera. I’ll report back in a year or two to let you know how it is going.

Thanks for reading stock photography using a point and shoot camera. Happy shooting!

Things Your Photography Clients Don’t Care About

I feel fortunate to be able to help other photographers run their photography businesses. That usually means I have very little input to the style of images they are shooting, but a lot of input to how they manage clients, how to sell and market, and how to establish efficient processes for running their businesses. Often we do a review of their website as a key tool for communicating with potential clients. During the course of many reviews, I have put together a list of things your photography clients don’t care about. Avoid featuring these heavily in the promotion of your photography business.


Clients are interested in your images, not the process to get there

  1. Clients don’t care what equipment you use. From time to time, I see photographers detailing a long list of the equipment they use – camera bodies, lenses, flash units, light modifiers. Trust me, your client doesn’t care. They generally don’t know the 70-200mm L series MkII and listing that detail positions you as a ‘gear nerd’. Clients want to know you can shoot good images and they do expect you to have professional grade equipment, but they don’t care about the details of your equipment.
  2. Clients don’t care that this is your passion. Clients don’t care, because they expect you to be passionate about your profession. They expect you to produce good results. They really don’t care that you got your first camera at the age of 7, and felt called to be a photographer. Don’t clog up the content of your website talking endlessly about your passion and how from the age of whatever, you knew you were going to be a photographer.
  3. Clients don’t care about the hours you put in. It’s about the outputs, not the inputs for a client. Don’t get fooled into thinking you have to tell your clients about how hard you are going to work for them. Working hard is a good virtue, but in photography the client is interested in the outputs of your work.
  4. Clients don’t care where you studied. Unless you went to an extremely prestigious university that is known to all of your clients, don’t be tempted to tell your clients about where you have studied. Clients are interested in whether you can produce high quality images for them. You either can or you can’t. Where you studied is not of interest to your clients.
  5. Clients don’t care about the post production process. Most clients do know that their images will be enhanced in post production, but clients don’t want to know the intimate details of your workflow. There is no need to list the process you take of importing RAW files into Lightroom, making minor adjustments, then working in Photoshop and saving as a TIFF file. Even writing that was starting to bore me! Clients are interested in the outputs of your workflow. Show them strong images, don’t bore them with your post production process.
Sydney Opera House

Clients don’t care about the post production process. They care about the outputs.

Give clients what they are looking for in your promotional materials. Show them good work. Make it clear you are a real person. Show them you have experience. Don’t get caught up in providing lots of information they are not interested in. Keep it relevant to the client to book more jobs.

Thanks for reading ‘things your photography clients don’t care about’. Happy shooting.

Can I Make Money in Stock Photography from Landscape and Cityscape Images

I participate in several photography groups on Facebook. This week I posted a reply to a group member who was exploring stock photography. After several messages, he asked me – can I make money in stock photography from landscape and cityscape images?

My response to him was that – yes, you can. But the reality is that simple landscape and cityscape images are highly competitive. There are hundreds of contributors submitting this type of material, and millions of existing images. So, it won’t be easy to create unique images that continue to be downloaded.

Bolte Bridge

Bolte Bridge, Melbourne, Australia. A specific scene shot in dramatic light.

So, if you want to generate an income from stock photography with this style of image, what is the best chance of success? Here are five suggestions for giving you the greatest chance of success.

  1. Shoot in the best light. There are likely to be hundreds of competing images to your own. Make your point of difference images shot in excellent light. This will likely mean sunrise and sunset shoot times.
  2. Shoot tourist highlights. There is ongoing demand for images which capture the icons of a city or a well known landscape. Take the time to shoot the tourist highlights of your city, or well known landscape spots.
  3. Shoot like a local. There is increasing demand for images which capture the essence of a city in a way only a local would know. Shoot the back laneways, cafes, popular meeting places. Use your local knowledge to shoot places that only a local would know.
  4. Develop an expansive body of work. What does that mean? It means you are going to stick at this. You are going to shoot different elements, in different conditions, at different times of year. It is not a random shot taken here or there, it’s about developing a range of work.
  5. Document the city or landscape year round. Cities and landscapes look very different at different times of year. Take advantage of the different seasons to add a new look to your work.

And like anyone using stock photography to generate a meaningful income – you need to treat this like a business. Set a goal for how many files you plan to upload this month and this year. Work at it. Keep adding to your portfolio. Develop variety in your images. Study similar images which have been successful as stock. What are the elements you are going to emulate in your own images? And keep working at it. Stock photography is based on the idea that you will do the work now (shoot, edit and upload) and be rewarded later (downloads and income). So keep working at it.


In my experience generic scenes like this don’t offer good returns as stock

Landscapes and cityscapes are very competitive areas, but it is possible to make money in these areas. My experience is that cityscapes and specific landscape images provide better returns than very generic landscapes. Look for your image to tell a story of a specific place.

Thanks for reading ‘can I make money in stock photography from landscape and cityscape images?’

Why iStock Must Change Exclusivity Criteria

I have been a contributor to iStockphoto since 2008 and have written extensively about stock photography for Beyond Here. One significant point of difference which iStockphoto has compared to other microstock sites is the volume of exclusive content. That is – images which are available only from iStockphoto. They have achieved this by providing incentives for contributors to be exclusive such as higher royalty rates. Much has changed in microstock, but one thing that hasn’t is the criteria for becoming an exclusive contributor. Read on to see why iStock must change exclusivity criteria.

What are the criteria for becoming exclusive on iStock? Ever since I have been an iStock contributor, the criteria for becoming exclusive are to have 250 downloads and an image acceptance rate of greater than 50%. Once that has been achieved a contributor can choose to become exclusive or continue to remain as an independent contributor.

Flinders Street Station

iStock’s point of difference is it’s volume of unique content

Why choose exclusivity? Exclusivity brings several benefits to contributors. The keys ones for me are the higher royalties paid on exclusive files, better placement for exclusive files in the best match algorithm, and a faster inspection queue. The key benefit for iStockphoto is that it can promote material that is only available from iStockphoto. These files are not available on any other stock site.

What’s changed? I have written extensively about the changes at iStockphoto in recent years. (Please see the ‘stock photography’ category on the side of this blog to check out those posts). The major change is that iStock has moved away from it’s credit based download system to a subscription system. This on its own is not a problem. It rewards high volume buyers and locks them in (to some degree) by having a subscription where they can buy a certain number of files per month. The problem comes in that iStock only count credit downloads towards the total of 250 required to be exclusive.


New iStock contributors are likely to see small royalty payments under the subscription program

What does this mean for contributors trying to become exclusive? Currently, only 20% of my monthly downloads are credit downloads. The remaining 80% is made up of downloads from the subscription program, the partner program (where files are sold through partner sites), and the Getty Images site. So, for contributors working towards being exclusive, only a small percentage of their actual downloads count towards the qualifying total. That means it will take much longer to meet the qualifying criteria.

So what? This has 2 significant implications. First, many contributors who have the ability to contribute high quality content are being discouraged and choosing to submit their images to other sites. At the same time, their content on iStockphoto will be selling under the subscription program for which new contributors are currently only receiving $0.28 per download. This is a disincentive to put all their eggs in the iStockphoto basket in the future. And secondly, one of iStockphoto’s main points of differentiation is the millions of files only available there. The more contributors who are independent, and uploading their files elsewhere, then the smaller percentage of the iStock database is unique.

To maintain a unique selling point through exclusive content is why iStock must change exclusivity criteria.