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Tips for starting a photography business

Starting up a photography business can be a great idea for those people who have photography skills and want the independence running your own business can bring. Since photography businesses are usually run by freelancers and sole traders, you might not have a huge amount of support around you, so here are some tips to starting a photography business.

Oh, and if you found this page while looking for a photographer for a wedding, party, or other event, why not hire one of our photo booths to keep your guests entertained?

Being a people person

Running a successful photography business is about more than just being able to take a great photo. You also need to be a great people person. Weddings, for example, are very emotional events so you need to know how to deal with guests while still fulfilling your primary role of taking great photos.

More than just taking photos

Weddings are also a good example of all the work you have to do other than taking photos. You can’t just turn up on the day and get to work; no, you need to prepare beforehand and do things such as meeting your clients and checking out the venue. You’ll then need to do work afterwards, such as editing photos and choosing the best ones to give to your clients.

Getting into the photography business

Professional photographers often take on part-timers to help them during busy periods. Show them a portfolio of photos you’ve taken and ask them to consider taking you on as a part-timer or apprentice. You’ll probably get a chance to follow them around at a few jobs, and might even be trusted to take on smaller photography jobs alone. This is a great way to get experience of the photography industry before heading out into the world on your own.

Learning to be a professional photographer

You can gain qualifications in professional photography from industry bodies such as BIPP – however, BIPP does require that you are already earning money from photography before you can take any of their qualifications.

Investing in your photography business

Even if you had little interest in photography, you’d probably know that professional-level camera equipment can be very expensive, so you will need to invest quite heavily before you even start working as a professional photographer.

However, you should see it as an investment, one that will make you more money than it cost once you start working, and once you become known for doing a great job much of your marketing will be through word-of-mouth and so not cost a lot of money.

Having a party or getting married? Here’s how to get some great photos while keeping your guests entertained!

If you are having a party or getting married, you are going to have lots of guests to keep entertained. CheesySmiles can help: hiring one of our photo booths means all of your guests (of all ages) get to come together to have fun with lots of crazy photos.

The best thing about our photo booths is that they print out the photos, so hiring one means your guests get to go home with great, personalised keepsakes.

Want to know something else really great about our photo booths? Every photo booth hire package comes with crazy props included to make it even more fun.

Check out our FAQs page for more information about our photo booths.

Why you don’t want to be a professional wedding photographer

When one of our photo booths is at a wedding they have to work really hard because of how many people use them, and photo booths are only inanimate objects.

Now imagine you are a professional wedding photographer, having to deal with and socialise with loads of guests while trying to take great photos of the wedding to keep the bride and groom happy.

It’s very hard work. Here’s why you don’t want to be a professional wedding photographer.

Say goodbye to your summer holidays

Close your eyes and imagine you’re on a nice sandy beach; the sun’s out and you’re getting a nice tan. A nice breeze brings the fresh sea air and blows away all your worries.

Now forget about the beach because you’ll be spending your summer at strangers’ weddings taking photos instead. Quite inconveniently, people like to have their weddings in the summer (something to do with not wanting to get married when the weather is wet, grey, and miserable, apparently).

Are you sure you can handle the pressure?

Another thing about those people who are about to get married is that they don’t very much like it when the wedding photographer isn’t very good.

Your clients expect a lot from you. You can’t just turn up, you need to get involved with the wedding planning because you need to know what is going to happen at any point in the day so you are ready with your camera to take the perfect shot.

You might be self-employed, but you’re not your own boss

As a photographer you probably consider yourself to be an artist, and rightly so. But as a professional wedding photographer you are an artist who has to work for your clients, who will sometimes ask you to make some questionable creative choices. You can try to persuade them otherwise but they get the final say – you’ll have to be okay with this.

You have to be sociable at all times

Not only are you doing a job as a professional wedding photographer, you need to be able to socialise with all of the wedding guests because you are at a very personal occasion, and you need to make people feel comfortable enough to be on camera. If you can’t be sociable even when you are really stressed, you might want to reconsider being a professional wedding photographer.

Weddings are seasonal

All self-employed people have to come to terms with the feast-or-famine cycle, where one week they have way too much work to do, but then a few weeks later they have absolutely no work coming in. Professional wedding photographers also have the fact that the wedding business is seasonal. Most people like to get married in the summer so that’s when most of your wedding photography work will be.

Do you remember what sleep feels like?

As a wedding photographer you can’t just turn up for the few hours the wedding takes, take some photos, and then be done with it. You actually have to put in a lot of hours before the wedding when it is still being planned, during the wedding day while everything is being set up, and possibly hours of editing photos afterwards.

If you are getting married and want some even more fun and personal photos of your wedding, hire a photo booth from CheesySmiles for great memories and mementos.

How to get the best photos of your corporate event

Hiring a photo booth from us is a great way to use photography in a very social way to keep guests at your corporate event entertained. But if you want to capture the event as a whole, you will probably want to hire a professional photographer too.

Here is what you need to look for in order to get the best photos of your corporate event.

Don’t cheap out on your photographer

Good photographers can seem like an unnecessary expense when you are on a budget, but using an amateur photographer can be even more costly when you go through all the trouble of holding a corporate event only for the photos to not be that great.

Great pictures can make a great corporate event last a lifetime, and can be used for all sorts of marketing purposes – this will be wasted if you cheap out on the photographer and get bad photos.

Use a high quality camera

As great as the camera on your smartphone is, you are kidding yourself if you think it is anywhere near the quality of a professional-quality SLR camera. Getting your guests to take photos of your corporate event is a great way to get some really personal moments (check out our CheesyMoves service – where we send you video cameras for your staff to use – if you want more of these special moments) but if you want the best photos possible you need to hire a professional photographer who has all the right equipment.

Give the photographer as much information as possible to get an accurate quote

If you want the most accurate quote – one without hidden costs – you need to give the photographer as much information as possible about the corporate event and what you need them to do. This includes things like when and where they need to be at the event to capture the important moments and what the photos will be used for.

Remember that not everybody loves being photographed

Let your guests know that there will be a photographer there so that they know what to expect. It is especially important to notify any speaker you might have so they are not taken by surprise in the middle of a speech.

Look at photographers’ portfolios

Don’t just hire the first photographer you come across, your corporate event deserves better than that. Check out the portfolios of photographers to see if the quality and style of their photos is up to scratch.

Make sure the photographer knows the venue

The photographer needs to know his or her way around the venue where the corporate event is taking place, so if they haven’t been there before make sure they turn up early so they can have a look around.

See who owns the copyright and check the terms of photo usage

Before you sign anything you need to discuss who will own the copyright of the photos and what they can be used for. See if you will be allowed to use them for things like your website and future promotion.

Photography for your guests to enjoy

Hiring a professional photographer is great for capturing the corporate event as a whole, but what if you want to use photography to keep your guests entertained?

Hiring one of our photo booths is a great way to bring your guests together to have fun. And because all of our photo booth packages come with props included, they really get to let their hair down. Read more about how hiring a photo booth from CheesySmiles can help bring your corporate event to life.

How to trick people into thinking your photos were taken by a professional

It takes more than an Instagram filter to make your photos look like they were taken by a professional photographer, but there are steps you can take to improve your photography skills.

These tips aren’t going to make you a world-class photographer overnight, you will need to practise at it and use all of your creativity.

Get the exposure right

If you want to get the exposure, or brightness, of your photo right so it looks really professional you are going to have to change the settings of the aperture, shutter speed, and ISO manually as your camera’s automatic setting will try to get somewhere in the middle of all the different brightness levels in the frame. You want to make sure you control which parts of the photo are bright and dark.

Take photos of something worth looking at

You might be the sort of person who loves to take selfies but selfies aren’t going to get many people’s interest. Professional photos look good because they show something interesting so give people a reason to look at the photo.

Most professional photos are edited in some way

Photoshopped photos often get a bad press because magazines often make their models look unrealistic, but most photos need at least a little editing to make them look professional, whether it be changing the colours, the brightness, or any number of other possible changes.

Get in close to your subject

Photos which have too many things in it can distract the viewer from what is important, the subject. An easy way to remedy this is by getting in close your subject so it fills the frame.

Think about all the rubbish around your subject

This is related to the previous point; having too many things going on will confuse the photo. Professional photos focus on the subject, so you need to make sure there isn’t anything messy around the photo.

Get the lighting right

Whenever you take photos, you should also be thinking about the lighting. Good lighting is arguably the thing which will turn a potentially boring photo into a professional-looking masterpiece. Look at how the light bounces off certain objects and creates shadows and think how you could use it to your advantage.

Get creative

Creativity is the one thing that will really make your photos stand out from the rest. Always think about lighting, interesting compositions and subjects. Make sure you tell a story within the frame.

Make taking great photos at parties easy

If you are planning a party and want to actually enjoy it rather than spending all night pointing your camera at people, think about hiring one of our photo booths. Our photo booths are a place where all the guests come together to have loads of fun while taking really creative photos.

How to get more Instagram followers so people actually see your favourite photos

Because we hire photo booths for parties we know a thing or two about sharing photos. If you want to share your best photos on a large scale Instagram is the way to go, but not many people will see your photos if nobody actually follows you. Here are CheesySmiles’ top tips on getting more Instagram followers.

Have a theme

People will have more of a reason to follow you if your Instagram account has a focus, where all your photos follow a theme. The theme is up to you – choose something you yourself are interested in.

Talk to your followers

If the followers you already have comment on your photos, try to always say something back – people are more likely to follow those users who interact.

Like other people’s photos

Liking lots and lots of photos similar to yours will get you noticed. People who follow accounts similar to yours will be more likely to follow you too.

Take interesting photos

Take interesting photos so that your Instagram feed is something you would enjoy yourself if it was made by someone else.

Use your other social media accounts

If you have lots of followers and friends on Twitter and Facebook let them know about your Instagram account – they might want to follow you on Instagram too.

Edit your photos

There are plenty of smartphone apps that make it easy to edit photos, so make sure you edit photos to make them look as good as possible before you post them to Instagram.

Quality over quantity

While it’s a good thing to keep up a schedule and post photos to Instagram regularly there’s no point posting just for the sake of it if the quality isn’t up to scratch.

Use hashtags

Don’t use common hashtags like #cat because you will be competing with millions of other photos, but still try to find hashtags that are relevant to your photos.

Promote your favourite Instagrammers

Have an Instagram account you really admire? Try reposting some of their best photos to your followers, making sure you tag them. The Instagrammer you promote will be flattered and might even pay back the favour and tell their followers about you.

Follow you friends and get them to follow back

Follow the accounts Instagram recommends. These are often people from your other social media accounts so they will be more likely to follow you back.

Hire a photo booth from CheesySmiles for even better parties

When you hire a photo booth from CheesySmiles you make your party extra special because of the crazy amount of fun everyone has with each other and with the included props.

What not to do as a photographer

There are plenty of articles telling you what you should be doing as a photographer, but here’s what you shouldn’t be doing.

Keep auto-flash turned on

If you care about photography you need to be thinking about lighting all the time, and not let auto-flash try to do the work for you. It will not only make you lazy but it will make your photos look bad and all washed out. Rely on natural lighting as much as possible.

Share every single photo you take

It’s quick and easy to post every single photo you take onto your favourite social media platforms such as Facebook, Tumblr, or Instagram, but it’s also a bad idea. You’ll end up showing people loads of repeated and blurry photos rather than showing only your best shots. Go through all of your photos and pick the ones that are actually good – people will be way more impressed if they only see your best shots.

Do the same things over and over again

As a photographer or, in fact, any type of artist, it can be easy to find something you are good at, a particular technique or subject matter, for instance, and do that thing over and over again in an attempt to replicate your success. Doing the same things over and over will only lead to stagnation so you need to keep trying new things.

Think you might not need a camera when you leave your house

If you are serious about photography you should always have a camera on you. There are so many small moments in life that you never know when they will happen, and if you don’t have a camera on you, you miss out on capturing a beautiful photo.

Luckily, most people own smartphones that have decent camera, so you don’t always need to be lugging a big SLR camera around with you.

Spend more time thinking about your equipment than actually taking photos

The most important aspects of photography are things like lighting, composition, and subject matter. The specs of your gear are secondary, so while you might salivate over the most expensive, top-of-the-like lens, owning it won’t actually make you a better photographer. The biggest tools in your photography kit are your eyes and creativity.

Keep all your photos locked away on a hard drive

It’s funny that while so many people have access to a camera, be it on their smartphone or an SLR, less photos are actually printed than ever before. Our photo booths wouldn’t be nearly as fun as they are if they didn’t print photos out, because there’s something special about photos that you can hold in your hands. You’re much more likely to see and appreciate good photography if it isn’t locked away on a hard drive.

Throwing a party but want to relax instead of taking photos?

If you’re throwing a party, but would rather have fun with your guests than be stressed out about making sure you have the best photos, consider hiring one of our photo booths. Your guests will have loads of fun and they’ll be able take great mementos home because our photo booths print out the photos.

How to be a better child photographer

Whether you are a professional photographer or a hobbyist, child photography is one of the most difficult photography skills. However, by following our tips you’ll be a better child photographer in no time.

Set up your camera before you start the photoshoot

Child photography is one of the most challenging types of photography because children tend to fidget a lot and have short attention spans. That’s why you should set up your camera before the start of the photoshoot because children will likely lose interest if they have to wait for you to look through your camera’s settings.

As with most photography, use natural lighting whenever possible

In probably 99% of photography situations, using natural lighting over an artificial flash is the way to go because it will give you the best picture. The easiest way to achieve this is by taking the child being photographed outside during the day – a park is a good option.

Let the child get involved with the photography

If you are a photographer, you probably know that taking photos is way more fun than being the model being photographed. Let the children you take photos of into all the action – show them the screen of your camera as you take photos of them so they are more involved and get excited about having photos taken of them.

Set up your camera for shooting sports

When you take photographs of children there is a very good chance that they won’t be able to sit still for long, which can cause blurry photos if you aren’t prepared. It’s best to set your camera up for capturing fast movements, so pretend you are going to photograph sports and use a fast shutter speed.

Take burst photos to take LOTS of photos

Since children move around so much you never know when they might do something interesting. Set your camera to burst mode so you can hold down the shutter button to take several shots in quick succession.

Let kids be kids and let them play

While there are occasions when you want your child to formally pose for a photo, such as a school photo, child photography is best when you capture children being themselves – that means capturing them when they are playing. When you take photos of a child let them do what they enjoy doing and get your camera out.

Taking child photos the easy way – hiring a CheesySmiles photo booth

Putting on a birthday party for your child? When you hire a photo booth from CheesySmiles, you not only make it easy to capture great photos (because the photo booth does all the work) but the kids have crazy amounts of fun. All of our photo booth packages come with props included for extra fun.

Our photo booths print the photos too, so everybody goes home with amazing mementos.

Reasons why you should be a photographer

We all know photography is cool. If it wasn’t nobody would hire our photo booths for their parties.

But you don’t have to hire one of our photo booths to get in on the photography action. There’s a 99.9% chance you have a camera on your smartphone. Maybe you even take it really seriously and bought an expensive and flashy SLR.

Here are the best reasons why you should get into photography.

Tell your story

Everything you do and see is part of your life story. Photography is a great way of capturing this story and then showing other people.

Appreciate good photos more

Whatever the art form, whether it be writing, music, or photography, taking part yourself, creating your own art, makes you appreciate other art because you know exactly what it takes to create good art.

Do it whenever you want

Cameras are portable, especially if you use your smartphone. That means you can do it without any forward planning. You could just be walking down the street and get the itch to take a photo; just take your camera out of your pocket and you are good to go.

Be creative

Being creative has lots of benefits. It adds something to the world. It gives you energy. It makes you feel alive. People appreciate and admire you more. Photography lets you be creative with little training.

Capture emotion

There is emotion everywhere, but it isn’t just limited to people. Even inanimate objects can show emotion with a perfectly composed photo.

Feel emotion

If a photo can show emotion it means looking at a good photo can make you feel emotion. Even the act of taking photos can make you feel the emotions you wish the photos to convey.

Capture travels

Travelling is an amazing opportunity to see new things and meet new people. What better way to make your travel memories last forever than by taking photos of your experiences? And then you can use the photos to share your experience with friends and family.

Make heirlooms

One of the best things about photos is that they last. Photos can be a way to share your experiences and memories with your kids and grandkids, and their grandkids, and their grandkids, etc.

Communicate with the world, no matter what language you speak

Images can break all language barriers so photography is a great way of communicating with the world because everyone understands a beautiful photo no matter what language they speak.

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