It is truly a blessing and a wonderful feeling to wake up each day doing the things you truly love to do. It is also amazing that those things create for you the lifestyle of your choosing. For me it is travel photography.
Early in life I discovered my love for art. Sketching in pencil, pen, ink, and charcoal. Later in life I was introduced to analog photograph. I became obsessed. But, because of the cost of film and printing, I had to abandon this love.
Now that I am retired I have returned to my passion. I am fascinated by this new era of digital imagery. Thus, the creation of Digital Age Professionals.
We first, had to consider who our potential customers were going to be. Secondly, we had to identify the problems DAP could solve for these customers. After, this we had to establish a location for our potential customers to visit.
Working from the digital format, our first step involved building our web site. Our website is our digital home (real estate). We have made our home as delightful as possible.
As with any home we expect guest. Guest come in two distinct forms, invited, and uninvited. I don’t know about you but certain close friends are allowed to drop by anytime. Of course, the option of admittance is entirely at my discretion 🙂
Then there are those uninvited guest. That you really have to consider if they are worthy for admittance. However, with our business home we want everybody interested in our product or services to stop by at any and all times!
Marketing, is where my problems began! I quickly realized that even though I had a web site, no one was stopping by. I became very lonely. In this instance lonely equates too low income. I had to quickly learn to market my product to those who are interested in my problem solving capabilities.
Thanks to Six Figure Mentors and AWeber I have now developed superior marketing skills and capabilities. Not only for me, but to other business owners who have marketing problems.
Marketing is the most important part of our business development. Without customers there is no business.
Choosing A Niche
Even though my problems began with marketing, choosing my niche quickly became my largest problem. I am writing this post for all new marketeers who are wrestling with this very same problem.
Affiliate marketing got me started, then I soon realized that I had to develop marketing plans that were concentrated on a particular speciality according to my personal desire. This is where the rubber meets the road.
I spent months trying to get this right. I now understand that many marketeers struggle with this problem. Thankfully my love for photography led me to my perfect niche.
By the way, what I have learned from all of this, is that finding the proper niche is an evolutionary process. Don’t get hung up, let your heart lead you to the lifestyle you desire.
If you have found yourself here on this page because you want to RETIRE and create your own LIFESTYLE, become fully FINANCIALLY SELF-RELIANT, and you also absolutely love the idea of being able to LIVE ANYWHERE, then this could well be exactly what you're looking for.
More and more people are looking for a realistic way to RETIRE and actually INCREASE THEIR INCOME while living a lifestyle of complete freedom. I can tell you that it is absolutely realistic and more so than ever in today's digital world.
In my retirement what was really important to me was not just the fact I wanted to be able to make money with my own business. But I wanted to find something I could really believe in and enjoy. I wanted to follow the advice of one of my favorite motivational gurus Tony Robbins and set myself up with a business that would not just bring success, but fulfillment as well.
“Success without fulfillment is the ultimate failure”. - Tony Robbins.
What kind of retirement business is right for you?
For me the most important thing was finding a business I could build around what I like to do. When you work doing what you enjoy, you no longer consider it to be work. So offer a product or service that resonates around that which you most enjoy. For me it is photography. As an affiliate marketer, I am developing products and services base on my niche of photography.
Like the famous author, Robert Kiyosaki states, you should start with anything that is very product-driven and extremely easy to fulfill on. Something you believe in and feel confident selling. It needs to be a product or service you can sell many times over every week without spending a lot of your personal time on customer service and support or transactions.
Get started with Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is a great one to start with. This is where you sell other businesses products and get a commission – without having to do any fulfillment or delivery. If you're an affiliate, the amount of products you can sell is unlimited. And the beauty of it is that you can sell those products or services many times over, 24/7, 365 days a year. So even when you're on the beach or sleeping, you are busy growing your income as you grow your sales.
Another option is to sell physical products with an E-commerce business. With physical products, you don't have to reinvent the wheel. You can order existing products in bulk at a fraction of the cost and then set up a sales system.
Opportunities like Amazon FBA will do the heavy lifting for you. They will process the payments from customers and deal with the packaging, distribution, and customer service. In the meantime, you'll get busy selling the products and setting up marketing and ad campaigns to make those sales happen – which you can do from ANYWHERE in just one or two hours a day.
Whatever you're selling, the first 10 sales are going to be the hardest. But once you've made your first double figures in sales, you'll gain the confidence that you can rinse and repeat – and grow. You'll learn exactly how many sales you need to be making each week and each month to reach your goals.
People always want the ultimate answer to the question "how long is it going to take?" But I've seen so much diversity – from 2 days to 12 months to make the first 10 sales. It comes down to whether you picked the right product for the market at the current time – and your commitment to learning the digital skills you need to succeed.
If you are serious about getting a business started and you're looking for a genuine way to do it as a retiree, without having to break the bank and at the same time not have a ceiling on your income potential.
Then be sure to check out this FREE video series that's been responsible for helping THOUSANDS of people just like you to start an online business from scratch and around their day jobs.
It's totally free to register and receive the training, and it's totally void of all the usual hype and false promises you see online,(the degree of your results depend on the degree of your effort) so please don’t worry you won’t be taken for a ride!
Retire Comfortably, Live Anywhere and Become Financially Self-Reliant!
Subscribe for FREE to this powerful 4 part video series and discover the secrets to starting a successful online business from scratch.
You Can’t Change Your Circumstances By Doing the Same Things. In order to get a different outcome, you must change the way you are doing things. You can’t expect a better environment or circumstances when you continue to do the same things the same way. OK, I think you got the point.
Anyway, what I am trying to convey is a well known Universal Law, called Cause and Effect. The law simply states; For every effect, there is a cause. Therefore there is a cause for any and all of your circumstances, as well as the environment in which you live.
Now comes the hard part, and that is accepting that YOU are the cause! We all have a tendency to place blame everywhere but on ourselves. In the allegory of Adam and Eve, Adam placed blame on Eve for his disobedience. We all have a tendency to look for others to blame.
You are the cause! Being created in the “image and likeness of God” makes you a part of Universal Spirit (God is omnipresent). A part of anything possesses the same substance and qualities of that from which it comes. Remember the “Kingdom of God is within”.
All power including the power to change things comes from within. Now ask yourself:
Are you happy with your circumstances/environment?
Are you happy with your job?
Are you tired of living paycheck to paycheck?
Are you tired of working 60 hours per week just to make ends meet?
Are you tired of just being the consumer?
Are you tired of spending your whole paycheck on bills?
If you are dissatisfied with your answers to any of these questions, you need to change the way you are doing things. Change the way you think!
Explore your options, consider your purpose, and your God-given gifts and talents. Find your niche and create a better experience. You are an individualized Spirit, placed on earth with a purpose to create something. Look around you, everything you see that is not animal, vegetable or mineral was created by a man acting in harmony with Universal Spirit.
My new creation is an internet marketing business called “Digital Age Professionals”. I have found that the internet marketing platform provides me the opportunity to participate in a global economy, offering unlimited income potential, all while living a lifestyle of freedom.
Acting within my purpose which is to help people, I believe in the greatest good for the greatest number. I am offering you the opportunity to join me and help to make a change “one person at a time, from the inside out” Click the banner below to launch your new lifestyle at no cost! Let your journey begin!
I take a lot of travel photos (it comes naturally, being a travel blogger!) and I’m always thinking of ways that those photos can make me money. I love the photos I’ve taken, so surely other people would too?
Here I’ve put together a big list of websites where you can sell your travel photos online, some are big companies you’ll have heard of – others are smaller companies – that might make a better choice if you’re taking this on as a side project for extra ‘pocket-money’. Either way – these are all great places to sell your photos online – so get reading!
Sell your images through iStock Photo and you’ll earn a royalty rate of 15% for each download. There is also an option to become an exclusive contributor and earn up to 45% instead, which is pretty impressive. These website has a good community feel to it – there are lots of forums and group discussion, which really helps when you’re trying to figure out which of your photos will sell online better than others.
Learn how to sell photos online as fine art, and get your own eCommerce website with must-have features to increase your art sales. This is a robust website platform for professional photographers focused on selling their images as art prints. They provide first-class educational resources, and a step-by-step Success Plan to ensure that you follow best-practices. You can print and fulfill your own orders, choose your own lab, or use one of their labs for automated print fulfillment (“print on demand”). There is also a members-only forum where all customers share ideas, sales strategies, and receive guidance from industry experts.
If you work in travel, and want to make extra money from your photos – TourPhotos is a professional photography platform dedicated to tourism and activity companies. It will help you manage and deliver your tour photos (the photographs from your activities, excursions and attractions) to your customers. You will be able to choose whether to sell or make your photos available for free (SELL plan or GIVE plan). TourPhotos charges between 19% and 25% commission on your sales with zero fixed fees (if you decide to sell photos) or a 19$/49$ (pro/business) monthly fee if you decide to share your photos for free. With its endless features and tools, TourPhotos guarantees you, your photographers and your final customers an extremely user-friendly, customisable and professional experience.
This website is a lot like an online gallery or portfolio – with the added benefit of being able to sell your photos online via the tool too. It’s great as it has two purposes. The first (of course) to sell your photos, the second – to make them look awesome. And you’re more likely to sell more photos online, the more professional and awesome you’ve got them displayed. You can set your own pricing and you get to keep 85% of the markup – but that’s not all, as well as selling digital downloads, you have the option of selling prints and greetings cards too, which is good for those of us who want more selling options.
On Alamy photographers earn a whopping 60% royalty fee on any images they sell, so it’s easy to see why this website is such a popular choice when it comes to selling photos online. It’s one of the world’s largest stock photo libraries – so you’l have a fair bit of competition, but maybe that’s a good thing and will help you step up your game!
This is one of the smaller websites on the list, but still offers a great reach for beginners – so would make a fantastic option for anyone wanting to dip their toe into the world of selling photos online. The royalty isn’t too bad either – you’ll get 50% of the price of each photos you sell.
Dreamstime is a microstock agency, and one of the best there is. Aside from being easy to use, it is well thought of and reputable too – which is just as important when making the decision of where to sell your photos online. Before you start selling, you’ll need to get your images approved by their editors (which can be a long process) but once you’ve been approved and you’ve got the hang of it, a rate of 25-50% royalty is yours for the taking.
This is perhaps one of the more well known options on this list, and if you like the idea of selling your work (but at the same time want to retain complete control and pocket more of the profit – who doesn’t want those things?) you could consider setting up a professional photography website with built-in ecommerce from PhotoShelter. The PhotoShelter system is modern, and will make your images look beautiful.
To start selling with Crestock, simply sign up to their website, follow through the easy registration process… and you’re good to go! They’ll give you 30% royalty, so once the images have been approved by staff you may be able to start selling images within the week!
I like Fotolia for its convenience, fair royalties and expansive market reach. Sign up and present your work to more than four million image buyers around the world, around the clock and you’ll notice your images start selling quickly and seamlessly. Each time one of your photos sell, you earn a royalty of between 20% and 63% of your sale, which is immediately added to your Fotolia account – which takes away any money hassles.
Shutterstock is a highly ranking website which means it likely gets a lot of online traffic – perfect for making sure you sell your photos! Shutterstock also have an approval process in place – and you’ll have to submit ten initial images for approval before you can proceed with any others. But no fear! There are many online forums on their website where you can pick up hints and tips for getting this right first time. With Shutterstock you’ll earn between $0.25 and $28 each time an image of yours sells, depending on the licence.
With this site, their royalty structure is based on your contributor level, which is quite unique. It basically means, the more images you upload, the more you can earn – good news for anyone who plans to commit to this full-time. The amount you receive could rise from 30% up to 60% if you are particularly active on the site – so get started quickly and build up your reputation.
Zenfolio allows you to create a portfolio site of your work, a little like Smug Mug mentioned above. You can upload photos, create galleries, password protect galleries, and make your photos available for purchase – a great option for wedding and event photographers where you might make several sales off the back of one event. There is a 14-day free trial available if you want to give it a spin first.
This is a more quirky one, but I wanted to include it! If your images are more VSCO and Instagram friendly – than studio lighting and fake smiles, you may find the audience on Red Bubble more interested in what you have to sell. They don’t just sell images, it’s all about the products too – so you could sell canvases with your images on, for example.
This is a bargain stock photo website, so the amount you’ll make will be less per image – but if people buy in bulk, it may end up equalising anyway. With a less strict submission process that other big names on this list, it may be a good option for anyone wanting to test the water.
Street photography is one of the most popular genres for image-makers. But getting those striking photos isn’t always easy. These top tips will help you get the best results
Street photography is a genre that many will experiment with at some point in their photography journey, even if it’s not their principal subject of interest. It’s easily accessible for photographers of all levels, and provides ample opportunity to practice a wide range of photography skills and techniques. Great street photography has the power to evoke a range of emotions with the viewer, turn the environment around us into something extraordinary, and provide an unseen and intimate glimpse into the everyday life of others.
Saying this, capturing great photos within this genre takes time, patience, and above all, practice. So, to help you elevate your street photography–here are our top tips:
1 Travel light
One of the biggest advantages of street photography versus other photographic genres is that you do not need a lot of equipment for it. This is handy as you will be spending a considerable amount of time walking around looking for interesting scenes to capture. And you will generally be shooting handheld so those cumbersome tripods can stay at home, as can the bulk of your camera gear.
Just pack your camera, mirrorless, smartphones and compact cameras are great for street photography as they are lighter and smaller than DSLRs (read more about different types of cameras here). Also consider a zoom lens – something like a 24-70mm or 24mm-105mm lens will be more than sufficient.
The only other accessory, besides a spare battery and memory cards, that might be useful would be a small LED light. This will help in low light scenarios by allowing you to illuminate your subject a little – instead of having to raise your ISO too high, which may impact the overall quality of your image. Read more about ISO here.
2 Get close and get over your inhibitions
Often street photography will involve people being in your composition, and to capture an intimate moment, it might mean taking a photo without the subject noticing. At other times your subject needs to be looking at the camera to help build that engagement in the photo. Either way, you will need to be close to your subject to get the best shot.
One of the most common issues encountered when practising street photography is shyness in approaching strangers to photograph, which might result in trying to take a photo from a distance with a telephoto lens, which won’t yield good results. If this sounds like you, the shyness will be a big hurdle that you need to overcome if you want to get better at street photography.
So how do you overcome your shyness? A task that I often set for my workshop attendees who suffer from this is to capture at least 3 head and shoulder portraits of strangers every day. This means they have to ask people which, when done enough, helps overcome that shyness. And in turn, you’ll find your street photography will become much more engaging.
3 Learn to shoot from the hip
This is a useful technique for every street photographer to master – but especially for those who struggle with shyness. It involves just pointing the camera and shooting from lower down without looking at the LCD or through the viewfinder. The benefits of this technique are that your shots can feel more spontaneous and of course, people will be far less aware that they are being photographed.
But as you might imagine, without composing your shot properly through the viewfinder or LCD screen, the results will be very hit and miss. Sometimes you will capture a great photo, but you must accept that most of the time your shots will not work. Like anything, the more you practice the better you will become at using this technique.
4 Make sure you’re ready
Good street photography will involve capturing fleeting or spontaneous moments. So, you need to be ready to shoot at any moment. That means your camera needs to be out of your bag, turned on with the lens cap off. You should also get into the habit of tweaking your exposure settings regularly based on the environment around you.
There are no universal settings for street photography as every scenario is different. But as a rule, I would recommend shooting in burst mode (when you hold down the shutter button on your camera to take multiple shots in rapid succession) as it’s extremely difficult to nail the perfect moment with one shot. Using burst mode, you can select the best frame later when you are editing your shots.
The other setting that you will find useful in most street photography scenarios is “continuous focus”. When enabled, if the shutter button is held down half-way the camera will continue to focus on the subject. This is vital when photographing a moving subject – as the point of focus will change every millisecond to stay on the subject.
5 Wait for the right moment
I refer to this technique as ‘setting a photography trap’. It simply requires you to find an interesting setting or location and wait for the perfect moment to take a photo. You could be waiting just a few minutes, sometimes a bit longer, and in extreme cases – hours!
See the visual examples below, the key is to try to pre-visualise the shot in your head, get your settings correct and wait for the perfect moment.
6 Look beyond eye-level shots
Every photographer is guilty of taking too many shots at eye level. You will be amazed how different your photos will look by simply raising your camera above your head or lowering it to the ground. Even just kneeling will give your shot a completely different perspective.
A lot of cameras these days come with a tiltable LCD screen that makes it incredibly easy and a lot more convenient to shoot at different angles. A good habit to get into is to take a variety of shots low to the ground, eye-level and above your head when you’re out with your camera. This will give you a nice range of images from different perspectives.
7 Simplify your composition
It is easy to fall into the trap of trying to include too much in your composition. In street photography, it is even more important to have a clear and defined story. This does not necessarily mean that you should have only one focal point in the shot. But rather to be aware of other elements in your composition that might be distracting to the viewer.
For example, if the main point of interest is in the centre of your shot, avoid distracting elements around the edges of the frame. Or if you are photographing a busy scene, make sure you have a clear point of focus for the viewer so that their eyes are not darting around the image.
8 Incorporate the urban environment
Photo opportunities for a street photographer are endless. There are just so many different variables that you can combine to make your photos unique. One of the biggest elements is the environment around you. Any built-up area will have interesting textures and features that can bring a photo to life.
Some of the best street photos are those that incorporate the built environment into the main story of the image. So be on the lookout for interesting scenes where you can combine the main subject of the photo with the surrounding environment.
9 Look for interesting light and contrasts
It is not just your subject and story that can elevate your street photos, but also the light and contrasts present in any scene. Street photography will naturally mean you’re taking photos in built up areas. This will present challenges in being able to control harsh light in bright and dark areas. But often you can use these contrasts to your advantage by making them part of your composition.
Like the examples below, if you are faced with a harsh backlit scenario, then look to capture silhouettes. If there is strong light and shadow across your scene, see if you can use it as a frame for your shot, or as leading lines to guide the viewer into other parts of the image. Strong contrasts also look great when converted to black and white
10 There’s no such thing as bad weather
One of the best things about street photography is that you are not restricted by changing weather and light conditions as you may be with landscape photography. In some ways, what could be considered ‘bad conditions’ is perfect for street photography. For example, overcast and rainy conditions are often the bugbear of landscape and nature photographers. But with street photography, these can be great conditions.
Muted light makes it much easier to manage your exposure, and the city streets after rainfall present tons of opportunities to capture reflections or interesting shots through rain-soaked windows (see the examples below). Even in harsh sunshine, you can utilise the shadows I talked about above to add an interesting element to your compositions.
Street photography is a great genre of photography to be involved in. Not only will you learn a lot of skills that will help you in whatever type of photography you specialise in, but you will also end up with some amazingly unique photos. By following these 10 tips above, you will find your images become much more striking, not just with street shots, but across many other photographic subjects too.
Like any other business, your photography business requires good marketing and a strategy to help increase its revenue. Here are five simple ideas you can try out…
One of the most important lessons I learned early in my photography career was that to be a commercially-successful photographer, you cannot just be a good photographer. You need to view your photography as a business.
That means being proactive in promoting your work and marketing yourself to potential clients, which is even more critical these days when there is so much competition out there. To help your business grow, you need to start thinking like both a photographer and a marketing manager. These five ideas will help you get into that frame of mind.
1 Write a marketing plan
All photographers are guilty of the ‘scattergun’ marketing approach. This means the type of marketing strategy that involves the odd social media post, Google ad or a sporadic email to a client. Not many photographers take the time to think and plan their marketing strategy. But planning one presents a real opportunity.
Start by thinking about your photography business overall. Write down what you are hoping to achieve short term and long term. For example, ask yourself, are there any particular customers who you would like approach? Or do you want to start selling photography-related products like calendars and prints? Once you have an idea about your business goals, you can begin devising a marketing plan.
Create a marketing strategy for your photography business and set a range of goals on what you want to achieve in the short-term and long-term.
Think of all the different marketing avenues that you can follow, such as social media, email and networking, and create a strategy for each one. It is not enough to think, “I’ll post a photo on Instagram”. You need to know why you are doing it and what you will be doing. For example, you might choose to use Instagram to showcase photos you want to sell as prints, whereas in an email to your client list, you might like to talk about a shoot you have recently finished. The important thing is to treat each marketing channel separately and create a bespoke plan for each one that ties into your overall strategy.
My Instagram profile showcases a curated selection of my images and highlights some of the clients I work with.
For a deeper dive into channel-specific social media marketing, check out the dedicated guides found on your Picfair Dashboard here.
One of the best ways to market your business is to continually keep your contacts and clients informed with news and updates about you and your work. For example, when you finish a new shoot, you could create an album on Picfair with your best images and send an email to your contacts and customers to tell them about it. A proactive approach like this could mean you end up with more sales than you were expecting!
Emails don’t need to be regular. You should make sure everything you send out adds value to your photography business. Make a list of ideas, upcoming shoots, or anything else that is relevant. Then make a note in your diary and who you want to email so that you are ready when the time comes to get in touch.
Popular holidays such as Halloween and Christmas are also a great reason to get in touch with your customers and showcase your themed images.
Send your customers themed holiday emails that showcase your work. Image buyers regularly purchase holiday-themed images. And a friendly email is an ideal way to remind your customers about your photography.
You may also find that emails tailored to particular clients or potential customers will be more successful than blanket emails and better appreciated by the recipient. This is another reason why it is essential to make a proper plan of who you are emailing and why.
Create a calendar for your emails so you can plan well in advance and make sure what you’re going to send out adds value each time.
Create a calendar for your emails so you can plan well in advance and make sure what you’re going to send out adds value.
3 Don’t neglect print marketing
If you are old enough, you may remember how great it felt when you received a postcard from a relative from their vacation. In today’s digital world, we have somewhat lost the practice of sending out physical correspondence. But you should not underestimate the power of sending out something related to your photography business in print. It will stand out much more than an email and help the recipient keep you in mind every time they see it.
Start by getting some quality, professional-looking business cards printed. Business cards will always be handy to have on you to give people that you meet. And if you’re on a shoot where you could encounter potential customers, like at an event, you’ll have something you can give them.
I often send my best clients and customers something in print, like a set of postcards, desk calendars, or even a small print of one of my photos. I almost always receive an email back with a thank you for the item. Just make sure you enclose your business card with what you’re sending out too!
You can also go further and create something even more significant in print! Here’s a personal magazine of my photography that I’ve made to send to my clients and potential customers.
4 Keep your contact information up to date
I often write travel articles for some of the UK’s biggest brands, and recently I was working on a project where I needed travel writers. It was astonishing how difficult it was to find contact information for some people, so I gave up. Those writers missed out on the project I was working on simply because I couldn’t find contact information for them. Keeping your contact information up to date is one of the quickest and easiest marketing fixes you can make. The best way to do this is to set yourself a reminder once a month, along with a checklist of places to review your contact information.
Keep a list of the places you have your contact information, and keep this up to date. Some of the places where you may keep your contact information may include your Picfair Store, external blog or website, social media profiles, email signatures and any organisations or trade bodies where you are a member.
As well as your necessary contact details, you may also want to update other relevant information related to your photography business. For example, you may have just won a photography competition, or learned a new type of skill (like aerial photography) or even moved location. Make sure your information tells people about it. Otherwise, you could potentially be missing out on work.
If you’ve recently up-skilled or added a new type of photography to your offering – make sure you add this to your contact information. Image by Gabriel Codarcea.
5 Engage with other photographers
One of the downsides of photography is that it can be a lonely profession or hobby, which was the case even before the pandemic. However, it’s essential to know that there are plenty of opportunities for those who want to connect with other photographers. Often in associations, camera clubs or even community groups based on the photography subjects you enjoy.
You may think, “How will that help my photography business?”. The answer is that you never know when someone might recommend you for work or know someone who requires your services. Expanding your photographer network will help you get your name out there and lead you to new customers.
At the very least, you should join some private groups on social media (like Facebook groups). These groups also allow you to interact and share ideas with likeminded individuals. Who might inspire you or give you some ideas on how you can improve your images.
Engaging with like-minded photographers will help you expand your network and could lead you to potential new opportunities. Image by Dan Martland.
If you want to make your photography business more profitable, then a well-planned and executed marketing strategy is necessary.
Remember, marketing your photography business is no different from any other business. And the sooner you get to work on your strategy, the sooner you’ll start seeing the benefits.
In 1797, the engraver and painter John Thomas Smith, who worked as the keeper of prints at the British Museum, came up with a revolutionary theory.
In his view, landscape paintings worked best not when sky and land were given equal weight, but when one or the other took up an entire two-thirds of the canvas. Contrary to popular wisdom, which favored the “formal half” or a one-to-one ratio, he wondered if the most appealing compositions, in fact, featured a different ratio altogether: one-to-two.
Smith’s theory predates the invention of the camera by about twenty years, but these days, we know it as one of the guiding principles of photography. Now, when we discuss composition, we still use the same term Smith coined all those years ago: the rule of thirds.
Once you understand this common photographic technique, you can learn to position your subject in any image so that the photo is both visually balanced and interesting to your viewers. In this article, we’ll explore the rule of thirds and how you can use it to your advantage.
What is the rule of thirds?
The rule of thirds is one of the easiest ways to experiment with your composition; it is simply a matter of placing the elements in your image so that each of them carries the proper amount of visual weight.
Imagine you are looking at a tic-tac-toe board. Notice how the lines on that board create three distinct horizontal sections and three distinct vertical sections. There are also four points where the lines intersect. According to the rule of thirds, placing your subject along a line or point on this grid will create a more dynamic composition.
You have the option to view a rule of thirds grid as an overlay in your DSLR viewfinder, and you can even look for a grid option in the camera settings on your phone. This can be helpful when you’re practicing the rule of thirds, but be wary of using it too much as it may interfere with your ability to visualize other compositions while you shoot. The best way to master the rule of thirds is to practice visualizing it in your mind.
How to use the rule of thirds
New photographers tend to put their subjects in the very center of the frame. While this can result in a strong composition under the right circumstances, it can also create static images that lack interest.
This is partly due to the way our eyes view a scene: they naturally try to follow the lines and points on the grid, even when the grid is not visible. It’s also due to another compositional element: balanced asymmetry. Usually, your subject will already carry the greatest impact out of all the elements in your image, so it wields a lot of visual weight. By positioning the subject so that it takes up approximately one-third of the image, you’re leaving enough negative space to balance that weight.
In landscapes Try aligning your horizon line with one of the two horizontal lines on the grid. This keeps your viewer’s eye from getting stuck going side to side. If the sky is distractingly bright, this is an easy way to balance that punch of brightness with the more muted detail in the land portion of your image.
In portraiture The eyes are usually the focus of a portrait, so try to line up your model’s eyes along the grid to give them high visual exposure. For group portraits, use stools, steps, or natural height strategically to utilize different areas of the grid.
Some things to consider
The rule of thirds is a great “cheat sheet” for getting dynamic compositions out of almost any scene. However, it’s not always the best choice for every photo. If you’re shooting in one of the following circumstances, the rule of thirds might not be right for your image.
You want something to have a larger-than-life effect Platon is famous for his in-your-face portraits of celebrities and world leaders. You really get a sense of who they are, and for that kind of impact, the subject is the only thing that matters. Although some of his other work does use the rule of thirds, these pieces would only be hindered by it.
If you already use the rule of thirds too frequently This rule is meant to stimulate creativity, not inhibit it. If you’ve come to rely heavily on the rule of thirds and notice that a lot of your work is looking eerily similar, it may be time to try something new.
You’re battling lens distortion If you’re using a wide-angle lens, placing your subject in one of the outer thirds could cause them to appear too distorted. If that’s not the effect you are going for, switch lenses or switch photography rules.
The rule of thirds in post-processing
Sometimes we want a rule of thirds composition, but due to shooting circumstances, it’s not easy or possible on-location. If you’re shooting macro photography of insects, for example, you’re already using a lot of mental energy just to get the right point of focus before your subject moves on. In a situation like that, it can help to shoot just a little wider than you think you need. That leaves you room to crop for the rule of thirds in post-processing.
If you plan to do this, check your camera settings before you shoot. Be sure you are shooting in RAW and give yourself a nice, high-resolution file to work with so that you aren’t cropping away all of your image quality. Keep a copy of the original image in your backups in case you need to go back to the drawing board.
If you simply want to enhance the rule of thirds effect, you can use an adjustment layer mask (or in Lightroom, an adjustment brush) to draw attention to elements that line up with the grid. You can add a little pop of saturation, enhance the brightness, or do some selective sharpening to draw attention to those areas.
Practice is all it takes to master this rule completely. Try setting up a dedicated shoot for this technique and see how many different compositions you can think of. When you walk around without your camera, try visualizing compositions from the things you see around you that follow the rule of thirds. You can also gain a lot of inspiration from finding examples of images that use the rule of thirds to analyze.
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James Maher is a New York Photographer, a huge Knicks fan, and a lifelong New Yorker who got his driver’s license at 30 years old — as any true Manhattanite should. Maher never took the conventional route. His love of photography started with using Photoshop to make fake driver license IDs at the University of Madison with his college roommates.
Over time, he grew his business to offer an eclectic mix of products and services — including photography print sales, a portrait business, conducting workshops, creating online content, and authoring three books. Despite having a diverse business, COVID-19 still shut down his business along with the rest of New York.
He knew he had to transition some of his business online, so he took some time to look at short-term revenue options that could set him up for long-term growth. He began brainstorming how he could re-create traditional in-person experiences into new online opportunities.
In order to do so, he followed 5 essential steps to grow his email list and pivot his business to an online format.
The 5 essential steps to growing your list
Step 1: Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO is a process of optimizing your website to get organic (or unpaid) traffic. Maher drives traffic by regularly providing unique, engaging, and free content on his site for people interested in learning about photography.
For example, he gives away a free New York travel photography guide on his website. This free guide is an essential part of Maher’s SEO and content marketing strategy.
Although each audience member will receive multiple emails in the sequence, Maher reminds them at the top of each email of the content they may have missed or that will be coming in a future email.
Each email includes thought-provoking images and step-by-step instructions for other photographers.
“My email list was always vital and incredibly important to my business, but it’s even more important now because I have started to transition to more online content,” says Maher.
Step 4: Let analytics be your content compass
AWeber’s analytics help guide Maher determine the type of content he sends and when. “It gives me a lot of information about how my information is perceived, and if the content is engaging,” says Maher.
Maher reviews regularly both the open and the click-through rate on the content that he sends. Sending engaging content has allowed him to attract new audiences to his email list.
Step 5: Expand your reach
Maher uses his downtime to set himself up for long-term success by creating content and online products to grow his email list.
His latest online product, “Editing and Putting Together a Portfolio in Street Photography,” drove revenue and allowed him to promote some of his other services like individual portfolio reviews.
While social distancing is still in place in New York City, Maher takes time to introduce himself to as many new groups of people as possible. For example, he gives photography zoom presentations to groups and camera clubs around the country. Most people who attend the presentation visit his website and join his email list.
Promote to your own email list
Maher also promotes the new online course to his email audience.
During this time, when many members of his audience have reduced income, Maher has adjusted his payment model to “pay what you can.”
The suggested price for the online class is $25. The average payment turned out to be about $25 because some people were getting it for free or $5, but some people paid $50 or $100.
“I’m going to do that going forward for more of my products now. It provides me some income and builds my emails list, so it is a win-win for everyone.” says Maher.
Take advantage of lower advertising rates to promote on social media
The rates for advertising are much lower than usual due to COVID-19, so it is a great time to promote posts on social media to stand out from the crowd.
Maher uses Facebook ads to target local photographers in the Northeast. They see the ad, download the photography travel guide, and are added to his AWeber list.
AWeber then sends an automated email sequence that lets them get to know Maher, learn photography tips, and get a sense of the type of content they will receive from going forward.
“I’m testing and tweaking the Facebook ad a bit now given that people aren’t really traveling to New York with COVID-19 going on. But I’m finding that it’s still doing very well at converting photographers, particularly with the cheaper ad pricing. If you provide them with good, interesting content, you can grow your list,” says Maher.
Short term cash needs can translate into long term growth
Maher has shifted his business’s focus toward creating online experiences that provide short-term revenue that keeps his business going. He created online classes about photo editing and online photography portfolio reviews. He even started working with photographers to help them create portfolio websites.
Every post, promotion, or email drives people to his sign up forms with the end goal of growing his email list.
The creation of each online product is just the first phase of its product life. “Each online product will eventually integrate into a bigger package in the long term. I’ve been building this business for about 17 years, and I had the formula down — but COVID-19 broke the formula,” says Maher.
“The silver lining is COVID-19 gave me the time to execute on ideas I always had in the back of my head. I believe my business is going to come out of COVID-19 stronger and more prepared for the future.”
Connect with your audience and start growing your email list today!
With AWeber, you’ll get everything you need to grow your own business online — including sign up forms, newsletters, landing pages, and access to our award-winning customer solutions team.
In today’s highly competitive market for photography, it is not an easy task to build your brand and have people notice you. Now days, you need to stand out from the rest of the crowd and bring people in. If you’ve wondered how to market your photography, look no further. In this article, I am going to over my top 3 ways to market not only my pictures, but my business as a whole.
If you are looking to save money and also grow your sales skills, try going business to business or calling local stores to ask if you can display your work or leave flyers or business cards with them. I have found out that the majority of businesses welcomed it! I started by going to three of the busiest towns in my area and spoke personally to every business I could. After introducing myself, I let them know that I was looking to possibly leave some business cards and flyers, in hopes of gaining new clients. If they showed interest, I would continue by telling them more about my business model. By doing this, if any customers had questions, they might be able to answer a simple yes or no question, which will lead to them taking your card or flyer.
As time went on, I found myself extending my range of towns, and going even further to neighboring communities. I also included areas that were not very high traffic, because you never know who will be looking to have work done. Once I had a blog/website, I would offer to put their business on my page and help promote them as well!
This leads me into my next part of marketing, which is having a visual website of some sort. When I first started out, I had a blog from Blogspot. It was something that I was able to post my work, and considering it is a free service, it was great for just starting off. Just recently I was able to get an actual website, and I would definitely suggest this. Having the versatility of different layouts you can have to display your work they way you want is a huge plus.
The way you create your website is key to marketing your business. When someone visits your webpage, they want to know automatically were they are at, and what the page is about. For example, on my website I have the title at the top in a bold font, with my tagline, logo, picture of me with my contact information and my gallery at the top. I place this at this top because the customer can automatically get a sense about what they are going to be looking at, and the quality of work that I do.
Sending out a marketing email is a tactic that brings in a lot of customers for me. This is something that you can put a lot of information into and add your own little touches for a personal design. When a client opens a marketing blast, you want them to be drawn into something at the very top of the page, in order to get them to scroll down more. In my marketing blast emails, I have a headline at the top of the email that says either HUGE SALE, or BOOKING SPECIAL in bold colors and a font that really pops, because if you can catch their attention with the title and headline, then they will want to scroll more to see what it is all about.
Lastly, I have found that Facebook Ads are extremely helpful! At first I was not sure how I felt about paying for Facebook advertisements, but taking what I have learned from my email blasts and applying that to the Facebook ads really made it a game changer. The nice thing about Facebook ads is that you can create your own graphic and then hit boost post to really get it out to the public.
Once you have your ad graphically ready, you upload it to Facebook, and then you can choose your target audience. This is a huge part of getting the word out there, it will allow you to choose male or female, age groups, the location you want, and also add keywords that might be on users pages, such as pregnant, or senior pictures, even marriage. By doing this you can get the exact group of people you are looking to market to.
Another great part of using Facebook ads is that you can set your budget and how long you want to run the ad for. If you only have a budget for $20.00 that’s all you have to pay. It will tell you how many people it is expected to reach and spread out the post evenly across all of the days you want to run it for. You also have the option to add more money and extend the ad run-time, if you choose to. At the end of your ad run, you will get a detailed report of how many people saw your post, clicked on the ad, where they were from, male or female and age range, etc. so you can define your next post even more. See below for an example of one of my ads.
Whether you are going business to business and asking to leave your card or flyer at the front of their store, ramping up your website, or even starting to try out Facebook ads, there is always some way to market yourself. The best part is, with all of the technology we have at hand, it doesn’t have to cost you a lot of money. Building a business is hard work, and it takes a lot of determination to make it a success, but if you believe in yourself and use multiple avenues for marketing, your success will become a reality very soon.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ryan Jakubowski My name is Ryan Jakubowski and I have been doing photography for the last 10+ years. It has grown from an interest into a strong passion of mine that I will never stop doing. I decided to start my business, J&C Photography, over 7 years ago and it continues to take off each year! I photograph a number of different events such as weddings, senior portraits, newborns and even the severe weather that comes across the state of Michigan. For me every shoot is something new, and brings with it its own experience, and that is what keeps bringing me back every time.
In my personal quest to improve my digital photography skills, I am constantly seeking guidance.
Recently I ran across what I consider to be a very important guide.
Twelve very important questions I think all photographers should ask themselves before each shot. Considering these questions can and will improve your photography skills.
Utilizing these questions has greatly improved my efforts to produce impressive imagery. You should consider:
The Story You Wish To Tell
The Position You Should Take
Is the composition Straight?
Movement Within The Frame
Commit To Memory
Excited about the expected outcome from my next photo adventure, I immediately committed them to memory in the order given.
Eager to see the outcome from my newly acquired knowledge, I began using them, in the exact order given.
After trying this for a while, I realized that I was struggling to get through the process. At first, I could not understand why the process was so difficult for me. Suddenly a bolt of lightning struck and I realized that the order in which the questions were given did not fit my slowly developing style. Causing, my shooting process to become slow and difficult.
Even though each question needs to be addressed, the order just didn’t match my style. So I decided to experiment with the sequence.
My new sequence looks like this:
Orientation (Landscape or Portrait)
This is my personal sequence, and so far it has served me well. I can see a dramatic improvement in my photography.
For a final note, I must interject two thoughts. First, I sometimes let light lead me to my story, after all, photography is all about light. And finally, I have learned to always shoot both orientations. You will be surprised at what you may come up with.
So play around and find your sequence and see if it improves your skills.
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