January 20th, 2015

5 Fundamental Photo Tips for Aspiring Wedding and Portrait Photographers

Sponsored by NYIP

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Photos courtesy of NYIP

For wedding and portrait photographers who want to sharpen their skills, but already have a full schedule, The New York Institute of Photography (NYIP) offers an online course for each specialty that covers both technical skills and business smarts. Each course is 150 hours, divided into four units, and can be completed at the student’s own pace over 18 months, with an additional six-month extension easily available as well. Instructional materials span a variety of levels of experience and creative talent, and every student is paired with a professional photographer as a mentor for personalized technical support and artistic development throughout their studies.

Lead photo mentor Chris Corradino says working with NYIP students has been “one of the most rewarding experiences of [his] professional career.” We asked him for some fundamental image-making and photography business tips:

1) To enjoy long-term business success, a strong foundation is crucial. This starts with a solid knowledge of manual exposure, the important camera features, and the language of photography. Buying more expensive gear won’t result in leap frogging the competition. No matter what piano an untrained musician sits at, they still can’t play it.

2) Don’t get bogged down in equipment. What distinguishes your photographs can’t be purchased in a store. It’s your own unique vision and perspective on the world that makes all the difference.

3) Learn the rules of composition, and then break them. Good art doesn’t necessarily come from a textbook, but rather a blend of technique and creative vision.

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4) Avoid categorizing yourself as “professional” and “amateur” or engaging in debates that seek to define these terms. A good photographer focuses on craft, not labels. The actual definition of the word amateur is “to do something for the love of.” This is the spirit that all professionals should strive to retain throughout their career.

5) Simplify your composition by eliminating distractions from the frame—unless showing more of the environment actually strengthens the overall impact of an image. For example, instead of eliminating the wedding party as the couple exits the ceremony, include them in the image.

NYIP’s wedding and portrait photography courses delve further into these key topics, as well as: setting up a business; defining your brand and visual signature; developing packages, building an online presence and marketing techniques; working with vendors, planners, videographers, and clients; the history of photographic portraiture and current photography trends; posing individuals, groups, children and pets and putting them at ease; setting up a studio; using backgrounds and a variety of lighting and lenses; working on location, and more.

Visit www.nyip.edu/courses for more information on the wedding and portrait photography courses.

October 29th, 2010

Elizabeth Messina, Jasmine Star at PhotoPlus Expo

Wedding photographers Elizabeth Messina and Jasmine Star, both based on the West Coast, flew East to PhotoPlus Expo to share the photographic techniques and branding tactics that keep them at the top  of what has, in the past several years, become a very competitive and lucrative genre of  photography.

In Messina’s seminar, “Getting to the Heart of Wedding Photography,” attendees were presented with several slide shows of her work (accompanied by upbeat Lauryn Hill musical tracks), free memo pads  (with an image by Messina on the cover), and giveaways from Big Folio and Graphis Studio.

At the heart of Messina’s seminar was the message that “wedding photography is a team sport and everything you as a photographer are there to capture, someone else had a hand in creating.” She advised photographers to urge subjects to always open up and give more. “Find a way into their space and create lasting memories.”

Messina also stressed to the packed seminar room that it is important to continuously nurture your creativity, and keep advancing your brand, both through personal projects and assignments as well as through blogging. A year ago she created the blog kissthegroom.com, which went on to win design awards as well as nab the attention of paying advertisers (see the article on her successful blogging endeavor in PDN’s November issue.).

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