One of the best ways to learn and improve your photography skills is by starting a photography project. If you are looking for a few tips on How to Improve Your Photography you should check this post here.
Summer is a great time to start a photography project. We are shooting more, spending more time outdoors and it's easier to stay motivated and just keep going with the project.
7 Photography Project Ideas to Start this Summer.
- Project 365. This project is very popular at the start of the year. I've tried it twice and gave up around the 9th of January, twice. You can start this project at any time of the year, you just need to keep going for 365 days, shooting just one picture a day. We all have more energy in the Summer when the sun is shining, so the challenge should be easier.
- 52 Week Project. This is a weekly alternative to the 365-day project. You are shooting one picture per week, you can pick a theme or just go freestyle. You should just keep going for a whole year.
- 100 days of Summer. If two previous projects seem so overwhelming, this one should be for you. You can pick a theme or concentrate on one photography subject or the genre. Creating your photography memories over the Summer is so rewarding. I've tried this project years ago and I enjoy all the memories documented till now.
- A Day in Life Project. A fantastic way of capturing your everyday memories. You can pick one day or a few days over the Summer and just focus on all ordinary moments and all the little things we totally forgot in the day.
- ABC project. In this project, you are choosing a letter each day and photographing something starting with this letter. You can pick a word or a name.
- One lens only. In this project, you are shooting with one lens only, for example, the whole Summer with a 50 mm lens.
- Self Portrait Project. This one is great if you are feeling that it's time to get in the photo. You can be creative with this one and shoot something really for yourself.
Whichever photography project you choose, remember to stay creative. Don't be afraid to shoot out of your comfort zone, try new techniques and stay inspired.
Have you tried any photography project before? Share your thoughts in the comments.
Top 9 Photography Freebies You Should Try this Summer
1. Golden Bokeh Photo Overlay
2. Free Summer Digital Background for Photographers
3. Free 4th of July Bokeh Stars Photo Overlay
5. Bright & Airy Mobile LR Preset
6. Sky Photo Overlay
Getting your first DSLR camera is a very exciting moment in any photographer’s journey. You’re now on par with the pros!
But hold on – do you know how to use it? Sure, you can set your camera to auto and tap away, and that will work to an extent. If you want to walk the walk, however, you should learn how to use manual mode.
What is manual mode? It’s the ability to have complete control over your camera. By learning each step in the process on how to control every aspect of your camera, you’ll open a world of possibilities and creative freedom. Produce contrasting silhouette photos; add some bokeh and light effects that you otherwise couldn’t get in auto, and let your creative flag fly!
Here, we’ll break down the process of learning how to shoot in manual and show you that, while it can be intimidating at first, you will absolutely reap the benefits once you become more comfortable and confident in your photographing abilities.
We’ll be going over:
Be sure to save our blog to your favorites so you can refer to this any time you’re practising!
When you look through your viewfinder, have you noticed a line at the bottom with a bunch of dashes and numbers? This is your light meter; the tool in your camera to let you know if you are under- or over-exposed. When the triangle above the dashes is in the center – or above the 0 – that means if you shoot at that moment, you’ll have a well-exposed image.
Sounds simple, right? But – what if we were to take this concept and spin it on its head? By learning what settings will result in an under- or over-exposed photograph, you can start playing with your light meter to determine if the photo you’re about to take is going to be drowned in mysterious shadows, or bright and airy. Figuring out how to read the light meter as well as how to manipulate it can help in discovering your own style and mastering your camera.
Next, we’ll be looking at the aperture. This is, for a lack of a better term, the size of the hole in your lens. To determine the size, you will look at what is known as an “f-stop” – a fraction-looking number located in the viewfinder or in your settings (and will look like this: f/1.4, f/8, f/22, etc.). The lower the number, the wider the aperture is opened, and vice versa.
So, taking this into account with your light meter – if you had an aperture of f/2.8, would your camera show you an under-exposed or over-exposed image? Because this is a lower number on the f-stop scale, the aperture is going to be wider open, allowing for more light to enter the lens. If your other settings are incorrect, you would be capturing an over-exposed image.
The aperture size also determines the depth of field (or amount of background blurriness) your photo will have. The higher the number, the sharper the background will be, as is true of the reverse. Personally, I like shooting with a lower f-stop, just because I like the way my subject stands out sharply against a blurred background – but you can shoot however you like!
Now that we’ve talked about the lens and the width of the shutter, let’s talk about the speed at which the shutter closes when you press the trigger. This number is presented similarly to the aperture, except instead of f/, it’s 1/ (for example, 1/30, 1/250, 1/500, etc.). This fraction is in terms of seconds – so, if your shutter speed is set to 1/60, your shutter will release at 1/60th of a second. This will also let in half the amount of light as if you set your speed to 1/30. The higher the bottom number, the faster the camera will click, and the less time the lens will be exposed to light.
Another aspect to consider with shutter speed is the amount of blur. Unlike aperture blur, however, this relates to motion blur. Let’s say you were at a soccer game, and you wanted to capture a still image of your child running on the pitch. If you were to shoot with a shutter speed of 1/30, you would most likely capture the blur of their movement, rather than a clear image. You may also capture the natural shaking of your hand as you steady the camera. A setting of 1/500, however, will guarantee that your child is crisp and clear in the photo and will make for a great still action shot.
Tying this back into the previous points – what should your aperture be if your shutter speed is 1/500 in this scenario? Well, 1/500 will let in less light than the slower shutter speed, correct? Therefore, you’ll need your aperture at a wider f-stop to accommodate for this. f/4 or f/5.6 should do the trick.
Lastly, you’ll want to look at your ISO. Back when photography was just film, this was the number that corresponded to the film’s sensitivity to light. Now, it refers to a DSLR’s image sensor sensitivity. These numbers are presented as 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, etc. Some cameras can now go up as high as 3,280,000! This sensitivity, however, comes at a price – while a higher ISO is great for nighttime photography, you’ll be risking increasing the grain – or the fuzziness of a photo.
So, let’s go back to our soccer scenario. Let’s say your child’s soccer game is in the evening, and the sun is starting to set. Firstly, you’ll want to bump your ISO above 400 to accommodate for the sensor’s sensitivity to light. The higher this number, the better it can shoot in the dark.
Next, let’s go back to the shutter speed. We agreed that 1/500 would be good for capturing a still image, right? In this case, you may want to crank your ISO even higher – to 800 or 1600.
Let’s not forget the aperture, though! If your aperture is too wide, you may risk over-exposing at these settings. Let’s try for an f/8.
Now, of course, every scenario will be different depending on the amount of light, the situation, and your personal preferences – but this is the general thought process you’ll want to go through when adjusting your camera settings in manual mode. I would suggest starting by trying to set for well-exposed photos. Once you’re comfortable with that, try playing around with the settings and see what cool images you can come up with (make sure to share them with us as well!).
Have you shot in manual mode before? What’s the hardest part about it? The easiest? Let us know in the comments!
Mini Sessions are a great way to build your customer base.
What is a mini session? Normally, photography sessions can take at least an hour or longer, can include multiple location and outfit changes, and can produce hundreds of photos to cull, edit, and deliver. Think of a mini session as a condensed version of this; they’re typically 15-30 minutes, with one location, no outfit changes, and a significantly smaller number of photos to choose from. If you are looking for free tips to ensure you have a successful mini session, you can read more about it in this post.
The great way about the mini session is that You can schedule this kind of photography event at any time of the year.
Summer is probably the best time to schedule an outdoor mini session and in today's post, I will share a few of my faves Summer Mini Session ideas for any Child Photographer.
30 Summer Mini-Session Ideas for Child Photographers
- Lemonade Stand Mini Sessions
- Watermelon Mini Sessions
- Strawberries Farm Mini Sessions
- CampingMini Sessions
- Sparklers Mini Sessions
- FireworksMini Sessions
- Patriotic/4th of July Mini Sessions
- Sunflowers field Mini Sessions
- Tulips field Mini Sessions
- Flower Market Mini Sessions
- Wildflowers meadowMini Sessions
- Wild Red Poppies Mini Sessions
- Sunset/golden hour sessions
- Animal farm Mini Sessions
- Old truck Mini Sessions
- My Pet & Me Mini Sessions
- Balloons Mini Sessions
- Tea party Mini Sessions
- Picnic Mini Sessions
- Candy Shop Mini Sessions
- Ice Cream Mini Sessions
- Beach/lake Mini Sessions
- Superhero Minis Mini Sessions
- Mermaid Mini Sessions
- Little princess Mini Sessions
- Enchanted forest Mini Sessions
- Fairy tale Mini Sessions
- Bubbles and Rainbows Mini Sessions
- Unicorn Mini Sessions
- Flower Swing Mini Sessions
I thought I would share beautiful mini session inspiration, all Courtesy of Iga Logan Photography.
If you’ve been photographing for a while, or you’re a part of any online photography group, you may have seen the term “mini session” thrown around a time or two. They tend to show up around holidays, at the beginning of summer, or during senior photo season.
So, what exactly is a mini session? Normally, photography sessions can take at least an hour or longer, can include multiple location and outfit changes, and can produce hundreds of photos to cull, edit, and deliver. Think of a mini session as a condensed version of this; they’re typically 15-30 minutes, with one location, no outfit changes, and a significantly smaller number of photos to choose from.
Why would a photographer do this? They’re spending less time shooting, and they aren’t making as much money, right? Well, the beauty of mini sessions is that you can schedule multiple in one day, and in as much time as it would take to do one normal photoshoot, you’ll have done anywhere from 5-10 and have made way more money! This is also a great idea if your client has children who can be fussy after sitting and posing for an extended period of time, or if your clients want photos quickly and efficiently. In the end, mini sessions can benefit everyone!
With that in mind, here are our top 5 tips to ensure you have a successful mini session, whether it’s your first time or you’re a seasoned pro!
Picking a theme will help you determine the time of year to shoot.
This first tip is excellent for determining when you’ll offer the mini session. By picking a theme, you can select a time of year around that idea. Selecting a theme will also help you in getting the kind of mini sessions you want. For example, if you’ve always wanted to delve into boudoir photography or you want more couples in your portfolio, offering mini sessions of either around Valentine’s Day will be a perfect idea – this guarantees interested clients who will want to have photos to give as a gift around a seasonally appropriate time!
If you aren’t sure where to start, here are the most popular times of the year for mini sessions:
- Before Valentine’s Day
- Senior photo season (April – July)
- Back-to-school season (August – October)
- Before the holiday season (October - November)
Choose a location that is unique and convenient for your clients.
You will want to pick a location that is familiar but unique enough to draw in clients. It should also be easy to find, and not too far away from your client demographic. The goal of mini sessions is the convenience, and that includes getting your client to the shoot! If they feel like it will be a chore in any way, they will be sure to back out. Popular locations include parks, forests, and downtown city areas.
If you’re worried about inclement weather or prefer indoor shoots, consider renting studio space. Many studios will let you rent for an extended period of time and will have all the equipment you’ll need, along with waiting areas in case clients show up early and decent parking. Just make sure to factor this into your pricing if you decide to go this route.
Promote online, take advantages of gift certificates, and use the power of word-of-mouth.
Next, you’ll want to get the word out there and start getting clients! One great way to do this is to ask for testimonials from previous clients; have them post a positive review on your social media! Also, be sure to take the time to make graphics, flyers and e-mail blasts. If you are struggling to get clients, perhaps offer a discount on prints to entice new people who may still be wary (but don’t undercharge – the clients you want will pay you for what you’re worth!).
Another great way to promote your mini sessions is to offer them as gifts that people can buy for their friends or family. Help a potential customer surprise her grandparents with a quick, cute and romantic photoshoot – you may just end up getting the grandparents and the gift-giver as clients!
Hire an assistant.
If it’s your first mini session, it can get overwhelming very quickly. That’s why it’s a good idea to consider hiring an assistant for the day! They can help you carry your equipment, keep an eye out for your clients as they arrive to show them where to go and keep them entertained if they arrive early and are waiting for their session to start. Also, an assistant can take care of payments if you are taking them that day, so make sure to choose someone that you trust!
If you’re shooting indoors, an assistant can also help you with lighting, along with fixing any hair, clothing, or make-up issues so you don’t lose your spot when shooting. Having that extra set of hands makes sessions so much more manageable!
Keep it simple.
The last tip – and arguably the most important – is to keep things as simple and streamlined as possible for both you and your clients. Give yourself enough time to plan how the day will go and what would happen should an issue arise. Make sure your wording is clear in your promos, and always have contracts. Let it be easy for potential clients to get in contact with you, and explain in as much detail as you can how the day will go and when they can expect their photos, along with how many they should expect. The more ground you cover, the better off you and your clients will be, and the more fun you all can have on the day of the shoot!
Have you tried mini sessions before? What are your tips and tricks to ensure your sessions go off without a hitch? Let us know in the comments below!