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Work as a part-time photographer

wedding photograph

Working as a wedding photographer requires the right equipment and most importantly, the right skills.


photographer with digital SLRDespite the proliferation of digital cameras and camera-equipped phones, there are occasions where a more formal record of the occasion is required.

Weddings are the most obvious, but people also like family groups on special occasions such as anniversaries, and of course there is continually demand for pictures of children and pets.

If you aren't already a keen amateur photographer, it can be pricey to set up from scratch. The equipment you need is generally a step up from the 'point and shoot' cameras that most of us use. To get started, you need a quality digital SLR (Single Lens Reflex) with a high picture resolution, lenses, a tripod. If you are going to do portraits then you'll need access to a studio with backgrounds, props and a lighting set-up.

You also need the requisite level of skills, particularly if you are going to do wedding photography as there are no second chances to get it right!

If you feel the need to brush up on your technique, join a local camera club or attend an evening class. As well as improving your photography, you'll also make useful contacts and you'll add to your portfolio of work.

working as a photographerThe importance of a good portfolio when you are looking for any kind of paid photography job cannot be overstated.

You are very unlikely to get any work unless potential customers can see the kind of photographs they will get for their money.

For weddings and portrait work, you'll need to hook your potential customers with a selection of pictures in various formats. They can look at your work on the web, on DVD or CD Rom, and for weddings mounted in an album.

Taking Photographs to sell

You can also take photographs 'on spec' and sell them to magazines, stock photography companies, photo-libraries* or mounted and framed direct to the public. Talk to local cafes, restaurants, pubs and craft and souvenir shops about displaying your work and selling on commission on a sale-or-return basis.

There are other branches of photography that are open to the skilled part-timer. You could think about paparazzi or local press work - you're unlikely to get anyone to commission you up front but picture editors and agencies are always in the market for unusual and newsworthy photographs. Even the national tabloids will use photo's from amateur and freelance photographers who have captured the rich and famous off guard. The more famous the person is - the more sellable the photo is!

* Much easier than it used to be - simply upload your photographs to a picture library and get paid each time they are downloaded by customers.

Family Portraits

family portrait

Even in the digital age, there is still a steady demand for family portraits - especially when a new addition arrives!

bride in wedding dressWedding Photographer

Taking wedding photographs is not for the faint-hearted, but lots of amateurs have made the leap to professional and semi-professional status.

Bear in mind though that there is a world of difference betweeen taking your camera along as a guest to do some extra or candid shots, and taking responsibility for providing a complete wedding photograpy service.

Don't attempt to photograph a wedding on a professional basis until you are 100% confident you can produce the results that the bride expects!

Check out some professional photography sites to look at the kind of standards that you'll need to reach.

As well as being proficient with a camera, you'll need to be well-organised, calm and authoritative to get everyone in place for the right shots.

You could consider a short course, which as well as teaching you the necessary technical skills, will often include a 'bride and groom' model shoot which will make a valuable addittion to your portfolio of work. Here are a couple of sites which give more information on photographing a wedding.

How to shoot a wedding (external site - opens in new window)

Wedding Photography tips (external site - opens in new window)

Wedding loans

Jobs using Photoshop

Photo Restoration

If you are a dab hand with Photoshop (professional image editing program from Adobe), you could offer a service restoring old photographs. You'll need a scanner and a photographic quality printer. You can add value to the service by mounting and framing the photographs, or creating montages, scrapbooks and slide shows. Show your airbrushing skills by making a website, posters and flyers with before and after Photoshop pictures and place them in shops, noticeboards, libraries, etc.

restored picture before and after photoshop

Before and after Photoshop

As well as earning money, restoring old photographs can also be very satisfying. In a small way you are helping to preserve historic documents and images that might otherwise have been lost...

There is also work to be found if you combine Photoshop work with web design, print production, leaflet design and photographic services. See the examples below:

before and after photoshop

Before and after.

Create a professional photobook Bob Books (external site - opens in new window)



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