Are you the resident photographer at home that never gets paid for your service?
You can just smile while reading this and I’ll understand. Let’s not let the partners know we are discussing the hundreds of photos you take of them daily. This was all cool and fun until you woke up in 2020 and realized, “I have no job.”
Why not try Freelance Portrait Photography?
Hear me out first before you say no.
You have been taking pictures for free, now add a fee. Sounds spicy right? Plus you can get started with a portable and affordable camera like Nikon P900. The camera is known to have a built in electronic viewfinder which is a great accessory for portrait photography. It features a 16.0 MP, has the ability to take videos with a CMOS sensor. The front camera has an 83x optical zoom lens that produces a focal length range of 24-2000mm which flawlessly blurs out the background and give room for more emphasis on the subject.
Going into portrait photography with this camera especially as a beginner favours you greatly. The camera has a face detection focusing, manual focusing, manual exposure for outdoor shoots and panorama shooting. At this point, you are not just taking snapshots of subjects for their pleasure. You are going into capturing the personality of the subject using more tools. Portraits photography has been divided into various genres to help fresh blood like you make a choice that suits their creative mind. Some are;
- Lifestyle portraits.
- Traditional portraits.
- Fine Arts Portraits.
Now that’s all the motivation you need to start. I’ve gathered five tips I believe will help you get started on this new adventure.
Know How to Use Your Equipment like the Back of Your Hand
“Knowledge is Power”. I am sure you are familiar with it,
You may have been nonchalant about the phones you’ve used before but now, it’s business. To be a professional, you need to know more about your profession.
The first thing to do in order to know your new best friend is read the camera’s manual. Here’s a link to the PDF file: https://cdn-10.nikon-cdn.com/pdf/manuals/coolpix/CP900rm.pdf
Unlike actual human best friends that don’t come with manuals, this one has an advantage. You get to understand the camera to the point of no surprise. Best part of it is, the camera will not disappoint you. Everything Nikon P900 is capable of doing is in the manual.
Speaking of knowledge being power, if you find yourself in an unexpected situation like a child tampering with your camera settings and you have a shoot in fifteen minutes, who would you want to be?
The person who has no idea what the child did and how to undo it?
The person who picks up the camera, presses a few buttons and changes the settings back to status quo in seconds like a boss.
I know you liked the sound of being called a boss. Let’s face it, it’s thrilling.
Lastly, photography is about capturing moments which do not last. Every second counts. Do not let a moment pass you by because you lack knowledge on how to properly use your equipment to the best of its abilities. Excellent portraits means positive reviews and personal satisfaction. Also means, more money.
Use Natural Light through a Window or a Screen
As earlier stated, you are not financially buoyant. Luckily, you don’t have to rob a bank to take good portraits.
This camera works best in low light. Besides, shooting directly under the sun is not always flattering in pictures. To make the best of your camera, you need to consider the direction at which the sun is shining from.
If your aim is to have pictures with high intensity, find the spot at the window where the sun is shining directly through. This gives you a shadowed intensity as opposed to shooting directly under the sun.
For soft light, you can find the window that is facing the opposite direction of the sun and place your subject beside the window so the light will reflect in the image.
You can also place the subject in front of the window from which the sun is shining through but, you will place a white clean cloth in front of the window. If the cloth is white and has patterns, I want to assume that you intend for the patterns to be reflected in the image.
The purpose of the white cloth is to help filter the intensity of the sun and assist the Nikon P900 in capturing a soft and warm image. It’s advised that you turn off all other light in the house. As a freelancer, it is very likely you will be shooting in the client’s house. So, do a walk around and gauge all the windows in the house.
Use Color for Mood
Before you press the shutter, check your background to make sure the colors align. Colors have a weird way of rhyming and blocking. It can either be artistic or pure blunder.
I would suggest you get more details on how colors work so as to be in charge of it. Newton’s and Goethe’s color wheel have helped a lot of artists, it’s time to allow them help you. Here’s the link: http://web.mit.edu/22.51/www/Extras/color_theory/color.html
Clients will sometimes state the colors they want which may not always work. This is where your knowledge would play a good role.
Colors tell the story. It evokes emotions from the audience and you as the photographer. Colors are generally divided into two: warm and cool tones. Warmer colors jump at the chance to be in your face. They tug on your emotions. This explains why sunset and sunrise pictures have overshadowed other nature pictures. Cool tones are the opposite. They would prefer to wear masks and sunshades especially in the presence of warm tones.
Green depicts tranquility and life which is also transcends to happiness. For this reason, some people prefer to take pictures around fresh plants.
Black can be said to mean different things depending on the story depicted. In most cases, we feel a sense of confidence when we are dressed in black. It is the same emotion that we felt through pictures. This color also gives the feeling of a professional environment.
As they say, the ball is in your court. Show us your story through the intelligent use of colors from your Nikon P900. Let your depth be seen completely.
Check Your Background
Background noise can be very distracting.
In a bid to be creative, you can end up cluttering your background with too many things. Sometimes, your background might be perfect in the ordinary eye but after the picture is taken, you discover some objects are distorting the image’s appearance as opposed to helping. A tree branch can look like horns depending on the subject’s position.
In the case where you are not in control of the background, For example: outdoors portrait photography session. Use your max aperture at wide to capture blur the background, the ever creamy bokeh by slowly lifting yourself higher than the client or stooping low to capture from the ground upwards. Move yourself or the client till the angle is perfect for you.
The Nikon P900 can also blur the background which is useful if you are trying to eliminate the background without actually doing it. Don’t worry, you won’t be annoying your best friend.
Having taken various personal portrait pictures, you are familiar with focal points and photo bumpers. There’s nothing as frustrating as clicking the shutter and a child runs into the picture ruining all the planning. Picture not so perfect.
Any slight movement can change the course of the image but you’re in luck. The camera was created with this in mind. As stated earlier, it comes with an Electronic Viewfinder. This makes it easier to take pictures even in direct sunlight when it is harder to double check your background.
You wouldn’t be bothered with the extra task of cropping images out of the background.
Stay Committed, Keep Shooting
Let’s be honest, this is probably the most important of all the tips.
I could go on and on about what you should and shouldn’t do while in this journey as a Freelance Photographer with your camera but it will all be useless if you are not committed to growing.
It’s not going to be easy. In fact, the easiest part is done. The moment you decided to read further into this article, you made the decision to make this a career choice. Working for yourself sounds and looks fancy but it isn’t always glamorous.
To grow, you have to practice. So before you are told to take a picture at home, pick up your camera and tell them, “let me take a picture of you”. Make active attempts to being creative. Use your friends to explore the wide range of your camera.
The ideas in your head would look different when you use a Dumbledore’s wand to bring it out the first time. However, with constant practice, the pictures will begin to look like it was taken right out of your mind which it sort of was.
Also, don’t be afraid to fail. The images you saw on Instagram or YouTube videos taken with Nikon P900 will look different. It is okay. They probably have years of experience and have mastered their equipment more than you. Instead of comparing and loosing sleep over their level of growth, learn how to be a master of your art. Keep shooting your shot.