Simple Guide to Setting Up a Photography Business Legally

Simple Guide to Setting Up a Photography Business LegallyThis article includes about $20,000 of mistakes that I’ve made in the last 6 years of running my photography-centered business.  This article is also the result of hundreds of hours of trying to figure this stuff out on my own.  So hopefully this will help!

But fortunately I waded through the red tape of starting my business over the last 6 years.  Now I’m a licensed attorney, but run my photography business full-time.  So I’m in a unique position to walk you through all the steps you’ll need to go through to get your photography business set up legally.

First and foremost, while I am an attorney, I’m not your attorney.  Laws regarding small business differ in each state and country, so you’ll need to seek the advice of a licensed attorney in your own jurisdiction before making business decisions.  This is strictly legal education.

You’ll need to walk through 5 steps to get legally set up as a photographer: (1) Decide on a name and check trademarks, (2) Create an LLC

10 Tips for Sharper Photos Even when zoomed in

10 Tips for Sharper Photos Even when zoomed inDaily readers of this site already know how I feel about sharpness.   Sharpness is vital to professional photographers who make large prints, but beginners probably will not notice much of a difference between a razor-sharp photo that they view on a computer screen compared to a fairly-sharp photo that they view on a computer screen.  Nonetheless, photographers are crazy about sharpness, and I am too.

Sharpness Tip #1: Shoot like a sharp-shooter

Anyone who has ever shot a gun or bow and arrow knows that the key to shooting well is finding a firm shooting foundation.  Shooters do this by stabilizing themselves against a bench, using a monopod, or standing in the most stable positions.  Not surprisingly, photographers should use the same advice.  If you haven’t taken a minute to consider whether your photography posture is solid, think about it for a minute and decide how to improve your stability.  If you don’t regularly use a tripod, just do it!

Sharpness Tip #2: Don’t zoom to the extremes

I have never tested a lens that is sharpest

Portrait Photography Tips Using flash

Portrait Photography Tips Using flash10 Get artistic with flash lighting
Equipped with a flashgun, remote triggers and a good-sized diffuser, you open up the possibility of a vast array of clever and cool lighting set-ups.

Light your subjects from the side to add drama to your portraits, and get creative by under-exposing the sky or background, dialling in -2 stops of Exposure Compensation to capture a moody backdrop behind your subjects.

10 Wired and wireless flash triggers
Although your digital camera’s pop-up flash can be handy and helpful, there are many reasons to invest in a hotshoe flashgun.

One of our favourite portrait photography tips is to use off-camera flash. An off-camera flash is much more powerful, which means a brighter burst of light, enabling you to set smaller apertures to capture more depth of field, or to light up a group of people.

You also have more control over its settings, and you can angle it up or sideways to bounce the light off ceilings and walls.

11 Stand by me
Consider investing in a flashgun stand, such as the Manfrotto 5001B Nano stand

Hiring a Professional Photographer to Record Your Precious Memories

These days, it seems like there are cameras everywhere. They are in our mobiles, our tablets, and they even survey us as we walk into shopping centres! Photography is a visual medium that communicates across all cultures. This is why we most want to remember weddings and other special events through the power of photography. But even though cameras are all around us, and there are plenty who would whip out their smartphones to snap a few choice photos at a wedding, there is still a need for professional photographers who can tell a cohesive story in visual terms.

The Problem with Smartphones and Cheap Cameras

The truth is that plenty of people are tempted to rely on smartphones and cheap compact cameras to record the events of a special day. This is a problem because in most cases the people doing this sort of photography are not professionals and have an undeveloped eye for details and the vagaries of light. Even though smartphones and compact digital cameras have come a long way in recent years and have improved with every generation, the optical physics dictates that certain things are simply harder for these smaller digital

Photo Tips From Our Furry Favorites, the dogsofinstagram

We took a crash course in barking, then asked our favorite #dogsofinstagram for their secrets to taking the perfect pup pic.

Read through the tips below, peep the “paw”esome photos and enter yourself in our #dogsofinstagram Giveaway.

Don’t have a dog (yet)? Share this post with friends who do, so they’ll post more photos of their furry friend for all to see (and to give them a chance to win big).

Tip 1: Props

“I enjoy a shoot best when I’m familiar with the props involved. Give me a bit of time to get comfortable with the props beforehand. I really hate being uncomfortable. If a prop is too cumbersome, mom uses a bit of clear, stretchy fishing wire (available at any craft store) to secure the prop to my bod.”

Tip 2: Take A LOT of Photos

“Some dogs are hard models to photograph (I’m not) because you never know what mood they’re in or what expressions they’re going to give. I suggest you have lots of space on your memory card and take a bunch of shots to ensure you get what you’re looking for. Also treats. Always have treats.”

Tip 3: Get Down

“When our mom takes pictures of us, she sits down

15 Tips for the Best Underwater Photos Ever

While we love taking photos on land, and sometimes high up in the sky, we can’t resist the magic that takes place underwater.

Real life Nemos, free floating props, and fashionable mermaids show us that underwater is the place to be!

Get a camera that can work in a (extremely) wet environment, and dive in to capture and
conquer the wonders of the water world.

Here‘s our top 15 list of uh-mazingly easy tips to get your feet wet in underwater photography.

p.s. Work with us! Photojojo’s hiring both in and outside of San Francisco. Seeking web developers, product buyers & sourcers, photographers, and writers.

Photos: Main + guitar by Sarah Lee; bubble close up by Sasha Leahovcenco

What To Shoot With Underwater

Underwater photography isn’t just for pros with ginormous budgets. Underwater cameras are actually really accessible!

You can find single-use disposable underwater cameras or better yet reusable ones like the Reusable Underwater Film Camera.

Digital underwater cameras are also great since you get to instantly see your photos.

You can always protect the DSLR you already own with an underwater housing system. These range from $80 upwards, but some camera shops rent these out. iPhone housing systems are also being made for underwater iPhoneography.

1. Shoot in Safe

How to photograph the moon an easy way to shoot moon pictures full of detail

Taking pictures of the moon is one of the more popular subjects in night photography – but it’s also quite tricky to get right. In this tutorial we show you how to photograph the moon using a simple tried and tested technique that is certain to give you moon pictures you’ll be proud of.

The moon may be shining big and bright in the night sky, but as anyone who’s tried to shoot moon pictures knows it’s tricky to do justice to with a camera. Pictures of what looks like a huge full moon to the naked eye can often end up showing a tiny white blob dotted on a black background.

Luckily, it’s not complicated to learn how to photograph the moon. It’s very easy to set up your DSLR to take a clear, well-defined picture of the moon like this one, and we’re going to walk you through how to pick the best night photography settings and equipment that you’ll need to get started with learning how to photograph the moon.

Knowing how to photograph the moon starts with getting yourself a long zoom lens to ensure you get close enough to capture detail. We used a Sigma 50-500mm. If you

10 rules of photo composition and why they work

In photography, it’s not just what you shoot that counts – the way that you shoot it is crucial, too. Poor photo composition can make a fantastic subject dull, but a well-set scene can create a wonderful image from the most ordinary of situations. With that in mind, we’ve picked our top 10 photo composition ‘rules’ to show you how to transform your images, as well as offered some of our best photography tips from the experts who do it on a daily basis.

Don’t feel that you’ve got to remember every one of these laws and apply them to each photo you take. Instead, spend a little time practising each one in turn and they’ll become second nature. You’ll soon learn to spot situations where the different rules can be applied to best effect.

Photo composition doesn’t have to be complicated. There are all sorts of theories about the ‘Rule of Thirds’ and more complex ‘Golden Mean’, for example. But if you pay too much attention to strict formulae, your photos will lose any kind of spontaneity.

In the real world, you’ll be working with a wide range of subjects and scenes, and this requires a more open-minded approach. What works for one photo won’t necessarily work for

10 quick landscape photography tips

Improve your photos with our expert help. Here are 10 quick landscape photography tips to help you give your pictures a breath of fresh air. Whether you’re new to digital photography or just searching for new photo ideas, our quick and easy landscape photography tips and camera tips will help you take better pictures with the minimum of fuss.

1 The magic hour

Beautiful landscape photos are often defined by the quality of light they were taken in. As a consequence, photographers tend to shoot early in the morning or during late afternoons when the sun is lower, less contrasty and often displays a subtle colour palette of moody hues. For this reason, the hours after dawn and before dusk are known as the ‘magic hours’. If rising at dawn doesn’t sit well with your idea of a relaxing weekend, don’t panic – there are plenty of great landscape opportunities throughout the day.

2 Composition

Composition is key to successful landscape photography, and if you don’t know where to start, use the ‘rule of thirds’ to get things going. Perhaps the king of all beginner landscape photography tips, it’s an easy principle to apply – simply divide your frame into imaginary thirds on both

Minimum Shutter Speeds for Handheld Shooting The definitive answer to How slow can you go

Minimum Shutter Speeds for Handheld Shooting: The definitive answer to “How slow can you go”

Photographers often want to use the slowest possible shutter speed while still achieving the sharpest possible shot when handheld.  The answer to “how slow of a shutter speed you can use” when shooting handheld is important because not getting it right results in thousands of ruined photos.  Every photographer takes those thousands of blurry shots until he or she learns the limits of shutter speed.  I’m hoping to save you a bit on that learning curve with this article.

But if you’re just looking for the quick answer to this question, check out the graphic below.  I hope it clarifies things, because otherwise I just wasted the last 3 hours trying to make it for you

In the chart above, I consider “poor” sharpness to be where the sharpness is not good enough to publish most of the shots, even if a lucky sharp one appears now and again.  “Fair” sharpness means that at least 40% of the shots are turn out reasonably sharp.  “Good” sharpness means that at least 75% of the shots turn out reasonably sharp.  “Great” means that almost all of

The Photo Basics Series Very popular series of blog posts for new photographers

Photo Basics #1: Introduction and Exposure

I’m so glad you found your way onto my Photography Basics series.  I have taught the basics of photography to millions of photographers around the world through Improve Photography, so I know just exactly how difficult it can seem to learn the basics of photography.

My goal is to make this Photography Basics series the absolute simplest way to learn the basics of photography.

I hope you’ll love this series because of what you learn here, and I hope you’ll join the Improve Photography community after you get your feet wet with the photo basics.  Let’s get going.

Basic Equipment You’ll Need

You can do photography with even the simplest of cameras, but the principles that I’d like to teach are for people who want to learn to use a DSLR camera, a micro four-thirds camera, or at least a camera that allows the photographer to adjust the shutter speed, aperture, and ISO.  Even some pocket cameras have this functionality.

Now that you have your camera, it is time to learn exposure.

Exposure–the most basic element of photography

Sigma 150 600mm Sport vs Contemporary Full comparison and review

I bought both the Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Sport and the Sigma 150-600mm Contemporary version and I’ve spent over 40 hours reviewing these lenses to provide this full and in-depth review for you guys.

The results of my testing have been extremely surprising.  When it comes right down to it, I would choose the Sigma 150-600 Contemporary (the one that is nearly half the cost) over the Sport version–even if the price isn’t taken into consideration.  I know that seems a little crazy at first.  It did to me too, so I repeated some of my tests 3 and 4 and 5 times to be certain that the results were right.  Let’s dive in to the testing and I’ll show you how I got to that conclusion.


The lenses are so extremely close in terms of sharpness that it’s really hard to pick a winner.  The following shots were all taken with identical camera settings and conditions while the camera was locked on a tripod.  I repeated the sharpness test at every focal length imaginable.  I took multiple photos with each lens at each focal length, and here I’m displaying the photo from each side that best represents the average result that I was

Real Estate Photography Pricing How much should you charge

A basic real estate photography shoot from a professional photography generally costs anywhere between $110 and $300 per shoot for photos only (no video).  Notice I said “from a professional photographer.”  There are always new photographers who are willing to test the waters in real estate for $80 or so, but most real estate agents tire of the issues that come along with hiring someone who doesn’t have good business processes in place–late delivery of photos, no invoicing procedure, poor quality work, etc.

A basic shoot generally involves minimal driving distance for the photographer, and delivery of only 25-50 photos.  Obviously, the more photos the photographer is expected to deliver, the more time it will take for the photographer to take, cull, and post-process the photos.

Example Real Estate Photography Prices

I thought it’d be helpful to see how some other real estate photographers are pricing their work so you can get a ballpark for what you can charge.  I’m not saying in any way that you should charge these prices if you live in one of the example locations. These are just examples so you can get a ballpark.

  • A real estate photographer

10 Best Mirrorless Cameras Under $1,000

For years I have cautioned readers of Improve Photography to be cautious about jumping into the mirrorless camera world if you are coming from a full frame DSLR.  However, in the last few months, mirrorless cameras have improved enough to finally make them a reasonable switch for the majority of DSLR shooters.

I have been watching the mirrorless system and testing many of them, but it wasn’t until I got the Fuji XT1 with the new version 4 firmware that I was finally convinced to make the change.

The experience I hear from many DSLR shooters is that they buy a mirrorless camera and shoot it for a couple weeks and really like the lightweight form factor and the features of an LCD viewfinder… and then realize it has been two months since they picked up the big, bulky, heavy DSLR.  That was my experience as well.

Fuji XT10 – Best mirrorless camera under $1,000

The Fuji XT10 is my favorite mirrorless camera under $1,000, and by a significant margin.  The Fuji XT10 is an APS-C size sensor with 16mp of resolution in a small, but not awkwardly small body.  Fuji uses the benefits of the mirrorless form factor to add a faster frame

10 Tips For Capturing What You See

So you have an artistic eye.  You see the world in ways that are unique, interesting, and different.  You want to share this world view through your photography… but one of the greatest frustrations new photographers encounter is that when they get back to their computer and pull images off the camera, the results are nothing like the grand vision they experienced while shooting.  Has this ever happened to you? I should emphasize that the tips I’ll share here are like a double edged sword: you can use them to more accurately portray your inner vision of a shot, or they can be used to accurately reproduce exactly what your eye physically observed. Frequently, these are definitely not the same thing.

Here are 10 great photography tips to help you actually capture what you see, but before we get to the tips… have you joined our Facebook community of photographers?

1: Decide on a clear center of attention

What is it about what your eye sees that is so interesting? Is it a specific object? Is it the positioning of several elements in view? Is it the colors you see, or how they interact? You

stellar posing tips and camera tricks for flattering pictures of older people

Many people believe taking pictures of older people is a difficult task; however, taking a flattering portrait of a mature subject just requires a few simple techniques to ensure you show them at their best. Portrait photographer Kelly Weech reveals her top posing tips for how to take beautiful images of mature subjects and the tricks of the trades to ensure both the subject and photographer are happy with the results.

Many people believe taking pictures of older people is a difficult task; however, taking a flattering portrait of a mature subject just requires a few simple techniques to ensure you show them at their best.

I believe a good portrait of someone middle-aged or older should capture the grace, experience and confidence your subject has gained over the years.

We’ll start on this page by discussing some of the general – but crucial – photography tips to consider before and during your shoot. And on the following pages we’ll look at specific poses and discuss why they work

12 tips for before and during your shoot

  1. Use a medium-telephoto lens such as 85mm to 200mm to give the subject enough

77 photography techniques tips and tricks for taking pictures of anything

Learn new photography techniques – and master old ones – with this essential photographer’s resource. This list of 77 photography techniques to try covers some of the most popular types of photography.

Whether you want to improve your portrait photography or learn how to take better landscapes, discover the secret to sharp close-up photos or start out in street photography, you’ll find some essential tips and tricks here.

Words by Marcus Hawkins

Portrait photography techniques, tips and tricks

Improve your photos of people with our quick and easy camera techniques

Portrait photography technique 01: focus on the eyes
While eye contact is not always desirable in a portrait, sharp eyes certainly are. Manually select an AF point that’s positioned over one of your model’s eyes, or use the central focus point to lock focus on their eye.

Then, with the shutter release half-pressed to keep the setting locked, recompose your picture before taking the shot.

Portrait photography technique 02: using a standard or telephoto lens
Wide-angle lenses are a great choice for photographing environmental portraits, where you want to show a person within a specific context. However, wide-angle lenses used close-up

Final Photography Tips to Remember

“It’s almost impossible to avoid certain clichés, but the best thing is to make sure you don’t consciously imitate what others have done – you learn nothing from this.” – Fran Halsall

“Photograph what interests you and not what you think people will want to see. The more personal the pictures, the stronger they will be.” – Dominic Nahr

“Photography isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon, so take your time with it. Things will come together if enough time has been put into them.” – Dominic Nahr

“All subjects are legitimate. Photograph what interests you, and don’t be discouraged by the fact it’s not considered mainstream… yet!” – Simon Butterworth

“Practice using your camera the way you would a musical instrument. When you’re confronted by a once in a lifetime opportunity you’ll be able to handle the pressure.” – Simon Butterworth

“You have to ‘work’ for a good shot. Just holding up your camera and snapping what’s directly in front of you without even bending your knees or standing on tiptoes is the domain of smartphones, not photography.” – Basil Pao

“Try doing what you truly like, what excites and captivates you. The less time you spend on things which bore you, the more you have to spend on what

Famous Photographers 100 things we wish we knew starting out

When it comes to improving your photography, the best advice you can get is from the working pros themselves. Here we’ve gathered together 100 photography tips from famous photographers, and have included jargon-free advice on everything from the gear you need right through to selling your photos.

Camera gear and how to use it…

“Don’t be afraid of lighting and flashguns – have fun with the gear.” – Sam Barker

“Sports photographers tend to use longer lenses, so one of the first lessons can sometimes be learning how to hold and support the camera correctly, ensuring the lens is properly supported. Students tend to rely on general autofocus [AF] too much, so I show them how to set specific AF points for each type of sport, or how to change the speed of the refocusing on their camera. Modern SLRs try to make the process easy, but can end up making it harder to get good sports shots if the AF is on the wrong setting, so we turn off VR (vibration reduction) and other widgets to eradicate the guesswork, and also discuss when it can be best to focus manually instead.” – Mark Pain

10 best photography tips for beginners

New to photography? Need some beginner-friendly photo tips to help you get up and running with your camera? We can help.

Digital photography can be daunting when you’re a beginner. All the confusing camera controls, customisation options and photography jargon – it’s bewildering

This starter’s guide should help cut through some of the confusion. We’ll show you how to set up your camera so that you can quickly start taking better photos.

This isn’t simply an abridged version of your camera manual though. Rather, it’s a hand-picked assortment of 10 of our best beginner photo tips that will help you become a more confident photographer.

It’s easy to find yourself going round in circles when it comes to photographic equipment, and all too easy to believe that the camera gear you own is holding you back. But really, it isn’t: any camera is capable of producing a stunning picture.

Yes, there are some digital cameras that will give you a wider dynamic range and others that may have a more responsive AF system.

But ultimately, the success of a photo comes down to its composition –

Free portrait photography cropping guide

Portrait photography is challenging for a whole host of reasons. Getting your portrait right in-camera is only half the battle. Knowing how to edit your portraits can be quite difficult when it comes to cropping a photo. Cropping in an awkward position on your subject can end up ruining a perfectly good shot.

In the latest of our photography cheat sheet series of free infographics, we’ve put together this easy guide for understanding some of the best places to crop a subject in a portrait, and some of the places where you should not. ‘Yes’ areas are marked in green, while ‘bad’ locations are marked in red.

Simply drag and drop this free portrait photography cheat sheet on to your desktop and keep it handy for your next photo editing session. And let us know how you got on in the comments!

Free f-stop chart: master your aperture

One thing we consistently hear from people is confusion about aperture and just what exactly those numbers mean. Understanding aperture can take some time for a beginning photographer, but hopefully we can speed this process up for you! Below is a handy f-stop chart put together