Richard Weston – Top professional tips and tricks

This was not Richard’s first visit to the club and, hopefully it won’t be his last. Richard is an active Professional photographer and director of Weston Digital Imaging and Media. Their work involves a wide variety including corporate and catalogue work. Increasingly they are also working with video as well as stills. The wedding side is kept separate – One fine day – where the target market is the high end, £4K + spent by the couple on their photography. Quite a different background to most of the speakers that we have.

Below is a brief summary of what was shared. Please bear in mind that it is how I heard what was said and therefore I might have got some details or views incorrect.

Richard spoke about the Lindow photographic group which is a ‘photography training club’ that they run. Many on the artier side of photography find traditional camera clubs daunting with the competition focus of many clubs where digital processing is taking over from photography skills.

It is getting harder and harder to make a living from photography, there are so many people either trying to do so or doing things for free. We are in the digital age of the internet photographer where anyone where a camera is a photographer. ( ‘Free’ or ‘unrealistically cheap’ really means that the photographer is actually paying the client……… ).

The difference between a pizza delivery person and a photographer?

The delivery person can make some money.

There are many photographers around, many ships in the night. People who appear, offer their services, complete a few bookings and then disappear again. Personally ( me, not an opinion expressed by Richard) I’d love HMRC to go through Facebook photography pages and check who is declaring their photography income via self-assessment.

To draw people in you have to stand out from the crowd by impact, grab potential client’s attention. Richard used a summary infographic to explain the content styles of various social media platforms that photographers might use.

Basic Blackberry ‘phone flashless photo of part of Richard’s presentation

What gives a photograph impact? Various images were looked at and dissected for what it was about them that created impact. Landscapes, for example,  benefit greatly from a good sky.

What is the story behind the photograph ? Record shot or something that gets you involved, thinking.

There are times in photography when you need to remove elements from the image in order to either just tidy it up or to emphasise aspects of the image.

In the second half Richard concentrated on why we take photographs. His conclusion was that first we need to take them for ourselves, what we like, not to satisfy a judge. That is where personal satisfaction is key. At a professional level that does change, you have to be able to quickly provide the client with what they want.

Tethering – recommended be it actual wired tethering or WiFi transfer of JPEGs to preview. ( Tether Tools are a quality make of cables that will last a lot longer than a standard 5m USB lead from Maplins etc. They do cost quite a bit more though so for trying it out a cheaper cable might be a better option )

Serif Affinity software was recommended as a very functional and cheaper alternative to Photoshop. Various Plugins, including Nik will work with it. Several club members already have it.

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