How To take pictures like a pro (Plus a FREE checklist)

How To take pictures like a pro (Plus a FREE checklist)

I remember when I first bought my DSLR. I was so excited but I had no idea what I was doing. As a new student in the Full Time Professional Photography Program, I was ready to learn. After attending my first day at New England School Of Photography we had a homework assignment. Our professor told us we were now professional photographers and needed to come to class with new pictures. We were expected to do a photoshoot, edit and print the pictures by next week. The only problem was I had no idea what I was doing. I was still learning but I needed to “look like a professional” behind the camera. After almost ten years working in the photography industry and completing hundreds of photoshoots, I’m happy to share these tips and tricks.

Learn the language

Terminology is the first thing you should learn when you start taking pictures. You won’t be able to take full advantage of your camera if you don’t learn professional terminology. Think about it this way, would you respect a doctor who referred to your elbow as “that bendy thing”. Or asked you to stick out “that pink thing in your mouth” when referring to your tongue. I’ll answer that for you, no, no you wouldn't. If you don’t understand professional terminology you can’t make the most of your DSLR and create unique pictures. If you ask your photography teacher, “Why are my pictures so blurry?”, they will most likely ask, “Is your shutter speed below a sixtieth of a second, are you using a tripod, what’s your fstop?” You must understand what shutter speed and aperture are to answer the question. You must also know these terms because it affects the look of your pictures. Realize that terminology is very important. If you are not feeling confident click here for "The Secret To Instantly Feeling More Confident While Taking Pictures For Your Blog" so you can download your free copy of the Professional Terminology Workbook.

Practice

Practice makes perfect. Practicing is the number one thing to taking better pictures. Being a professional photographer simply means being a professional problem solver. It’s your job to know how and where to take a picture. If the sun is too bright, diffuse it. If the location is too dark and you’re not allowed to you a flash, change your lens or use a tripod. It’s your job to not only solve these problems but you must do it in a way were your client has no idea there was ever a problem. You need to know your camera like the back of your hand. Know what each button does and how it affects your pictures. Click the box below to download your free copy of “The DSLR Essential Settings” checklist, to learn the exact settings for your camera.

Always be cool

The number one way to spot an amateur photographer is by watching them under pressure. What happens when their equipment stops working while they are taking a picture? What do they do when you are standing there, smiling, waiting for the shutter to click or that flash to pop and it doesn’t work? Do they grab another camera and keep working, or do they start freaking out? Professional photographers should always remain calm, always. Getting upset and not being able to preform your photography duties is out of the question. It’s never ok to tell a client, “Sorry, I don’t have any of your pictures.” Always make a way, always do your job, and always have backup equipment. Your client should never know that anything ever went wrong.

“I promise there is no Brand Rep, PR Team, or Publicist that has a dingy, under dressed, unprofessional photographer at the top of their call list.”

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Dress the part

There is nothing worst than a horribly dressed photographer, nothing. Ok, that might be a little extreme but it’s true. Brides cringe at the thought of a sloppy, cargo wearing photographer with plumbers crack directing their formal pictures. No mom wants to show up to a family photoshoot with her teenage son to see the photographer wearing booty shorts and crop top. I promise there is no Brand Rep, PR Team, or Publicist that has a dingy, under dressed, unprofessional photographer at the top of their call list. Be sure that you are dressed appropriately for every photoshoot. You should look like you belong. When you put your camera down do you fit in, or do you look like you were hired to be there?  

“Brides cringe at the thought of a sloppy, cargo wearing photographer with plumbers crack directing their formal pictures.”

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Speak up

No one wants their picture taken by a creep, and no one wants to be know as “that creepy photographer.” Don’t stand in the corner staring, zooming in with your camera, sneaking pictures from across the room. Talk to people, introduce yourself, and ask people if you can take their pictures. Don’t just start flashing, you never want to be perceived as paparazzi.  Yes, sometimes you will be rejected, but it’s no big deal. Confident people who know they look good love taking pictures, especially if their picture is being published. Speak up and ask for the pictures you want.

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How did you handle your first photo shoot or your first event as the professional photographer? How did you feel, were you nervous or excited? Or will you be having your first shoot soon? Let me know in the comments below?

The Portrait Photographer