Take Excellent Photos with Your Phone

You might think great photography is all about  the camera you use or the lens you choose or the editing you do. While toys and tools can be beneficial (and fun!), you don’t need to go out and buy a new camera in hopes of improving your photographs. Start with implementing a few of these tis 

Photo Tip 1:  PUT THE LIGHT BEHIND THE CAMERA

When in doubt, put the light behind the camera. As in, be in the shade but with your subject facing the light.

Inside your house? Use a window to create good light. Stand with the window behind the camera and the subject facing the window. 

Outside? Stand under a tree (diffusing the harshness of the sunlight!) with your back to the yard and the subject facing the yard.

Now, full disclosure, my next tip will be to put the light behind the subject, so there’s always an exception to every rule. But the underlying goal is to know your light and know what will work best in your circumstances.)

Photo Tip 2:  PUT THE LIGHT BEHIND THE SUBJECT.

Remember how I said in my last tip that I was about to contradict myself? Yup, here we go.⁠

In photography, the goal is to know the rules so you can break the rules.⁠

I repeat: KNOW the rules so you can BREAK the rules. ⁠

Fun fact: I am hard-core a rule follower so if you are hearing from me to break the rules, you KNOW I believe that’s the most important rule :-P)

See, putting the light source behind you is great for solid photos and is essential for indoor photography or if you’re trying to minimize wrinkles (uh huh, that’s your pro tip: softer light means fewer visible wrinkles), but for truly magical photos I believe the key is backlight. ⁠

Sometimes the backlight is creating a dramatic magic like during this mountain top sunrise, but sometimes the backlight is just softly kissing the back of your head for a warm glow of happy definition.⁠

But ultimately the key is to know your light and make intentional decisions about what you’re doing with the light.⁠

Photo Tip 3: MOVE YOUR FEET 

Some photos are, admittedly, about being in the right place at the right time. ⁠ Like on a mountaintop at sunrise as a backpacker crosses the stream.

But other photos are about creating the right place at the right time. 

The principle stands: move your feet! ⁠  You may not be able to hike a mountain for sunrise but you can move forward in a crowd to photograph Niagara Falls without the fence in the photo.   

⁠ No zoom lens or fancy camera or radical preset can make up for a sloppy composition or lazy photographer. Move a few steps toward your subject, or a few steps to the right/left. Know what you want in the frame and move a few steps to get it.⁠

Photo Tip 4: KNOW YOUR CAMERA.⁠

Your camera is going to take fine pictures no matter what you do, BUT here’s the thing: YOU ARE SMARTER THAN YOUR CAMERA (sit on that for a minute: you are smarter than a computer!). You just need to KNOW how to speak its language and what settings to experiment with so that you can photograph the moment you want to remember. 

Maybe that means exploring portrait mode or maybe you should tap to expose or maybe you just need to know how to turn off (or on!) the flash.

I can teach you more in my course “Take Excellent Photos with Your Phone” — start to finish, including footage from an actual shoot, I will show you how to take amazing photos that you’ll be proud to print and enjoy for years to come.

Are you afraid to price your work?

I very distinctly remember it: the moment I was first asked to be the photographer at a wedding. I remember where I was (my very first apartment, packed boxes still stacked askew) and who I was with (my sister) and what we were doing (picking a DVD—yes, a DVDto watch for our evening movie night). When the email arrived, my brain pulsed with alternating currents of immense excitement and intense dread and gut-wrenching fear.

Are you afraid to price your work?

While the joy of turning my very casual hobby into a paid gig ultimately conquered the fear of failing that first client, the haphazard creation of that first quote ultimately defined the next few years of my attempts at being a photography business.

Why would someone pay me for this? I’ll charge a little less since I’m not professional yet.

What if I can’t deliver a product as good as the next artist? I guess I’ll take a little bit off the cost to hedge my bets?

How much time will this actually take me? I’ll charge a little more than minimum wage and hope the math works out?

I guess since I really love what I do, I might as well not charge very much. I would do it for free, wouldn’t I?

If you are afraid to price your work: you are not alone.  As I’ve chatted with fellow artists and like-minded creative entrepreneurs, I’ve learned that this fear of money often equals (or surpasses!) the stereotypical fears of failure and risks and mediocrity that we so often hear cited. (Entrepreneur Magazine, for example, lists the seven fears all entreprenreurs must conquer and those stereotypical entrepreneurs don’t always have the same emotional investment in their endeavors that an artist does!)

When I finished photographing and editing those first weddings, I didn’t even make minimum wage.  While the experience was valuable and my portfolio was happy, that was not a sustainable course. Maybe you relate?

In order to conquer the fear of money and to avoid being afraid to price your work, you need to stop thinking like an artist and start thinking like an entrepreneur. While your art is rooted in creativity your prices need to be rooted in science. 

Stop thinking like an artist and start thinking like an entrepreneur.

First, you need to remember that you are valuable. The time and energy and effort you will spend creating the art for your custom is worth something, yes, but – almost more than that – the time and energy you spent becoming the artist you are is to be similarly prized. A task might only take you thirty minutes to do now, but it took you thousands of hours to gain the skill and efficiency needed!  Don’t forget that you are valuable.

Second, you have to know your costs. As artists, we don’t like to learn acronyms like “CODB” that get bandied around by accountants and leave us wiping away a cold sweat. It’s much easier to just focus on choosing color schemes than factoring how much it costs us to be and stay in business (hint: that’s what CODB is!). But you can’t just know some of the costs, you need to factor all the costs. My first wedding gig, for example, ignored the time and gas I would spend travelling out of town for the wedding, the food I would need to eat along the way, and the extra gear I ended up purchasing to be able to serve my clients well.

Knowledge is power when conquering your fears. Maybe you remember the childhood fear of monsters under your bed at midnight? Once your parents turned on the light and handed you a flashlight and knelt next to you to look under the bed and see the absence of monsters, the fear went away. Staring fear in the face worked as a child overcoming the monsters just like staring fear in the face works as a creative entrepreneur trying to avoid the fear of pricing your work.

To confidently price your work, you need to know how to factor your costs and value your time. That’s where our course “How to Price Your Work” steps in. We will walk you through exactly what you need to include in your CODB and exactly how to turn that CODB into a unit price. When you’re done, you’ll have a spreadsheet doing the work for you and spitting out a price in black-and-white to ensure you can confidently and objectively quote your prospective customer a price.

How to Price Your Work

If you cringe when you hear terms like “cost of doing business” and “cash flow” and “bookkeeping”, you are a  completely normal creative entrepreneur.  If you scramble at the end of every tax year to scrounge up enough information to make it through the paperwork, you might be a completely stressed creative entrepreneur.  If you have no idea what to charge for your services and cringe whenever you put words to that number, we’re pretty sure your world will be rocked by this fifteen minute video course.

PLUS, click here to access the FREE download we have for you. Hint: it’s an accounting tool that will help you remove the emotion from your pricing and allow you to confidently share your prices without fear.