Duties and Responsibilities of A Photographer: As a photographer, you have a creative job capturing moments and telling stories through images. However, it also comes with significant responsibilities that extend beyond just taking photos. To be successful in your career, you must understand all the key duties that come with the role of a photographer and be willing to take them on.
From managing client relationships and ensuring their satisfaction to editing and organizing images, handling the business aspects, and keeping your skills and equipment up to date, there are many facets to the job.
This article explores the key responsibilities and commitments photographers take on to build a sustainable career and thrive in this competitive field. By understanding the full scope of the work, you can pursue this rewarding profession with realistic expectations and achieve your goals.
Pre-Shoot Preparation: Scouting Locations, Arranging Models, Getting Equipment Ready as a Photographer
As a photographer, thorough preparation is key to a successful photoshoot.
1. Scouting The Location
Visit the location ahead of time to determine the best spots for photos. Consider lighting, backgrounds, and space for equipment. Make notes or take sample photos to review with your client. Arrange any necessary permits for public locations.
2. Arranging Models
If using models, meet with them beforehand to discuss the overall vision, their attire, makeup, and any poses you want to capture. Provide guidance on how to achieve the desired look and mood. Ask them to bring several outfit options if needed. Review the plan together on shoot day.
3. Preparing Your Equipment
Ensure your camera, lenses, lighting, and any other gear are in working order and batteries are fully charged. Bring backup equipment in case of technical issues. Pack extra memory cards and clean lenses. For outdoor shoots, be ready for various weather conditions.
Day of the Shoot: Directing Poses, Checking Lighting, Managing the Set
As the photographer, you are in charge of the shoot and responsible for directing the subjects, checking the lighting, and managing the overall set.
1. Posing the Subjects
Give clear and specific instructions to your subjects on how you want them to pose. Demonstrate the poses yourself if needed. Provide feedback and make adjustments to ensure flattering, natural-looking poses. Check that all subjects look relaxed and comfortable.
2. Monitoring the Lighting
Pay close attention to the lighting, including both natural and artificial light sources. Make sure the lighting is even, avoiding shadows on the face or other important areas. Adjust reflective surfaces like mirrors or white boards to improve the lighting.
You may need to dim bright overhead lights or move subjects away from windows if the natural light is too harsh. Use a light meter to determine the optimal camera settings for the lighting conditions.
3. Directing Assistants and Other Crew
If you have any assistants, interns or other crew on set, provide them with clear guidance on how they can support you. Assign them specific tasks like setting up and adjusting equipment, styling the set and subjects, taking light meter readings or test shots, and more. Maintain open communication with your team throughout the shoot.
By closely managing all aspects of the photoshoot on the day of the event, you can achieve high quality results and a smooth overall process. Careful direction, control of the lighting, and organization of any assistants or additional crew are all key to a successful shoot. With experience, these responsibilities will become second nature.
Post-Production: Editing, Retouching, and Selecting Photos
As a photographer, your work does not end after capturing photos. Post-production involves
editing, retouching, and selecting the best photos.
Editing refers to making adjustments to improve the overall quality and cohesion of the photos. This includes:
- Cropping the photo to an ideal composition by removing unnecessary background elements.
- Adjusting color balance, exposure, contrast and white balance to enhance the image.
- Removing blemishes, red eye, lens dust spots and other imperfections.
- Straightening horizons and aligning vertical lines.
Retouching involves modifying specific parts of the photo to improve the subject’s appearance. This could include:
- Smoothing skin and removing wrinkles.
- Whitening teeth and eyes.
- Adjusting makeup to appear more natural.
- Slimming and shaping the body and face.
- Concealing unwanted tattoos, scars or birthmarks.
3. Selecting and Organizing
As a final step, review all photos from the shoot and select the best ones. Organize the selected photos into folders based on the type of photo, location, subjects or other criteria that make sense for your workflow or client needs.
Only share the very best photos with your clients. Having a critical eye and high standards for your work will build your reputation as a skilled photographer. Constantly improving your post-production techniques through practice and education will allow you to achieve flawless, professional results.
Delivering Final Products: Organizing, Retouching, and Transferring Photos
Once you have completed a photo shoot and imported the images into your editing software, there are several steps required to deliver a final product to your client.
1. Organizing and Culling Photos
You will need to organize the photos into folders and review all images to select the best ones. Delete any blurry, over or under-exposed, or redundant photos. Narrow down the selection to the top photos that meet the goals and needs of the client.
2. Retouching and Editing
You will retouch and edit the selected photos using photo editing software like Photoshop or Lightroom. This includes adjusting lighting, color balance, and other factors to optimize the appearance of the photos. You may also need to remove any blemishes, wrinkles, or other imperfections from the subject’s appearance. Be careful not to overedit the photos, as a natural look is typically most appealing.
3. Providing Proofs
Once the photos have been edited, provide “proofs” or watermarked samples for the client to review and select their preferred photos. Ask the client if they would like any additional retouching or editing on their selected photos. Incorporate any requested changes before moving onto the next step.
4. Transferring Final Images
Finally, you will need to transfer the final photo files to the client. This may involve uploading the photos to an online gallery to provide digital downloads or prints for the client. Photos are typically delivered in high-resolution format for the best quality. Some photographers also provide the option to order professional photo prints directly.
Be sure to save backup copies of all photos from the shoot in case the client loses their images or requests additional copies in the future. Maintaining an organized archive of all your photo shoots will also allow you to easily locate past work for your portfolio or to provide as samples for new clients.
Running a Photography Business: Marketing, Bookkeeping, Client Relationships
To have a successful photography business, you must devote time to the operational aspects in addition to your craft. Key responsibilities include marketing your services, managing finances, and maintaining good client relationships.
You need to market your business to generate new clients and projects. Build a professional website to showcase your work and services. Start a social media presence on platforms like Instagram and Facebook to increase visibility.
Offer promotions and discounts at strategic times. Join your local chamber of commerce and network at their events. Place ads in wedding planning magazines or on wedding planning websites.
Keeping good financial records and managing money flow are vital. Set up a business banking account and accounting system to properly bill clients, pay vendors, and track income and expenses.
Meet with an accountant to establish a record keeping process that complies with regulations. Budget, invoice, and collect payments promptly.
Developing positive relationships with clients is essential to building your business. Respond to initial inquiries promptly and schedule consultations. Listen to clients to understand their needs and desires. Deliver high quality work on time.
Follow up to ensure clients are satisfied. Ask for reviews and testimonials to post on your website. Provide discounts or freebies for repeat clients. Maintain communication to foster long-term relationships.
Running a small business is challenging and time-consuming. However, focusing your efforts on key areas like marketing, financial management, and customer service will put you on the path to success as a professional photographer. With diligence and persistence, you can build a thriving photography company.
Being a photographer can be an exciting and rewarding career, but it also comes with significant responsibilities. As you build your photography business, don’t forget your role in responsibly and ethically capturing and sharing images.
Treat your subjects and clients with respect, obtain proper permissions, and be transparent in your business practices. Continuously improve your craft through practice, education, and keeping up with trends in equipment and software.
Build a style and portfolio of work you can be proud to share. While the path to a successful photography career may not always be easy, maintaining high professional standards and a dedication to your craft will serve you well. With hard work and time, you can turn your passion for photography into a thriving business.