Tips that helped me as a photographer

These tips have helped and are helping me in my professional career. They may not be relevant for a large number of amateur photographers, but for me they are very important.

Just a picture from my photos. Click here and read on

Just a picture from my photos. Press here and read on

Learn to shoot 'RAW' and learn to shoot 'JPEG'!

Only a year later, I realized the importance and complexity of this advice. As it turns out, there are many differences between the RAW and JPEG shooting styles. First of all, the differences are related to the fact that shooting in RAW should have further post-processing (post-processing), while it is less demanding on the selection of shooting parameters. Shooting in JPEG is more demanding to adjust all shooting parameters (and there are millions of them!). Learning how to choose the right 'JPEG setting' is very difficult. I always shoot orders in RAW, and I really like to shoot and process the rubber RAWs of modern cameras. At the same time, I really love shooting in the 'JPEG' format, adjusting all kinds of 'on-camera' image enhancements while shooting. But I don't like shooting in RAW + JPEG format, but I also know the peculiarities of this method. It is convenient to shoot in the RAW + JPEG format only when the RAW will be converted by native programs that understand all its settings. In this case, both JPEG and RAW will look good. I have described the basic technique for working with RAW here.

  • The main tasks when shooting in 'RAW': find a converter to your liking and learn how to work with it.
  • The main tasks when shooting in 'JPEG': to learn how to use all available image settings to the maximum to obtain the best image quality, get used to the behavior of the image on a particular camera.

Learn Adobe Lightroom!

This is a part of the previous point that deserves special attention. Such advice was personally given to me by Kostya Kakusha (the author of the blog 'About Photo'), but instead you can write' Master any RAW converter well '. You can do wonders with your photos in a RAW converter. The huge amount of information in RAW files can 'manifest' incredible improvements to the original photo.

Learn Adobe Photoshop!

Modern photography is tied to the processing of photographs. No one needs a raw result. No photoshop anywhere. Such a trend and point.

End the 'Nikon or Canon?' Question!

The correct answer for commercial photography to 'Nikon or Canon' is always the same - 'money'. If there is a lot of money, then it doesn’t matter if it’s Nikon or Canon. Absolutely unlimited possibilities of TOP cameras and lenses solve any photo tasks. If the Nikon D5 / Canon 1DX Mark II cannot solve the problem, then a device inside the photographer's skull comes to the rescue. The brand that is beneficial to the photographer or agency is used. But if there is not enough money, then you will definitely fall for one of the hooks of marketers (for example, the color from fuji!).

The main idea of ​​this advice is not to think 'Nikon' or 'Canon', but think 'how to make money'. Since someone called himself a professional photographer, then photography is his profession, the profession is needed to do the job and receive material rewards.

Print photo books! Print photos!

Once a client asked me if I print photobooks? Since then, I have printed about 500 different photobooks (and the circulation of one book could be several copies). I've tried a lot of photo labs and had both good and negative photo printing experiences. In photographic printing, pictures look different than on a computer monitor. A photo book for a huge number of shootings is an indispensable attribute of a quality service.

Work on the little things, work with people!

Photographer provides photo services. These services must be of high quality! Quality must be everything! Every little thing should be done perfectly. It is very important to provide quality customer support throughout the filming process.

Do not tell about your photo equipment! Your photos should speak for you!

In more detail, the client should be distanced from those techniques and the photographic equipment that is used for shooting. As in the case of the magician, the photographer must have his own tricks, his cameras with 'mirrors' from which the bird / rabbit flies out.

A professional knows his limits!

This is an important tip. The main difference between a professional and a layman is that the first clearly knows his boundaries and capabilities, does not overstep their line. In the photo it is expressed simply: if you do not know how to shoot something, do not take money for it. Some things need to be filmed for free at first.

Create a place where your portfolio will be collected!

There should be a place where you can get acquainted with the work of the photographer. This place needs to be closely monitored, constantly improved, cleaned and renewed. If someone thinks that he has good photos in his portfolio, invite a TOP photographer from your city to your home or office, pay him hours of consultation, discuss the portfolio and you will understand how much more work remains to be done to improve your skills and improve the quality of your images.

Banalism: read, study, watch, learn new things, go to paid MKs, improve!

Self-improvement, self-development and self-expression in photography are limitless. Technique comes and goes, experience remains. Develop your skills. For example, today I found out that with one shutter release you can immediately get more than 8 pictures on a USB flash drive (now suffer from trying to guess how I did it!), And also read the website Phil borges. And so something new is constantly being learned.

Thank you for attention. Arkady Shapoval.

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Comments: 166, on the topic: Tips that helped me in my work as a photographer

  • serge

    If you don't want to spend money on a good monitor, you can adjust the existing one. In a good lab (really good, with a photo print), print a photo in A4 format and adjust the colors on the monitor to the maximum similarity. But this is so, "crutch".

  • Dmitriy

    How powerful is a computer (laptop) required for 16 megapixel ravs in Photoshop and lightroom?

    • Roman

      Core i5 / 8G is the minimum required, i7 / 16G is a comfortable work.

      SSD with a large number of photos is required, otherwise the work in the lightroom will turn into a torture chamber. You can even external.

      • Onotole

        I agree, but it's even better if all this is still supported by a good graphics card. Then everything will just “fly” and even double the resolution.

        • Arkady Shapoval

          I didn’t feel any performance increase in the Republic of Latvia and Photoshop when switching from integrated graphics to 1060 6GB. Only recently did Photoshop start supporting GPU acceleration and that, only for some operations. Therefore, I believe that a video card can be donated to other components.

    • BB

      The Core i5 9600K is quite comfortable to work with. 8 and 9 from the generation from Intel are noticeably faster than the previous ones. On the Internet, modern Rizen are very much praised in terms of price / performance.
      SSD is very noticeable for Lightroom (if the preview and the base on it).
      There was a very old video card, recently replaced with a more modern one (GTX 1660 now) - I did not notice much difference, so, as Arkady wrote, you can save on video.
      There isn’t much RAM, at least 8 gig, but it’s not enough, it’s better 2 × 8, even better 2 × 16 (two-channel mode steers), more is not needed.
      The laptop strongly DO NOT recommend (lower performance due to cooling problems).

    • Michael

      At my work, some ancient i5 quite normally pulls 12 MPix. 4 gb is not enough, for normal operation - at least 8. The video card, according to my observations, is on the side. But this is photoshop. Lightroom is more demanding and slows down harder

    • zengarden

      I have an old i3-2120, but 16 GB of RAM; everything flies. In general, for graphics, the more memory the better. 8 GB is the required minimum; better 16-32. Well, a discrete video card of the latest generations is also welcome (I have 1050Ti, enough for everything with a margin). Although, if batch processing of a large number of RAWs is meant, then the processor is also desirable more powerful, 4-core at least.
      But the laptop ... it will warm up.
      Or, heh, macbook - they are imprisoned for working with the media, unlike pisyukov.

  • Dmitriy

    I disagree with two things: the first is about the raw result (not processed in the editor), I believe that a real professional should immediately choose the right exposure from a million combinations, and not just shoot anyhow, I'll process it later. I personally do not like correctly exposed photographs processed, such processing is often a personal vision of the author, which may not coincide with the opinion of the customer (certain presets). I always keep in my head that “this later” may not work out or the material will be required by the customer immediately. Look at the histogram and everything will immediately turn out as you saw with your eyes. The second is about your boundaries, such as do not go where the "big guys" work. But isn't this the development and honing of skills by means of new projects where you need to “climb head over heels? Inflated self-esteem among those who have 24-70 and 70-200 and consider others to be laymen.

  • Vladislav

    Hello Arkady!
    Could you give such advice to all photographers, both advanced and beginners, I think no one will be offended.
    1. Selecting the focus area (there are many of these areas in the camera) when shooting:
    - single portrait
    - groups of people
    - landscape
    - buildings, buildings, streets
    2. Selecting metering (multi, center-weighted, spot)
    - the objects of shooting are the same as in item 1
    In this case, take into account different focal lengths, the approximation of the subject, the choice of exposure plays a big role in this, you know.
    Your experience and knowledge will help to rethink our own developments once again.
    The fact is that many professional photographers keep this secret, that is, specific modes for different shooting options.
    But you are not that kind of Arkady, everyone understood that.
    You can do it in a separate section.
    Of course, all the nuances are difficult to take into account, but at least the main recommendations for the modes that I wrote, with specific examples of shooting modes.

    • B. R. P.

      Do you propose to create a kind of photographic "Talmud", advice for all occasions? The photographer must be able to think and draw conclusions himself, based on his own knowledge, a cheat sheet will not help here. Your conspiratorial “professionals” hiding their secrets did not get them from the Internet.

      • Vladislav

        You are probably one of these professionals, about whom I wrote and who are afraid that all the secrets will be made public.
        But this is shallow ...
        I'm talking about budding photographers who need help learning complex camera settings.
        Arkady is not like that, and I ask him, not you. You are selfish, and you want everyone to have a long and thorny path to photography.
        Sharing knowledge and experience with others is so noble!
        Who will support me in this regard on this blog?

        • Victor

          BRP correctly noted everything. Don't be offended. Photography is a science that is simply impossible to learn in one or two posts. There are too many variables.

          • Vdadislav

            I do not agree with your conclusions that my proposal to Arkady is unpromising, that you need to learn the science of photography without the help of experienced photographers.
            But after all, everywhere in science and life, they teach theories first, reinforcing the theory passed through with practice. Learning is fruitless without practice.
            Arkady on his website gave a lot of advice, one might say science, and gave practical advice on certain topics.
            I just propose to give specific camera settings, bearing in mind the most important ones, such as metering and focus areas, with their application in the situations I have given. Naturally with photos. That is, practical options with settings and the resulting photo results.
            Such work is not difficult for Arkady, and for photographers it will be a great practical help.
            I understand that there are countless subjects, but a few specific shooting options that I consider to be basic will be of great help to photographers.
            I am sure that advanced photographers will also be interested.
            There is a good saying - live and learn!

            • Andrei

              Vdadislav, if YouTube is not enough for you to study, then you can go to courses, pump up / buy books on photography.
              Where did you get the idea that the work to teach you personally for FREE is not difficult for Arkady, if you do not already understand basic things? Like, will it be easier with you further?
              There is information about exposure metering, focus areas. Are you too lazy to find it and figure it out on your own?

              • Vladislav

                Well, then what are you doing here on Arcadia's website?
                It looks like the same thing - for free something to find out, learn, draw on.
                Do not give Arkady any advice on how to act, it is better to help financially if you transfer everything to money.
                Arkady himself will decide whether to give new knowledge to all of us for a fee, to transfer his experience and skills or for free, for which we all love him.
                He is not the well-known kenrockwell, who only asks in his reviews with felt-tip photos - give me a dollar, give me, give me.

            • Victor

              Okay, let's see what Arkady answers to this, he monitors comments)

        • Andrii

          Can't be taught. You can learn.

        • B. R. P.

          Thank you for the extrasensory analysis of my personality) Currying favor with Arkady is unlikely to help you. Let's see what he answers you;)

          • Vladislav

            It seems to me that the answer is really professionals, who are so concerned about keeping the secrets of the secrets of photography. Maybe this is corporate solidarity, which is now everywhere in any profession.
            If this is so, and if it harms Arkady in his work, then I withdraw my proposal. Although ordinary photographers would support me.
            On various sites, photographers, supposedly pros, offer training courses for money. After looking at the advice of one who writes that set the metering to center-weighted and forget, the other writes to the matrix and forget, I realized that this is the wrong advice, since different subjects need different metering. Also, when choosing a focusing area, you need to build on the scene.
            But to come to this, you need a lot of time and experience.
            So I'm waiting for answers from Arkady and ordinary photographers.

            • Dmitry Kostin

              "But it takes a lot of time and experience to come to this."
              So it's even good when everyone has their own experience.
              And it turns out to be cheating homework in mathematics during the break before the lesson.

              • Dmitry Kostin

                And yes, you seem to have a Nikon camera?
                Manuals for Nikon cameras are good because a beginner can buy (it doesn't matter) D4s, D810 or D3100, and the manual will be detailed. Very detailed. And what's more, there are many tips and tricks on what and how to shoot and how to set up the camera.
                This is very useful, but when you tell people - read the manual for your Nikon, they are very offended. Although there is nothing to be offended at, because the advice is useful, maybe a lot is chewed in the manual. Even if a person bought a used camera, the manual is on the Internet. It is enough to download and read what is there for the future sleep. You won't master it in 2-3 days, but you can do it in a week.

              • Vladislav

                Dmitry Kostin.
                Why didn't you yourself have discovered Archimedes' law, Newton's law, you would have spent months, years of your time.
                And it turns out to be written off from Archimedes, Newton, as it were, at recess.
                It turns out to be ugly to write off that.

    • Dmitry Kostin

      "one. Choosing the focus area (there are many of these areas in the camera) when shooting:
      - single portrait
      - groups of people
      - landscape
      - buildings, buildings, streets
      2. Selecting metering (multi, center-weighted, spot)
      - the objects of shooting are the same as in item 1
      At the same time, take into account different focal lengths, the approximation of the subject, the choice of exposure plays an important role, you know. ”
      Vladislav, the easiest way to answer these questions is to see the objects of the shooting in front of you.
      Here personal experience will help more, i.e. you have to go “into the fields” and often shoot yourself.
      It's not scary to be wrong. With experience, you will understand how to be right and how not to be right, what is good and what is bad.
      In landscape and street photography - for example, you need to see the actual subject of the shooting itself, what will catch you there, what kind of lighting that day.

    • Michael

      Take and read the instructions for the camera. There are answers to your questions

      • Vladislav

        Your advice - read the instructions for the camera, I can change it and give you this advice. If you want to learn how to drive a car, master the art of good driving - read the instructions for the car.

        • Dmitry Kostin

          Vladislav I gave the same advice.
          And yes, I have read the entire instructions for D90, D700, D3s, D4.
          Acquaintance with Nikon's manuals taught me to download manuals for Sigma and my Canon.
          There is nothing wrong with that, it is useful.

  • Vladislav

    Good afternoon Arkady!
    I wrote you my proposal, and received several comments and advice on my proposal.
    Read them please
    Commentators went to the website for the article "Tips that helped me in my work as a photographer." And they themselves advise me - Study it yourself, photography - Science is hard and difficult.
    Then a question to the commentators - Why are you reading this article by Arkady, you all know why you need some other advice that can help you in mastering the secrets of photography.

  • Oleg

    In fact, everything is simple, if you do not take into account the nuances. Awareness of the nuances will come with practice. And simple is

    1. Type of exposure metering. If for you there is a main subject in the photo that you want to focus on, and which occupies a small place in the photo (the face in the photo is not close-up, a ball in a clearing, a plate on a large table ...), choose spot exposure metering and focus on this object. In this case, the camera will select the shooting parameters so that this particular object is ideally (according to its capabilities) exposed. The rest is ignored and can go into overexposure or darkness, and you need to accept that. If you don't accept this and take a full-frame exposure, your main subject may already be overly bright or dark.

    For example, suppose you want to take a picture of a clock tower at night, the clock is illuminated. You are taking a photo with the exposure adjusted throughout the frame. You will get a good overall photo, but there will be a white spot in the place of the clock (square ...). The picture is generally good, but you wanted to highlight the clock. Then either manually change the exposure or set exposure metering at the center point. The camera will ignore everything around this point and take an hourly exposure. The clock will be clearly visible in the picture, but everything else will be dark to one degree or another. Then you can try to draw out the dark areas during processing, but the main thing is that you got a photo with a clock on the tower, where you can see the arrows and everything else on them, and not a white spot instead of a clock.

    Well, or a photo of the moon in a dark sky. By metering the exposure over the entire frame, the camera will brighten the sky, but this will make the moon a white spot. But if you focus on the moon with spot metering, the camera will take a picture of the moon with the lunar relief drawn. Yes, the sky will be very dark, but you wanted a photo of the moon, right? If you want both, take several pictures with different exposures and combine them in the photo editor.

    Medium exposure metering is when the main subject takes up more space in the picture.

    2. Focus areas. Without nuances, everything is also simple here. If you want to focus on something that is not in the center of the frame, focus on the corresponding focus point. For example, a person is sitting on the grass. You want to focus on his face. As planned, the person in the picture will not be in the center, but slightly to the left and down. If you have a focus point on the camera in that part, choose to focus on it. Because the alternative is to focus with the center point, and then move the camera so that the subject is in the place you want in the picture. Whoever is more convenient, and even if a picture with a shallow depth of field, any shift in the frame can bring it out of the focus area. Therefore, either shoot only in the center, or use non-central focus points.

    This is if there are no nuances, of which there are many, and by which you need to see for yourself how it turns out, that is, in practice.

    • Vladislav

      Thanks for the tip. The fact is that this theory is familiar to me, I read a lot.
      I just wanted Arkady to open the rubric “Practical results of obtaining a photo with the correct choice of metering and focusing area” with examples of photos of various basic shooting scenes.
      I believe that these two main settings - the choice of the type of metering and the focusing area are the main ones, the rest will be done by the automatic camera, only small adjustments for bracketing are required.
      I learned long ago to take good pictures on a professional camera, where there is no auto mode, but you can always improve your capabilities if someone does it better and more correctly. Once again, this will be of great help to novice photographers, since the settings in DSLR cameras seem very complicated at first.
      And many, without understanding these difficulties in the settings, take pictures just on the machine, or even abandon this fascinating business - photography. Proof of this is the numerous sales of DSLRs in the secondary market, sometimes in perfect condition. Most of the people did not understand the complexities of digital SLR cameras, this miracle technique, the capabilities of which are much higher than cameras of the film era.
      That's all, that's why it would be nice for Arkady to open such a rubric - Practice.

      • Specialist

        I don’t understand your problems. I then think that it is important to set the aperture on time, and keep track of the shutter speed (and select the focal one), and the exposure metering is 99% matrix (reportage, landscape, the exception is the moon at night) with an adjustment of -0,3 or -0,5, by Nikona is better to under-light, shadows, brightness, exposure can then be added. They said about the focusing method (Oleg). What secret do you want to hear from Arkady?

      • Andrii

        Is it bad that there are cameras with low mileage on the secondary? Whose problem is it if the person does not want to deal with the camera settings?

  • Vladislav

    Many thanks to all the commentators !!!
    Everyone is right, you need to read the instructions and a little more practice, since digital cameras allow you to click many thousands of times, not like on film, when you saved each frame.
    Arkady! I am withdrawing my proposal, you have to learn from your practice, periodically looking at your site to see your advice.

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