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Top 4 photography tips and insights from Picfair's professional photographers

Tips and Inspiration

20 June 2018

Posted by Joseph Hobbs

At Picfair, we are thrilled to work with some of the best photographers in the world. To help others learn from them, we've spoken to some of our experienced professionals about the world of professional photography, how to maximise earning potential, and their top tips for fellow photographers.

1) Smartphones are our friends


“I couldn’t live without my smartphone now - it’s the best all round camera that fits in my pocket” says Valentin Valkov.

It is easy to dismiss smartphone cameras as amateur-fare, but they’re getting better, and it is possible to get some amazing shots with commercial value with a phone. Take a look at some of Picfair’s best iPhone shots.

But it is not just the pocket-friendly camera - it is the range of apps available that can really enhance your workflow.

Sam Moore, who has been a professional photographer for over 15 years, suggests The Photographer’s Ephemeris, which helps you plan outdoor photography in natural light. It lets you visualise how the light will fall on the land, day or night, for any location on earth. Amazing.

Photographer and Creative Director Chris Peterson-Clausen loves Artemis - a digital viewfinder for smartphones used by Oscar winners and film students the world over, which helps him deciding focal lengths.

We also love: 

Pocket Light Meter - A light meter that is always in your pocket. Measures reflected light, and allows reciprocity calculations.

Easy Release - An app which allows you to get signatures for model releases directly on your phone.

Sylights - If you are a studio photographer, this is invaluable. It allows you to map out and save studio lighting diagrams so you can always remember your best setups.

Shot using an iPhone

Shot using an iPhone Read less

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Daniel Domínguez

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Shot using an iPhone

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Rory Turnbull

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2) Making a living


The world of professional photography has changed in recent years, and it is now difficult to make a living from image licensing alone. At Picfair we want to maximise our photographers’ earnings - that is why our commission is only ever 20% - but here is how our pros make that extra cash.

Roy de Haas, who is also the director of a software company and a company specialised in infrared heating products, runs the agency AGAMI images, an outstanding collection of bird, nature and wildlife images from a host of award winning photographers. “If you can, find ways to earn more money by sharing your knowledge with others, or running photography trips, for example”.

Matthew Mallett makes much of his living through wedding and wrestling match photography. “Don't stick in the past. Look at what’s trending and try to work with that. Being flexible and adapting to change is the biggest way to maximise income in my opinion."

Sam Moore - and lots of professional photographers - make the bulk of their living by doing assignments. If you make a name for yourself - on social media, through word of mouth, and by having a professional website - you can earn a lot through assignments. Another path to finding assignments is by opting in to Picfair’s Assignments Network, where you will be notified if we receive any suitable jobs for you.



3) Mirrorless cameras are the future of professional photography


Mirrorless cameras have risen in popularity in recent years. They are smaller and lighter than their DSLR counterparts, without sacrificing on image quality, and Roy de Haas of AGAMI images thinks they are going to be increasingly used by professional photographers in the next few years. “I just sold all my gear and replaced it with Panasonic mirrorless and Leica lenses.” 

While the quality between mirrorless and DSLRs is comparable, mirrorless cameras are a lot smaller, their bodies rivalling the size of a simple point and shoot. The only disadvantage is that less lenses are available to you - but that is rapidly changing. 

Sam Moore agrees. “Having less equipment to carry around can make getting a perfect shot a lot quicker and easier.” If you are thinking of buying a new camera, consider a mirrorless to reduce the bulk of your carry case.

Fujifilm X100T, a third generation of Fujifilm X-Series mirrorless camera on canvas bag background.

Fujifilm X100T, a third generation of Fujifilm X-Series mirrorless camera on canvas bag background. Read less

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4) When it comes to new gear, spend your money wisely


When it comes to the latest gear, our professional photographers are grounded. 

“We all fall for G.A.S (Gadget Acquisition Syndrome),” says Sam Moore. “But make the most of what you have. If you find you have found a limit with using a particular camera, then it’s time to upgrade.”

Chris Peterson-Clausen says you should never buy cheap compromise solutions because you couldn't wait a bit longer. "It will only frustrate you time and again. I tend to buy the best gear available to me for the solution and then mercilessly use it for years and years.”

But for good measure, here are some of their favourite accessories... 

Valentin Valkov recommends a Lowepro backpack for lugging lots of equipment around, and the Peak Design CapturePRO Camera Clip. “It makes switching between cameras a breeze.”

Matthew Mallett’s latest accessory is his favourite. “The Godox AD200 is a combined battery bare bulb and flash head which is much more powerful than normal speed lights. Capable of TTL and manual control the light output from this unit is superb and gives you the flexibility of using it as a normal flash albeit not on camera or with studio style diffusers for a studio style look. Awesome.”

Sam Moore is really excited about the upcoming Gnarbox 2, designed to make backing up in the field a breeze. “Backing up in the field can be really important, and I have tried various backup systems that haven’t really worked that well. The Gnarbox 2 sounds like it will be a fantastic tool to have at all times.”


Finally, we asked what brought them to Picfair and how their experience has been…


Matthew Mallett: “What brought me to Picfair was the ease and convenience of being able to upload images and potentially licence them to people across the world. I have had plenty of sales from the site which is very fair to photographers and unlike some other selling sites the remuneration for selling images is very good. I highly recommend the site to any photographers who are looking at a fuss free way to sell licences to images both at an individual and commercial level.”

Valentin Valkov: “What won me over is the time I’m able to save with Picfair. Just drag and drop and I’m done. Also setting my own prices makes me feel in control of how I sell my work.”

Roy de Haas: “Flexibility in pricing - and the 20% commission Picfair takes is not much compared with competitors."

Sam Moore: “A lot of stock sites take a huge commission from anything you sell, and with Picfair, the price you put is the price you get.”

Chris Peterson-Clausen“My experience with Picfair has been quite fortunate indeed. I’m pleased to see Picfair growing!”

Whether you are a professional or new to photography, we hope these tips and insights help. Want more? You can download our free expert guide to maximising your photography earnings here. Picfair’s photographers always comes first - that’s why, unlike other agencies, we let you control your own prices, and only add a 20% commission.

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