I get a lot of questions sent to me in e-mails and via this site. Many of the questions are fairly similar so I have combined the most frequently asked ones into this new section. If I am away shooting on location I don’t always have time to respond to your questions immediately but maybe the answer lies within this section somewhere already so please take the time to have a look around. If what you are looking for is not there, then by all means drop me an e-mail and I’ll do my best to help you out.
As well as the questions listed below, you might also find what you are looking for within previous interviews that I have done with magazines and websites so please have a look at the press section.
If they are technical questions then I have a collection of tutorials on various subjects pertaining to how to become a ski or snowboard photographer. They can be found in the Ski and Snowboard Photography 101 section.
How did you first get into ski photography?
For the answer to this question please read this post detailing exactly how it all began.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to become a ski or snowboard photographer?
For the answer to this question please read this post which offers a range of advice on how to get started.
What sort of equipment do you use ?
I have a detailed gear section HERE that lists all of the equipment that I use and why. From cameras and lenses to office equipment and travel accessories, you should find what you are looking for in there.
Which camera/lens/flash/bag should I get?
You can get a few clues to this answer by reading my gear list, obviously I recommend all of those thing but I also appreciate that not everyone has the funds to buy what is often very expensive equipment. Camera models are changing at such a rapid pace that anything I write here could be out of date in a months time, lenses evolve at a much slower pace though and you can start by reading the articles in my Ski and Snowboard Photography 101 section. Some of these articles offer lens advice and occasionally I review equipment that I deem relevant enough to photographers in my field, they are found in the gear category. Some lens advice is also offered in this article 10 things you need to be a ski photographer.
Some very general advice to bear in mind though, in no particular order.
- Megapixels rarely matter. An 8MP camera is easily good enough for magazines and 12ft high commercial posters.
- Spend as much money on your lenses as you possibly can, great lenses maintain value and can easily be re-sold on the second hand market and lens technology rarely changes. Cameras on the other hand will be outdated in 12 months time at which point their value falls through the floor.
- Yes frames per second do matter, get something which shoots at least 6fps if you can.
- No you don’t NEED a full frame camera.
Did you go to school for photography and do you recommend that ? If not, how did you learn it all ?
No I did not take photography at school, I actually studied Aerospace Engineering because at the time I had not yet discovered photography. The question of photographic education is a tricky one and you’d be advised to also take some professional opinions from a careers specialist before committing to a particular course. My personal opinion is that you are better off taking a business course and letting your photographic skills speak for themselves. I did neither a photographic or a business course, but since starting my company I have always wished for greater business knowledge more than anything else. There are a great many talented artists and photographers out there who never make even a blip on the radar because they don’t understand how to market themselves and how to start and successfully maintain a business. Like I said, please seek multiple opinions on this before making a potential life altering decision though!
How do you go about submitting photos to magazines and where do you get the magazine contacts from ?
Every magazine has it’s own submission preferences. Some prefer to see low resolution samples first to pick from and some prefer the RAW files to browse immediately. Contact the photo editor or art director first and ask them for their submission guidelines. Many magazines have pre-prepared PDFs to let you know what they prefer. This also gives you the chance to introduce yourself to the editor and find out if there are any shots they are specifically looking for. When they have told you how they would like to see your photos, pay very careful attention to the instructions. Photo editors see thousands of photos, and remember that more than likely they are also seeing your photos alongside the photos of your other favorite ski or snowboard photographers as most people submit their work to many publications. If the editor receives a submission that does not follow the guidelines, he could very well ignore it. These days most magazines want to see the RAW files from your camera so DO NOT SHOOT JPEG! And make sure you get the shot correctly exposed because you will not be allowed to make more than minimal level and contrast adjustments. You should be able to find the name and often the e-mail address of the photo or art editor in the magazine, if not, just go old school and pick up the phone!
How do you determine pricing when you sell your photos and how much should I sell a particular photo for ?
First things first, before you ask, no I am not going to tell you how much I sell “X” shot for to “Y” company for “Z” usage. If you are selling photos then do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of Fotoquote from Cradoc Software. A great piece of software that has an enormous database of pricing information for just about every type of photographic usage you can think of. Not only will it give you a suggested price, but it also allows you to construct professional looking quotes to e-mail to your clients as PDFs. It also contains a vast number of tutorials to help you with more complex negotiations and guide you through tricky rights licensing agreements. You will find that the prices quoted by the program might not perfectly align with all industries though and you’ll need to figure out a common adjustment to get things in line with your particular niche, but once you have done this everything will remain fairly relative. The actual cost will be determined by many many factors such as length of license,size of image, exclusivity and finally to some extent your relationship with the company in question. This final part is the thing you will have to work on.
All of that relates best to commercial usages though, for editorial usages most magazines will supply you with a rates list upon request. There is no negotiations here, they will simply tell you that 1 page is worth $X and 1/2 page is worth $Y etc etc.
Can you critique my photos for me ?
Yes, send low resolution photos to my e-mail from the contact list above,or better still send me a link to your Flickr account or other such page. Please send an edited selection though and not 100 photos! I will be 100% honest with my critique, that is the only way to learn. I will always be constructive and offer solutions but also try asking your friends which shots they like and get them to tell you they like a particular one.
I’m doing a school project about photography and I would like you to be my subject, can I ask you some questions for this?
Absolutely! I would ask that you have a good read of all the information above first, and feel free to quote me from any of that information. For any further questions please send them to me via the contact options in the menu above. If you need some photos to go with your project or information I am happy to provide some lower resolution shots that you can use. I would much prefer you ask, than just take them straight from my site so let me know what you need.