Success as a freelance photographer relies upon maximising our return for every minute that we invest in our business. This is true whether we are full or part-time freelances. We have to keep our cameras working so if you are ever at a loss for a subject during a wet and uninviting day, here is something that you can do at home with almost no special equipment.
You will have seen in magazines and newspapers the images that are used in such things as the financial column or on the food or computer pages. Often these images have no direct connection with the words, they are there just to draw our attention to the article and to get us to read it. They are generic images and it is these that you can shoot simply at home, the only limitation being your imagination. And, imagination is the key. You will be competing with many other photographers who have tapped into this market so innovation is as vital as technique.
The only essential items of equipment other than your camera are a tripod and, if one can be fitted to your camera, a cable release and, if you don’t have a macro lens, a set of extension tubes. You don’t even need special lighting or flash unless you are shooting at night. I usually get by with just window light and an occasional reflector — generally a piece of white card or aluminium foil. Keeping it simple is my philosophy.
While innovation is vital, if you have not been involved in shooting very close ups, experiment with some simple ideas to begin with so that when you do come to shoot your innovative set ups you don’t have to think about your technique and can concentrate on getting your pre-visualised ideas on to film or sensor.
What you are looking for as generic images are items that can be photographed so as to be recognisable without showing all their detail. With things like books, this can simply mean shooting so that their titles are not visible but with other items it may be necessary to have just a part of the subject sharply in focus. For instance if you want to show that it is a camera without showing its make, use a large aperture to reduce depth of field and focus on the shutter button or the side of the lens or anywhere where the name of the manufacturer doesn’t appear or can be thrown so out of focus that it is illegible. Or you can do the same with a credit card without giving away important details such as its number. Grab a pen and some paper and start listing your ideas for generic images. In quick time you will probably have up to twenty written down.
Generic images may not be the most exciting of pictures to shoot but they can be one way of keeping your camera active and earning its keep on days that are not conducive to much other photography. They can be one way of maximising our return from our freelance business.
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