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Commercial Photography Tips

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

At 7 pm, I checked out another Canon Workshop to improve my photography skills. Photographer Ric Noyle, from Honolulu, Hawaii, talked about Commercial Photography. Photographers have many tasks and duties, and they need to effectively and efficiently be able to deal with different duties and unexpected issues in a calm and collective manner in order to get the job done without any problems.

He notes that Koapaka, Hawaii is currently under 30 feet of lava because of a recent volcano eruption. I think I watched this volcano eruption on YouTube last month, and I wasn’t aware that this volcano eruption and lava flood is still happening in Hawaii.

  1. Gaining photography experience is all about just doing it and learning from your mistakes. You know you have experience at something when you make a mistake and end up learning from it during the hard way, or you learn from other people’s mistakes by carefully observing other people. Experience also happens when you don’t get what you want, and you have to make it happen for yourself. Don’t underestimate yourself or your project. Always understand your client and your client’s needs/wants. And, don’t misunderstand an agreement with your client.
  2. It is important to know yourself well, which includes knowing your passions, needs, wants, past skills, current skills, and abilities, as well as what you need to make money, the abilities you need to hone, and what skills you need to learn, gain, and improve.
  3. DIY Photography is about enhancing your photographs on Photoshop by changing scenes and/or situation in the photograph to make the photograph more appealing in some way.
  4. Use drone to photograph hard to get out scenes. This drone has around 12 to 18 satellites, and it works well during rainy and windy weather, sometimes creating interesting results. It works with iPhone or camera to control the drone, as it flies around taking photographs.
  5. Technical Ability:  Know your equipment, job requirements, and plan ahead. Make preparations, and then just trust and use your senses more.
  6. The “5 Flag Theory” is about being in a job, and you have weird and sudden changes that make you uneasy or appear different from the original agreement. It is therefore better to get everything in writing to make sure everyone understands the assignment, duties, payment amount, and payment date.
  7. Know what you want when you are negotiating.
  8. Pre-visualize what you need to do. Show your client your vision or point of view and sell your concept to the client. I have used the pre-visualizing technique many times, and I know it works well for me. I am more productive when I pre-visualize first. It helps me be more organized as well as more comfortable with a particular situation.
  9. The “6-Second Rule” is about what is going to happen.
  10. Hire assistance when needed.
  11. Be aware of the aesthetics. Do you like your work? Does your client like it? What can you do to changes things so that you and/or your client is happy? Photoshop? Take more photos?
  12. When working on a Proposal Agreement, get it on paper so that you and your client will sign the agreement. When considering costs, think about the amount you really want to make, the amount this is fair, the minimum amount that you would accept, and don’t go below that minimum amount. It is best to pick a cost that is between a fair amount and desired amount.
  13. Pre-Production involves working with photography assistants, makeup artists, stylists, props coordinator, production assistants, labs, and rental houses.
  14. Interpersonal awareness is about being aware of your surroundings and the people in your surroundings. Time flies fast. Create a daily schedule, be organized, and be professional.
  15. Scout location and prepare proposal involves asking many questions. Location fee? Property release? Changing room availability? Restrooms? Power availability? Know your area well and what an area has. Which way does the sun sets or rises? Do you need a permit? What are your client’s needs and wants?
  16. A photography tool that he uses is Sunseeker Image.
  17. Investigate your client and the company. Who did they use in the past? How did they find you? Were you a referral, recommendation, or did they find you in the yellow pages?
  18. At the first contact, be prepared. Make sure you have a clean desk, clear mind, communicate clearly, and add value to the job. Always have a plan but be able to easily adjust to sudden changes. Find out who will provide the food or meals. Know your own capabilities. Do you have the right team? What is the client’s message? What are they trying to sell?
  19. Another photography tool that he uses is Google Earth. He uses it to communicate location needs with clients.
  20. Always have a Model Release form for your models.
  21. Always copyright your work.
  22. Ad agencies and client onset protocol and etiquette: Never talk about politics or gossip about anyone. Always be professional and do your job. It is all about the money, and time is money.
  23. Keep detailed notes of work schedule and production schedule, which includes invoices, work journal, and following up to get paid until you actually get paid. The terms of payment form should include period of use and media use as well as payment due in the signed agreement.
  24. Important post-production tasks include backing up your work in archive and storage. You could get internal hard drives, portable external hard drive disks, portable USB flash drives.


What do you think?


  1. Agree at 100% that “Gaining photography experience is all about just doing it and learning from your mistakes”. Was very inspired by the “5 Flag Theory” & the “6-Second Rule”!

    • yeah, that is how i learn. i just need to actually do stuff, and learn and grow from there…that is how i wrote a whole novel, did all the work, and then self-published on the internet. now i am trying to finish off my graphic novel. they were both a first for me. so, it was mostly trial and error learning process because i didnt know what i was really doing, and i just learned as i did a big mess. i did a lot of pages over…