About Daniel Mattia

Daniel Mattia is a freelance writer and blogger who specializes in writing data-driven evergreen content for startups and small businesses. He resides on the east coast with his cat, Rocky, and enjoys working on his personal fiction projects, gaming, or reading when not writing for clients. Daniel can be contacted and hired at http://danmattia.com.

Should Photographers Use a PC or a Mac?

A photographer’s computer is an important part of his or her gear. It’s what allows a good photo to be edited and manipulated into an excellent photo. Computers allow photographers to enhance colors, crop out unwanted scenery, or create a 3D virtual walkthrough.

The requirements for a powerful computer, both in terms of functions and raw processing, lead many photographers to ask — should I use a PC or a Mac?

It’s an age-old question posed by creatives across industries and disciplines. For many, Macs have always encapsulated the “artsy” crowd. PCs were seen as more a general computing device.

With developments in technology and operating systems, the differences between PC and Mac are few. But the question remains: should photographers use a PC or Mac?

Use What You Have First

Buying a new computer requires a significant investment of your hard-earned dollars. If you have a functioning and powerful(-enough) PC or Mac, continuing to use it might be your best bet for now.

Why? As a photographer, your first priority should be maintaining and building your photography equipment. The best computer in the world isn’t going to take a gorgeous photo of Mt. Rainier for you. You still need the right camera, lenses, and gear to make that happen.

If your computer — whether it’s a PC or a Mac — can still handle photo editing and other tasks without unreasonable rendering times or crashes, save your money. You’ll know when it’s time to upgrade once your computer starts to show its age.

Are You More Familiar With a PC or Mac?

Let’s face it — do you really want to learn a completely new operating system just to use the same software you’re accustomed to? That time is probably better spent actually shooting photos, right?

While it was once believed software like Photoshop ran better on Mac, that’s no longer the case.

Because Mac has no clear-cut performance advantage over PC (and vice-versa), you’re free to use the one you’re most familiar with. Are you already using a slew of Apple products in your day-to-day workflow? If so, you might want to take advantage of Apple’s convenient compatibility between products.

On the other hand, if you’re more comfortable using a PC then, by all means, continue to do so. As the old saying goes…if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Mac is (Usually) More Expensive Than PC

A new Mac is almost always more expensive than a comparable PC. This is, in part, due to Apple’s proprietary hardware. In comparison, PCs are made by a plethora of manufacturers or can be custom-built to your specifications by yourself.

Because Macs are built with proprietary hardware, you’re locked into the Apple ecosystem. That means relying on Apple for repairs, customer service, and replacement components. It also means buying most of your computing equipment from a single vendor without much room for competition (and, with that, competitive prices).

Macs are also less easily-upgraded. As technology progresses and your Mac starts to show its age, your only recourse (short of a few options, like upgrading the RAM) is to buy a new Mac. With a PC, you can swap components out as they age, keeping your computer as close to cutting-edge as possible (even if it gradually starts to resemble Frankenstein’s monster).

Macs Are Generally More Stable Than PCs

Each Mac is built with components designed to work together. Apple engineers design motherboards to function perfectly with the other intended hardware. The computer’s drivers and firmware are then custom-tailored and optimized to sync with the Mac’s configuration.

PCs are different. How many times have you had to update drivers or firmware through Windows Update or the manufacturer itself? Driver conflicts can cause blue screens of death and instability.

On the flip side, Apple delivers its updates together and from one source. And because the computers in a specific Mac configuration vary so slightly, if at all, driver and firmware updates introduce far less instability — if there even is any.

Apple also has significantly less market share than PC manufacturers in the computer market. While that sounds like a negative at first, it means that Macs are less likely to be targeted with viruses and malware.

Should Photographers Use a Desktop or Laptop?

In general, desktops are more powerful and cost-effective than laptops. The added internal space means beefier, power-hungry components can be installed.

A PC desktop also affords you a more customized experience. Because it’s stationary, you can buy a beautiful 27-inch monitor and not worry about having to lug it around with you everywhere. There are more ports and connections for peripheral devices and plenty of room to upgrade.

But desktops — both PC and Mac — lack the versatility of laptops. A laptop can come with you to a shoot so you can edit on the fly or during downtime. You can more easily show your clients samples of your work or examples of what you’re discussing.

If you’re a student, a laptop can come with you to class or the dorms while doubling as your photo editing device.

The best solution, if your funds allow it, is to buy both a desktop and laptop. The desktop can serve as your office computer, handling any heavy-duty editing or post-processing. Your laptop can come with you so you can still get work done when you’re not at the office.

If you can’t afford both options, think about how often you’ll be able to work on the go. Does your schedule allow for you to edit while mobile? Have you ever wished you could do some spot editing in front of a client?

On the flip side, how much power do you expect from a computer? If you’re commonly performing intensive post-processing work, you might be better off with a desktop.

Should a Photographer Buy a PC or a Mac?

Gone is the belief that Macs reign supreme for photographers. The performance similarities between PCs and Macs mean you’re fine with using either, but that doesn’t help you make a purchasing decision.

Instead, the decision of whether a photographer should buy a PC or Mac is entirely preferential. Macs still carry the perception of being ideal for those who work in the visual arts, so if maintaining an image is important to you, Mac is a solid choice.

Macs also take the lead in the realms of ergonomics and simplicity. Apple makes beautiful machines that prioritize users’ comfort and convenience. “They just work,” more or less.

PCs offer the most choice and customization, as well as a lower price point. While you may have to deal with the occasional crash or inconvenience, there’s a reason why PCs still dominate the market.

The best computer for a photographer is one that meets their needs and preferences, whether it’s a PC or a Mac.

By |2019-05-17T10:09:05+00:00May 17th, 2019|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Where Are The Best Restrooms?

As a photographer, you should plan out your day and your route when traveling from client to client. Putting a plan into place helps you get to your clients on time and keeps you from getting lost or appearing otherwise unprofessional.

Your plan should allow for some downtime between shoots, whether that downtime is to accommodate travel time or…nature’s calling.

That’s right. Part of a photographer’s schedule requires time for life’s necessities. You need to allow yourself time to eat, rest, and, yes, use the restroom. Learning how to find a restroom can prevent you from being uncomfortable during a shoot. But where are the best restrooms?

Public Buildings

The obvious answer for where to find a restroom is a building open to the public. These locations may not have the grandest or freshest restrooms, but they’re better than nothing and, more importantly, available to the public.

Look for places that don’t require admission tickets or appointments to enter. Places like libraries, public transport stations, hospitals, and colleges are all likely to offer unimpeded access to their restrooms.

Retail and Grocery Stores

Retail and grocery stores also offer free access to their restrooms. Most importantly, a store’s restrooms are often located close to the entrance and exit, which is a lifesaver when you really have to go.

Stopping at a store to use its restroom also allows you the opportunity to buy a quick snack or make sure you’re staying hydrated. Store restrooms are generally close to the checkout lanes, so snag a cold drink or some trail mix to keep yourself hydrated and energized throughout the rest of your day.

Restaurants, Coffee Shops, and Cafes

Your success using the restroom at a restaurant, coffee shop, or cafe is hit-or-miss. Since these are private establishments, they may require you to purchase something prior to giving you access to the restroom. In other cases, you may be granted access to the restroom, though it’s still frowned upon to not buy anything before or after you go.

This, of course, isn’t true for all restaurants and coffee shops. Starbucks has recently changed its policy to allow all members of the public to use its locations’ restrooms without requiring the purchase of a coffee or food item.

Still, photographers lead busy lives, so it’s not too difficult to talk yourself into buying a coffee to use the restroom.

Download a Restroom-Finding App

Photographers aren’t the only professionals who need to find restrooms while on-the-go. The need to find clean and accessible restrooms has spawned a plethora of helpful apps.

Using a restroom-finding app is as simple as ordering an Uber or shopping online. They display the:

  • Available restrooms in a given area
  • Type of location the restroom is located in
  • User ratings about the state and condition of the restroom

If you’re traveling to clients in an unfamiliar location, download a restroom-finding app. If nature calls between shoots, you’ll at least have some idea of where you can find a clean restroom.

Prepare for the Worst

Photographers should always be prepared for the unexpected. While that often means coming prepared with the right gear and equipment, you should also pack a few toiletries alongside your gear.

After all, have you ever rushed to the restroom only to discover there’s no toilet paper? What about a lack of soap or something to dry your hands with?

Stuff a roll or two of toilet paper and some travel-sized soap in your bags. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Find the Best Restrooms While Traveling

Photographers travel a lot. It’s part of the job, after all. By equipping yourself with the knowledge of where the best restrooms can be found, you’ll avoid having to shoot while uncomfortable — or worse. Use these tips to find the best restrooms when nature comes calling.

By |2019-05-03T07:24:14+00:00May 3rd, 2019|Uncategorized|0 Comments

How To Take Photos in Rough Neighborhoods

Photographers visit a wide gamut of locations in their day-to-day life. From tall mountains that pierce the clouds to dry and dusty basins, photographers know few limits in the places they travel to in search of the perfect shot.

But not all locations are safe. Some locations and neighborhoods may not be especially suited for visitors. Some areas may be prone to petty crime — or even a high rate of violent crimes.

Photographers often visit these unsafe locations to shoot photos on behalf of a client. After all, real estate in rough neighborhoods still needs to be bought and sold. Other photographers might want to shoot in bad neighborhoods to bring attention to them in hopes of making a positive change on the lives of those who live there.

Still, photographers should exercise caution and focus on safety when taking photos in rough neighborhoods. Here’s how to take photos in rough neighborhoods.

1. Follow the Law

Many potential problems can be nipped in the bud before they even arise by simply following the law and knowing your rights. In general, public places are the best spots to take a photo. People are rightfully protective of private property, but legally have little-to-no expectation of privacy in a public space.

Public locations have few restrictions on who or what you can photograph. If something does go down, too, there’s a higher likelihood of someone being around to serve as a witness.

However, be mindful of local ordinances and regulations when shooting in public. You may be prohibited from using certain types of equipment, like tripods, in specific areas.

Follow the local laws of the location you’re photographing to eliminate many issues before they even have a chance to crop up.

2. Be Open About Your Work

If a stranger with a camera is lurking about your neighborhood, you’d likely be curious to find out why. People are, after all, defensive and protective about their homes and communities.

If someone approaches you to ask you why you’re taking photos of their neighborhood, politely share your reasoning. Perhaps you’re a fan of the local architecture or working on a student project. Maybe you’re shooting a client’s home prior to it being listed for sale. Or perhaps you’re working to break negative stereotypes about “bad” neighborhoods.

Whatever your reasons, be honest and open about your work. Share your passion and enthusiasm for photography, and locals may even recommend landmarks you should shoot or share their unique stories with you.

What it breaks down to is respect. Show your respect for another’s home and they, in turn, will probably respect your visit.

3. Stay Aware

Though it goes without saying, it’s often easy — too easy — for photographers to get lost in their own work. Finding the best shot is a struggle, and it sometimes takes a bit of time looking through our viewfinder before snapping a photo.

In that time, any number of ne’er-do-wells have the opportunity to sneak up on you and pick your pockets — or worse.

When shooting photos in rough neighborhoods, it pays to stay aware of your surroundings. Take note of the people around you and pay attention to anyone or anything that makes you feel ill at ease.

Be mindful of people you’re photographing, too. Those dealing drugs or selling counterfeit merchandise might not be too happy to have their faces captured by your camera, even if they’re not the subject of your shot.

4. Come Prepared

As with every shoot, it pays to prepare yourself before taking photos in an unfamiliar neighborhood. What areas are known for their high crime rates? Is the area a tourist trap and more prone to pickpocketing or scams?

Before departing for a new neighborhood, share your plans with a friend or colleague. If you’re not heard from in a while, they’ll be able to alert your family and authorities to your last known location.

You may want to have a friend tag along with you on some shoots, too. There’s safety in numbers, and an extra pair of eyes can help identify any potential threats you’ve overlooked — or protect your gear while you snap the perfect photo.

5. Protect Your Gear

Speaking of gear, plenty of photographers invest hundreds and thousands of dollars into their equipment — and it can all be lost or stolen in a heartbeat. Other than staying aware of your surroundings, protect your equipment by:

  • Using non-branded camera bags
  • Putting electrical or duct tape over branding on your cameras and lenses
  • Storing your gear in the trunk of your car
  • Placing a blanket over any visible gear not in use
  • Making your bags and gear look dirty and old
  • Using a camera strap on your neck, wrist, or arm

The less your gear stands out, the better. Keep it stored away in as secure a location as possible and do what you can to reduce its attractiveness to thieves.

Take Photos in Rough Neighborhoods…But Stay Safe

Dangerous and rough neighborhoods are not without their worth, both in terms of plenty of good people who live within them and excellent photography opportunities. Keep yourself and your gear safe and protected by carrying yourself professionally, preparing yourself beforehand, and maintaining situational awareness.

By |2019-04-12T14:43:47+00:00April 12th, 2019|Uncategorized|0 Comments

When Should Photographers Go From Side Hustle to Full-Time?

Professional photographers often launch their careers as a side hustle while working a day job. The goal for many, however, is to eventually transition into a full-time photographer — someone who can support themselves entirely through their photography.

But how long should you expect to shoot before you’re ready — skill-wise and financially — to go full-time?

What Is Your Photography Workload?

If you’re frequently turning down new clients or are fully booked for the foreseeable future, you might be ready to take the plunge and turning your photography side hustle into your only hustle.

A hefty workload is one of the strongest indicators that you’re ready and able to shoot full-time.

Be careful, though. The amount of photography work you have should be enough to sustain you and your lifestyle. You don’t want to quit your stable full-time job only for your photography work to dry up and leave you penniless.

If you’re booking enough shoots and have a consistent demand for your work though, chances are good that you’re ready to start shooting full-time.

Set Financial Goals

While it plays hand-in-hand with your workload, it’s important to know how much money you need to earn over a given period of time.

Without a consistent 40-hour-a-week job, each shoot you schedule should make a significant contribution to your earnings.

Calculate how much money you require to sustain your lifestyle and grow your business, then use that information to properly price your services. How many shoots will you need to schedule per week? Will you need to book more weddings or sell more portrait slots?

If you earn enough from your photography to pay the bills and sustain your lifestyle, you’re likely ready to start shooting full-time.

Ensure Your Skills Are On-Point

Photography has a low barrier to entry. After all, anyone with a smartphone possesses the ability to start shooting photos.

But that doesn’t necessarily mean everyone’s skilled enough to launch a career in photography.

If photography has long been a passion of yours, chances are you’ve continued to hone your skills. Still, you need to offer potential clients a certain quality in the work you do. If you do good work, you’re more likely to get referrals and repeat business. Cha-ching.

But how can you tell your skill is at a high enough level to transition into full-time photography? Audit your portfolio to determine what level you’re at and continue to develop your techniques.

If you and your clients are happy with your work and portfolio, it may be the right time to turn that side hustle into a full-time job.

You’ve Built Up an Emergency Fund

Self-employment, especially in the arts, sometimes leads to a feast or famine situation. No matter how good a photographer you are, it’s wise to establish an emergency fund before quitting your current job.

Save the equivalent of three to six months of expenses (at least) before quitting your job. This money will serve as your backup plan if business dries up or it takes a little more time than you expected to ramp up your professional photography.

Keeping a personal safety net in place will give you some breathing room to fully establish your business and transition your photography from side hustle to full-time job.

You Understand Yourself

This sounds a little abstract, but it’s solid advice. Before relying entirely on photography for your income, you need to understand yourself as a photographer.

What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses? What’s your niche or speciality? Do you know the ins and outs of your equipment?

Most importantly, you need to be able to run a business by being yourself. Before you can capitalize on your strengths and overcome your weaknesses, you need to understand what they are and their impact on you.

Transitioning From A Side Hustle to Full-Time Photographer

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer for how long you should shoot before going full-time. The only right answer depends entirely on your comfort level and how you’ve set yourself up. Spend time preparing for the transition by building your skills, putting resources and a foundation in place, and preparing for the change.

Ultimately, you’ll know when you’re ready to transition your photography from a side hustle to full-time.

By |2019-03-15T18:28:49+00:00March 15th, 2019|Uncategorized|0 Comments

How to Price Your Photography Services

When it comes to setting the price of your photography services, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all rule. The amount you charge for a shoot depends on a myriad of factors, including:

  • Where you live and work
  • What specific services you offer
  • Your experience and training
  • And the equipment you own and use

Pricing your photography services can be fairly hit-or-miss, especially if you’re just starting out. Thankfully, guidelines exist to help you determine how to price your photography services at every stage of your career and business.

Calculate Your Cost of Doing Business

As a professional photographer, you’re running a business first and foremost. You need to consider the cost of doing business when figuring out how to price your photography services.

The cost of doing business can also be called your overhead. It’s the combined cost of all your expenses, including:

  • Studio or office rent
  • Equipment costs and maintenance
  • Service costs (web hosting, software fees)
  • Licensing fees
  • Continuing education costs
  • Subscriptions and dues
  • Travel
  • Mileage
  • Advertising and marketing
  • Outsourcing
  • And more

For example, consider the cost of mailing a client a CD or flash drive full of wedding photos. You’ll need to spend money on not only the CD or flash drive, but packaging and shipping as well — not to mention the time spent editing and selecting which photos to transfer to the CD or flash drive.

Including the cost of doing business in your pricing ensures you’ll continue to stay financially solvent — in business. If you’re not pricing your services at a high-enough rate, you could very well end up losing money simply by running your business.

CODB calculators can be incredibly helpful for figuring out your cost of doing business. Plug in your annual expenses and desired income, then let the calculator work its magic. The result will give you a solid idea for how to price your services and what mark-up you need to set to meet your expenses and desired income.

Determine How Much Money Your Time is Worth

The phrase “time is money” may be cliché, but it’s still true. As a professional photographer, you’ve invested hundreds of hours into learning your craft, whether or not you’re self-trained or college-educated. Your pricing needs to reflect the effort you’ve put into developing and honing your skill.

Each time you’re hired for a shoot, you’re not just spending time taking photos. You’re also setting up equipment, finding the right angles, and, later on, spending time in post-production. During the shoot itself, you’re relying on years of training and expertise to take the best photos you can.

After all, anyone can grab a camera and take a photo. What you bring to the table is knowledge and skill. Keep that in mind when you’re setting the price of your services.

Research the Market and Your Competitors

Staying informed about the market rate and the prices your competitors charge helps you stay competitive. If prices for photography services fluctuate within a given range in your area, you’ll have an idea as to the average acceptable price local clients are willing to pay.

In the same vein, you’ll know how far under or over your competitors’ rates you can charge.

Bear in mind that, to many, the cost of services is indicative of a professional’s quality. If your prices are too low, clients might assume your skill level isn’t high enough to command a better rate.

You may also choose to have higher prices than all or most of your competitors. In this regard, it’d be a branding decision. Perhaps you want to position yourself as an exclusive or boutique photographer.

Study the market and your competitors and apply psychology to influence how you set the cost of your services.

Don’t Forget Taxes

As a self-employed photographer and small business owner, you’re wholly responsible for paying taxes — there’s no employer withholding taxes on your behalf.

That means you need to keep your tax obligations in mind when pricing your photography services. If not, you’re likely going to need to dip into your profits to pay your taxes when the time comes.

Adjust Your Prices as Necessary

Once you’ve set the price of your photography services, do some experimentation to figure out if they work for you. Are you covering all your expenses and making a decent profit? Or are you spending too much time on a shoot for too little pay?

If you’re not happy with your prices, go through the guidelines again to adjust what you charge. Eventually, you’ll settle on pricing that’s not only fair to your customers and clients, but respectful of your expertise, knowledge, and professionalism, too.

By |2019-03-09T02:06:14+00:00March 9th, 2019|Uncategorized|0 Comments