Congratulations! You are a photographer. With the affordability and availability of digital cameras, anyone can be a photographer. But what if you want to take your craft to the next level? Jeff Clay is a local photographer who has traveled the world, documenting with his camera. His work has been displayed in many venues along the Wasatch Front, and Jeff is a member of Local Colors of Utah, a Sugar House co-op gallery.
Here’s how Jeff suggests taking your photography to the next level.
- Invest in a good camera and other equipment. Having a good camera like a DSLR (digital single-lens reflex) camera is essential. Investigate brands and decide what kind of camera and equipment will work well with your subject matter of interest.
- Get to know your camera and lenses. You’ll be no good with your equipment if you don’t know the limitations of what your specific camera can do. “If you’re not the type to read manuals, join a photography club or Meetup group,” Jeff says. “I have seen photographers who went from novice to advanced in a matter of months just by associating with other photographers and groups.
- Photograph as often as you can.”Get out there and take photos. Eventually your style as a photographer will start to become apparent,” Jeff says.
- Learn software tools. “Taking the picture is not making the picture. Post-processing with Lightroom and/or Photoshop is critical to creating the image that YOU want.
- Develop a style or vision. “When you start shooting, you generally shoot what interests you and are thinking only from shot-to-shot. Eventually though, your vision as a photographer starts developing. Fine tune what you shoot. Maybe it’s something that has been done before, but find a different way to do it.”
- Get your work out there. “Cafes and restaurants can be great places to start to get your work seen. Most of those venues are just looking to get art on the walls and are pretty open about working with emerging artists. You may eventually want to approach galleries. You can also go the festival route and try to sell at markets and the big summer festivals in Salt Lake, Park City, and elsewhere. Getting your name out there is essential. Use social media sites such as Instagram, Tumblr, Google+ and Facebook, all of which I use as mini-blog platforms. Write about your work. As I travel and take photos, I like to add commentary to images I publish,” Jeff says. “Moving to the next level also means having a proper website. For me, that means that I can create easily navigable galleries, the look-and-feel can be configured to my liking, and a shopping cart is available for people to order online. Finally, make sure you frame your work properly. A relationship with a good frame shop or two can be beneficial on many levels.”
- Build portfolios. “Make sure that your portfolios have themes. You will want to develop different projects on diverse subjects. Explore what interests you and discover how to present it. These can lead to portfolios that interest galleries.”
There you have it. While there is no one direct path to success, following Jeff’s advice can definitely help steer you toward becoming a better photographer.
For more information on Jeff Clay visit clayhausphotography.com
Local Colors of Utah: localcolorsart.com