Full Time Photographer Episode 295 Underwater Imagery With Heather Perry
“Be shooting all the time. Don’t be afraid to do non commissioned work. Our jobs is to be creative and be creating all the time.”
Heather is an editorial and commercial photographer who specializes in underwater photography and lifestyle and environmental portraiture.
Getting Into Underwater Photography
Underwater photography is just a natural extension of Heather’s work. She began swimming competitively at age eight, majored in marine biology in college, and is a professional swimmer and scuba diver. When she first picked up a camera, she was already extremely comfortable in the water. She photographed marine life and eventually realized she loved photographing people. Putting her two loves together, she found her niche in underwater portrait photography. Knowing what to look at and look for beneath the surface helped Heather grow her skills as a storyteller both under the water and on land.
The Underwater Photography Niche
The market for underwater photography can be inconsistent; but there are many magazines looking for water imagery as well as editorial and commercial clients searching for stock images all the time. Underwater photography can be “very conceptual,” according to Heather, and it can portray many different emotions and feelings which are beneficial for many genres especially for commercial use. A image of a person in water can be used to signify peacefulness, or evoke and express a variety of feelings; thereby making water imagery useful in many different markets.
Business of Stock Photography
The business of stock photography has declined in the last ten years, and Heather’s income from stock photos from month to month will fluctuate. Because of the evolution of stock imagery, to stay competitive in the stock photography market, a photographer needs to work on producing unique and relevant work, but Heather warns, it’s an extremely unreliable source of income.
Setting Your Work Apart From Others
Heather is the first to admit that she doesn’t do anything that other photographers cannot do. Instead of being unique, Heather puts her focus on staying true to her voice, making sure all of her imagery “always looks like [hers].” She doesn’t try to meet the needs of everyone, but trusts that when the right jobs come, her work, her reputation, and the relationships she has built will help her get the job. She also puts importance in evolving constantly, and listening to and interacting with her audience via social media, as well as talking to art buyers and editors.
An often overlooked quality of photographers is having strong social and communication skills. It can sometimes be looked upon negatively, but have the ability to sell yourself is an important part of getting work and maintaining a successful business. Heather understands this and takes a “well-rounded approach” in getting her work out there by making sure she has a reputation of being easy to work with as well as solid imagery.
Spending Money With Advertising
When advertising, Heather advises that it pays to hire a professional instead of doing it all yourself. If you are designing something to advertise your work, hire or collaborate with the right professional (if you can) to make the most impact. Whether it’s a graphic designer, an editor, or a post production professional, “let people do their jobs” to present your work in the best fashion possible. Hiring a professional to do their jobs, frees you up to do what you do best.
What You Will Learn In This Podcast:
Making a living with underwater photography
Stock photography as a sustainable money making endeavor
How to set yourself apart from others
What you should be spending your advertising dollars on
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Check out Heather’s work on her website: www.heatherperryphoto.com and follow her work on Facebook and Instagram.
If you want to know more about the business of photography click here