Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Photography Business Basics with Michaela Wickman

We're back again with photographer Michaela Wickman, and today Michaela is going to share some basics about photography business with us. For those of you who haven't entered our giveaway yet, Michaela and I teamed up to offer a $50.00 gift certificate to Canvas on Demand. To enter, visit the Interview with Michaela Wickman.

Thanks for coming back again today, Michaela. We're happy to have you. Let's jump straight in. On Monday you suggested those interested in photography to visit some photography forums and get the book Understanding Exposure. What do you advise people do after that?

I am a member of NAPCP (National Association of Professional Child Photography…, and it’s a great place for photographers and parents to discuss topics. Some of my other favorite forums to visit are,, and I also subscribe to Popular Photography and Photoshop User Magazine, where I’ve learned a ton of new tips and tricks and the latest news on camera gear.

At what point did you start getting professional equipment, like a nice camera and photography program?

I got equipment pretty soon after I realized this is what I wanted to be doing. I started with a Canon 40D and soon upgraded to the Canon 5dMarkii. As far as lenses, I have several, but I am definitely a prime lens kind of girl. My favorite versatile lens is my 50mm 1.4. I edit my photos with Adobe Lightroom 3 and Adobe Photoshop CS5.

How did you know you were ready to go from amateur to professional and start charging money for your sessions?

Once my portfolio was reviewed and I was accepted into a paid pro forum online, I knew I was ready.

I think everyone can see just how ready you were. The pictures above are beautiful! How much of photography is taking pictures, and how much is computer editing? Which part do you enjoy most? Why?

I’d say 50/50 for both parts of the questions. I enjoy both shooting and editing, and I spend equal amounts of time on each. It takes time to get ready for a session, and there’s lots of planning and prepping involved. My editing has gotten much faster now that I have a routine, but again, it still takes quite a bit of time!

What do you most enjoy photographing?


Anyone who stops by your website or facebook page will see how much you love snapping pics of little ones. You're so talented in that area! What aspect of photography gave (or still gives) you the most trouble?

Family sessions have always been a weak spot of mine, but I am learning to love them more and more. The trick is to pose everyone so they don’t look posed, if that makes sense! But, for the most part, we get a few posed family shots and then I let the kids be kids. You really have to just feed off of their vibes and go with what works. You can’t force a 2 year old to give their sister a kiss or a hug to their Dad, but sometimes they will do it and that’s when I am snapping away. Those moments in-between are precious.

I remember trying to get our nineteen month old to look at the camera for those family shots. It was rather interesting. You had some bunny ears that my youngest loved, but instead of simply looking at those bunny ears during the picture, he kept pointing or wanting to get up and go take the bunny ears off your head (like he's doing in the picture to the left). I was really happy with how our family photo (pictured above) turned out, but it did take a bit of work.

When did you start learning about photography, before or after you had kids?

I took a photography class in High School, but that was a long time ago! I really started becoming obsessive with photography when my son was around 3 months old. I woke up thinking about photography and went to bed dreaming about it.

I'd say that's a sign you're becoming obsessed. I'm the same way with writing though, so maybe it's not all bad. Do you have a college education? And if so, were your studies at all related to what you're doing now?

I have a Bachelors Degree in Business Administration from St. Norbert College. It has helped me immensely with the business side of photography. But no, I don’t have an art degree or photo degree, just a lot of late nights studying the craft on my own!

Oh goodness, there are days I wish I had a business degree to help with the business aspect of writing. Mostly I just ignore the business and keep writing on a novel until it gets to a point where I can't ignore the business any longer. I'm sure you find your training really helpful. For younger readers interested in pursuing photography, are there degrees or certificates they can earn in the subject?

As far as I know you are able to go to a school for some sort of degree or certificate. But again, I am completely self taught and don’t know much about the schooling part of it. As I mentioned, there are some great associations that pros can belong to that are very beneficial.

I find it encouraging that people can work hard and achieve success in photography without necessarily going to school. Heading off to classes can be a really hard thing for a mom to do, both in terms of finding the money and taking care of her kids and house. Photography seems to give stay-at-home moms some nice options. Are there any last words of advice or encouragement you want to leave our readers with today?

If you are serious about becoming a photographer, practice, practice, practice! If you own a SLR Camera, switch it to Manual mode. This is the ONLY mode I shoot in because I have 100% full control of my settings. Oh, and read that camera manual! If you know your gear inside and out, you will be much more confident when the time comes to use your camera and get the shot.

Thanks for being with us today, Michaela. I'm sure our readers enjoyed hearing your story. For more information about Michaela Wickman Photography or to schedule your own photography session with her, visit her website at And if you're interested in seeing Michaela's most recent portraits, check out the MichaelaWichmanPhotography facebook page, which she keeps updated with her latest shots.

Also, I'm blogging today about foreign settings in books over at Craftie Ladies of Romance. Stop by and say hi if you have a chance!