Professional Photography with Matt Hardy
Posted: 07 Nov 2019
Matt Hardy is a landscape and commercial photographer based in Dorset, UK. He’s been in love with photography from the moment he bought his first camera back in 2012. After posting his photos to social media, he soon started gaining a following and now has over 32,000 followers on Instagram. Matt has worked on several media campaigns for national and global brands, as well as shooting a range of celebrity figures. In this blog, Matt describes what it means to be a professional photographer and offers thoughts and advice on what it takes to become a professional.
One of the hardest questions to answer is “what merits the term, professional photographer?”. This is an extremely broad question and mostly comes down to opinion. Many believe having the best gear is the key to being a professional; others believe being able to take an excellent photo is a must. Two good points, however, two points I generally disagree with.
For me, being a professional photographer is about how you market yourself and how you gain new clientele. You could be the best photographer in the world with all the latest kit, but if people don’t want to work with you, or don’t like what you do, it’s hard to make a living as a professional.
I’ve been doing photography for over 5 years now, starting with a standard DSLR camera, which was enough to get me hooked. I began my photography career doing weddings, christenings, and other regular gigs. Being from a small town in Dorset, jobs were extremely hard to come by, but I did my utmost to ensure continuous work.
Word of Mouth and social media plays a huge part in me getting work. The majority of my work comes from these sources. I’d strongly recommend using social media to showcase your work as platforms like Instagram and Twitter are great places to get noticed and to gain a following. This is what I did, and it was something that kept my career going. My follower count and interactions on social slowly increased the more I shared my photos, and people started to take a keen interest in my work.
The other parts of my work come from going to the events and networking myself and my photography. Always carry business cards on you wherever you go, whether that be to the pub or on a shoot, you never know what opportunities might arise. I was once shooting an event and happened to get into a conversation with a gentleman. After talking, we exchanged details, and that conversation really sent my career into overdrive. Next thing I know, I’m at Lionel Messi’s house for a photoshoot. I’ve also been lucky enough to shoot Cristiano Ronaldo, Eden Hazard and Anthony Joshua to name but a few. In this one chance meeting, I went from shooting the same old jobs around Dorset, to shooting celebrities and amazing events. As I’m writing this, I’m just settling down from shooting some ex-special forces. I’ve been abseiling down waterfalls and taking pictures at the same time.
That’s why I love being a professional photographer. Every day you wake up to something new and no shoot is the same. You’re also your own boss, which means you can pick which shoots to accept and decline if you feel that a certain job is wrong for you and your style. I tend to accept most jobs, whether that be scaling a mountain, or wearing a suit, as I love the variety and difference of each shoot, and each time I get more experienced as a photographer.
Away from commercial photography, I specialise in outdoor and landscape photography. This is where my love for photography stemmed from and I still do it now. I also print from my own printer at home, which I think is vital if you plan on marketing yourself as a professional.
Printing at home is something I never thought I’d do, as I used to outsource it. However, I had an inkling that my photos were not being printed correctly. After sending a print to my own address, I discovered my worst fears were confirmed. The colours were off, the paper was cheap, and the image didn’t look anywhere near how it should of. It was around this time that Fotospeed contacted me, and this was again a career-changing moment.
Fotospeed helped me set up a home printing station which I now use all the time. I struggle to remember life before this and it’s become such an important asset to me. Printing is a major skill to have as a professional photographer. If you’re able to print at home, you can cut costs and improve quality with top paper and precise colour calibration. I love Fotospeed’s Platinum Etching 305 and NST Bright White as it gives a stunning finish and reflects my images beautifully.
Why not take a look at our custom profiling service? Generic profiles are great for testing Fotospeed papers, however not as accurate as a Custom ICC Profile. We can create you a custom ICC profile free of charge, making your prints look how they’re meant to when they go from screen to paper. Find out more here.
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