FAQ - Hank Blum Photography

F.A.Q.

Who hosts your website?

My website is hosted by SmugMug. If you're interested in building a new website click here and you can get a discount.


Do you sell prints? 

Yes! The metal prints and canvas prints are ready to hang. The paper prints will need some sort of framing in order to hang on a wall. For anything you have seen online or custom prints, you can email an image of the print you want to hankblum@gmail.com


What gear and equipment do you normally use?

I shoot with Sony mirrorless cameras. I have shot with Sony since 2003 and have settled on what I believe to be the best for adventure landscape photography and lightweight travel. The Sony a6500 is perfect for sports photography, hiking, climbing and anytime that you need to be weight conscious. I typically use the Sony a6500 for about 50% of my work. I have a Nikon D7100, what I shoot for my macro, wildlife and night images.


What is the best camera if you are on a budget?

If you are really on a tight budget, use your phone. I believe the future of creative is mobile or handheld. You literally have movie making machines in your pocket. A lot of these new features and tech were only available with expensive professional equipment. All signs are pointing to the market staying in the small, handheld, inexpensive model. For price and value I can't recommend a better camera than the A6500. It is in a reasonable price range and is a beast for such a small lightweight package. The lenses are really good and constantly growing. I have shot this camera on assignments all over the country. I have had no issues with large prints and magazine covers.


Is photography the right career for me?

The camera is just a tool. How you see the world is most important. Curiosity and passion are everything when it comes to photography. Learn controls, functions, light, and composition. When you learn that, then it is probably a good time to upgrade. Trial and error is your best friend when you are teaching yourself. Most importantly, get out there and take photos. Be a squirrel or get low to see new angles and vantage points. Don’t take the same shots everyone else is taking. Best light is usually thirty minutes before sunrise and sunset. Beautiful blue bird days are the best days to be active but not the best to take pics as colors can get very washed out. When the weather is cold and miserable, storms are forming, and you want to be in your warm bed is when it will be best. Photography as a career is challenging for me especially knowing that 50% is the business side of things. I am super self aware and just like being creative. Sending emails, posting, engaging, marketing, etc. are absolute necessities that can be a time munch, but will enable you to do what you love. Keep exploring, follow your passions and photograph what you love. You will have to photograph stuff that may not interest you in order to fund what you want to shoot, but eventually you'll will strike gold and do what you love. Be kind, connect with people, be honest and work hard. Promote yourself, and share your journey to the world.


Can I make a living as a photographer and videographer?

Yes, if you are willing to put in the work. You can make a six figure income, depending on what you shoot. Commercial photography for brands/ clients usually pays much more than editorial photography for magazines/ websites. I know many wedding and portrait photographers that will make much more than I ever will. Diversify yourself; don't put all your eggs in one basket. My income comes from many sources.

- Personal branding photography and videography

- Documentary photography and videography 

- Commercial photography and videography  

- Editorial photography and videography 

- Social media photography and videography


How did you get started?

I have been shooting since I was a kid but didn’t focus on it as a career until a few years ago. After years working for tech companies, living in cubicles, I realized that I felt empty. We have one life to live and I want to make sure that I chase my dreams and passions. I do not wake up in 30 years with regrets, wishing I had gone for it.


Should I go to college to become a photographer?

I think it is super important to know your craft. The college perspective is difficult for me because I was always bored and uninterested, except when it came to science and technology. Being undereducated has been a tremendous advantage to me. It has made me humble and curious. I just do not see the world the same way. I am not the biggest fan of college outside of being a doctor or attorney. I think taking on huge debt to play Fortnite is silly. I didn’t attend college besides a few courses at a community college. Everything you need to know in todays world is online. Being a practitioner and tasting things is the best way to learn. Sitting in a classroom is the best way to suffocate creativity. Technical stuff can be learned online. I am also talking about adventure landscape photography.


How to use social media as a marketing tool?

Social media is critical in today's world. We live in a very noisy world and are in an attention economy. I see it as a storytelling tool. A way to let people know about the work I am doing, the important things in my life and how I see and view the world. I really try to understand the data behind my channels. Data allows you to see the age, location, of the people you engage with. This is helpful to know who you are actually talking to. Knowing your audience is crucial. If you do not know what to create or are worried about other peoples judgement, you need to document your journey.


How I got my name out there?

Don't limit yourself to social media. The best way to create opportunities or to get larger companies or publications to see your work is to contribute work for exposure instead of money. This is something that each person has to weigh out individually. I do free work every week. I think it’s a crucial part of growing your awareness as a photographer and a brand. Eventually, you will have to make sure that the exposure is actually turning itself into dollars. You can’t put food on the table with followers.


What advice do you have for an emerging photographer/ creative?

The most dangerous thing you can do in your career and life is play it safe. The best thing that you can do as an aspiring photographer/ creative is to identify a style that represents you well, develop within that style, and keep shooting to perfect it. Be you and get recognized by others who are looking at your work. Everyone with a phone is a photographer, so you must find ways to stand out. Don’t play small. Take that boulder that you are chained to that is behind you and throw it in front of you and let it pull you forward. Playing small is the best way to ensure that you will not achieve big dreams. Get uncomfortable. You have so much to give this world and it will haunt you one day when you look back. I think it is important to love what you do because sometimes you get lucky and the world comes to you.


What is the biggest mistake you see young photographers make?

Don’t try to convince yourself or someone else that you can shoot everything well. Diversify yourself. Remember that when you are hired by a client it is because you are a special at something. That is great! Start with what you know and only put the work out there that you are truly proud of and willing to show the world. The market will reward you.


Would you describe yourself as a photographer or an artist?

I am definitely an artist. I like to create and do things differently. I get inspiration from being outdoors, music and other peoples artwork.


What type of preparation would you recommend for someone who wants to enter this field?

Find your style and dial it in. Be a practitioner and be recognized for your work. Learn the business side of things or hire someone that can help out with that. Be kind, honest and work hard.


When comparing your commercial work to your personal work, what are some advantages and disadvantages?

Commercial work pays the bills that allow you to continue shooting personal work. The goal is to merge the two together so the commercial work aligns with what you want to shoot.


Future Goals or Projects?

Future goals are to create artwork that people will remember and to inspire people. I am trying to teach gratitude, empathy and kindness. I want to leave a legacy behind, influence younger generations of creatives.

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