Nick Carver Photography Blog

Photography Tips, Tutorials, & Videos


Starting a Photography Business: Interview with Barber Career Agency

Starting a Photography BusinessWhat do I, Nick Carver, have to do with barber schools and cosmetology schools? Well, nothing really. But a nice gentleman by the name of Matt from the Barber Career Agency ( recently asked to interview me about starting a photography business. The Barber Career Agency is a one-stop information shop for folks looking to start a career as a barber or cosmetologist. And since the Barber Career Agency is about helping barbers start their careers, Matt has gone around asking all sorts of professionals about what it's like to start your own business. I think it provides invaluable insight into the challenges and rewards of being your own boss, something barbers - and really any aspiring entrepreneur - could benefit from.

Matt worked up a great series of questions that I found to be very interesting. It got me thinking about things I don't often get a chance to dive into.

I know a lot of my readers are interested in starting a photography business, so I thought this interview might be of interest to those folks. And if you're not interested in starting your own photography business, I think you'll find the interview a good read anyway. I talk about how I got started in photography, what keeps my passion going, and what the difficulties of running a business are.

Here's just a small sample from the article:

Q: What do you like most about being a photographer?

A: My favorite part about being a photographer is creating framed artwork. I, of course, enjoy the actual process of taking pictures, but it’s actually a close second to having the finished piece hanging on a wall. I find no greater satisfaction in life than seeing the final framed print. It’s really a shame when people’s picture just reside on a computer or online, never getting printed. It’s such a transient satisfaction to share something on Facebook or Instagram, but once it’s printed and framed, the tangibility that comes with it makes the reward far stronger.

Read the interview in all its entirety at

Large Wall Art: 7-Foot Wide Panorama

Large Wall Art - Panoramic Photography by Nick CarverLarge Wall Art: Nick Carver and the 7-Foot Wide Beast
Click Any Image to Enlarge

I recently made a large wall art piece for a client to hang in his TrueCar executive office in Goleta, CA. I've made some large wall art before. My record is 10-foot wide, a panoramic view of Sedona, AZ that hangs proudly in my Tustin classroom. But on the 10-foot wide piece, I broke up it into 3 smaller pieces, forming a triptych, simply because it's nearly impossible (or prohibitively expensive) to create a single piece that large.

Large Wall Art - Panoramic Photography by Nick Carver

For this wall art at TrueCar, we were looking at doing a 6-foot wide print with a 4" double mat and a 2" frame. All in all, the piece would measure 7-foot edge-to-edge when it was complete. Since we were going with traditional matting, doing a triptych wouldn't look right. The gaps between prints would be distracting. So the goal was to do a single continuous piece framed under glass.

Before this, I'd never done a piece this large with glass. The triptych hanging in my Tustin classroom is float-mounted with plexiglass and no frame. Doing it under a single pane of glass presents a different set of challenges. Thankfully my framer, Salamon Art in Fountain Valley, provided much needed guidance on this process. I learned from the head honcho over there that matting prints this big is so uncommon that there are only 2 colors available for matting: white and warm-white. Good thing that's what we wanted anyway. The next challenge was glazing (meaning the glass). They don't make glass this big for picture framing. We could get a pane specially made, but that would cost a fortune. Thank God for acrylic. Acrylic glazing made the whole piece surprisingly lightweight compared to glass and it made the materials far more affordable.

I typically like high-gloss metallic prints, especially for landscapes like this, but I decided to go with a regular matte finish paper. It was a tough decision because I don't really like matte photo paper, but it was the right decision. High-gloss prints this big become distractingly riddled with ripples and reflections. Also, it's a good idea to do really dark photos in a dull finish. High-gloss picks up reflections even worse when the picture is dark. If you got yourself a really bright composition, though, gloss can look great. The printing was done, as always, by the experts at Pro Photo Connection in Irvine. It's the only place I trust with my prints. This photo, by the way, is a 6x17 panoramic made on Fuji Velvia 50 film in Rancho Palos Verdes, CA.

Sunset at Rancho Palos Verdes

The finished piece came out great, it was huge, it didn't break on transport (my biggest worry), and it looked gorgeous hanging on this exec's wall. As I've said before, getting the photo framed and hanging on someone else's wall is the ultimate reward of photography. Feels good.

On to the next one.

Featured Testimonial: Photography Basics Online Course

A student of my Introduction to DSLR Photography Online Course recently had this to say about the course:

This course is very interactive. I love the way you are always speaking with the student as if he were in front of you and I love the fact that you are always "asking yourself" questions about the logic of what it is being explained... Most of the time I was myself wondering about some aspects of the course and you were already expressing that doubt yourself. I guess this comes from a lot of teaching experience and the habit of listening always about the most charateristic learning difficulties of your students...

I like also the fact that you don't mind repeating yourself again and again on the most important concepts. I truly believe that repetition is one of the great tools for teaching. Patience is also a great aspect of the learning experience with your method. I like the way you always stop us from rushing ahead... There is a sequence to follow in your explanations and you ask us to wait until the time comes to go into further details once we are ready. I would say that these classes offer the three main qualities of a teaching experience: "Sequence, frequency and patience" Thanks!

- Philippe B.

The "Introduction to DSLR Photography" online course is my 6-week course all about the photography basics. It forms the vital foundation of photography basics that all photographers must know in order to get control of their images. From shutter speed to aperture to white balance and everything in between, this course is designed to teach my students the most important topics in the most efficient manner possible. This course is labeled as "6 weeks" but with my approach of "work at your own pace," you're free to take as long as you want to finish. You'll have access to all online photography course materials from day 1, so you can progress through the course as fast or slow as you wish. And with lifetime course access, you'll never have to worry about losing access to these helpful lesson guides and videos.

Learn more about how my online photography courses work here and read more testimonials here.