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Use Math in a Photography Career

Math is always a marketable skill, regardless of the career you go into, but especially in photography. While you can be a successful photographer without using math, math is necessary for basic photographic calculations as well as conducting day-to-day business.

Use math techniques to calculate shutter speed and aperture openings, or F-stops. To do so, you will need to know the law of reciprocity, which addresses a change in F-stop to compensate for a certain shutter speed. For example, a sunny day could be shot at 1/125 shutter speed at f/5.6, 1/250 at f/4 or 1/60 at f/8, but each will yield different results, depending on the action in the photo. If something is moving quickly, the 1/250 at f/4 will catch the action, but focus on the foreground and lose the background. Meanwhile, the 1/60 at f/8 will blur the action, but catch the background. The faster the shutter speed, the smaller the aperture number. With each increase in shutter speed, the F-stop needs to be lowered by one stop. See the Resources below for more on shutter speed and aperture working together.

Use math to understand the inverse square law. The law states if a subject is moved twice as far away as it once was, it will need four times the amount of light to maintain the same settings. It can also be compensated for on your camera by moving your aperture two stops.

Use math for billing purposes. As a photographer, you will often be working independently or doing a lot of freelance work. You will need math to calculate your billing statements. See the Resources below for some invoice sites, which do the math for you, in case you're still mathematically challenged.

Use math to keep you independent. One of the hardest parts of being an independent contractor is keeping track of taxes owed. As a freelance photographer, you are responsible for tracking your taxes. Use math to keep your finances in order, so you are not caught off-guard when tax season rolls around.



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