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FORUMS Post Processing, Marketing & Presenting Photos The Business of Photography
Thread started 07 May 2012 (Monday) 22:14
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What sells your business?

 
isoMorphic
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May 07, 2012 23:57 |  #16

It's not nit picking you just don't have the foundation laid out yet OBVIOUSLY. Everyone wants to jump in buy some expensive gear and make big money is the problem. Nobody wants to work hard for next to nothing and slowly build a solid future anymore. Thats the problem with todays world everyone wants the fortune and fame but none want to earn the right to get there.




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The ­ Fox
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May 08, 2012 00:00 |  #17

I am in the same situation as you, I work mostly for small business as well as a few larger ones and am seeing them go cheap and low quality over me(though I have worked for them for years). Times are changing and you have to really adapt. I cant get many jobs at my day rate anymore, I have to lower it to stay competitive. I really need to start marketing again as that will get you more business at this point then anything else in my opinion. Marketing is not just a matter of advertisements, but of social media and public interest. What I have found is that if you work with people at all, the most powerful tool is social media, Facebook in particular. It is why some of the really bad photographers are getting work, they can hold the attention of the masses and make people want to hire them. It is all about making a brand, something people will desire. Marketing will be your biggest tool.

Gear means nothing as long as you can make it work. Some of my favorite work has been taking by a high schooler in England with a Rebel XT and hotlights. For meI have found that commercial work that I do it sometimes is about having the best camera on the set is an important thing. "If one of the random guys has a better camera then me, they must be better photographer" is sadly the thinking of many people. I shoot a medium format digital system as kind of a selling point to some clients. Some don't care what so ever about what you have or don't have as long as the image works for them. Other are need a min of 12mp file for use on web(I have had a client that wanted full sized file for use on web from my 8mp 20D, and they ask if I can do larger and say I can with my 60.5mp back and that is what they want, regardless of cost). Trust me, people are really not knowing anything in the end. But that is enough with that rant, relevant but nothing you did not already know.

I will agree with everyone else so far, dont worry about them and work on yourself. I dislike these people as much as the next person, I have to live with them. I am going for clients that are out of their reach with my skill set. I specialize in product, cars and large sets in particular and most of those people could not touch and many of my clients I am going for know more about the final image then even I do. Just market yourself, and get a good portfolio down. You will not be making money right out of high school but just keep shooting and you will be doing good. You can take all this from personal experience, I just turned 22 and this if my full time job for 3 agency, staff at a company and doing freelance work on the side. All it takes is passion and time.

Nick


"I work from awkwardness. By that I mean I don't arrange things. If I stand in front of something, instead of arranging it, I arrange myself" -Diane Arbus
7D Gripped x2 | 50D Gripped | 17-50mm F2.8 | 35mm F1.4 | 50mm F1.4 | 85mm F1.8 | 70-200mm F4L IS |

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The ­ Fox
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May 08, 2012 00:05 |  #18

Not too bad, just remember that the better looking the people in your portfolio, the better you look. People will expect that you will make them look that good regardless of how they look. Most wedding photographers I work with out here will take up to 40% off for an amazing location or cute couple.

Nick


"I work from awkwardness. By that I mean I don't arrange things. If I stand in front of something, instead of arranging it, I arrange myself" -Diane Arbus
7D Gripped x2 | 50D Gripped | 17-50mm F2.8 | 35mm F1.4 | 50mm F1.4 | 85mm F1.8 | 70-200mm F4L IS |

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J ­ Michael
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Joined Feb 2010
Atlanta
May 08, 2012 06:06 |  #19

Don't worry too much about the age thing. Some will see it as a novelty. You can't please everyone, some folks have to have something to use as a discriminator so they'll pick something else if it's not age. I shot a wedding at age 12, processed and printed the negatives and handled all the sales, and made quite a bit of money. The people at the wedding had a great time and loved the photos. If anything, you're too old. Just kidding.

Perhaps the average rate people can afford in your area may not be that high. Getting you for $300 might be the difference between having someone skilled and a relative shoot it. Think of it this way: Daddy tells daughter she has $2000 to spend on the wedding. The dress costs $300, venue and catering best deal they can find for 100 people is $1200, flowers $100, cake $100. How much is left? Their ability to pay is driven by their budget. The B&G might be working minimum wage at the Wal-Mart.

In any market there are people who are willing to pay more but you'll get fewer jobs. That also means less ability to increase your skill level as you'll have fewer shooting opportunities. Have fun with it.




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mdelrossi
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Brooklyn NY
May 09, 2012 07:05 |  #20

@austin.p
You've got some solid images there. You do have to understand your market, in regards to how much they can spend.
Do you do any marketing? Do you have a Facebook act?
Don't worry too much about the $30 shooters, they are not in your league.
Keep shooting, marketing, and move forward.
Check out PPA(professional photographers of America) they specialize in the family photography business. Offering classes(for a price), and webinars, though the forums are where you can get some great advice for the type of photography you do.

I started by building a darkroom in my closet at the age of 12. If you love photography you can make a living at it.

Keep going.

mdr


Corporate: www.delrossiphotograph​y.comexternal link
Family: www.michaeldelrossipho​tography.comexternal link
Facebook:www.facebook.​com/MichaelDelRossiPho​tography

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Foodguy
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May 09, 2012 09:41 as a reply to isoMorphic's post |  #21

This may or may not apply to you at the moment, but what sells my business is: reputation/credibility​/experience in that order.

Photography is an interesting business. What you're really selling for the most part is "confidence" that you can get the job done, as in most cases a final product doesn't exist at the moment of the sale. The good news for someone starting out is that if they can create confidence, then the rest of the sale is the easy part, imo.

Best of luck-


My answer for most photography questions: "it depends...'

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Austin.P
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May 09, 2012 17:39 |  #22

mdelrossi wrote in post #14403825external link
@austin.p
You've got some solid images there. You do have to understand your market, in regards to how much they can spend.
Do you do any marketing? Do you have a Facebook act?
Don't worry too much about the $30 shooters, they are not in your league.
Keep shooting, marketing, and move forward.
Check out PPA(professional photographers of America) they specialize in the family photography business. Offering classes(for a price), and webinars, though the forums are where you can get some great advice for the type of photography you do.

I started by building a darkroom in my closet at the age of 12. If you love photography you can make a living at it.

Keep going.

mdr

Thanks

And yeah, I have facebook page, and flyers around the town...

Ill check PPA out for sure!




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Logicus
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May 09, 2012 19:26 |  #23

Austin.P wrote in post #14396844 (external link)
I like all of those above the best, I have a feeling they will be nit picked here, but oh well.

Hey, it's cool to see someone going after this while still in high school... as far as your images, just a couple of things that I see that I know I dealt with in the beginning. The first thing I noticed was some pretty shallow dof (and, I know, in some shots it's part of the picture), maybe a bit too shallow where the subject's torso was in focus but the face seemed to be just a tad out of focus (could also be the compression and decreased size). I'd suggest working with an off-camera flash. Looks like you're using the wide end of the aperture of your lens to compensate for not having a flash.

My experience...

My first wedding was an outdoor wedding, very small, and basically a friend who would have otherwise been passing out disposables to family members and collecting pics later on. I used a 40D with a 70-200/2.8 and an XSi with a 50mm f/1.4 (don't be bashing my XSi, haha, it was a good little camera!) I used my until-then unused 580EXII on camera for the group shots to keep from getting the raccoon-eyes from the harsh sun. I got some great shots, but not nearly what I thought I would because this was not the subject matter I was used to shooting. Everything prior to that was nature or still compositions that I did not have to direct or try to anticipate it's moves. I did it for free and helped them ordering prints as well... they were very happy with the pics and the prints, but looking back, I would have felt bad charging them. They knew going in I was pretty much doing it for them and for the practice/experience. Here's one of the shots...

IMAGE: http://farm5.staticflickr.com/4084/4966549618_97f2de87e1_z.jpg
[IMAGE'S LINK: http://www.flickr.com ...gicusaeturnus/49665​49618/] (external link)

My most recent wedding, I felt pretty confident that since I was walking in with a 5D MkII and a 40D with the 70-200/2.8, 50/1.4, and the 17-50/2.8 VC, I would have no problems. Luckily, I was able to go scope out the venue the night before at the wedding rehearsal. They let me shoot it just like I would the wedding. And it was the luckiest thing that could have happened to me.... there's no way I could have pulled off anything without a flash. Having not really used the flash before that, I did the crash-course on using flash over the next 20 hours to be prepared, and I'm glad I did. Again, this was a close friend, and I charged $250.

IMAGE: http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7095/7038163513_d52698b046_c.jpg
[IMAGE'S LINK: http://www.flickr.com ...gicusaeturnus/70381​63513/] (external link)

More of a "friendly" price rather than because I didn't think my time was worth more. This was a much bigger wedding, and the shots came out great. I learned, though, about the "friendly" price trap .... the bride's mom loved the photos, and had just paid close to $3k on her other daughter's wedding photographer, so, of course, she's recommending me to everyone she knows.... holy back-peddling, batman! I had to very nicely followup with her to let her know that I'd shot their wedding for the "friendly" price, so I would charge "regular" prices for anyone else. Touchy situation I don't want to deal with again. But, I got another wedding gig because of it already lined up, and this one's billing at $750, plus prints. I'm no pro (though I'm licensed and insured - some places/churches won't let you shoot there unless you're insured), and I'm not yet worth $2000-$3000 (at least I really don't think so), and it's certainly not a knock or an attempt to "steal" business from those who do charge that much. My portfolio only has a handful of weddings and portraits, so... anyway, charge what you think you are worth and provide the quality you charge for. Don't charge what you think others think your work is worth. Otherwise, you'll never want to charge more than $200 for a wedding shoot. Good Luck and keep at it!


Keep in mind too, wedding season is dying down as well; I know people get married all throughout the year, but early spring and October-ish are usually busier "seasons", I think. Could just be what I've noticed, though.

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Austin.P
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May 09, 2012 19:35 |  #24

Logicus wrote in post #14407260 (external link)
Hey, it's cool to see someone going after this while still in high school... as far as your images, just a couple of things that I see that I know I dealt with in the beginning. The first thing I noticed was some pretty shallow dof (and, I know, in some shots it's part of the picture), maybe a bit too shallow where the subject's torso was in focus but the face seemed to be just a tad out of focus (could also be the compression and decreased size). I'd suggest working with an off-camera flash. Looks like you're using the wide end of the aperture of your lens to compensate for not having a flash.

My experience...

My first wedding was an outdoor wedding, very small, and basically a friend who would have otherwise been passing out disposables to family members and collecting pics later on. I used a 40D with a 70-200/2.8 and an XSi with a 50mm f/1.4 (don't be bashing my XSi, haha, it was a good little camera!) I used my until-then unused 580EXII on camera for the group shots to keep from getting the raccoon-eyes from the harsh sun. I got some great shots, but not nearly what I thought I would because this was not the subject matter I was used to shooting. Everything prior to that was nature or still compositions that I did not have to direct or try to anticipate it's moves. I did it for free and helped them ordering prints as well... they were very happy with the pics and the prints, but looking back, I would have felt bad charging them. They knew going in I was pretty much doing it for them and for the practice/experience. Here's one of the shots...

QUOTED IMAGE
[IMAGE'S LINK: http://www.flickr.com ...gicusaeturnus/49665​49618/] (external link)

My most recent wedding, I felt pretty confident that since I was walking in with a 5D MkII and a 40D with the 70-200/2.8, 50/1.4, and the 17-50/2.8 VC, I would have no problems. Luckily, I was able to go scope out the venue the night before at the wedding rehearsal. They let me shoot it just like I would the wedding. And it was the luckiest thing that could have happened to me.... there's no way I could have pulled off anything without a flash. Having not really used the flash before that, I did the crash-course on using flash over the next 20 hours to be prepared, and I'm glad I did. Again, this was a close friend, and I charged $250.

QUOTED IMAGE
[IMAGE'S LINK: http://www.flickr.com ...gicusaeturnus/70381​63513/] (external link)

More of a "friendly" price rather than because I didn't think my time was worth more. This was a much bigger wedding, and the shots came out great. I learned, though, about the "friendly" price trap .... the bride's mom loved the photos, and had just paid close to $3k on her other daughter's wedding photographer, so, of course, she's recommending me to everyone she knows.... holy back-peddling, batman! I had to very nicely followup with her to let her know that I'd shot their wedding for the "friendly" price, so I would charge "regular" prices for anyone else. Touchy situation I don't want to deal with again. But, I got another wedding gig because of it already lined up, and this one's billing at $750, plus prints. I'm no pro (though I'm licensed and insured - some places/churches won't let you shoot there unless you're insured), and I'm not yet worth $2000-$3000 (at least I really don't think so), and it's certainly not a knock or an attempt to "steal" business from those who do charge that much. My portfolio only has a handful of weddings and portraits, so... anyway, charge what you think you are worth and provide the quality you charge for. Don't charge what you think others think your work is worth. Otherwise, you'll never want to charge more than $200 for a wedding shoot. Good Luck and keep at it!


Keep in mind too, wedding season is dying down as well; I know people get married all throughout the year, but early spring and October-ish are usually busier "seasons", I think. Could just be what I've noticed, though.

I do have flashes, I used them on some of the wedding shots, I havent been able to use them off camera yet, but I have ordered a pair of triggers for a Wedding I have in July! It's in the dark, and I will be using strobes and flashes, so I needed some triggers! I have couple 430 EX II's and Yongunos 460's I believe!

I do tend to shoot at the wide end of the aperatures on the lenses, on the 50 f/1.4, I was shooting at 2.8, what would you recommend me shooting at? f/4?

I only have the 7d as my main body right now, but still have a friend who bought my old camera and will give it to me if I need it, but Im really wanting a 5d Mark II.

And wedding season is still pretty strong here, I've got 2-3 more weddings in the next couple months, Im hoping Oct. Spt. Nov. will be pretty busy!




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Austin.P
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May 09, 2012 19:36 |  #25

And to add to the above post, do you shoot at f/2.8 all the time with your 70-200?




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Logicus
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May 09, 2012 21:01 |  #26

Austin.P wrote in post #14407307external link
I do tend to shoot at the wide end of the aperatures on the lenses, on the 50 f/1.4, I was shooting at 2.8, what would you recommend me shooting at? f/4?

Umm... it depends on the situation and how shallow or deep you need your dof to be. For instance, in your #1, it appears that the bouquet the young lady is holding, but her eyes/face are not quite as crisp. So either needed to lock focus on face, or increase dof, maybe shooting at f/4 or 5/6. .. you can certainly still achieve plenty of oof area in the background even up to f/8. Again, just depends on what you need. If lack of light forces you to widen the aperature, then you have a smaller chance of having everything in focus.

Oh, and no to question about shooting at f/2.8 all the time with the 70-200. But again, it's what you need. I really use my 70-200 almost more for macro shots normally, and it doesn't come out often. My 50/1.4 gets pulled out for concerts, and at many, I'm forced to shoot all night at f/1.4, which is ridiculous, but when light allows, I pull it back to f/2.8 or so and compensate with iso up to 4000 or 5000. If I were to use my 70-200 for birds or something, I'd want bright sun and f/8 or so to maintain detail.


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PopTarts
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May 10, 2012 08:12 |  #27

Austin.P wrote in post #14396844external link
I have a feeling they will be nit picked here, but oh well.

I'm no pro, but this comment shows your age. Be more confident, less defensive and more eager to learn. :)


5D3 / 6D ||| 17-40L / 24-70L 4.0 IS / 40 / 50 1.4 / 70-200L 2.8 / 70-300L / 85 1.8 / 100L Macro
John

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Austin.P
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May 10, 2012 19:58 |  #28

PopTarts wrote in post #14409726external link
I'm no pro, but this comment shows your age. Be more confident, less defensive and more eager to learn. :)

I just said that cause I had a feeling that being the young one, they would find it easy to target me, Im not afraid to dish it back...lol




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DegasGoneDigital
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May 15, 2012 23:08 |  #29

I would enjoy your Teenage years and not worry about making it big as a wedding Photographer right now.... I would join a photography club and learn as much as I could from the experienced ones about lighting, posing and processing....Then look to work with a Pro, helping setting up lights, backgrounds, etc...Once You get experience and a little older, doors will open and the money will come...


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500 F4 IS, 1.4TC III.. 2.0TC III...
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Csae
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May 16, 2012 00:30 |  #30

Austin.P wrote in post #14413136external link
I just said that cause I had a feeling that being the young one, they would find it easy to target me, Im not afraid to dish it back...lol

Nobody knows your age unless you point it out, fyi.

I will be the critique here and say that you haven't shown me anything i haven't seen before, with the quality lacking.

So my question to you is, do you know whats wrong with each of the photos you've shared? If you do, then retake them and fix that element, rinse and repeat, when your photos look great, people will ask you to shoot them and your fee will be less questioned.

People spend years in photography before ever attempting a professional business, your eagerness is youthful but should be tampered with patience and the understanding that its an art filled with a ton of competition.


Feel free to call me Case.
CasePhoto.caexternal link - FanPageexternal link
-Montreal based Photography.

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