|19th of January 2005 (Wed)||#1|
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Nottingham UK
I'm on the road... just.
Today I saw my first official client.
Having been photographing my own hound and other friends dogs for some time I have recently had a few enquiries about how much I charge for pet photography sessions.
Not knowing, I did the honourable thing, looked around for the competition in my area in order to use their prices as a guide. Nice idea - hindered only by the lack of competition... Undeterred I seached the web and eventually found a dog photographer about 30 miles away who displayed their prices.
Seems reasonable enough. I now have an idea of prices I offer a package quote which includes a set number of prints and my sitting fee. Now remember this is the first paying client I have and also the first time I have put a price on my skills so I am naturally apprehensive. My client agrees to the price straight away and we set a date and time.
Paid to do what I love!
Time to plan the shoot, location, equipment, time, sun position (Outside, natural light shooting)... the list goes on. To me this was a real eye opener but also a very good experience. I knew that I could achieve the results I was being paid for but a client expect more than results, they expect to feel they have recieved great service and good value. I had to plan a shoot that would achieve this.
The shoot, two elderly labrador retrievers, on location, late January, marginal light.
I've been sweating all morning because the light was due to pick up and it didn't.
Too late now, I am committed... So, I meet my client and we set off to the location together. Remember my apprehension from earlier, well it is still there only more so. But I planned it, I chose a location I know like the back of my hand and chose a route to take in order to get the best array of shots so I will be OK, really I will. I know my equipment well and I am confident that my practised settings (at that location three weeks earlier) will be fine. So why am I still nervous?
Well once I had started I was fine. These two dogs were elderly so did nothing at any great speed, this is both good an bad. I became well known in my area of my fast action greyhound shots.... but slow moving means more keepers. Soon I am dashing from one spot to another to keep the light right. I am sprawled out on the ground to get the angles right. I am sprinting through the woods away from the path in order to get shots from further ahead and off to the side - these are hilly woods too) - and while doing all of this I am remaining calm and talking my client through the whole process while directing her in order to achieve the best possible results.
About an hour later and just over 120 frames we are done and go back to my house for coffee and to view the print sizes I offer. Then I get a very genuine sounding thankyou and she goes home. I really feel like I have worked hard and it had been a very educational experience. I *could* have achieved similar results in 20 minutes but I chose to go that bit further. I know they had travelled for three hours for me to photograph their dogs and I am pleased to say that it was a success.
So I'm on the long road to becoming a professional pet photographer. I have begun building the reputation and I will expand into other areas as opportunities present themselves.
I would like to offer my thanks to the pros here who have been an inspiration to me, hopefully one day I will be posting as a pro
One of the more 'off the wall and unconventional' shots that is part of my style and goes down well.
If in doubt, I shut up...
Gear: 40D, 12-24mm AT-X Pro, 17-85mm, Sigma 150mm Macro Sigma 100-300 F4, 550EX, other stuff that probably helps me on my way.
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