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Thread started 12 Aug 2013 (Monday) 22:37
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RANT: Photographer for the less fortunate?!

 
Sens0r
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Aug 12, 2013 22:37 |  #1

I'm trying to build a portfolio, offering free photography by word of mouth, craigslist, facebook, etc.. I made some photo-shoots, a birthday party, an engagement photo-shoot, and already have 3 bookings this month so far.

I'm offering free photography, family portraits, pets, birthdays, engagements, weddings.. Indoors or outdoors. I deliver the screen-size processed photos by email. In case the client likes my work, they can purchase a DVD of processed JPEGS and original RAW files for $20 (Really just to cover for gas)

I get a text message from a girl for asking for wedding photography, the first thing I explained as I do regarding "wedding photography" was that I'm still developing my skills and I greatly emphasize and encourage to hire a professional photographer with a solid portfolio before anything.

During about 30 minutes of texting, I explained why I'm doing free photography (to build a portfolio) and when she asled about why professional photographers charge so much I explained how it is (insurance, backup equipment, backup photographer in case of accident, etc..)

She decided to call, and after she explained how they changed their venue+photographer+DJ deal, they lost their deposit and now looking for an affordable photographer. She saw my ad on craigslist and decided to contact me.

**During the phone conversation, she complained how her situation is difficult and how she lost her money and I explained that I too didn't expect people to call me for weddings, I have 4 weddings booked and all these people are in worse situations than she is.

After a long phone call of being clear and sincere, I get a txt..
Her: (You should remove that cheap "ready for birthdays, engagements and weddings" since you were not expecting to do weddings)

Me:"I was not expecting so many people would call a free photographer to do weddings, but apparently some do, and some can't afford a great photographer"
Her: "Some people are less fortunate than others, and you should be prepared for that"
Me: "I'm offering FREE photography and charging $20 for a CD, I don't think any photographer can do better for the less fortunate."
Her: I'll be going with another photographer who seems to have a better attitude and professionalism toward his clients. Thank you.
[B]Me: Good luck and congratulations again.

This person really did poison my mood for a few minutes.. After being upfront about my skill level, encouraging her to get a good photographer, and offering to assist in taking more photos..... this is what I get?!

How do you guys deal with such mentalities?


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Tom ­ Reichner
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Aug 12, 2013 22:56 |  #2

I think the two of you would be perfect for each other - it's a shame that she didn't see it that way.

Just move on - there is no reason to waste any of one's precious minutes on such a person.

Just a thought - instead of usurping business from true professionals in your area by offering free services, why don't you offer to 2nd shoot with one of them, for free, of course? That way, you would be able to develop your skills, but not cut into the market share that legitimate pros have. You'd most likely learn much more, much faster, working under a pro than you would struggling along on your own. There's a lot to be said for an "informal apprenticeship".


"Your" and "you're" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one.
"They're", "their", and "there" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one.
"Fare" and "fair" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one. The proper expression is "moot point", NOT "mute point".

  
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memoriesoftomorrow
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Aug 12, 2013 23:04 |  #3

Total up all the time (and oxygen) you have wasted with this woman (and venting) and you'll soon realise that you aren't even doing it for free. You're giving your life away at you own expense.

What you will find is the free "clients" will always want the most from you.


Peter

  
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Sens0r
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Aug 12, 2013 23:07 |  #4

Tom Reichner wrote in post #16203181 (external link)
I think the two of you would be perfect for each other - it's a shame that she didn't see it that way.

??

Tom Reichner wrote in post #16203181 (external link)
Just move on - there is no reason to waste any of one's precious minutes on such a person.

Just a thought - instead of usurping business from true professionals in your area by offering free services, why don't you offer to 2nd shoot with one of them, for free, of course? That way, you would be able to develop your skills, but not cut into the market share that legitimate pros have. You'd most likely learn much more, much faster, working under a pro than you would struggling along on your own. There's a lot to be said for an "informal apprenticeship".

I AM calling different photographers in the area to assist/intern, and I've already mentioned that the first thing I do when anyone calls me is to explain that "I'm trying to build a portfolio", and if it's a wedding I always encourage (and almost insist) that they "get a good photographer".

Plus, I don't think I'm taking anything away from professional photographers when I clearly tell everyone that I'm "just starting" and "still developing my skills"

Everything I marked with "...." is what I say to everyone who contacts me and some thank me for being honest and wish me luck.

The minute I finished texting her I felt like I wanted to ditch the whole thing and just shoot for fun.. Gosh.

memoriesoftomorrow wrote in post #16203201 (external link)
Total up all the time (and oxygen) you have wasted with this woman (and venting) and you'll soon realise that you aren't even doing it for free. You're giving your life away at you own expense.

What you will find is the free "clients" will always want the most from you.

Words of wisdom, sir! You're totally right!

I don't know if I should continue this or if I should stop, I need to build a portfolio but I can't just shoot photos of my friends all the time! :/


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madhatter04
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Aug 12, 2013 23:08 |  #5

Well, it's one of those horrible Catch 22's. When you advertise yourself as being cheap and affordable, those are the types of people you get. As you gain experience and you charge a normal rate, those people usually won't bother you. Until then, be ready for many more.


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Tom ­ Reichner
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Aug 12, 2013 23:18 |  #6

Sens0r wrote in post #16203207 (external link)
??
I AM calling different photographers in the area to assist/intern

I'm sorry - I missed that part.

I think you are definitely on the right track if you are shooting for seasoned pros. That is time well invested, and I am sure you will be building a great portfolio as these experiences accumulate.

Are you getting good responses from those whom you ask to shoot under? A fair number of gigs?


"Your" and "you're" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one.
"They're", "their", and "there" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one.
"Fare" and "fair" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one. The proper expression is "moot point", NOT "mute point".

  
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Sens0r
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Aug 12, 2013 23:26 |  #7

Tom Reichner wrote in post #16203226 (external link)
I'm sorry - I missed that part.

I think you are definitely on the right track if you are shooting for seasoned pros. That is time well invested, and I am sure you will be building a great portfolio as these experiences accumulate.

Are you getting good responses from those whom you ask to shoot under? A fair number of gigs?

Very few good photographers in my area. I have 1 wedding in two months with a local photographer who seemed very happy to have "an amateur call her to assist with events".. I think I'll call her tomorrow and see if I can "come watch" her take photos at her studio this weekend.. I really need to at least feel like I'm stepping a foot into professional photography.

Most other photographers are (in my level and less) and charge $1,700 for a wedding shoot.. I doubt most of them know what they're doing, and some sell their work without processing AT ALL.. Outrageous!


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drvnbysound
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Aug 12, 2013 23:32 |  #8

Tom Reichner wrote in post #16203226 (external link)
I'm sorry - I missed that part.

I think you are definitely on the right track if you are shooting for seasoned pros. That is time well invested, and I am sure you will be building a great portfolio as these experiences accumulate.

Are you getting good responses from those whom you ask to shoot under? A fair number of gigs?

When I read:

Sens0r wrote in post #16203207 (external link)
??
I AM calling different photographers in the area to assist/intern, and I've already mentioned that the first thing I do when anyone calls me is to explain that "I'm trying to build a portfolio", and if it's a wedding I always encourage (and almost insist) that they "get a good photographer".

I assumed that the OP had just called, and may not actually be working with or under any professional photographer yet...

Sens0r wrote in post #16203207 (external link)
I don't know if I should continue this or if I should stop, I need to build a portfolio but I can't just shoot photos of my friends all the time! :/

Why not?


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Tom ­ Reichner
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Aug 12, 2013 23:34 |  #9

Amer,

What area do you live in?


"Your" and "you're" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one.
"They're", "their", and "there" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one.
"Fare" and "fair" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one. The proper expression is "moot point", NOT "mute point".

  
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Sens0r
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Aug 12, 2013 23:41 as a reply to  @ Tom Reichner's post |  #10

New Haven, CT


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Aug 12, 2013 23:49 |  #11

Kim Johnson Images wrote in post #16203277 (external link)
..But from what I read, you didn't need to get into all that with her, that's on you.
..Then don't reply anymore, no more back and forth, Control the convo.

You're absolutely right, that's exactly what I thought about after all was said and done.


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Aug 13, 2013 01:31 |  #12
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Sens0r wrote in post #16203140 (external link)
Her: I'll be going with another photographer who seems to have a better attitude and professionalism toward his clients. Thank you.


Sell all your camera gear, buy a point and shoot go on a life changing holiday and develop some serious social skills, forget photography as a career until you become gold at this. Welcome to the real photography (service) industry.


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Aug 13, 2013 01:56 |  #13

A certain percentage of people in the world are rude and self-centered. Inevitably, you'll run into some of them no matter what you do. This woman apparently felt entitled to free services because she'd changed her mind earlier and lost her deposit--but she wanted free services delivered with "professionalism." :rolleyes:

Although you have reasons for offering free photography, it may encourage that sort of thing. You'll attract bargain hunters who won't act with respect because nothing is being asked of them. Unless you're donating your time and skills to a good cause, charging only enough to cover your costs sends a message: "My work is worthless." You've emphasized that you want to learn, you haven't reached the stage of being an expert photographer, but surely your work is worth something.


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Aug 13, 2013 06:40 |  #14

Sens0r wrote in post #16203207 (external link)
I don't know if I should continue this or if I should stop, I need to build a portfolio but I can't just shoot photos of my friends all the time! :/

I'll echo an earlier post, why not? I shoot family and friends all the time. Like yourself I started of doing it for free, but now I rent a studio (shared with 4 other togs), cost of insurance etc now means I charge for my work. I'll still cheap but am gradually putting my prices up.
My basic rule is - if I ask them they get it free (with a couple of prints as a thank you), if they ask me they pay :)


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Aug 13, 2013 07:42 |  #15

casp3r wrote in post #16203792 (external link)
I'll echo an earlier post, why not? I shoot family and friends all the time. Like yourself I started of doing it for free, but now I rent a studio (shared with 4 other togs), cost of insurance etc now means I charge for my work. I'll still cheap but am gradually putting my prices up.
My basic rule is - if I ask them they get it free (with a couple of prints as a thank you), if they ask me they pay :)

I had never thought of it this way before... I like it.

I will say, it's fun when the friends and family (whom you previously asked to shoot) start asking you how much you would charge for a shoot ;)


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