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FORUMS Post Processing, Marketing & Presenting Photos The Business of Photography 
Thread started 16 Mar 2014 (Sunday) 19:47
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Teenager looking for tips on how to work on portfolio/make some extra cash

 
justinbeisner
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Mar 16, 2014 19:47 |  #1

So, I'm an 18 year old high school senior who's looking to expand my portfolio as I head off to college / make some extra cash. I'm mainly looking to take senior pictures, family photos, portraits, etc. I'm good on the gear side (60d, 50mm 1.4, 85mm 1.8), I just need more tips from a business standpoint. As in, what are the best ways to get my name out there? What is a reasonable rate to take pictures for someone who's looking to expand their portfolio as well as make profit? Just any general tips on helping me get me started are greatly appreciated!


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CMfromIL
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Mar 16, 2014 20:23 |  #2

1. Get business insurance. It's going to run you a bit of cash, but you're covered if someone falls, slips or accidently knocks over your gear during a shoot. It can happen.

2. Look to your local paper. In my city they occasionally run 50% off specials. Price your photos at a premium so you net about what you want. $250 package will get you $75 cash. Sound steep...it is. But you are not paying for the placement in your newspaper. They absorb the risk.

3. You are in school...use your students. Price your 'senior portrait' package at $150. It's realistic, not pie in the sky and about what parents will expect with your skill level. Have several friends of yours act as 'sales agents'. Give them $25 cash for each referral that books a shoot. Not until they have paid your deposit.

4. Have a contract. Sounds simple, and it is. PM me if you want a basic one to use. It protects you, and also gives a professional touch.

5. Have fun. No one 'owes' you anything. Sales can be difficult, and lots of folks will tell you 'yes' but really mean no. Unless you have cash in hand, they are trying to be nice but not wanting to say no.

Good luck


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PhotosGuy
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Mar 16, 2014 20:57 |  #3

Got a website? Facebook? Basics: Getting your name out there


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texkam
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Mar 17, 2014 01:32 |  #4

What is a reasonable rate

Price should not necessarily be determined by age or experience, but rather results. How good are you?

any general tips on helping me get me started

Show us your work and we can go from there.




  
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Moin
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Mar 17, 2014 06:46 |  #5

I'm going through the same phase but after reading a lot of material on how to get your name out there, the point that can give you a head start is to start offering pro bonos. Why? to get your name out there. If you're good, you'll get paid contracts sooner or later. I'll be doing the same.


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gjl711
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Mar 17, 2014 07:03 |  #6

You're a high school senior, in high school, looking to take high school senior pictures. You don't need to do anything more than get the work out that your taking senior shots while walking the halls between class. Maybe go as far as making up a flyer and hand them out. Offer a good price, undercut the local pros, use your inside access to the market to your advantage. Heck, you might just need to tell a few key people and they will spread the word for you.


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justinbeisner
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Mar 17, 2014 11:33 |  #7

http://justineisner.co​m (external link) is my website. Very minimal amount of photos right now...


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gonzogolf
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Mar 17, 2014 11:49 |  #8

As JJ said. Work the student body, get referrals though their friends. Never in your life will you have more access to young people who you can convince to model for you. Work on developing your portfolio first, then worry about money.




  
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rebelsimon
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Mar 17, 2014 12:33 |  #9

I found it's always better to offer free work to people you want to have as clients, than to offer cheap work and only work for bargain shoppers. If you choose the right families, and produce a decent product, chances are someone will slip you a few bucks here and there, or ask to have you back the next time they need a photographer for paid work.

Obviously, students are the exception to this rule. Take as many cheap pictures as you can for seniors shots. In a few years, all your classmates will be getting married, and you'll be a the go to guy for their weddings if you're still at it.

Looked at your pics, my biggest suggestion for your portraiture work is to learn how to use a speedlite if you can swing it. Lots of cheap off camera flash options around these days.


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texkam
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Mar 17, 2014 14:49 |  #10

Your work is pretty good. Some advice:

1. Be professional. Have a contract, pay tax, etc. Act like a professional.
2. Don't be "the cheap guy" or "the free guy". Charge what is appropriate for your skill level, not your age level. If you handle yourself in a professional manner and produce professional quality work, there is simply no reason why you shouldn't get paid accordingly. No reason! If it has value to someone they should pay for value received. Many will argue it also has value to you (portfolio). Indeed it does, so only you can decide how much you are willing to discount because of this. Having an opportunity to shoot a high profile person or event can represent value to you, so in those instances you may want to price accordingly, but don't sell your services short.
3. I would resist shooting for free in favor of pro bono work, and always assign a fair market value to this work before applying a discount or free status to it. This tells all, your work has value, and establishes a perceived value.
4. Shoot for the The Yearbook or school paper. They qualify as pro bono in my book. Both of these present perfect opportunities to pitch photo ideas. Suggest a photojournalistic feature that you can do for the paper. What can you do a photo story on? A day in the life of your Principal perhaps. Same goes for yearbook. How can a series of your shots tell a story? A great chance for you to call the shots.
5. Only show your best work. Be careful not to let emotion influence your choices. Don't feature a poor shot of a VIP just because you think someone would be impressed. The shot of Malachi doing nothing means nothing to me and others.

Good luck.




  
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texkam
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Mar 17, 2014 14:55 |  #11

Just looked at you video work. Very good stuff. Keep shooting and improving.




  
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Myboostedgst
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Mar 17, 2014 15:05 |  #12

texkam wrote in post #16765285 (external link)
5. Only show your best work. Be careful not to let emotion influence your choices. Don't feature a poor shot of a VIP just because you think someone would be impressed. The shot of Malachi doing nothing means nothing to me and others.

This to me doesnt always work.

People of my age (I am just out of college) dont care about quality.* They would rather see a decent photo of the popular jock/cheerleader than a perfect photo of some "nobody" from school. The popular people are going to be the ones who spread your name. Your work does not dictate the price, your market does. Even if your work sucks, if you can convince people that you are worth it, you will be paid.

*Not always 100% true, but having your photographs taken by the "cool kid" or the "popular photographer" is as much/more important to young people as a slightly higher quality photo.


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texkam
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Mar 17, 2014 15:55 |  #13

^ Interesting.




  
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PhotosGuy
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Mar 17, 2014 22:47 |  #14

justinbeisner wrote in post #16764810 (external link)
http://justineisner.co​m (external link) is my website. Very minimal amount of photos right now...

Don't be afraid to crop off some of that excess headroom.


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Find the light... A few Car Lighting Tips, and MOVE YOUR FEET!
Have you thought about making your own book? // Need an exposure crutch?
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texkam
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Mar 17, 2014 23:27 |  #15

"At this time pricing is not set in stone. Contact me for a quote."

Delete the first sentence. It makes you appear unprofessional. Consider something like: "Let me tailor a package to fit your budget." Consider combining this with your contact info. Group "Random" tab next to your other work.




  
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