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FORUMS Post Processing, Marketing & Presenting Photos The Business of Photography 
Thread started 25 Jan 2008 (Friday) 13:19
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how do i start?

 
pregnantcowlady
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Jan 25, 2008 13:19 |  #1

okay, so this may sound weird, but i'm pretty young, in college and broke, thanks to my love of this god-awfully expensive hobby.

i want to know where to start.
from the bottom.

i want to sell pictures and take them for people, but where do i even begin?
it's not like i've had any classes for this stuff, so no degrees.

help!
:(


  
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shannyD
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Jan 25, 2008 13:22 |  #2

keep working at it.. intern for a local photog. practicing your skill, and knowledge of photography as well.

call some local photographers, and see if they would be interested in an intern for now. and then you can start doing some small things. family pictures/portraits then branch out even further.

if your into concert stuff. contact local entertainment companies, and see if they need anyone to shoot shows for them.

shannon




  
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pregnantcowlady
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Jan 25, 2008 13:25 |  #3

thanks much shannon. you've answered probably half my questions. ha.
:)


  
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Market
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Jan 25, 2008 16:10 as a reply to  @ pregnantcowlady's post |  #4

Hello,

If I understand your situation correctly, I would like to make a few suggestions to make a ‘few bucks’ to support your photography ‘habit.’ Start where you are with the equipment that you have. It appears that you have the 30D. It that’s the case, you have more than enough to get started – that is, if you take quality photos (I know that the 30D does – sometimes we photographers don’t practice enough to use it to it’s full potential. So, I’m assuming that you can shoot and produce very good images.

Here is a brief version of what I suggest to other ‘budding’ photographers like yourself: I live in Southern California where a lot of people have dogs that they walk regularly. I tell the photographer to, first, make sure that they have an online presence – preferably an online gallery where they can provide a website address to people. Then, print some business cards (this can be easily done with an inexpensive inkjet printer) with the photographer’s contact info and the website address of their online gallery.

I then suggest that they take their camera and position themselves somewhere where people walk their dogs. As the people are walking towards them, I suggest that the photographers ask the ‘dog-walkers/owners,’ “can I take a picture of your dog?” It’s a numbers thing, but quite a few will stop and let you take their pictures. Most will ask what the picture is for. The photographer replies honestly – “I’m a photographer, I like to practice to stay sharp, I always have to keep my portfolio ‘fresh,’ and you and your dog offer a great ‘kodak moment!’ Usually, what they’re asking is different from what they really want to know, I’ve found. What I’ve found that they really want to know is “are you trying to sell me something?” and “how can I get a copy?”

If they give you permission to take the shot, do so quickly. Fire off about 5 – 6 shots (I’ve found that if you shoot fast, you can get off 5 -8 shots in 30 – 45 seconds), sincerely tell them “thank you,” and hand them your business card (with your contact info and online gallery address) and say to them, “you can see the proofs by tomorrow morning in my gallery.” This process shouldn’t take longer than 30 seconds to 1.5 minutes (the longer periods usually are from a lot of questions – in most cases, these will be your 'long-term' customers).

You can price the photos how you want. However, I suggest that you price them low ($3.00 - $5.00 for a 4x6, etc. this part is also dependent on the online gallery company that you use). I suggest a low price because people usually buy photos of their pets. They eventually follow up with you and ask you, either to take portraits of their pets, take portraits of them and their pets, or take portraits of them. It’s a multi-step process. But, it shouldn’t cost for anything except the materials for the business cards and the cost of setting up an online gallery.

I’ve gone through this effective strategy rather fast so that my response wouldn’t get too long. But, I hope it gives you some ideas. You should also take the advice of working with an experienced professional. But, if you’re looking to regularly make a few bucks to pay for your photography equipment and stuff, try this suggestion – or a variation of it. It works – I promise!

I hope this is helpful.


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craiglee
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Jan 25, 2008 16:20 |  #5

craigs list is always good. get some TFCD ads. build up your portfolio. give them business cards. tell them if they have friends who need a photographer to check you out (your website maybe).


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Tumeg
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Jan 25, 2008 18:35 |  #6

shannyD wrote in post #4781363 (external link)
keep working at it.. intern for a local photog. practicing your skill, and knowledge of photography as well.

call some local photographers, and see if they would be interested in an intern for now. and then you can start doing some small things. family pictures/portraits then branch out even further.

if your into concert stuff. contact local entertainment companies, and see if they need anyone to shoot shows for them.

shannon

Agreed, interning with my photography teacher has taught me allot. My photos have gotten better, I am starting to learn what it takes to own a photography business (well, what goes on for wedding, senior, model, engagement, ect. shoots)
Only helping her with 1 wedding, 1 senior, and 1 engagement shoot so far... I have already learned a ton.
Just keep at it! Practice makes perfect,


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Livinthalife
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Jan 25, 2008 18:39 |  #7

Word of mouth!

I started shooting for friends, friends of family for free. The work your way from there. It's slow and painful, don't expect to be rich over night! Good luck!


-Andy-

  
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tcphoto1
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Jan 25, 2008 18:59 |  #8

What price are you willing to pay to do you you want? I assisted, waited tables and tended bar until I could do this full time. Sometimes you have to learn other lessons in life to do what you want. Whether it's humility, serving others or just developing your own style. It took me a long time to find my specialty and not take it too seriously. First off, this is an art. Secondly, it's a business so read as much as possible about the business end of it and find a mentor because there are unwritten rules that people will not explain to you.


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breadandbutter
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Jan 25, 2008 19:51 |  #9

Market wrote in post #4782504 (external link)
Hello,

If I understand your situation correctly, I would like to make a few suggestions to make a ‘few bucks’ to support your photography ‘habit.’ Start where you are with the equipment that you have. It appears that you have the 30D. It that’s the case, you have more than enough to get started – that is, if you take quality photos (I know that the 30D does – sometimes we photographers don’t practice enough to use it to it’s full potential. So, I’m assuming that you can shoot and produce very good images.

Here is a brief version of what I suggest to other ‘budding’ photographers like yourself: I live in Southern California where a lot of people have dogs that they walk regularly. I tell the photographer to, first, make sure that they have an online presence – preferably an online gallery where they can provide a website address to people. Then, print some business cards (this can be easily done with an inexpensive inkjet printer) with the photographer’s contact info and the website address of their online gallery.

I then suggest that they take their camera and position themselves somewhere where people walk their dogs. As the people are walking towards them, I suggest that the photographers ask the ‘dog-walkers/owners,’ “can I take a picture of your dog?” It’s a numbers thing, but quite a few will stop and let you take their pictures. Most will ask what the picture is for. The photographer replies honestly – “I’m a photographer, I like to practice to stay sharp, I always have to keep my portfolio ‘fresh,’ and you and your dog offer a great ‘kodak moment!’ Usually, what they’re asking is different from what they really want to know, I’ve found. What I’ve found that they really want to know is “are you trying to sell me something?” and “how can I get a copy?”

If they give you permission to take the shot, do so quickly. Fire off about 5 – 6 shots (I’ve found that if you shoot fast, you can get off 5 -8 shots in 30 – 45 seconds), sincerely tell them “thank you,” and hand them your business card (with your contact info and online gallery address) and say to them, “you can see the proofs by tomorrow morning in my gallery.” This process shouldn’t take longer than 30 seconds to 1.5 minutes (the longer periods usually are from a lot of questions – in most cases, these will be your 'long-term' customers).

You can price the photos how you want. However, I suggest that you price them low ($3.00 - $5.00 for a 4x6, etc. this part is also dependent on the online gallery company that you use). I suggest a low price because people usually buy photos of their pets. They eventually follow up with you and ask you, either to take portraits of their pets, take portraits of them and their pets, or take portraits of them. It’s a multi-step process. But, it shouldn’t cost for anything except the materials for the business cards and the cost of setting up an online gallery.

I’ve gone through this effective strategy rather fast so that my response wouldn’t get too long. But, I hope it gives you some ideas. You should also take the advice of working with an experienced professional. But, if you’re looking to regularly make a few bucks to pay for your photography equipment and stuff, try this suggestion – or a variation of it. It works – I promise!

I hope this is helpful.

I have to say, GREAT ANSWER!


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liza
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Jan 25, 2008 20:09 |  #10
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Good business practices, including knowledge of local tax laws, are crucial as is relentless marketing in your target area. A good place to start is with a decent website. Put that together and drive all your marketing to the site so you can establish your brand for the clientele you choose to serve. And don't make the mistake of pricing yourself too low unless you want to serve PITA budget clients. It's hard to break away from the "affordable photographer" image once you establish yourself in that price range. Your work has value, so charge accordingly. You're a business, not a charity.



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Skrim17
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Jan 25, 2008 20:22 |  #11

Since you are in college you could see if the school newspaper has room for any interns for their photography to gain some experience and exposure.


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PhotosGuy
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Jan 25, 2008 21:43 |  #12

i want to sell pictures and take them for people, but where do i even begin?

Somewhere along the way, preferably early, you might want to decide just what it is that you'd like to take pics of? "i want to sell pictures and take them for people" covers a lot of territory.


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EOS ­ mE
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Feb 06, 2008 18:29 |  #13

breadandbutter wrote in post #4783603 (external link)
I have to say, GREAT ANSWER!

i second that... clever idea!


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Davidoff
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Feb 24, 2008 21:12 |  #14

shannyD wrote in post #4781363 (external link)
keep working at it.. intern for a local photog. practicing your skill, and knowledge of photography as well.

call some local photographers, and see if they would be interested in an intern for now.

shannon

Shannon, how exactly would you approach a local photographer with that intent ?
" Would you like an assistant, as in, tag along for free ? "


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pregnantcowlady
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Feb 25, 2008 08:07 |  #15

yeah, thanks everyone. i got an internship with a local photographer for right now.
it's free, but hey, it comes with the territory im guessing. haha


  
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