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FORUMS Post Processing, Marketing & Presenting Photos The Business of Photography 
Thread started 19 Oct 2012 (Friday) 11:41
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First time shooting portraits , need help

 
darthrazz
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Oct 19, 2012 11:41 |  #1

For the last two years I've shot pictures of my daughters dance recitals. Just random shots of all the different classes dancing on stage. These pictures are used on the schools website.

Last week the owner of the school asked if I would be willing to shoot the annual portraits of the class, more or less about 40 students, in their ballerina poses, etc.

I told her I would look into it, I'm really interested in doing this , but have never shot portraits and am afraid of butchering the shoot. I do have until May to practice.

I need advice on the following.

1. What do I charge per student? What packages do I offer? How many poses?

2. How and where do I get the pictures printed? Is there a PC program that layouts the pictures in sheets? For example, 2 3x5 images on one sheet, 12 wallets on another etc.?

I am a professional graphic designer and have experience with Photoshop , is that what I should use?

3. Lighting setup-I'm looking into a decent "beginner" setup. Can anyone suggest a decent one?

4. Based on my lenses, which would be best?

Am I forgetting anything?

Thanks in advance for the help and for reading my NOOB questions.


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david ­ lacey
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Oct 19, 2012 12:14 |  #2

What is your goal as a photographer? Do you want to become a professional photographer? Are you going to keep rights to all photos and take care of all of the sales, orders, billing, delivery?
You might want to figure out your price and contract first because many small businesses sometimes just assume photography shouldn't cost them anything or very little. Sometimes they think they are doing you a favor I am not kidding. Are you dealing with the parents directly? Make sure you get release forms from everyone in the images.

Just a side note being a professional photographer and doing everything "legit" taxes, insurance, contracts, release forms, etc. is not easy money it is a lot of work.




  
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hairy_moth
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Oct 19, 2012 12:22 |  #3

I am also an amateur, but in your situation, here is what I would do (if you are willing to spend some time and money on this).

1. Make it very clear to the school that you have never done this kind of thing before, and if you do do this, that it will be your first time and a learning experience. Do not over represent yourself, give them the opportunity to select an alternative, but, let them know that you are excited about the opportunity and will not take it lightly.

2. Search the web for some examples of similar kinds of work to get some ideas on what you may want to try. I started with a google image search for "dance recital portraits" and saw some interesting things.

3. Get a book (or better, books) on lighting and/or studio photography. This can be supplemented with some online research (e.g., search for stobist). You should not need anything fancy, but you should know how a good two or three light setup works.

4. Be prepared to buy some lights, stands and a backdrop. You could probably make due with two speedlights shot into umbrellas.

5. Practice with your daughter(s) first and show your results to the school before you schedule appointments with other families.

BTW.. I wouldn't charge anything other than the cost of prints. I'd load the shots up on mpix, give the families access to the portfolio and let them purchase their own prints. Though I have noticed some other enthusiast taking shots at their kids sporting events, uploading the shots to a smugmug page and then charging a modest markup for prints ordered.

Good luck.


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HappySnapper90
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Oct 20, 2012 12:27 |  #4

darthrazz wrote in post #15143209 (external link)
I am a professional graphic designer and have experience with Photoshop , is that what I should use?.

On 40 students, unless you are getting $40 per student I think any time spent "finishing" the photos with photoshop is going to be too much time for you. Look into JPG and just cropping the photos from the camera. get it right in camera instead of leaning on photoshop to fix it afterwards.




  
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First time shooting portraits , need help
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