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Thread started 09 Aug 2010 (Monday) 09:28
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STICKY: How to photograph a high school Senior

 
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umphotography
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Sep 28, 2012 08:40 |  #9376

GerryDavid wrote in post #15053371 (external link)
If they really are making $3000 per portrait multiple times a week then thats pretty good

This ^^^^^^^^^^^

Hears my opinion

I think they do much better than the majority of photographers especially if they are established people like john Hartmann, Beth forester, Sandy Puc,,big names like that do in fact get a great price for their portrait work. Guys like Sal Cionotta that are just coming onto the teaching circuits are Blowing a lot of hot air. Guys like David ziser totally piss me off.

When people boast that they get 10K for a wedding,, ive got to laugh. Unfortunately, ive talked to many big names that also get a chuckle out of these claims as well because they get no where near some of the figures some of the clowns claim they get,,If they got a celebrity and someone with a ton of cash they probably get a few, But to imply that this is the norm rather than the exceptions borders on BS to me and Many others,,,,,,,,,setting $$$$$ aside,,,,,,,most of what they teach is basic 101 photography and 101 marketing for photographers. If you dont know any of this stuff, its valuable. If you do, its boring and fairly useless and definately redundant.

All of these big names, and some are much more Blatant than others, come in and tell you to do it like them, buy their actions and marketing plans and you too can make a ton of $$$ just like me.......never mind the fact that some of these established photographers have established retail studios that have been in business for several years. But there is reasons they are on the teaching circuts. Theres big $$$ in it.

When You get 300 in the audience at 79.00 a seat and sell 150 action sets and marketing plans at $250.00 a pop.......the figures quickly add up. get a few more to sign up for that 3 day workshop at $1000.000 a seat and the $$ is even better. These big names also feel the slow down of big sales at their studios. Were in a recession still so they are doing everything they can to keep their income levels up......just like everyone else thats in business.

They are there to play on the entry level photographer. What my problem is,, Is they sell this stuff implying that it is fool proof and that your going to succeed if you do it just like they do and buy and use the programs they market.......nothing could be further from the truth. And as a result, the markets, especially the HS senior market, is saturated with entry level photographers using similar approaches to marketing, flooding the markets and ruining the price points. Everyone has spokes models now, photographers are selling discs with 20 images for $150.00.....its basic supply and demand economics...more photographers than the demand for their services results in a lower price point for everyone........these professional teaching instructors on these teaching circuts wont tell you that.......but they keep on putting out the basic information for everyone to use.....then i see blogs from some of these clowns complaining that the price points are down and people are selling so cheap-------totally ridiculous...I wont give names but i have called a few of them on it and they look at you like...screw you im getting mine.. go away........yeah..Im pretty fed up with whats going on with our national teaching circuts. These instructors are as guilty for the condition of the photography market and its current state as the entry level photographers coming in and blowing out the price points to ridiculous low levels.......Until the economy improves and people can get back to work,, its going to stay the same for a while.


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Sep 28, 2012 08:56 |  #9377

but the good thing about these classes is they are teaching the new photographers not to charge $40 for a cd full of images and they are discouraging shooting and burning and encouraging proper prices for prints. So more photographers that charge a proper amount even if their skills are not up to par is better than another $40 photographer. :)

I watched as much of the Sal, Sandy and the other one as I could and I loved the marketing stuff. It did encourage me to raise my prices a bit and it seems to be received well. My winters are usually slow so I have nothing to loose other than some money spent on advertising postcards and what not to try some new things out that were inspired by Sandy. :)


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Sep 28, 2012 09:00 |  #9378

GerryDavid wrote in post #15053572 (external link)
but the good thing about these classes is they are teaching the new photographers not to charge $40 for a cd full of images and they are discouraging shooting and burning and encouraging proper prices for prints. So more photographers that charge a proper amount even if their skills are not up to par is better than another $40 photographer. :)

I watched as much of the Sal, Sandy and the other one as I could and I loved the marketing stuff. It did encourage me to raise my prices a bit and it seems to be received well. My winters are usually slow so I have nothing to loose other than some money spent on advertising postcards and what not to try some new things out that were inspired by Sandy. :)


And thats a good thing. If you can pick up some things and use them for your business to make it work better for you, all the while making you more profitable,, thats a good thing.......But I know from watching your posts that your much more realistic than the bambies walking into the teaching seminars.....you gotta use your head. Hope things continue to go well for you.


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plawren53202
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Sep 28, 2012 09:35 |  #9379

GerryDavid wrote in post #15053572 (external link)
but the good thing about these classes is they are teaching the new photographers not to charge $40 for a cd full of images and they are discouraging shooting and burning and encouraging proper prices for prints. So more photographers that charge a proper amount even if their skills are not up to par is better than another $40 photographer.

I have to agree with this. For the last year or so, I have been transititioning from photography as a hobby to a side business. I don't want to get rich off of it, by ANY means. But I also take a great deal of pride in my craft, which means good equipment, as much skill and care as I can exercise during the shoot, and a lot of very careful PPing afterwards, often FAR more time than the actual shoot.

With all of this, it just is not worth it to me to charge $40 or $50 for the whole "package" (shoot, PPing and a CD with images). Yet, as a "non-professional" photographer I am finding that I am having a hard time competing with the $40 and a CD crowd. There is absolutely a difference in the quality--I mean, I don't consider myself an expert by ANY means, but some of my direct "$40 and a CD competitors" do work that could end up on fauxtographers.com. I always tell people--it's pics you will have your whole life, don't settle for 100% less quality just to save a few bucks.

But for instance with senior pics, I guess a lot people think, well, if I'm not going to a "professional" with a studio, then why not just hire the $40 and a CD girl? The senior pics I have done, the clients have been thrilled with the results, both the final shots, and the price I charged. But I guess it is hard for too many people to break out of the dichotomy of either "professional" with a studio, or the $40 / CD girl--especially someon that is just blowing through ads on Craigslist or something similar.


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Sep 28, 2012 09:43 |  #9380

You dont have to worry about the $40 photographers to much once you raise your prices to the point you attract a different crowd. And you dont need a studio to be a "pro" but it def helps. Usually the ones that were willing to pay $400 for a portrait knows the difference between quality and not. :)

Im not sure if im going to keep my studio after christmas, I dont get that much work over the winter months but I am hoping this new venture will change that. But I am trying to think of locations that I can use a few times a week so I can drop the studio all together and save the rent money for better things like gear. :D

but im having difficulties thinking of great spots to use that is a/c/heated. :)


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plawren53202
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Sep 28, 2012 09:53 |  #9381

GerryDavid wrote in post #15053712 (external link)
You dont have to worry about the $40 photographers to much once you raise your prices to the point you attract a different crowd. And you dont need a studio to be a "pro" but it def helps. Usually the ones that were willing to pay $400 for a portrait knows the difference between quality and not. :)

This is what my wife keeps telling me. Unfortunately at this point, most of my "contacts" (acquaintances, members of my church--luckily it's a very large church--etc.) are not part of that target market. I know a bunch of them have gone to the fauxtographers and been quite happy with the results...stuff that would make most of us here nauseous: fake vintage/scratched up finishes, brutally heavy vignettes, selective colored eyes on a b&w so you get that great demon look, pics seriously out of focus, etc. I am always amazed at people who can't pick up on this.

My challenge has been reaching sufficient numbers of people in the target market who will pay a few bucks more for quality pics (and I'm not even talking about paying a lot).


My quite modest little gear list: 50D gripped | 135L | 50 1.4 | 50 1.8 | 85 1.8 | 28-105 3.5-4.5 | Speedlite 420EX | 2 Yongnuo 460ii | stands, 2 umbrellas, one softbox
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Sep 28, 2012 09:59 |  #9382

GerryDavid wrote in post #15053712 (external link)
You dont have to worry about the $40 photographers to much once you raise your prices to the point you attract a different crowd. And you dont need a studio to be a "pro" but it def helps. Usually the ones that were willing to pay $400 for a portrait knows the difference between quality and not. :)

Im not sure if im going to keep my studio after christmas, I dont get that much work over the winter months but I am hoping this new venture will change that. But I am trying to think of locations that I can use a few times a week so I can drop the studio all together and save the rent money for better things like gear. :D

but im having difficulties thinking of great spots to use that is a/c/heated. :)

Are you actually renting a retail spot ?? If so,,if you dont mind,, how much is the rent ??


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Sep 28, 2012 10:09 |  #9383

Plaw, I have found its easy to change prices up on seniors since their all usually new customers and are not familiar with the old pricing. I dont expect much business from my old customers from Church becuase back then it was 3 sheets for $25, 5 sheets for $35, no sitting fee. I do give a good deal to my Pastor though and they tend to make a good purchase anyways.

Mike, I have a small room in a hair salon. Its not wide enough or tall enough but its useable. I pay $2400 a year for it. I realize thats not much compared to proper studios but when your not doing that many portraits over the winter its a money pit those months. :) And during the summer 90% of my work is outdoors so it just gets used for picture viewings which can be done at the library or hardees, which I do anyways when its more convenient. I serve a radius of 60 miles or more, so often its faster to meet them at a library than to drive to my studio. But I dont get to show them large metal wall prints when that happens, but I still got many samples in my computer bag like keepsake books, etc.

But this beauty portrait venture that I am planning will be studio only and one portrait could pay for 4 months rent easily. so I'll prob keep the studio if it works out descent. I just hate wasting money when it could be put to better uses, more so now with our 1 year old around. Ive been putting some of the profit over the summer towards things for the studio to make it more appealing. better strobes, new backgrounds, better flooring for pictures, etc.


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Sep 28, 2012 10:29 |  #9384

GerryDavid wrote in post #15053796 (external link)
Plaw, I have found its easy to change prices up on seniors since their all usually new customers and are not familiar with the old pricing. I dont expect much business from my old customers from Church becuase back then it was 3 sheets for $25, 5 sheets for $35, no sitting fee. I do give a good deal to my Pastor though and they tend to make a good purchase anyways.

Mike, I have a small room in a hair salon. Its not wide enough or tall enough but its useable. I pay $2400 a year for it. I realize thats not much compared to proper studios but when your not doing that many portraits over the winter its a money pit those months. :) And during the summer 90% of my work is outdoors so it just gets used for picture viewings which can be done at the library or hardees, which I do anyways when its more convenient. I serve a radius of 60 miles or more, so often its faster to meet them at a library than to drive to my studio. But I dont get to show them large metal wall prints when that happens, but I still got many samples in my computer bag like keepsake books, etc.

But this beauty portrait venture that I am planning will be studio only and one portrait could pay for 4 months rent easily. so I'll prob keep the studio if it works out descent. I just hate wasting money when it could be put to better uses, more so now with our 1 year old around. Ive been putting some of the profit over the summer towards things for the studio to make it more appealing. better strobes, new backgrounds, better flooring for pictures, etc.

Thats cheap. especially if the salon will bring you some business.Read the PPa handbook about what is suggested for running a retail location. Will blow your mind but i find it accurate and useful information.. good luck with that venture. I would like to have a retail spot but it gobbles up a lot of the profits. Tough market for seniors. I know a lady in california and a retail spot with a lot of stores.. High end strip mall area.....her rent is 1800.00 per month for 2500 SQ ft. Her portrait sessions start out at $400.00 and she shows nothing but 20x30 framed prints or larger... they have $800.00 and up price tags on them and she starts at 3500.00 for a wedding......so thats the crowd she goes for to pay that rent each month,,,,,,21000.00 per year rent.....you better be moving a lot of product and booking a lot of clients. Most are going out of business because they cant pay the rent or themselves. some make it though. I know she is struggling. We are keeping as much profit as she is because we have zero overhead out of our home...its not ideal, but until this economy changes,,im staying put. We are thinking about an addition to our home and building the studio on the property. Even though we currently have a separate entrance area for this, i would prefer to have it not inside the home. Pham has a great set up so he will do well. Similar to ours but his is bigger. I would have to knock out a wall to make mine bigger and im not ready to do that yet. Like you, I find most seniors want to be photographed outside but in Minnesota, you cant photograph when its -10,, so we have the studio.


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Sep 28, 2012 10:36 |  #9385

GerryDavid wrote in post #15053796 (external link)
Plaw, I have found its easy to change prices up on seniors since their all usually new customers and are not familiar with the old pricing. I dont expect much business from my old customers from Church becuase back then it was 3 sheets for $25, 5 sheets for $35, no sitting fee.

Just to give you an idea of the price range I am talking about, for my most recent senior session my net profit on the deal was approximately $250 (that is my "take home" resulting from sitting fee + fees charged for prints, minus my cost on the prints). The client was thrilled with both results and cost.

Now, I know $250 net profit for one gig wouldn't cut it for a lot of you full time pros, by any means. By the same token, $250 net for something I am doing in part as a hobby is worth my time. I can make enough off that to buy a little new gear along the way, and that's really my goal here, just have a self-sustaining hobby that might along the way buy some meals or a night out for my family. $250 net off one job will do that for me; $40 for a CD, on the other hand, is not worth my time.

So maybe I have priced myself in no-man's land, in between fauxtographers and "real pros."  ??? My problem is, I don't feel like I have a past client base, or current contacts, that let me charge any higher. As it is, these prime fall months are upon us and my calendar for fall is far more empty than I would like.:(


My quite modest little gear list: 50D gripped | 135L | 50 1.4 | 50 1.8 | 85 1.8 | 28-105 3.5-4.5 | Speedlite 420EX | 2 Yongnuo 460ii | stands, 2 umbrellas, one softbox
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Sep 28, 2012 10:40 |  #9386

so if you want to get rich in photography, own a studio and rent it out to big shot photographers! $21k is crazy. :) Why are they paying rent? why not own it?

Eventually when we buy a place we'll probably build a studio into the home. But then again the crazy customers know where you live and everyone knows you keep $$$$ equipment there which isnt the safest thing. Same idea as putting branding on a car saying there is gear inside. :)

Im in southern VA so the winters are not usually that cold. when it snows it stays for an hour or two and is gone before you can meet a client on a last minute for a snow portrait.

Huge studios was possible in the past when the market wasnt saturated but it doesnt seem to be the way to go now from what I hear. Its a bit of a shame you dont have to be licensed or certified to do photography. :)


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Sep 28, 2012 10:44 |  #9387

GerryDavid wrote in post #15053912 (external link)
so if you want to get rich in photography, own a studio and rent it out to big shot photographers! $21k is crazy. :) Why are they paying rent? why not own it?

In the california real estate market that wouldnt buy you much, especially in viable commercial properties.




  
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Sep 28, 2012 11:06 |  #9388

plawren53202 wrote in post #15053894 (external link)
Just to give you an idea of the price range I am talking about, for my most recent senior session my net profit on the deal was approximately $250 (that is my "take home" resulting from sitting fee + fees charged for prints, minus my cost on the prints). The client was thrilled with both results and cost.

Now, I know $250 net profit for one gig wouldn't cut it for a lot of you full time pros, by any means. By the same token, $250 net for something I am doing in part as a hobby is worth my time. I can make enough off that to buy a little new gear along the way, and that's really my goal here, just have a self-sustaining hobby that might along the way buy some meals or a night out for my family. $250 net off one job will do that for me; $40 for a CD, on the other hand, is not worth my time.

So maybe I have priced myself in no-man's land, in between fauxtographers and "real pros."  ??? My problem is, I don't feel like I have a past client base, or current contacts, that let me charge any higher. As it is, these prime fall months are upon us and my calendar for fall is far more empty than I would like.:(

$250 isnt bad. :) What are your portrait packages like?

My portrait packages start off at either $150 or $200 and my immediate expenses like gas and prints is about $25. So if they only end up getting the base package then ive made enough for my days efforts, although later I will have to raise that for medical insurance and retirement. The area I live in has a low cost of living, if I lived in NYC I would have to charge more. Then after that my packages double in price up to $1600 with each package more appealing than the one before it. As sal put it, you need "pull" to draw them to the next package. My 2nd package comes with more prints and double sided wallets that are great for free advertising for me, then the 3rd package has a ton more prints and a wall portrait plus those double sided wallets *rep cards*

Years ago I wasnt getting a ton of business and I didnt have packages so the most I was guaranteed was $40. I was really happy when I seen $100. I figured I didnt have much to loose by really raising my prices and it was scary but it seems the more I raise the more business I get. I hope that continues. :D I think people take you more seriously when you charge a proper amount.


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Sep 28, 2012 12:28 |  #9389

gonzogolf wrote in post #15053930 (external link)
In the california real estate market that wouldnt buy you much, especially in viable commercial properties.

You got that right,, exactly why we moved,, we could never afford to retire in California.. When the market recovers, median home prices will be back at 400K and commercial will be king again


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Sep 28, 2012 23:22 as a reply to  @ umphotography's post |  #9390

One from tonight. Loving this new 85L

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