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  1. #1
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    Starting a small portrait studio.

    Ok, here's the situation. I'm starting a small portrait studio, and I have a few questions for anyone that may be able to answer them.

    1. Digital backdrops. Are they worth it, or worthless?
    2. Pricing. I'm not a professional studio photographer, but I'm above average. What's a good starting price for a newbie?
    3. Niche markets. Is there anyone else here that does something "different". Offers something the pro's or the major's (Wal-Mart, Sears, JCPenny's) don't? If so, what?
    4. If digital backdrops aren't acceptable, or reliable, are there any wholesell backdrop sellers anyone is familiar and happy with?

    Hmmm... that's all I can think of at the moment, as I don't have the studio yet, so I haven't had any working questions, just basic startup questions. If anyone would be kind enough to lend me a few suggestions, even if the questions weren't asked, I'd be greatly obliged... Thanks!!!

    Randy
    The sweet wouldn't be so sweet, without the bitter.

    http://www.capturedandframed.com
    http://www.myspace.com/rconatser



  2. #2
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    I don't mean to hijack your thread BigRC, but I have the exact same questions, so I'm just trying to not start up a new thread.

    Please someone, answer this person's questions, for the both of us
    http://jeremygrayphotography.com

  3. #3
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    First, go here [ame]http://www.amazon.com/Best-Business-Practices-Photographers-Harrington/dp/1598633155[/ame]
    and buy the book!!

    Read the book front to back twice and then come back and re-ask your questions.

    I'm not being a smart-a** here It's just that if you are going to start a business then you need first to concentrate on the Business part.

    Give that a read and you will thank me!

    miike
    Luck favors the prepared.

    To be in the right place at the right time you have to first be in the right place.


    Do you really care which camera I use?

  4. #4
    Troll Extraordinaire
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    Build your own backdrops in various colors...they're cheaper and more durable. Go to home depot, but a 12ft canvas dropcloth, a gallon of latex paint, and a roller. Costs about $40. Way better than paper or that $100 muslin crap you see everywhere online.

    The stock places in Wal-Mart, JC Penney, and elsewhere in shopping malls make their money because of consistency. They all use an identical lighting setup...a high-key shot backwards into a reflector and a hair light positioned at 45 degrees from the subject above them. As such, the only photographic "edge" per se, that you might have, is making legitimately interesting shots by varying your lighting, backdrops, and being more interactive with your customers.

    On pricing, start by figuring out the prices of most other "professionals" in your area, and under-sell slightly until you get a serious portfolio of studio work together.

    If you tell me where you're located (city and state), I can give you an assessment of the costs associated with and viability of marketing yourself online.
    The moment you cheat for the sake of beauty, you know you're an artist.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike_E View Post
    First, go here http://www.amazon.com/Best-Business-.../dp/1598633155
    and buy the book!!

    Read the book front to back twice and then come back and re-ask your questions.

    I'm not being a smart-a** here It's just that if you are going to start a business then you need first to concentrate on the Business part.

    Give that a read and you will thank me!

    miike

    Awesome, thank you! I bought that along with this!

    [ame]http://www.amazon.com/Skin-Complete-Digitally-Photographing-Retouching/dp/047004733X/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/103-2234305-2597404?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1180170279&sr=8-1[/ame]
    The sweet wouldn't be so sweet, without the bitter.

    http://www.capturedandframed.com
    http://www.myspace.com/rconatser

  6. #6
    Been spending a lot of time on here!
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    Quote Originally Posted by MaxBloom View Post
    Build your own backdrops in various colors...they're cheaper and more durable. Go to home depot, but a 12ft canvas dropcloth, a gallon of latex paint, and a roller. Costs about $40. Way better than paper or that $100 muslin crap you see everywhere online.

    The stock places in Wal-Mart, JC Penney, and elsewhere in shopping malls make their money because of consistency. They all use an identical lighting setup...a high-key shot backwards into a reflector and a hair light positioned at 45 degrees from the subject above them. As such, the only photographic "edge" per se, that you might have, is making legitimately interesting shots by varying your lighting, backdrops, and being more interactive with your customers.

    On pricing, start by figuring out the prices of most other "professionals" in your area, and under-sell slightly until you get a serious portfolio of studio work together.

    If you tell me where you're located (city and state), I can give you an assessment of the costs associated with and viability of marketing yourself online.
    Great idea. Thank you!

    I'm located in Muncie, Indiana.

    Sorry to be so short on the replies, but I'm in a rush to leave. Got the wife standing over my shoulder waiting on me. Thanks for the replies.
    The sweet wouldn't be so sweet, without the bitter.

    http://www.capturedandframed.com
    http://www.myspace.com/rconatser

  7. #7
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    Just an update. I've been successfully doing photography as my main source of income for 2 years now. Thanks for all the helpful suggestions.
    The sweet wouldn't be so sweet, without the bitter.

    http://www.capturedandframed.com
    http://www.myspace.com/rconatser

  8. #8
    KmH
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    Good for you.

    For others looking at this thread, a better book explaining the ins-and-outs of studio photography is:

    [ame=http://www.amazon.com/Business-Studio-Photography-Start-Successful/dp/158115254X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1275838530&sr=1-1]Amazon.com: The Business of Studio Photography: How to Start and Run a Successful Photography Studio (9781581152548): Edward Lilley: Books[/ame]

    The book Mike E linked to is better suited for commercial photographers.
    . . . . . . Keith . . . . . . .How Do I Use My Digital SLR?...
    Effort equals results - Roger Penske

  9. #9
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    As to offering something that the majors probably don't, basic "touch-up"/postprocessing and other techniques that get away from the assembly line approach.

    skieur

  10. #10
    I am Big, I am Mike Site Moderator
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    Just an update. I've been successfully doing photography as my main source of income for 2 years now. Thanks for all the helpful suggestions.
    That's great, and thanks for the update.

    I'm sure we would all like to hear more about it, when you have the time.

  11. #11
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    Would just like to second Mikes point here, I'm currently at the stage of my life where I'm going to have a free next year and I need something to do with myself, as well as expanding my skill base few various courses and the such I would rather like to take my photography to the next level.

    Any advice would be appreciated!


 

 

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