Are my photos good enough to start charging for sessions?

Discussion in 'The Aspiring Professionals Forum' started by beccaf91, Feb 17, 2017.

  1. beccaf91

    beccaf91 TPF Noob!

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    I have been a photography enthusiast for years and would really like to turn this enthusiasm into a lucrative business. I have family members and friends tell me these are great and blah, blah, blah. But I know that doesn't mean anything in the grand scheme of things. Really looking for any constructive criticism on composition and overall quality of the photos. Also, if I need a reality check, please feel free to include that as well. Portrait/lifestyle photography is my focus.

    Canon EOS 400D (Rebel xTi)
    Canon 50mm avavava-28.jpg beanbean-16.jpg F1.8
     
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  2. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Reality Check (also known by my Indian name of "Big Chief Rains on Parade"): If people are willing to pay, you're ready to charge. BUT... are these images of a standard that i think people should pay for? No. Why? Because, while they are decently exposed and properly focused, there are quite a few issues. First and foremost, the backgrounds, IMO are horribly busy and distracting. Both are significantly off-level and the composition is not what I would consider ideal.

    That said, you have made very good use of aperture to achieve selective focus, and the eyes are bright and clear. My suggestion would be to spend some time working on the basics. Practice getting your images level, concentrate on your backgrounds, and study compositional theory. Are you there yet? Not IMO. Can you get there? Definitely.
     
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  3. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    I have to agree with Tirediron's comments about the photographic and compositional technique these two pictures display. Assuming these are two of your better images, I would imagine that others are less successful than these two frames. I will pass along one tip for photographing smaller children: working at these distances with that lens at such wide f/stops is a recipe for many, many reject shots, as far as focus goes. These have the bare minimum of depth of field; closing down to f/3.5 and finding/setting up less-distracting backgrounds would be a smart strategy for avoiding shots that must be rejected due to slight focusing errors under real-world conditions.

    Photographing smaller children of this age is, as you know, hard work! They move! They don't follow many directions! Focus and recompose at this range is **inaccurate as heck** if you are using the center AF square. At 7 to 10 feet at f/2 or so, the edges of the frame and the center of the frame are at different distances; distances which will exceed the DOF band of a lens shot at wide f/stops, and that's where/why a good number of missed focus shots can occur. At f/3.5 or at f/4, the overall net DOF at this camera-to-subject and subject-to-background range will be "similar", but there will be just enough additional DOF to make a keeper out of what would easily have been an f/2 but rejected image.

    I dislike rendering opinions of peoples' skill level based on two, individual photos of related children who appear to maybe be the OP's own offspring. Two shots is not a lot to go on, but it can reveal a few things, but it's not the ideal way to evaluate a photographer. If we saw 100 of your photos, we could probably form better opinions, and spot trends, and patterns, and better evaluate the overall skill level you are currently at to a better degree than we can from seeing only these two shots.
     
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  4. dasmith232

    dasmith232 TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    I agree with the above comments. At the same time, I've seen worse work coming from people who charge money. There are plenty of examples of "instant wedding photographer" that never last more than one or two weddings followed by a word-of-mouth bad reputation.

    So by definition, are you good enough to charge? Yes. With continued experience and fine-tuning the craft, you'll be better off to *stay* in business with a strong reputation.
     
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  5. Vtec44

    Vtec44 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    You should see some of the first photos people paid me. LOL No one is ever ready to charge if you don't take that initial step. You're never good enough to charge the amount that you charge, regardless of where you're at in your photography career. If you're start charging, make sure you be honest to yourself and to your clients. Love what you do, share that love with the people who also love what you do, then invest what you've earned back in yourself and improve.

    Every journey begins with a single step. Best of luck to you! :)
     
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  6. beccaf91

    beccaf91 TPF Noob!

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    I kind of already knew that was coming. I understand the background is very "loud" and technically the background isn't supposed to draw away from the subject. I could have probably cropped some of it out but overall, I thought they were eye-catching. I know it doesn't follow the rules. This may seem a silly question but, when you say getting the image "level" are you referring to how the subject sits within the frame?
     
  7. beccaf91

    beccaf91 TPF Noob!

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    I don't have a ton of portraits to show you guys yet. stuff.jpg stuff-2.jpg stuff.jpg stuff-2.jpg But as far as composition, I don't know if these would help my case.
     
  8. JohnnyWrench

    JohnnyWrench No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Level is in reference to the horizon.
     
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  9. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    How the image is actually framed. Verticals (signs, trees, etc) should be vertical, horizontals, (roads, horizons, etc) should be horizontal. In your first image, it's easy to see that the structure image right is leaning about 10-15 out of vertical, and the whole image should be rotated left about 10-15 degrees.
     
  10. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    Direction & Quality of Light: Your Key to Better Portrait Photography Anywhere
    On-Camera Flash: Techniques for Digital Wedding and Portrait Photography
    Off-Camera Flash: Techniques for Digital Photographers

    Strobist: Lighting 101

    The lens you're using is producing unpleasant and jittery bokeh, most noticeable in the photo of the boy. Canon's inexpensive consumer grade EF-S 50 mm F/1.8 II lens is infamous for the nervous, jittery bokeh quality it delivers because it has only 5 aperture blades that have sharp and straight edges.

    I would suggest both photos need some basic editing to be 'finished ' photos.
    • Set white and black points
    • Boost mid-tone contrast.
    • Sharpen
    • Compensate the boy's eye area for the poor light direction and light quality that made his eye sockets dark.
    • Crop

    If you have so little portrait experience that you only have a couple of photos to show I don't think you're ready to charge people so you can learn the basics of doing portrait photography. IMO the non-portrait photos you have posted also don't have good composition nor do they display a good technical working knowledge of photography.

    But, getting people to pay you to make photos for them is mostly about the business skills you have instead of how good your photographs are.

    avavava-28Edit.jpg

    I didn't edit the dark eye sockets. I did desaturate and add .25 EV of exposure to his sclera.
    beanbean-16Edit.jpg
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2017
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  11. Designer

    Designer Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    If all you ever hope to have for customers are family and friends, then you're all set. If, on the other hand, you want to be able to compete with the pros, then what you should strive for is to make other photographers green with envy when they look at your photos. THEN you will have arrived!

    If there is absolutely nothing that tips us off as to it not being straight (such as a solitary seated child with nothing else identifiable in the shot) then maybe it's just "how it looks". BUT, in the first shot, there are parts of a building in the background, and having that not plumb/level is disconcerting to many people. You should always straighten your shots before showing them to anybody. The one exception is if you have tilted the frame on purpose "for effect" in which case we know that you intended to make it crooked. BTW: I will now add that if you "overdo it", with no apparent reason behind the tilt, then your shots begin to look trite, and an aspiring professional does not wish to appear trite.

    Learn the rules, practice the rules, then if you wish to "break the rules" you should know how and why to avoid appearing capricious and ill-trained.
     
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  12. beccaf91

    beccaf91 TPF Noob!

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    Got it. Thank you!
     

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