buisiness model idea..is this even "do-able?"

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Aayria, Aug 23, 2010.

  1. Aayria

    Aayria TPF Noob!

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    I was reading some of Bryan Peterson's book "Beyond Portraiture" last night, and an idea came to mind that I hadn't considered before.

    Most of the people pictures in his book weren't "sessions..." but just interesting people he really wanted to photograph.

    I got me to thinking..

    What if I just approached people and asked if they wanted their pictures done? Rather than waiting for "so and so's engagement, their cousin's brother's fiance's neice's little sister to turn one, or to schedule senior portraits in overdone locations".. What if I offered to just DO pictures when I saw an opportunity?

    Say, if I was out for a walk and saw a sweet family playing outside with their dog and a frisbee...Introduced myself and offered to take pictures (no charge) then gave them my card. They could see the pictures on my website, and if they liked them- buy them. If not...so what, I got to take pictures of what I thought would be a cute picture opportunity.

    Does that make sense? Is this even something photographers do? I'm just not totally loving the "custom photography" only buisiness that I've run into and would like to take more pictures of more interesting things than just scheduled once-a year, get the family dressed up and do pictures for the Christmas card- shoots.

    Would something like that be successful? I'd need to charge decently for the pictures to account for the new structure..but I think it would take a lot of pressure off me (and my subjects), opening a lot more opportunities.

    Anyway.. Just an idea I was considering (and only halfway seriously at that.)

    What do you all think?
     
  2. Aayria

    Aayria TPF Noob!

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    I forgot to add.. I would still want to do the birthdays, family sessions, engagements and such.. But it could be more of a "oh you're getting engaged, (or your friend's friend's newphew's brother.." want to get together and take some pictures?

    Then if they want to buy some..they can. If not.. they can do "official" engagement pictures elsewhere with somebody more conventional. If they want to go with what we did.. they can buy mine. Thus still removing some of the pressure of a real "session" but still having the opportunity to take some nice images.
     
  3. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    This is a modern adaptation of the old-fashioned 'Street photographer' which was very common in the 20s-50s. I'm honestly not sure how it would work today; I think a lot would depend on where you were. Specifically, in a big city, you would have a lot more opportunity, but people tend to be less trusting and less open to stranger's advances.

    There's also the legal aspect of it; unless you provide each potential client with a secure gallery, (which seems to me that it might be a lot more trouble than it's worth from a website administration point of view) there's a chance that someone could take offence to publicly accessible images of themselves for which you have no release.

    My suggestion would be to try this on an experimental basis, and NOT at the exclusion of paying gigs to 'test the waters'.

    While I wish you all the luck, I'm not convinced that there would be a lot of income in this.

    Good luck!
     
  4. Aayria

    Aayria TPF Noob!

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    Thanks, tirediron. =)

    You're probably right... I think (for good reason) a lot of people are suspicious of anyone with a camera pointed at their family members. If I did start doing more "impromptu" photography work, I'd definitely at least continue getting signed model releases before publishing anything on a website (password protected or not.)

    I think what sounded so appealing as I was reading Peterson's book..was just the idea of getting great photographs of people without needing a "photographic excuse." People schedule sessions with me when there are big events going on in their lives..but I'd love to just catch them "as they are" in every day life...I love taking every day things and turning them into lovely photographs.

    The problem, is that nobody wants to pay a professional to take pictures of "every day things." Unless... I took the picture already and THEN asked if they liked it and wanted to buy it. I think people just don't consider having pictures done unless it's a big event, everybody is dressed up for a portrait session, or it's out of the ordinary. I'm not sure how to offer that with my current buisiness plan.
     
  5. Corvphotography

    Corvphotography TPF Noob!

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    i love the idea. if the people didnt think you were weird, which im sure your not, im sure they would check out the photos on your website. I know i would. just out of curiosity. its a good way to give out some of your business cards.
     
  6. pbelarge

    pbelarge TPF Noob!

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    Don't let one person on the site make such a decision for you.

    Take the idea and try it out for a couple of weekends. See where it heads. How in the world would you know it works if you have not tried it???

    Remember to be positive and smile. People can 'feel' positive attitude....
     
  7. DanFinePhotography

    DanFinePhotography TPF Noob!

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    Nowadays people always look like they think your weird when you approach them with a Camera thats what makes some great candids :D
     
  8. Aayria

    Aayria TPF Noob!

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    Oh I still intend to try it for sure!

    I just thought what he had to say had merit and was worth considering.. I try to point that out when people have something worthwhile to say so they aren't wasting time replying to my threads.

    I posted because I interested in what people think of the idea, regardless of when I decide to try it out. Like I said..I like giving people beautiful pictures of them *as they are* but most people don't think of having pictures done like that. So if *I* approach them first, then show them a picture they never thought they'd love but have to have..it could be a chance to do the kind of photography I want to grow in.
     
  9. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Moi? :raisedbrow: I wasn't for a minute suggesting that this shouldn't be done, but rather that it should be done with caution given the attitudes of modern society and that I'm not convinced there's a lot of money to be made it in it.

    I completely agree with the fact that Joe & Jane Q. Public rarely think about engaging a professional for 'day to day' photographs, and while this sort of photography was once a livelihood for many, the proliferation of inexpensive digital cameras, and the evolving attitude of 'suspect they neighobur' in my mind means that it may not be the most profitable avenue.

    As I said previously, 'Good luck!'
     
  10. misstwinklytoes

    misstwinklytoes TPF Noob!

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    Last year when trick or treating with the kids one house (of a photographer) had a whole setting with lights and all set up in his garage. He gave out candy bags with business cards and offered to take pictures and see them on a website to make orders. Long lines at his house but the pics were good. Had I not been broke I def would have ordered some.

    Have you considered freelance newspapers or school functions to get everyday things?
     
  11. Aayria

    Aayria TPF Noob!

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    That's a really great idea with the trick or treaters...I'll bet there were some adorable pictures. =)

    As far as freelance newspapers...I guess I hadn't really considered that. I still want my "market" to be more personal. I want to give people pictures of their family "as they are" in an artful way, so they can personally treasure and appreciate the pictures. I'm not too interested in stock photography, commercial, or newspaper photography, but I would like a way to broaden my "sessions" beyond the traditional times and occasions a family would consider having pictures done.

    I have done some school events and church events which were a lot of fun...and maybe pursuing that past just my son's school would be something to consider... I just don't want to be "that mom with a camera that makes us pay for her pictures.." I still want to put my professional buisiness forward, and just expand the chances to offer pictures.
     
  12. IceEateer

    IceEateer TPF Noob!

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    That's a brilliant idea for the upcoming Halloween.
     

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