Getting started

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by Stephi, Jan 2, 2009.

  1. Stephi

    Stephi TPF Noob!

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    I am sure that this question has been asked a lot on this part of the forum, so please forgive me!

    I was just wondering how people have got their career started? What are some of the first things you have to get set in place.

    I am taking the plunge this year and making 2009 all about achieving my dream of being a photographer. I am handing in my notice this month to give me all the time in the world and all the freedom in the world to give this my best shot - excuse the pun :D

    I am getting quite scared now though! And would just like to know what in people's opinions some of the first steps are, also if anyone has any ideas on what I should be charging for say commercial work - like photographing cars/hotels etc?

    And also my last question I promise! - well on this thread anyway! is how many pictures in your opinion should be in a portfolio. I have done such varied work from portraiture - weddings - stock - landscapes etc i have plenty to choose from but don't want to put 100 images in for people to get bored looking through, but not quite sure what an "ideal" number would be.

    Any help would be appreciated :D

    Steph x
     
  2. Saint-Brown

    Saint-Brown TPF Noob!

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    First, Congratulations for taking the big step. I am no big shot photographer but I have my business going okay for starting in 2008. Do you already have your website up and working, do you have your pricing in place? What is your specialty, people say you should focus on 1 area, and not be a "jack of all trades". How do you plan on getting your name out there, advertising is going to be a big part of what you do. This is something I'm battling right now.
    Just something to think about this morning.
     
  3. LarissaPhotography

    LarissaPhotography TPF Noob!

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    Our studio is also transitioning into a more full time studio this year. One of the things we've done recently is joining the PPA. Joining will get you insurance at a reasonable rate plus a number of other benefits.
     
  4. Stephi

    Stephi TPF Noob!

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    Thank you for the support :D

    I am working on my website at the moment and at getting some marketing strategies up and running including things such as business cards, business postcards, even t-shirts!

    I am going to be using free websites to start with - i have found a website to host me for free for my main page, and i will also be using myspace and facebook to promote myself, also google have a free marketing page too, obviously as soon as I start moving forward I will invest more in marketing, but for now its finding free ways of letting people know I am here - press releases etc.

    I do not have prices in line right now as I am not sure what to charge to be honest.

    Also as for my speciality I have dug myself a hole in that I am taking on all kinds of photography, I am hoping that in time I will find my niche - but I do love mostly taking landscapes/seascapes, animals and such like, but realize that portraiture is probably where the money is to start off.

    Congrats to you both on your photography businesses.
     
  5. SpeedTrap

    SpeedTrap TPF Noob!

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    Please do not take what I am about to say the wrong way.

    From what I have read above, you are not ready to quit your day job yet. You need to sit down and write a business plan. You need to figure how much money you will need to start up, then save that money.

    You will not get anywhere with using Free web and Myspace/Facebook. They can be useful tools, but that is all they are. You need to get a proper website up. Even if you build it yourself, as a consumer if I go to your page and it is add supported (Freeweb) I would move on.

    You also need to determine pricing, if you have no idea what to charge, that tells me you have no idea what your costs to run your business are.

    I would recommend you start by going to your local library and chamber of commerce and researching your business, and then find a local photography association like PPA (USA), PPOC (Canada) and talk to them, or even become a member.

    The reason most new photographers fail, is because you need to remember this is a business and it needs to be treated like one. It is fun and exciting and rewarding, but it is still a business, the day you forget that is the day you start to fail.

    Step back and ask yourself, am I really ready to go into a business that can be feast or famine, am I ready to not know when my next pay cheque will be?
    Do I have enough saved to get through tough times?
    Do I have enough money to set this up right (Insurance, License, Advertising, etc)?
    Do I have the right tools for the job (backup equipment)?
    Do I have a backup plan that even if all goes to plan and I still fail I can fall back on?

    I don’t want to be all doom, but I think it is important to go in with your eyes open and understand what you are getting into. When you are ready and prepared, it can be the most rewarding thing you will ever do.
     
  6. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I agree with Speedtraps advice - definatly stick with the day job. Many of the stories I have read of people going pro they start off small - weekend work and evenings - and once they are making a decent enough income of that that they are having to turn down work during weekdays then its time to think about possibly dropping the dayjob - especailly as the world is entering a recession chances are that you will not only find it tough to start up, but if things go bad finding another job will also be tricky. So hang on to your day job
     
  7. Stephi

    Stephi TPF Noob!

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    Well the only other reason for taking the 'year out' was that I also did media at Uni as well at photography and would like to get some work experience etc, but they usually offer 4 week placements which I could never book off as holiday, and also if I wanted to apply for runner jobs they usually come up on the Monday and need you by the Wednesday - again impossible to get the time off at such short notice.

    I have made a few contacts along the way so i have a group that I am part of that helps you find work - mainly portaits but it is a start. I have a contact that is letting me use his studio for free which is very nice, and I have been saving up for years so now have some healthy savings to hopefully get me by. I have most of the equipment i need, but i need some portable studio equipment - which I have money saved for and am looking at what the best set up is to get.

    I do not have a mortage or kids to pay for as I live with my mum and me and my boyfriend are not looking at getting a place at the moment, so it seemed like an ideal time.

    But obviously I have had the same concerns as mentioned above about money etc.
     

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