Getting Started?

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by TheUndisputed, Jan 27, 2009.

  1. TheUndisputed

    TheUndisputed TPF Noob!

    Dec 24, 2008
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    Kennesaw, GA
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    Alright. I am going to start doing photography as a side profession to supplement my current income. Plus, I thought, "Why not do what you love to do, and get paid for it." However, the thought and idea of this has posed some questions.

    1. How do you build a clientele without having a portfolio, and how do you start one if you don't already have one.

    I've taken thousands and thousands of stock photographs. Most of them, I just delete. Sometimes I save them, but they usually all get deleted at a later point anyway, because I am just taking them to take them. Which is beside the point anyway, because you can't build a clientele using stock photography on your portfolio anyway. So, how do you start.

    2. What prices do you do your initial portfolio shots for, or do you charge for them at all?

    Photography isn't like a graphic design business (which is what I do). You can't just create one work, and show it to a client and expect them to want to use you. Every person who uses a camera can get lucky for one shot. So, logically, I would think that you would shoot anyone willing to let you and as cheap as possible to get your portfolio up. However, what exactly is "as cheap as possible," free?

    3. Print versus Web Portfolios; which one should I use?

    Well, which one. Print, web, or both? I know some photographers don't print, they offer dvd sets with the images on it. Is it good to have both? What are the pro's and con's. -OR- even better, how about I just shut up and you all TELL me what is best to do? Sounds like a plan to me ;).

    4. Once a clientele is built, how do you gauge price sets for things such as weddings, portraits, swimsuit, etc.?

    Well, pretty self explanatory. After you have a clientele and you are on your way to rolling in the business, how do you gauge what your prices are for each individual set?

    All help is greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance,

    Aaron L Lockhart
  2. uberben

    uberben TPF Noob!

    Oct 14, 2004
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    I got my start shooting for family and friends for free. I made sure they knew what they were getting into and it was done to help each other out. From there I piggy backed with a few more accomplished people and then ventured out into the "semi-pro" waters. When getting started, focus on solid business technique and customer service. Make sure you read a ton on new marketing ideas and way to run an low cost/ highly effective business. Other then my webpage and some business cards (which I don't really hand out), I have never spent a dime on advertising. Word of mouth is free and it will generate more business then a superbowl ad.

    Pricing: look at what people are charging in your area. Look at your costs of doing business. What is your time worth to you? You see people charging under 1k for a wedding and you wonder how they make any money. 1k doesn't go far when you pay self employement tax, insurance, any rental gear you'd need, and other general expenses. You are probably left with 300 dollars for a 8 hour shoot + 20 hours of editing. You can make more flipping burgers at McDonalds. If I book up too fast, I'm too cheap. If your not booking people, you may need to work on your pricing and/or marketing. I came up with my own pricing model after doing a lot of research on my local area and I will negotiate pricing with clients if they want to make a custom package. There isn't any hard rule that I know of.

    Portfolio: I have one nice photobook made by Asukabook that I bring to meetings, everything else is online. Unless you are going after the really old or the too poor to have a computer with decent internet, You will probably be fine with that.

    Besides learning good business models, make sure you don't try to do everything at once. Pick one area and get really really good at it. Make sure you have a consuming passion for it, because you will be spending a ton of time learning as much as you can.
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2009

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