How do you start?

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by Baaaark, Jul 2, 2009.

  1. Baaaark

    Baaaark TPF Noob!

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    Hi. I'm kinda in a Catch-22 here, but I would like some opinions.

    I love to shoot people photography, but, I have a problem. First off, I'm not professional-quality... yet [/optimism]. The only way to start is trial and error, but I'm lacking willing subjects to be my guinea pigs.

    I don't care if they're Man, Woman, Old, Young, Black, White, or anything! I just want to get some people in front of my camera.

    My strategy used to be to just tell them that I suck and need some experience, but then I realized confidence sells people more. So I told them I am looking for people to help sharpen my skills. I thought about telling them I usually charge but won't for them (to make it sound like I'm good), but I refuse to lie to people like that. Its dishonest, and that's not how I want to start my professional photography endeavor.

    So, does anyone have any advice how they can get themselves into the photography pipeline when they have no prior experience?
     
  2. bdavis

    bdavis TPF Noob!

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    I would start by shooting friends and family. Ask some friends of yours if they can model for you. This way you learn to be more comfortable and its someone you know so you're not turning into a bumbling idiot. You need to build a portfolio if you are going to shoot people. I'm still in the process of building a portfolio and tell people that and the first thing they ask is, "Can I see some samples?"

    You need to get some shots to show people. One way I started getting some shoots is by putting myself on craigslist and offering some shoots. I got about a dozen or so replys in the first 2 months. I got booked to do everything from bands, maternity, engagement, fashion, modeling, etc. The point is, it builds experience and a relationship with that person. If they have a friend who is needing some shots, they can pass your name along, get it?

    One way I practice when I have no one to shoot is I bought a mannequin. I got a 5'10" tall full-bodied mannequin that I shoot to try out my lights from different angles, try out different modifiers, etc. It's a good way to practice. Hope this helps.
     
  3. katy625

    katy625 TPF Noob!

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    Well,this is what worked for me and my partner. You let them know that you are serious about starting a photography business and you need models for practice as well as portfolio models. You can offer a free edited 8x10 with remaining edited photo's on cd. Tell them the dates and openings that you have available so they have to chose specific times. People like seeing a schedule. We started last month and so far this month we have 1o familieswe are doing for portfolio and editing work.....also, u have to have photoshop. We got our first paying customer for July 18th because she saw the edited pics i gave her co-worker from the prior weekend. She was so impressed that even though she knew we were still working models,she insisted in paying. So basically we asked everyone we knew...people LOVE taking pics, so start approaching people!!
     
  4. Baaaark

    Baaaark TPF Noob!

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    Thank you! This is really good advice. And I have CS3.
     
  5. Nicholas James Photo

    Nicholas James Photo TPF Noob!

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    Dont say you suck, because you probably dont. dont say that you usually charge, because you dont. Just keep plugging away and explain that you are a photographer who is improving your skills and that if they let you photograph them, you will send the pictures to their email. Life is often simpler if you just explain how it is,,,,, but most importantly - keep going
     
  6. Sirene

    Sirene TPF Noob!

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    Yes, ask anyone you know, if you can give them a cd of the pics after. I would say yes in a heartbeat.
     
  7. musicaleCA

    musicaleCA TPF Noob!

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    You might enjoy doing a little "Faces of" project yourself. Take a look at my Flickr stream in my sig and check out my "Faces of Vancouver" set. Basically I just carry my camera and model releases with me, and when I'm out in Vancouver (and not in a rush; photography has made me manage my time so much better), I walk up to strangers that I'd like to shoot and take a few shots. I set a few ground rules for myself, the major one being that I only shoot the photos with my 50mm. It lets me get very comfy with my lens and camera, comfy with head shots, and gives me some experience in reproducing skin tones and getting eyes tack sharp. As well as interacting with people as a photographer. Most peopel agree to it when I explain what I'm doing (if I stutter or get a little lost for words, it's off-putting), before I offer to send some via email (if they put their email address on the model release).

    Anyway, that's just an idea. It'll get people in front of your lens though, and it can be lots of fun. The worst thing that anyone can really do is say "no". And hey, maybe you'll get a few genuinely awesome head shots to include in your port. :D
     
  8. Baaaark

    Baaaark TPF Noob!

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    Do I need model releases for non-profit work?

    If I make no money off of that model, do I still need a waiver? I didn't think I did!
     
  9. musicaleCA

    musicaleCA TPF Noob!

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    Model releases are just good practise in general. There are situations where the person can object to your use of a photo if you don't have a release. The release is basically a way of proving to a court that, should they file a lawsuit against you for whatever reason, that they agreed to your use of the photos. I'm honest about how I'm going to use the photos on Flickr, but the release also covers various other uses such as advertising (say I want to use one of the photos to promote my photography), and my right to edit and distribute (dodging, burning, whatever) the photos without their permission. For those shots I use the Pocket Model Release on ASMP, with some modifications to suit BC and Canadian laws. (Even though with the release I can sell the photos freely, I'd still ask their permission first out of respect. It's good form to ask if you can use the photo for something other than what you mentioned when asking for the photo initially.)

    Asking for a release also adds an air of professionalism to the exchange. When people see that you're taking your photography very seriously, they tend to see that as confidence in your work and professionalism.
     

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