Looking to start photo business, need some help

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by bdavis, Oct 12, 2009.

  1. bdavis

    bdavis TPF Noob!

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    I've been doing a lot of shoots lately. I started out doing free shoots with models from Model Mayhem to build their portfolios and mine. So far it's been working pretty good. However, now that I've got some good experience, I would like to start charging and make this more of a business, but I'm running into a few problems:

    1. What are some cost-effective ways to attract new clients and get the word out? I've done some advertisements on craigslist and facebook, but haven't really got any hits on doing shoots.

    2. Pricing. Whenever I describe my pricing to someone, it seems to turn them off to the idea of shooting completely. I don't think my pricing is bad for what they get, but for some reason I have lots of problems landing paid gigs.

    I would love to start doing this to earn extra income and upgrade my gear a bit, but these two issues are really holding me back. Any insight from the professionals out there?

    Thanks!
     
  2. SpeedTrap

    SpeedTrap TPF Noob!

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    What is your pricing? it is hard to comment on that when we don't know what it is.
     
  3. bdavis

    bdavis TPF Noob!

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    Sorry, here is my sample pricing. Since I do a lot of modeling shoots, this is tailored more towards the modeling audience.

    Package 1 – $550
    4-6 Hour Shoot
    2 creative photographers
    Professional Makeup Artist
    50 professionally printed comp cards
    50-60 web resolution images on a disc
    Online gallery for proofing/ordering

    Package 2 – $325
    3 hours shooting time
    2 8x10s of your choice
    11x14 of your choice
    50 "mini" rep cards
    20 web resolution photos on a disc
    Online gallery for proofing/ordering

    Package 3 – $200
    2 hours shooting time
    2 8x10s of your choice
    25 "mini" rep cards
    Online gallery for proofing/ordering

    Package 4 – $75
    1 hour shooting time
    8x10 photo of your choice
    Online gallery for proofing/ordering
     
  4. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    What kind of background do you have in business, marketing, and sales?

    85% of the skill needed for running a photography business is business/marketing/sales skill. 15% is about your skill as a photographer.
     
  5. bdavis

    bdavis TPF Noob!

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    I have a little bit of knowledge. I'm not a professional, but I have a little experience. I guess the point of this post was to gain some insight and hopefully receive pointers to improve my response rate/bookings. I'm interested in hearing how others have gotten responses that translated into shoots.
     
  6. SpeedTrap

    SpeedTrap TPF Noob!

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    OK, well looking at your price list and website I can guess you want to shoot model portfolio and fashion work.

    The only problem with this is that it is the same thing most photographers wants to shoot, and just like you they are willing to do it for free when they start out.

    Someone just starting out modeling is going to seek out the TFCD or TFP people until they have experience, and then they want to be paid to shoot or they will pay for a high end photographer for their portfolio.

    So you are in the catch 22

    You need to have something to set you apart from the others; you need to have a style that draws people to you and makes them want your images in their portfolio. As well I think you need to show more diversity in your work.
     
  7. bdavis

    bdavis TPF Noob!

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    I do find myself in a catch 22.

    However, most people are attracted me because my work is unlike anyone in my area's. They all tell me they like the lighting/angles/colors and want to shoot with me. I feel that my work is good enough to pay for, but as soon as any mention of price comes out, they are turned off. I put a lot of work into a shoot and I can't keep doing freebies, I have to cover my expenses and time.

    I've also tapped into the senior portraits market a bit. Some people have seen my stuff and asked about pricing for senior portraits. Upon delivering the pricing, I don't hear from them again.
     
  8. SpeedTrap

    SpeedTrap TPF Noob!

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    You need to keep at it and remember any client that runs from your pricing is not the type of client you want.

    That being said try to give more detail in your lower end packages, you want your customers choosing your least expensinve package to be as excited as your most expensive.

    As well I am a fan of posting your prices.this way if you are in the range they are looking for they will contact, but if you are too expensive they do not waste your time. Every one wants it for free.
     
  9. bdavis

    bdavis TPF Noob!

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    I'm sorry, I guess I'm confused about "give more detail in your lower packages." What do you mean by that.

    At this point, I just want clients, I'm tired of running around for hours shooting someone for nothing.
     
  10. c.cloudwalker

    c.cloudwalker TPF Noob!

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    Your rates don't seem bad but I don't know your area so it is hard to tell.

    However, I would not pay them. Nothing horrible about your photos but there is no WOW factor either. And you may want to get yourself a book on posing. You may not want to shoot for nothing but models don't want to pay for something they can get for time spent.

    I think you need to be more critical of your work. Thanks to the internet, you can easily look at some good portfolios. Don't look too much at MM; most of what I see there is utter rubbish. Or get some fashion magazines. Then, come up with 3 different sets that you can create easily and shoot well with whatever gear you have and get some WOW photos with 3 or more different models. Don't put every image you get out of the sessions on your website. Pick the very best ones (and be extremely critical, you have to be your very own worst critic) and only put those on the website.

    Better to have 12 amazing shots than 50 so-so ones.

    I'll help you get started with this very nice portfolio. Not everything is WOW but there is plenty of it overall. And notice that some photos are very simple to create.
    Kevin Kertz | Photography

    Good luck.
     
  11. SpeedTrap

    SpeedTrap TPF Noob!

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    What looks better?

    Package 4 – $75
    1 hour shooting time
    8x10 photo of your choice
    Online gallery for proofing/ordering


    Or

    Individual Package - $75
    1-hour session with a creative photographer at the location of your choice (within 10 Miles)
    $40 print Credit to be put toward your first print order
    Final prints re-touched and ready to be framed
    Online Proofing and Gallery to share with your family and friends (30 days)
    This package can be customized, contact me for more details!
     
  12. bdavis

    bdavis TPF Noob!

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    Actually I think the first one looks better because the $75 - $40 print credit would mean that for the hours of work I put into the shoot I would be making $35
     

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