Necessary equiptment for start up buisness...

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by mel02monroe, Jun 21, 2006.

  1. mel02monroe

    mel02monroe TPF Noob!

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    I am creating a buisness plan to start up a portrait/wedding/event photography studio/on location buisness. And am trying to think of some of the important equiptment that i would need to get and feel like I am missing something. I am shooting film and digital, but mostly digital as of now anyways.
    For the equiptment that i have thought of I did a quick estimate on ebay because I am hoping to buy used equiptment because I am not able to afford new and they will probably not be the name brand equiptment either....

    Anyways, the equiptment includes so far.... (I already have the camera body and lens)
    -lighting kit with three lights and variable lighting controls (I am used to dyna-lites but am not able to afford them)
    -light meter
    -muslin
    -flash for on top of the camera for event/wedding photos where I can't set up the lighting kit
    -Photoshop program

    Is there anything else that I should be getting that I am not thinking of? I feel like I am missing something important...
     
  2. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    It really depends on what you will be doing. If it's studio/on location portraits...then lights may be your priority...but if it's wedding/event...then a flash will probably be more important.

    You will need stands for all that stuff...lights, background camera (tripod) etc.

    If you are doing weddings/events you will need backup equipment. A backup camera, lens & flash at the least.

    Batteries and memory...lots of both.

    Not equipment but did you figure in business costs? Taxes, insurance, business fees & registrations?

    What lens do you have? Wedding/event photography may require a fast lens...and you will want a good quality lens for any professional work.
     
  3. Wigwam Jones

    Wigwam Jones TPF Noob!

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    Insurance for sure. If the bridezilla is unhappy enough after the fact to file a lawsuit, you're all done.

    Contracts and sales forms, brochures, samples. Pricing. Copyright issues.

    Wedding photography is a cheap business to get into, if you are willing to assume an awesome amount of risk that you could lose your home, car, etc. To protect your assets costs money up front.

    [ame="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0817436170/sr=8-2/qid=1150906216/ref=pd_bbs_2/103-1727068-8641452?%5Fencoding=UTF8"]http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0817436170/sr=8-2/qid=1150906216/ref=pd_bbs_2/103-1727068-8641452?%5Fencoding=UTF8[/ame]

    The Business of Wedding Photography (Hardcover)
    by [ame="http://www.amazon.com/gp/search/103-1727068-8641452?%5Fencoding=UTF8&index=books&rank=-relevance%2C%2Bavailability%2C-daterank&field-author-exact=Ann%20Monteith"]Ann Monteith[/ame]

    is a good resource.
     
  4. mel02monroe

    mel02monroe TPF Noob!

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    I have a Nikon D-70 that came with a AF-S Nikkor 18-70mm 1:3.5-4.5G ED lens, and my other lens is Quantaray AF 70-300mm 1:4-5.6LD. I don't know what those numbers at the end mean... but my camera only works with the lens aperature at 32... does this make sense? I am not sure if i know what i am talking about. But i use both lens on my film and digital cameras. What would be considered a "good quality lens" or what is the difference between what i have and what you are meaning?

    I haven't got to the buisness costs yet... i have bits and pieces of the costs, but i don't have them all organized.

    I was thinking of getting a light kit that includes the lights and the stands.
     
  5. mel02monroe

    mel02monroe TPF Noob!

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    Sweet, I will look into it.
     
  6. Wigwam Jones

    Wigwam Jones TPF Noob!

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    May I very gently suggest that you need some education in the use of your cameras before you consider embarking on a career as a wedding photographer. I mean no disrespect, and you can get the information you seek on how your lenses work here, no doubt. But the fact that you're asking - not that it is wrong to ask - shows that you're really pretty new with cameras. Worrisome for a wedding photographer.

    The wedding is a one-time event (for that couple anyway - usually). The important moments come and go in a blink of an eye, and are never repeated. Miss that 'money shot' of the kiss, and find out what it feels like to not be paid - or to be sued and lose your house.

    Please reconsider this until you have some level of expertise - this is the single highest liability photography arena you could get into - meaning you have the most to lose from a legal liability standpoint. If you're not master of your equipment and have a firm footing as a photographer, my prediction is that you're going to have major problems, and possibly ruin someone's wedding memories in the process.

    I mean this with total good will and no desire to hurt your feelings.
     
  7. markc

    markc TPF Noob!

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    I very much agree with this also. I think a person should be a skilled portrait or street/PJ photographer before stepping into the wedding arena. It's just too important of an event, and there are no do-overs.
     
  8. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I agree with what Mr. Jones has to say. If you have to ask, you are not ready. However, it seems that you are only at the business planning stage...which means that you are smart enough to plan things out.

    Perhaps, the first thing on your list should be education and experience. Another member here (MarkC) [*edit, there he is now*] uses the great analogy of flying a plane. Professional wedding photography is like flying a jumbo jet...but if you want to fly one of those...you usually start with a cessna and spend many, many hours (over years) working your way up.

    Assisting a pro with weddings is usually recommended. This will introduce you to shooting weddings without the pressure and responsibility of being the hired pro.

    Also, getting and using a light kit won't immediately make your shots great. Again, education and experience is the key.

    I don't, in any way, mean to burst your bubble...by starting a business plan you are on the right track...just make sure you know what you are doing and what you are getting into. :D
     
  9. bigfatbadger

    bigfatbadger TPF Noob!

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    I know that some pro's use D70's as their backups, but I think you need a better camera. Now I'm the first to say that megapixels don't make the woman or man, but if you're blowing up your photos big, you want more room for error in terms of cropping than the d70 will give you. A d200 should do it, or better if you can get.

    Yes, also you need to learn more about the techincal side. Weddings are a one shot event, if you muck it up, you don't get any more customers. Try volunteering as a second photographer for someone or assisting. How long in the future are you expecting to set up?
     
  10. bigfatbadger

    bigfatbadger TPF Noob!

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    You will find the e-book on wedding photography here very useful.
     
  11. mel02monroe

    mel02monroe TPF Noob!

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    No, I am sorry. I actually know quite a bit about cameras, but since my lens is set on a particular setting, I don't have the ability to change the aperature of the lens... which is the part that confuses me because people have said many times on here about what settings they use on their lens... which i can not change on my lens.
    I do have formal education on using the camera, but with film so digital is a new thing. I am currently doing an apprenticeship with a local photographer, and am starting studies this fall at the technical college to get a diploma in portrait/wedding photography to get a further focus on the skills that i learned in the 5 photography classes that I had as an undergrad. I am planning to start up my business after I get that diploma so that it will be easier to secure loans since i can say I that I have thorough education and practice, but I am working on the buisness plan now and throughout the next year so that i can get things started and prepared for opening when I feel I have ability to do so. So, indeed, I am still in the planning stages, and will be for awhile.

    Also, not to scare you, but I did shoot a small outdoor wedding last weekend for my boyfriend's brother. They weren't going to have any photographers so I offered to do it for free. And the whole thing turned out to be quite successful. I realize the risks of photography, and I am not a complete novice. I appreciate your concerns though.
     
  12. mel02monroe

    mel02monroe TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the link, I took a brief look at it, it looks interesting will look further into it later.
     

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