Need help preparing for a portrait shoot

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by MJI, Sep 17, 2009.

  1. MJI

    MJI TPF Noob!

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    I'm not sure how to ask this question. A neighbor saw some of my photos, liked them, and asked me if I'd be interested in shooting a photo of her for her website.

    I said yes. Then she asked me how much I'll charge her. I answered truthfully, "I don't know, but I'll try to come up with something."
    I figured that would buy me a couple days to look up on web forums, ask my question and see if I can get answers that would give me a general fair price range for a first timer doing this project. I posted my question in a few places, didn't get the help I wanted in a timely manner. Now I feel frantic. I wish to contact the person by tonight. That way I'm responding within about two days of her asking the question.

    But what I am confused with is what questions to ask about location, rates, and also tips to get the best possible with what I have. I don't have any equipment beside my Sony DSC-H7. (budget limitations.) Obviously I can't give her professional results like blurred backgrounds (bokeh effects and the like), but I'd like to make do with what I have and do the best possible. But the last thing I want is to show up utterly confused and have a really awkward moment.
     
  2. musicaleCA

    musicaleCA TPF Noob!

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    Honestly, I'd do it as a trade, not for money. My first few shoots were trades. I got credit, cookies, something other than monetary reward for my work. It's less stressful, it reduces their expectations of you, and makes everything a bit more low-key.

    The only thing that will prevent an awkward moment is preparation and a lot of communication between you and them. Make sure you know exactly what they want before the shoot, so that you can get the shot they need.
     
  3. MJI

    MJI TPF Noob!

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    Would charging $5- $10 for the entire project seem reasonable? That way it would give me some spare bus money/ cash to save up, but not take a lot out of her. I'd still get to enjoy the opportunity.
     
  4. thenikonguy

    thenikonguy TPF Noob!

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    I 100% agree with this.. it doesn't really sound like your at a place to charge, not meant in an offensive way, just a fact.. my first 2 years shooting, I did so many trade shoots.. best one was a photo shoot for work on my motorcycle.. that one actually ended up with me on the + but the guy was just so happy to do the work.. he loves bikes, and loves working on them.. my bike actually needed close to 1000 bucks in work.. and he INSISTED that I don't pay him anything, all he wanted was a photoshoot with him and his huge dutch family.

    I've done photoshoots for dinner, photoshoots for gear, photoshoots for LOTS of stuff.. its a great way to get out there and shoot people, and you don't feel as stressed as you do when money is involved.

    I think doing this would actually work against you, as it tells the person your not worth normal studio fees (I typically charge $75/hour).. stick with the "bro deal" or if its that your looking for bus money, tell the person to buy you a couple bus passes, and you'll cal it even
     
  5. shortpballer

    shortpballer TPF Noob!

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    LOL 5-10 dollars? Do what the other person said trade for cookies. What can you buy with 5-10 dollars? a lens cap? You should just either do it for free at that rate, or do a simple trade like the other person said. I wish I thought of cookies. What if they come out bad? You can always tell the person to wait till the finished results come out then you can charge her an amount. But since it is your first shoot, I would seriously recommend doing it for free or for a trade like cookies (yumm :drool:) That way you guys can both relax and have more fun without both of you stressing about getting your moneys worth. And its your neighbor.
    thats my 2 cents
     
  6. wet

    wet TPF Noob!

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    For me, discussing fees is always awkward & I don't want to come across as nickle & dime them. Also when the is monetary exchanges, there will be high expectations & starts to get stressful. I usually start with free, they felt bad so they 'pay' me accordingly, let it be gift card, gifts that they know I will need etc. People I dealt with are very generous, I always ended up with pleasant surprises. If you don't think you will need the $5-$10, you could just tell if you could use the pics for your portfolio & don't forget to 'HINT' to her if she feel bad, she could reward you accordingly. This is just my opinion though.
     
  7. CustomMinds

    CustomMinds TPF Noob!

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    what type of website does she have? odd question.
     
  8. ScottsdaleImages

    ScottsdaleImages TPF Noob!

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    I agree with all the other comments, you should offer to do it for free or in exchange for some cookies. Definatly NOT $5-10. That just says I have no idea what I am worth! Tell her that you'd feel more comfortable that way.
    As for the rest of your questions...
    You need to find out what the image is for on her website. Does it need to be head and shoulders or full length? Either way, since it sounds like a business site, you want a plain background that doesn't have alot of distractions. If you can adjust your Fstop on that camera, find a light shaded area and lower the Fstop a bit and it will blur the background. That way you can shoot with just about any plain background.

    Good luck- first one is always nerve wracking... we've all been there.
     
  9. mooimeisie

    mooimeisie TPF Noob!

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    I also agree with the free or trade idea. My first "job" was for free. They knew it was my first. They got the photos and I got the experience. I was also rewarded with a sweet Manfrotto tripod as well.
     
  10. MJI

    MJI TPF Noob!

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    Update: What I plan to do is tell her I'll do it free of charge, but at the end of the project say that I'm open to "donations" towards my "save up for a DSLR camera fund." That way she can decide what she wants to give if she wants to give. That way gets rid of the awkward discussing rates, etc.. We'll see how it goes.
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2009

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