Newbie Looking for Tips and Knowledge from Proffessionals

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by Orbital199, Jan 26, 2009.

  1. Orbital199

    Orbital199 TPF Noob!

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    Hello,

    I'm new to the forum, so forgive me if I'm asking too many questions, but I have some inquiries for those of you who have made a profession out of photography. I love taking pictures and capturing life as an art form and I'm very interested in doing this for a living, but I don't know where to start.

    1. If I'm interested in doing weddings and portraiture, what professional cameras and tools should I be looking at investing in? What tools should I not be without?

    I currently own a Sony DSC H2 and is my one and only camera for personal use. Obviously this won't fly if I want to open a business and I know I'll have to throw down a pretty penny to get a worth while device.

    2. How did you get started?

    New equipment, new website, promoting, all this costs money and my day job just won't do the trick to get me started. Did you take out a small business loan or borrow money to begin with? If so, how long did it take you to pay it back with the money you made from your business? (I know this is more of a financial question rather than photography, sorry)

    Thank you guys for any suggestions and tips you can offer me. This is my first post but I hope to be hanging around the forum a lot more so I can absorb as much new information as possible and post some pictures for review. I'm sure I'll be quite humbled by the talent around here.
     
  2. Big Mike

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

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    Welcome to the forum.

    I'm not a full time pro, I juggle my photo business with my 'regular day job'.

    For me, photography was a hobby for a long time before I decided to start a business...so I had a fair amount of gear already. However, before I started taking jobs for money, I made sure that I had good quality equipment and backup equipment.

    I'm no business expert, but I don't think it's a great idea to just go out and buy all the gear on credit before you have a solid business plan etc.

    I think that a good way to get started, would be to get experience first. Hopefully, you can get a good idea of what it's like to work as a photographer and what gear you will need down the line.

    Maybe you start with photography schooling, maybe you become an intern/assistant to a working pro. The idea is that you figure out what you are doing before jumping in too deep. Most business fail because they don't have a solid plan when they start.
     
  3. Orbital199

    Orbital199 TPF Noob!

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    Most definitely. A solid business plan is first and foremost, but this is just a long term goal. Definitely not something I'll be starting up tomorrow. I want to get a good portfolio together first and gather more experience in the field. I've done photography for friends and family (the typical amateur assignments) as well as taken some photography classes in college. I'll be posting some of my work on the forum soon. I'm looking forward to getting some constructive criticism from everybody and hopefully learning a lot from everyone. I really need a lot of help in the hardware department, as I don't have a lot of experience with the different kinds of cameras that are out there.

    Thanks for the advice.
     
  4. Sarah23

    Sarah23 TPF Noob!

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    I have only had my business for a year now, but have been in photography for about 8 years. It was a hobby before I went all in.

    I don't use any debt...personal or business. I bought equipment as I went along and could afford it.

    If you are interested in it, I would get your feet wet with in entry level or pro-sumer camera like the 50D(Canon) or D90(Nikon) and go from there. Get some good glass, and other equipment you need as you can afford it.

    Get a GOOD business plan. There are SO many details that you dont think about or realize until you are IN business that are sometimes overwhelming. Website, blog, pricing, contracts, model releases, portfoilio building, proofing, labs, extra items you offer, insurance (BIG ONE), taxes (PAIN IN THE BUTT), accounting, expense reports, marketing (ANOTHER PAIN IN THE BUTT), networking in your city, keeping clients happy.....its all a lot to take in.

    If I were you, I would start out in portraits and see how it goes. Dont just into weddings just yet. Weddings are HARD, and takes LOTS OF TIME. If you dont have the time or abaility to go through 5000 images, proof, edit, print, order....plus cost involved....oye....it gets to be a lot. I would second shoot with another photographer and get a dozen or so weddings under your belt before you jump into that arena.

    It is very hard to make it full time as a photographer, on only that income. Not only are there every Bill, Frank and Sally on every corner, doing weddings for pennies and giving away the farm while they are at it, we are in a recession also. It can take years to get to a point where you are well known in your community.

    Just keep eveything in perspective. Photography is not an easy profession to get into. You dont get into it to make a lot of money....at all. Its not as pretty and fun on the business side as you might think. Its abot 90% business and 10% about your talent/photos.
     

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