Ok pros, tell us your story...

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by hippyatheart, Jun 9, 2008.

  1. hippyatheart

    hippyatheart TPF Noob!

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    How did you get to where you are today? How did you make the jump from hobbiest to professional? Tell us all the niggy gritty on how you got to where you are today!
     
  2. im_trying11

    im_trying11 TPF Noob!

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    i like the thread idea
     
  3. bigalbest

    bigalbest TPF Noob!

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    This job is not glamorous or exciting, and the pay isn't always that great. There are so many photographers around these days that I would highly recommend choosing a different career. Getting started is easy, anyone can slap a fancy logo on their pictures and call themselves a pro, which is why most people don't know the difference between a decent picture and and a professional one. If you still want to be a photographer, then go to school (college or university), and get a job with a studio or experienced photographer to learn the business and find out if this is really for you. Only then will you be able to judge your ability to run a photography business.
     
  4. hippyatheart

    hippyatheart TPF Noob!

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    Wow, what a downer! I did not start this thread to get technical advice on starting a buisness ( Iam nt int that stage of life at the moment). I just wanted to hear what your journey has been like!
     
  5. bigalbest

    bigalbest TPF Noob!

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    Sorry didn't mean to be a downer just trying to clue you in as to how hard it is to make it in this business. Good luck.
     
  6. twocolor

    twocolor No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I just got my business license last week, although I've been shooting for 7 years.

    My beginning was having a daughter born with thick dark curly hair. She was beautiful. I bought an $90.00 35mm camera, and just started taking pictures of that beautiful hair, beautiful chubby cheeks . . .

    I developed those rolls of film and cried. They were blurry, dark, yellowish . . . I thought what a jip, I just bought this nice new camera (hahaha) and this is what I got.

    I started paying attention to what I was doing and where I was when I was taking pictures. I started noticing obvious thing, like how much better the pictures turned out in the daylight, and how you really can't get as close as you might think to your subject.

    Then I started studying why each of these things were happening.

    THEN I bought a mid-level $400.00 Pentax ZX-30 35mm camera. The pictures were obviously better, but not just because I bought a new camera, but because I concentrated on why my bad photos were bad. The problem was, I still would get some dark photos, and I didn't quite know what all the lingo and jargon was Av Tv ISO . . . so, I started reading about all these things, and GASP read my manual.

    Then people started noticing my pictures. They were just pictures of my family, scrapbooked or framed. No official photo shoots or any thing. Just my beautiful family.

    One day a neighbor asked me to do her daughter's wedding. After I stopped laughing, I actually told her no. She said well, that's okay, my Uncle Joe just bought a new $100 dollar camera, I'll just have him do it. They weren't planning on hiring a professional photographer. That's when I thought well, I can defineately do better then Uncle Joe, so I took the job and charged only what I spent in film and developing.

    The shoots were fun, and the pics turned out great!

    Believe it or not, that same neighbor had another daughter get engaged 2 weeks after the wedding of the first daughter. And this time I had a Pentax istDL in my aresenal, and again, continued learning and researching. So, I took the job, charged developing, traveling, and $100.00 to do her next daughters wedding. Again, I had a blast, and the pictures were great!

    So, 30 weddings later, over 200 other misc portrait sessions later, not a dime spent on advertising (every shoot I've done has been from word of mouth or from someone I've already known). I increase my wedding portrait sessions by $25 for every two weddings I book (I figure as I get more experience, I am worth alot more each time), I'll level off when I feel I'm priced at a level with my competitors. I now own my own business, where I book around 2 shoots a day.

    I never went to school, but I do attend conventions, and read all the same course materials that are offered in some of the local colleges. I spend hours on the internet finding the lastet in posing and developing options. I get on forums and learn different technics to make my pictures stand out from others.

    I know of two other photographers in my town with a degree, and I feel my photography is equal to if not exceeding theirs.

    To me photography IS fun and exciting. I love being in this field, I love being part of peoples greatest memories. I love having a client return time and time again. I shot one girl's senior portraits, then her engagements, bridals, wedding, then her baby son's newborn portraits, then her son's 6 month portraits, and have already booked his one year portraits.

    That's my story!!
     
  7. craig

    craig TPF Noob!

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    Always wanted to be a photographer. Never considered it a hobby. I studied photography at SVA in NYC. I was an assistant the whole time I was there. That is another story, but suffice to say it was a learning experience. By my 4th year I was heavy into shooting home fashions for large studios. Stayed in that field for 5 years. Then I visited my brother in Jackson, WY one Christmas. Literally changed my life. I packed my bags and moved to Jackson. I was feeling pretty burned out in NYC plus Jackson is like no other place on earth. After about a year in Jackson I landed a full time job at the local paper. Started off in the pressroom and moved my way into shooting advertising and editorial work for them. I was able to get a lot of freelance clients with out even trying. That lasted 10+ years.

    I recently moved to Southern California. Again. That is a whole other story. In the few months that I have been here I have shot 3 TFP fashion deals, I will be shooting 2 graduations this week and I am working on a bid for a catalog. I am psyched to be in the SoCal market.

    Love & Bass
     
  8. abraxas

    abraxas No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I started as an art student turned technical writer, turned civil engineering tech/designer, turned programmer, turned systems manager, turned website designer that ended up being a combination of all the previous, that now does mainly photography.

    An odd set of circumstances that got me to where I wanted to go originally. I didn't have a plan because over the last 35 years most of the stuff I've done hadn't been invented.

    Life is strange and shows no indication of changing.
     
  9. hippyatheart

    hippyatheart TPF Noob!

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    Thank you for your stories! I am really enjoying reading them!
     
  10. mr_baseball_08

    mr_baseball_08 TPF Noob!

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    Hate to disagree with what this guy is saying, but these days it doesn't take much "talent" to be a "pro." I will agree that there are a lot of them out there, and I'll go as far to say that they shouldn't be getting paid for their work.

    But the sad fact is I see a lot of photographers that ARE getting paid, and getting paid well for their shoddy work. Perhaps more people need to come shoot in the south. :)
     
  11. craig

    craig TPF Noob!

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    Let us try and stay on track. This is not the thread for general comments on photography. Please read the original post.

    Love & Bass
     
  12. bigalbest

    bigalbest TPF Noob!

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    This is the happy smilie thread where everything is good and nice. :) :)
     

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