Portrait Business Questions

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by mortallis288, Jul 16, 2007.

  1. mortallis288

    mortallis288 TPF Noob!

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    I am looking to make a little extra money during college by doing portraits. I have a D-80, 18-135 3.5-5.6 Nikon lens, 25-80 3.3-5.6 Nikon lens, 70- 210 quanta ray lens, and a 50 1.8 Nikon lens. I also have a Nikon n-55 film camera as a backup, and a tri-pod. I know little about lighting so that is where i am going to start looking at. I know about aperture and shutter speed, and i bought a book on portrait photography. My questions are :

    1. What is the normal sitting charge? I was thinking 50$-60$
    2. Do you sell them the images with your copyright still on them or do you make them buy prints?
    3. What other equipment would you suggest? This is going to be family portraits on site, and maybe some individual of the family members.
    4. How to advertise something like this?

    I am not starting tommorw by all means, but i wanna get the idea of how much i am going to have to invest to do this. I also am starting to build a portfolio, but if i only have 1 -2 families in the portfoilo to start with would that be ok?

    Thanks!
     
  2. Big Mike

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

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    That depends on your price structure. You could charge $150, but then include the digital files and/or some prints. You could charge $20 for the sitting fee but then charge $20 for each 4x6 and $50 for an 8x10.
    Personally, I find it easier if I don't have to continue the back and forth with print sales. I charge a single fee and give them a set of 4x6 prints and the files on CD. I do give them the option of buying the prints from me though.

    You seem to have a good selection of lenses. A fast, good quality zoom lens might be nice to have...but the 50mm F1.8 should be fast enough for most situations...if you need it. What do you have for lighting? Shooting outdoors, you will want at least a reflector but a flash like the SB-600 (or 800) would be recommended. Shooting indoors can be done with just window light...but that can be fairly limiting. You can use a hot-shoe flash, off camera (See Here)...which is portable and versatile...but you might prefer to work with actual studio lights, like Alienbees or something similar.

    Word of mouth is key. Spread the word and pass out cards. Having a web site will go a long way.

    Sure...as long as they are great shots. It's better to have fewer shots that are better...than more shots, if some of them aren't as good as the best ones.
     
  3. JIP

    JIP No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    All the questions you asked need to be answered by you. You need to figure out what everything is going to cost you and figure out what kind of profit you think you should make based on your experience and what kind of quality product you can put out. As far as gear goes ideally you should have more faster glass in your bag but again this should be figured into your price. What you have now is a pretty basic amatuer setup hopefully you can make enough money to inves in some better gear. Advertising is the magic question alot of people wish they knew the answer and really, there is no formula you need to go by what works best for you in your area lots of money is spent on failed marketing and that needds to be chocked up to to "that doesn't work". And a portfolio, with that you need to give your potential customers a good representation of what you are offering them various print sizes and presentations like frames, or just mattes or, albums if you offer them you just need a variety. As you shoot more people of course this selection will grow.
     
  4. mortallis288

    mortallis288 TPF Noob!

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    the only real problem i see is that i am 18, and i dunno how many families will trust a 18 year old with there pictures. I mean i guess if i am good enough and can sell my self well enough ill be ok
     
  5. Big Mike

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

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    :thumbup:
     
  6. jstuedle

    jstuedle No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I started doing in house baby and pet portraits when I was 16, that was more than a few decades ago. I used a Nikon F, tripod and 2 250 watt photofloods. I think I cooked a kid or two and toasted a French poodle, maybe gave a couple of 2nd degree sunburns but it was fun. I people did trust me, even if I arrived on my bicycle with the gear strapped to it's frame. Selling yourself is the key. Then do a good job and the word will spread. ( the bike only lasted a few months, then it was a 1954 caddy, rust color if memory serves )
     
  7. guitarmy

    guitarmy TPF Noob!

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    Yeah man. Don't worry about your age. Let your work speak for you - if people like your portfolio, they will trust you with their photos. It helps if you put out a mature persona as well (not saying you don't).
     

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