Professional Photography

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by photoman, Jan 4, 2004.

  1. photoman

    photoman TPF Noob!

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    I was wondering how everyone became a "professional photographer."

    What would you recomend in doing to become one? What type of classes would you take? Would you recomend in working under someone to gain experience first?

    Im looking into becoming a portrait photographer (maybe do something in senior pictures not too sure :? ),

    Any suggestions would be helpful


    Thanks in advance :D
     
  2. Dew

    Dew TPF Noob!

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    i wouldnt go so far to say im a "professional photographer" .. im a student in training :D ... but i do photograph on occasion for a fee ($120 per hour) but i'd prefer to look at it as a hobby that i sometimes get paid for :eek:

    to work under a "professional" is a good idea. i know my first couple of jobs i took my hubby with me, not to mention i was a nervous wreck :lol: ... i would even do a few shoots for free to build up your portfolio

    everytime a client leaves my studio .. i say to my hubby, "do u know that actor is counting on my photographs to make him/her a star?" :lol:

    its powerful, but its a lot of responsibility and sometimes pressure cause your photos can shape the way a person perceives the subject ... now that i've scared ya ... be confident, but always continue to learn :D
     
  3. PortraitMan

    PortraitMan TPF Noob!

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    I have some great answers for you from my own experience which I've codified into a guide. I don't want to get accused of "spamming" even though my answer is in response to your query, so email me and I'll fill you in.

    -Tom.
     
  4. Josh

    Josh TPF Noob!

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    If you can mentor with someone (perferably PPAC in the area you want lern) you will fined the experiance valuable.

    One thing I sugest to ppl starting out (and most of them think I'm crazy at first) is work for 6 month in a high production studio. Places like Olin Mills, Sears, Portaits express, etc. You will not lern anything about light or composition, but what you will lern is how to work with your subject to get what you need quikly. You will aso gain confidence with your ppl skills. This is very inportant for a profetional; when you are confident the client feels comfterble, and gives you more trust.

    The more a subject is relaxed the better their pics will look.

    I have found that the average person can't tell good photos from ok photos. But if they injoyed the shoot then when they see their photos they are reminded of the fun they had. What I mean is that the hole expereance it important, not just the technical (which you should master by all meens).
     
  5. wwjoeld

    wwjoeld TPF Noob!

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    I agree, people skills are the most important thing to have in the portrait biz. Without it your subjects will look uncomfortable and that will show through in the photos.

    The picture taking skill will come along with time.

    Good Luck in your efforts!
     
  6. bogleric

    bogleric TPF Noob!

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    The trick comes along when you have to find people to pay you.... anyone have some suggetions on how to sucessfully market your skills for the newbies.
     
  7. Josh

    Josh TPF Noob!

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    Sure... here is a thought,

    You need practice without presser right? Why not try student actors? They all need B&W headshots for aditions so... go to the community colleges in your town and put up a flier in the theator dipartment. "Cheep Headshots!" Tell them you are just starting out and only charge cost (about $25 depending). Be honest with them and let them know that, if you screw up, you will reshoot untell you get it right.

    This may take some presser off...maybe =)

    Make sure to ask if it is ok for you to post a fier. Most schools need you to get it aproved.
     
  8. Dew

    Dew TPF Noob!

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    no trick to it really ... like someone mentioned here already ... do photos for free to build your portfolio ... they have nothing to loose... but u must have a portfolio to show if u want people to pay u in the future.. there is no getting around this ... a web portfolio is necessary, a print one is optional...

    after a few months ... people can see your website and the quality of your work ... they will hire u if they like your style and personality ....

    second, u must be your own cheerleader and market/advertise yourself ... u have to get business cards made.... you have to always be willing to let others know what u do for a living ... they will remember that and they may know someone (for example, i have new neighbors that just moved in, i introduced myself and told them im a "photographer" (whether im good at it, thats another story :p) ... but the key is to have your name synonamous with what u do.. "oh, i know Sabrina, she's a photographer." ....

    i also get a lot of business from referral, "i saw my friends photos that u did and thought they were awesome." ... put a sticker on the back of prints with your name/number/web address .. in case it ends up at an agency .. if they like your work, they will send models/actors to u (i've had this happen)

    yesterday i was out shooting some landscapes for my personal pleasure .. i saw a woman at the park with a young boy playing in the snow ... she saw 2 "professional looking" cameras around my neck (one film, one digital) ... her curiosity got the best of her, "hi, are u a photographer?" ... i said, "oh yes, i am .. do u mind if i snap a couple of shots of your son?" ... bottom line, i ended up talking to her about what i do and handed her a card (always have then handy) and she had a friend who was an actress looking for a new portfolio ....

    tell the world what u do, friends and family ... and some advertisment wouldnt hurt either ... but always be preparred to tell someone what u do, even if it doesnt fit the conversation :)

    when and if u do free photo shoots, make a condition with the subject and let them know that they must give u photographer's credit if they use your photo on their website etc ...
     
  9. Kent Frost

    Kent Frost TPF Noob!

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    Even a professional is student. The biggest difference is whether or not you pay taxes at the end of the year for what you do.
     

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