Starting a Photography business

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Kristie, Sep 6, 2006.

  1. Kristie

    Kristie TPF Noob!

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    I'd like to start a part-time photography business.
    I'd like to start out doing animals/nature and then work to portraits (indoors and outdoors) then maybe eventually weddings.

    What kind of things do I need to get started?
    I've just ordered the new Nikon D80 and am planning on getting a 18-70mm and 18-200mm lens.
    I'm sorta clueless about flashes, lights, filters, etc....
     
  2. D-50

    D-50 TPF Noob!

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    You may want to learn a little before starting a business. Photography especially portrait work is not just a point and shoot thing. Lighting is a very involved skill and does not consist of throwing up a couple lights and taking a shot, you'll need umbrellas, flashes from different angles, light meters, etc. I do not know a whole lot about lighting myself but from my attempts at stil life I learned there is quit a bit to it. Look to refine your skill and then start a business its tough to do both at the same time as people who are paying a photogrphaer for photographs expect something far beyond what they can do themselves. People in this forum will be able to give you some good advice on setups but you should look into a class to learn the different techniques of lighting. Im sure a local adult Ed program will ahve something that can give you a base knowledge. Also in terms of you camera/lens choice, although the D80 is most likely a very nice camera I do not think either of those lenses would be the best choice for portrait work. Look into a 50mm prime but again people in this forum will be able to bettre direct you to a good portrait lens than myself, I tend to shoot landscapes/cityscapes and nature which are probably what your lenses are best suited for. Why are you getting the 18-70 if you are also getting the 18-200. Save the $300 and just get the 18-200 it covers the whole range and more that the 18-70 covers.
     
  3. Johnboy2978

    Johnboy2978 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I'm kind of in a similar boat. I don't have much interest in shooting animals though. Anyway, I have a film and digital body (though I've kind of neglected my film lately) and a 50mm prime lens and recently acquired a 70-200mm zoom lens from the proceeds of my first paid shoot. I also have a strobe for indoor studio portraits (alien bee 800 w/ umbrella, etc) and a sigma ef500 flash. I would feel comfortable in doing any portraits now, but still am a little nervous about weddings. I would like to pick up a decent wide angle lens before doing a wedding. That being said, I do have 2 people who I have pretty much obligated myself to shoot their weddings in the coming months (one this month). Both of which are very low key. The one this month was only going to have a bunch of disposable digital cameras for guests to take candids if I didn't want to do it, and the other is about the same.

    I think for portraits, you should at least have 1-2 prime lenses (e.g., 50mm and maybe 85mm) and some good quality strobe light(s). I think for a wedding, you would be negligent to not have at least one back up body, several gigs of memory, a good prime 50mm, wide angle and zoom lens. I think you could eliminate filters unless you shoot exclusively film, as many things can be easily reproduced by photoshop. It wouldn't hurt to have a good quality c-polarizer to fit your largest lens and step rings to fit the others.

    There is always a lot of discussion in the portrait section about this, and many would recommend 2 film and 2 digital bodies, 4-5 lenses, 10+gigs of memory, flash, etc. I think this may be somewhat overkill, but it would certainly set your future business back if you showed up to a wedding w/ one camera which failed before the ceremony.

    As D-50 pointed out, simply acquiring the equipment doesn't make you a photographer anymore than buying a thermometer makes you a doctor. There is a lot involved in learning lighting techniques, composition, exposure, etc. which is implied. I am not at the point where I would go out and market myself as a photographer. Rather, the work I have done and have been asked to do with weddings and senior portraits, family portraits, etc. have been based on individuals who have seen my work and base their decisions on that. Future work will depend largely on the quality I am able to deliver in those jobs. For now, I will continue doing this on weekends and spare time while keeping my 'real' job as a psychologist until I can leave it behind and do photography FT.
     
  4. EBphotography

    EBphotography TPF Junkie!

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    I agree in that you can just buy a few lenses and a camera..you need to know what you're doing first. If you don't learn it's a complete waste of money.
     
  5. Kristie

    Kristie TPF Noob!

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    Thank you everyone for your comments/suggestions.
    I'm not completely new at photography, I did take 3 years of it while I was in school, but that was over 5 years ago and I've already forgot alot of what I've learned.
    I hope to take some classes if they offer them where I am located.
    Again...thanks.
     
  6. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    Doing your own thing (nature and wildlife if that floats your boat) is an easy way to get started, because you can move at your own pace, and people can just look at your finished photographs, and decide if they want to invest the money or not. The key to selling fine art photography is to find as many opportunities as possible to get your photos somewhere where they will be seen.

    For portraits and weddings you are going to need to feel pretty confident in your knowledge of lighting, and thinking fast on your feet. Your clients are going to expect you to deliver.

    I studied photography obsessively for 10 years (I still do) before I started advertising myself as a professional photographer. Immediately I learned that there is a lot more to being in business as a photographer than just understanding the technical aspects of taking a photograph, and having a style or eye that other people like. I wish I would have taken more business and tax classes in college.

    Just keep shooting and learning because you enjoy doing it, and the success will come. I never intended on ever making this my living, but after a while so many people were asking me to do photography for them it just became the obvious thing to do.
     

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