Starting a small portrait studio.

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by BigRC, May 25, 2007.

  1. BigRC
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    BigRC New Member

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    Ok, here's the situation. I'm starting a small portrait studio, and I have a few questions for anyone that may be able to answer them.

    1. Digital backdrops. Are they worth it, or worthless?
    2. Pricing. I'm not a professional studio photographer, but I'm above average. What's a good starting price for a newbie?
    3. Niche markets. Is there anyone else here that does something "different". Offers something the pro's or the major's (Wal-Mart, Sears, JCPenny's) don't? If so, what?
    4. If digital backdrops aren't acceptable, or reliable, are there any wholesell backdrop sellers anyone is familiar and happy with?

    Hmmm... that's all I can think of at the moment, as I don't have the studio yet, so I haven't had any working questions, just basic startup questions. If anyone would be kind enough to lend me a few suggestions, even if the questions weren't asked, I'd be greatly obliged... Thanks!!!

    Randy
  2. Trenton Romulox
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    Trenton Romulox New Member

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    I don't mean to hijack your thread BigRC, but I have the exact same questions, so I'm just trying to not start up a new thread.

    Please someone, answer this person's questions, for the both of us :)
  3. Mike_E
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    Mike_E Well-Known Member

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    First, go here [ame]http://www.amazon.com/Best-Business-Practices-Photographers-Harrington/dp/1598633155[/ame]
    and buy the book!!

    Read the book front to back twice and then come back and re-ask your questions.

    I'm not being a smart-a** here It's just that if you are going to start a business then you need first to concentrate on the Business part.

    Give that a read and you will thank me! ;)

    miike
  4. Alpha
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    Alpha Troll Extraordinaire

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    Build your own backdrops in various colors...they're cheaper and more durable. Go to home depot, but a 12ft canvas dropcloth, a gallon of latex paint, and a roller. Costs about $40. Way better than paper or that $100 muslin crap you see everywhere online.

    The stock places in Wal-Mart, JC Penney, and elsewhere in shopping malls make their money because of consistency. They all use an identical lighting setup...a high-key shot backwards into a reflector and a hair light positioned at 45 degrees from the subject above them. As such, the only photographic "edge" per se, that you might have, is making legitimately interesting shots by varying your lighting, backdrops, and being more interactive with your customers.

    On pricing, start by figuring out the prices of most other "professionals" in your area, and under-sell slightly until you get a serious portfolio of studio work together.

    If you tell me where you're located (city and state), I can give you an assessment of the costs associated with and viability of marketing yourself online.
  5. BigRC
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    BigRC New Member

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    Awesome, thank you! I bought that along with this!

    [ame]http://www.amazon.com/Skin-Complete-Digitally-Photographing-Retouching/dp/047004733X/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/103-2234305-2597404?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1180170279&sr=8-1[/ame]
  6. BigRC
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    BigRC New Member

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    Great idea. Thank you!

    I'm located in Muncie, Indiana.

    Sorry to be so short on the replies, but I'm in a rush to leave. Got the wife standing over my shoulder waiting on me. Thanks for the replies. :)
  7. BigRC
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    BigRC New Member

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    Just an update. I've been successfully doing photography as my main source of income for 2 years now. Thanks for all the helpful suggestions.
  8. KmH
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    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish

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    Good for you.

    For others looking at this thread, a better book explaining the ins-and-outs of studio photography is:

    [ame=http://www.amazon.com/Business-Studio-Photography-Start-Successful/dp/158115254X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1275838530&sr=1-1]Amazon.com: The Business of Studio Photography: How to Start and Run a Successful Photography Studio (9781581152548): Edward Lilley: Books[/ame]

    The book Mike E linked to is better suited for commercial photographers.
  9. skieur
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    skieur New Member

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    As to offering something that the majors probably don't, basic "touch-up"/postprocessing and other techniques that get away from the assembly line approach.

    skieur
  10. Big Mike
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    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member

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    That's great, and thanks for the update.

    I'm sure we would all like to hear more about it, when you have the time.
  11. Formatted
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    Formatted New Member

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    Would just like to second Mikes point here, I'm currently at the stage of my life where I'm going to have a free next year and I need something to do with myself, as well as expanding my skill base few various courses and the such I would rather like to take my photography to the next level.

    Any advice would be appreciated!

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