1st Birthday Party

tevo

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One of my former teachers (who is fond of me) has offered to pay me to shoot her child's first birthday party. I don't anticipate too much of a challenge as I'm comfortable with/without flash, have 2 bodies at my disposal and have a 24-70 / 70-200, but as this is my first time covering this type of event I don't really know what to expect. However, what types of shots should I look for / what are some bumps I may run into?

On another note, she does not want to have prints made, only digital files. The entire party should run around 5 hours, and I expect to send 50-75 pictures (let me know if that is realistic) as the final product. How much should I charge? This is my first time covering an event like this so I don't have any specific portfolio items to offer to her.
 

tirediron

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Just like any other event, talk to the organizer (Mom) and find out what's happening and when (ie, when the presents will be opened, cake cut etc) and make sure you capture those. Other than that, just sort of roam around and shoot. Five hours seems like a long event for one year olds, but 50-75 images seems like a very reasonable return.

As for cost, I generally recommend avoiding a regular 'pay for services' transaction unless you are actually an operating business, and suggest instead that you allow her to give you a gift after the fact, say a nice gift-certificate for a nice meal or something like that. It relieves some of the pressure, and it also helps to preserve your amateur status if something does go wrong.
 
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tevo

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Just like any other event, talk to the organizer (Mom) and find out what's happening and when (ie, when the presents will be opened, cake cut etc) and make sure you capture those. Other than that, just sort of roam around and shoot. Five hours seems like a long event for one year olds, but 50-75 images seems like a very reasonable return.

As for cost, I generally recommend avoiding a regular 'pay for services' transaction unless you are actually an operating business, and suggest instead that you allow her to give you a gift after the fact, say a nice gift-certificate for a nice meal or something like that. It relieves some of the pressure, and it also helps to preserve your amateur status if something does go wrong.

Thanks for the tip. I am in the process of *trying to* establish myself as an operating business, so I will be charging her. I'm confident enough in my photographic abilities to cover the event, I'm just unsure of the logistics as I've never done it before, but with an event of this stature I can't imagine the learning curve is too steep.
 

tirediron

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Do you have insurance? If so, then fine go ahead and charge, but if you don't, I would strongly reconsider. What happens if somehow little Billy gets injured and the blame is placed on you? If you're just there as friend helping someone out, then the culpability is likely to be much less then if you are operating as a business and being paid. Just my $00.02 - YMMV
 

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FYI: I have never seen a function such as this go according to any "plan" even if there is one. You are going to have 5 hours of pandemonium, interspersed with boring non-events such as someone needing a change of clothing, or whatever.
 

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Do you have insurance? If so, then fine go ahead and charge, but if you don't, I would strongly reconsider. What happens if somehow little Billy gets injured and the blame is placed on you? If you're just there as friend helping someone out, then the culpability is likely to be much less then if you are operating as a business and being paid. Just my $00.02 - YMMV


Agreed... consider this one practice... unless you are prepared to do it professionally. One bad shoot can cost you a lot more then the few bucks you would have made....
 
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tevo

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Thank you all for the advice. I will shoot this one for free and use it as a portfolio item. I was a bit quick to want to charge seeing that I am a bit short on cash at the moment (that is until someone buys my lens ><), but it makes more sense to do it for free. I'm anticipating the majority of the shots will be candids of the children / adults interacting, with some inclusion of decoration detail. The important shots I can think of now would be during the present opening, cake cutting / candle blowing out, shots of the cake itself and maybe the entrance of the birthday girl at the beginning. What did I miss?
 

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Thank you all for the advice. I will shoot this one for free and use it as a portfolio item. I was a bit quick to want to charge seeing that I am a bit short on cash at the moment (that is until someone buys my lens ><), but it makes more sense to do it for free. I'm anticipating the majority of the shots will be candids of the children / adults interacting, with some inclusion of decoration detail. The important shots I can think of now would be during the present opening, cake cutting / candle blowing out, shots of the cake itself and maybe the entrance of the birthday girl at the beginning. What did I miss?

Cake smash (or birthday with cake all over her face), Group shots of friends, BD girl and her mom, BD girl and her BESTest girlfriend, etc....
 

wyogirl

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You could also set up a little "photo booth" type thing in the corner with a back drop and some cheesy props (hats, mustaches, glasses etc.) and just have people pose for fun pics. This can be after gifts and cake, or before hand.
 

jwbryson1

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5 hours?! Are you joking? No flipping way a 1 year old's birthday party lasts 5 hours. No way. Maybe 1 hour.
 

12sndsgood

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this type of party will be an hour or so interacting with the kid, but a few hours of family\frineds time which is what they will want done. not nessicarily 5 hours of straight baby time. but of all the friends and family.

The way way I work things is if it is something new to me, I will always do a few for free to make sure I got the hang of what's going on. That way you know where you should be and how to shoot it properly. you get a feel for how things are working and what is expected. As said, use it as a portolio builder (if baby parties are what you want to shoot)
 

vintagesnaps

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I can't get past the five hours... LOL

I've worked with young children, an hour and a half maybe - depends on the child, if she enjoys a lot of people and a lot of activity or instead gets overwhelmed quickly with it all. Probably best to get photos early and relatively quickly/efficiently before/if she has a complete meltdown, or needs a diaper change, or a bath after the cake...
If your subject is still in diapers what does that tell you?? LOL

(edit - Seriously, I suppose ask if they want pictures of just the baby and the cake & presents etc., or of the relatives and happenings afterwards - they may not need you to stay or may invite you to stay for some food & drinks.)

I think if you're going to start doing work in photography you need to look into setting up in business so you're covered once you start handling money/payments, insurance, etc. etc.
 
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frommrstomommy

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my sons 1st bday was 2 hrs.. a few stayed an extra half hour
 

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I'm trying to think of the instances where teenage photographers shooting one year-old birthday parties were found legally responsible for injuries suffered by the one year-old birthday guests...must be literally thousands of cases in which photographers have been found guilty of harming those poor kids!!!

Wow...what a horrible thing...all these new photogs, hurtin' all these itty-bitty widdle kiddies!

Now, tevo, you're not The Incredible Hulk, are you?
 

frommrstomommy

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I'm trying to think of the instances where teenage photographers shooting one year-old birthday parties were found legally responsible for injuries suffered by the one year-old birthday guests...must be literally thousands of cases in which photographers have been found guilty of harming those poor kids!!!

Wow...what a horrible thing...all these new photogs, hurtin' all these itty-bitty widdle kiddies!

Now, tevo, you're not The Incredible Hulk, are you?

let me tell you, i was knocking them down left and right at my sons party. i prefer to discourage walking.
 

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