Booking clients

canonbraden

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I'm just starting to do portraits, but I'm having a terribly hard time getting clients. I'm offering free shoots so I can get some practice before I start to do this for money but nobody seems interested. I've made a Facebook page and have advertised there but nothing seems to be working. I've had a few people talk to me but never follow through and do the shoot. Any help would be nice.
Thanks
 

KmH

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You need a written business and marketing plan.
Starting & Managing a Business | SBA.gov
Photography Business Secrets: The Savvy Photographer's Guide to Sales, Marketing, and More
How to Start a Home-Based Photography Business, 6th (Home-Based Business Series)

I have often said that shooting for free is a good way to make sure your business fails.
You establish a reputation for being "that free photographer''.
"Oh, go see canonbraden, he'll take your photos for free".

Give a 'Portfolio Building Discount", but charge something.
 
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Joeywhat

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At the end of the day, nobody really wants free stuff like photos. Being "free" brings along a feeling of inferior products or services. There's a reason you're not charging, and most people want their photos (and other things, too) to look good. You could be the best photographer in the area, but if someone doesn't know you, and sees that you are not even charging for your work, they'll likely assume that you're no good.

And those that do take advantage of such offers are not customers you want to deal with anyways. If you want to do free stuff, do it for close friends and family. Otherwise, charge money.
 

Juga

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You need a written business and marketing plan.
Starting & Managing a Business | SBA.gov
Photography Business Secrets: The Savvy Photographer's Guide to Sales, Marketing, and More
How to Start a Home-Based Photography Business, 6th (Home-Based Business Series)

I have often said that shooting for free is a good way to make sure your business fails.
You establish a reputation for being "that free photographer''.
"Oh, go see canonbraden, he'll take your photos for free".

Give a 'Portfolio Building Discount", but charge something.

++++++1

Even though you are new to it the fact is time = money. I am new and still charge a bit for traveling around and spending my time editing and such. Also when you charge your 'clients' tend to take you more serious and you get people more interested. Not everyone shares this belief but it has worked for me thus far and I feel I have learned a ton and still working on it.
 
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canonbraden

canonbraden

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Give a 'Portfolio Building Discount", but charge something.[/QUOTE]

I really like this idea and I will do this and work on a business plan.
 
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canonbraden

canonbraden

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Thank you everybody for opening my eyes a bit. Free work won't be good work, time is money. I'll let you guys now how things are working in a few months. Thanks very much
 

Psytrox

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Give a 'Portfolio Building Discount", but charge something.

I really like this idea and I will do this and work on a business plan.[/QUOTE]


You might also want to write up some kind of contract specifying your rights to the photo and how you can and can't use the photo
 

12sndsgood

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I will go the opposite way of others. I have found it quite easy to find people to shoot for free. don't see why that should really be hard. reach out to local models wherever your at. any halfway decent sized town or city will be crawling with people who want to be models willing to come out and shoot for free. I have generated several paying jobs from people i have shot for free. Time is money. and marketing yourself is money as well. I have worked with local dance groups getting some shots of them for practice. free shoot sure. and because of that I won over a dozen new fans of my work and now have a dozen new people telling friends about me. I tell people upfront i'm shooting them for free and in return if they can send paying clients my way. I explain the free shoot stays between us. this way they know the reason why I am shooting them is to help expand my network of people. because I say lets keep the free shoot between us they feel like they are more speacial that I was willing to do that for them. I just had lunch this week with another dance group about a shoot that i'm doing more as a project for them and myself. well the dance coreographer works for a jeweler and says he has engaged couples coming in all the time that he could tell about me. Doing a free car shoot for the president of a car club got me a paid shoot for there club where i shot several of there cars in a night. Free shoots can work as long as your working with people who are in your demographic (go to your business plan to find your demographic) and who are the type of person who will help generate you free work. Don't just run out and shoot anyone for free. because chances are very few of them will be someone who can get you work. You have to be selective with wh you work with and find people that will benefit your business.
 

KmH

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When you increase the amount you charge, you pretty much have to abandon most, if not all, of the client base you have previously developed.
"I used to have ..... make photos for me , but ...... raised their prices and I had to find someone else."

Some are able to make the 'I'll shoot for free' approach work, but it is the exception rather than the rule.

Put another way, what works for you does not mean it will work for everyone.

We don't know where the OP is (no location in profile).
IIRC the OP is still in high school?
 

nycphotography

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You need a written business and marketing plan.
Starting & Managing a Business | SBA.gov
Photography Business Secrets: The Savvy Photographer's Guide to Sales, Marketing, and More
How to Start a Home-Based Photography Business, 6th (Home-Based Business Series)

I have often said that shooting for free is a good way to make sure your business fails.
You establish a reputation for being "that free photographer''.
"Oh, go see canonbraden, he'll take your photos for free".

Give a 'Portfolio Building Discount", but charge something.

While I agree with this, I would also add to do enough "free" work until your quality is up to snuff and worth charging for.

Having not seen a portfolio, I can't guess if you should be "charging always" or "charging never" at this stage in your career.
 
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canonbraden

canonbraden

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I will go the opposite way of others. I have found it quite easy to find people to shoot for free. don't see why that should really be hard. reach out to local models wherever your at. any halfway decent sized town or city will be crawling with people who want to be models willing to come out and shoot for free. I have generated several paying jobs from people i have shot for free. Time is money. and marketing yourself is money as well. I have worked with local dance groups getting some shots of them for practice. free shoot sure. and because of that I won over a dozen new fans of my work and now have a dozen new people telling friends about me. I tell people upfront i'm shooting them for free and in return if they can send paying clients my way. I explain the free shoot stays between us. this way they know the reason why I am shooting them is to help expand my network of people. because I say lets keep the free shoot between us they feel like they are more speacial that I was willing to do that for them. I just had lunch this week with another dance group about a shoot that i'm doing more as a project for them and myself. well the dance coreographer works for a jeweler and says he has engaged couples coming in all the time that he could tell about me. Doing a free car shoot for the president of a car club got me a paid shoot for there club where i shot several of there cars in a night. Free shoots can work as long as your working with people who are in your demographic (go to your business plan to find your demographic) and who are the type of person who will help generate you free work. Don't just run out and shoot anyone for free. because chances are very few of them will be someone who can get you work. You have to be selective with wh you work with and find people that will benefit your business.

That was kind of what I had in the back of my mind.. Sounds like you've been pretty successful.
 
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canonbraden

canonbraden

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When you increase the amount you charge, you pretty much have to abandon most, if not all, of the client base you have previously developed.
"I used to have ..... make photos for me , but ...... raised their prices and I had to find someone else."

Some are able to make the 'I'll shoot for free' approach work, but it is the exception rather than the rule.

Put another way, what works for you does not mean it will work for everyone.

We don't know where the OP is (no location in profile).
IIRC the OP is still in high school?

Yes I am still in HS
 
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canonbraden

canonbraden

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While I agree with this, I would also add to do enough "free" work until your quality is up to snuff and worth charging for.

Having not seen a portfolio, I can't guess if you should be "charging always" or "charging never" at this stage in your career.

At this point in my career I will not be charging yet. I'm doing these free shoots so I can learn more about posing and get that down, and also to get more practice in editing portraits.
 

Steve5D

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When I wanted to start shooting portraits, I knew I didn't want to give them away, but I also knew I may not be producing results people would be willing to pay for.

So, I shot friends and family, with the full understanding that the results might suck. They expected the worst and, in all but one instance, their expectations were not met (and that one instance was truly comedy gold). The shots were generally pretty good. I learned a lot and, before long, I'd put together a portfolio and they had a bunch of photos.

You've got plenty of time to hone your skills before you start getting clients of the payin' kind, so use that time wisely...
 

JohnTrav

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Family parties are a good way to practice too and build a portfolio. I shoot at my family parties all the time. Actually the last one I was attending at my aunts house I was asked to do a paying gig for a family portrait around the holidays.

Being in high school I am sure you can find plenty of people to shoot portraits of. Just ask around school.
 

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