Business Q's - Portraiture


TPF Noob!
Feb 13, 2004
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Heya, got a couple of quick questions on the working practices you on location portrait photographers have. I am starting a small business locally but am a bit miffed on a few things.....

Do you show a client examples of all the framing/printing options you offer (i.e. prints, canvases etc) or just explain what they look like?

How do you present proof prints? In an album, plastic sleeves?

At what stage do you ask for payment on a job?

Finally, do many of you use a dedicated studio flash on location (i.e. a clients home) or do you stick to more portable flashes and reflectors etc?

A fair bit to answer I know, but any help would really be much appreciated. Cheers.
Sounds like you are planning to start a business in Photography portraits? I dont have any information for you as Im no photographer for anyone other then myself, but wanted to say IF you are heading down this road good luck on your new venture!
Hi Solarize,
You can't sell it if you can't show it, so you will definately need samples on whatever you plan to sell.
I show my proofs on If you plan to upload quite a bit, it's well worth it, but there are several great companies that can do this for you. I also sometime use proofbooks, but I know some others that use 4x6 print proofs. Never in a plastic sleeve though, as it really takes a lot away from the photo itself.
I always get paid in full before the job. Normal one to two weeks prior depending on wedding or portrait work. I can't hold a day without a monetary commitment.
I use on camera flash, and sometimes slave to another camera, but mostly I try to shoot with no flash at all. 4 way reflectors are great though.
I haven't gotten into too much wedding photography and I've found that I have really just needed to have an in-depth portfolio on my website for customers to look through for examples of my work. Rarely have I been asked to show them in person as I get most of my clients through the internet and I work out of my home so I don't have a storefront for them to stop by at (although I have had a few just come over to the house).
I always make sure to spell out very clearly how much I charge for the session (I charge $100 for a session which is unlimited in length and they get 24 4x6" proofs). I also give them a copy of my reprint price list in the case that they would like to order other sizes from their proofs. I collect payment at the end of the photo session and so far haven't had a problem doing it that way for the $100 photo sessions. HOWEVER, I have had to make up contracts for bigger events like the Bat Mitzvah and the wedding I will be doing this summer. In those events, I do expect a partial payment before the event.
As far as presentation goes, I ordered a bunch of little black boxes from with some silver stretchy bands to go with them. I wrap the prints in black tissue paper and put them in the box. Looks great this way.
Like Cindy, I try my hardest to not use a flash at all on photo shoots.
Thanks for the help. Online proofing seems a good solution but I dont want to get into that just yet. Mainly as the business is going to be a small 'on the side thing', I'm at university at the moment so am planning to start off quite small working mainly during the very long holidays we get.

I'm still unsure whether I want to use a studio flash system or not. A little more research is needed.

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