How many did you do?

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by stephaniemoore, Mar 13, 2012.

  1. stephaniemoore

    stephaniemoore TPF Noob!

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    Hello, here is a little background on me:

    I am still in my first year (6 months) of really getting into portraiture photography. I do have a website up and going and facebook but mainly just do things for free still. I'm pretty much self taught. I have a friend that went to photography school and she has taught me pretty much everything she knows. I love to shoot newborns and children. Yes, I have watched several tutorials and lessons on shooting newborns and realize that most shots are composites. I also know about newborn saftey concerns and everything. I have not done any of these poses yet as I am not confident enough to try them. I have done 3 newborn sessions so far (all for free) and have only attempted the "safe" poses so far. I have done a few family shoots at a park, only one of which was paid, and not because I asked but because they insisted on paying me.

    My question is how many free sessions did you do before you took the leap and had a professional business going where you were paid for your work? When did you file for an LLC and insurance?

    I don't have a studio or anything yet, but would like to in the future.


     
  2. jake337

    jake337 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I'd wait. Think about this. Do you want to be busting your azz each weak trying to make enough money to survive or be well of fin your business?

    The longer you wait, the more experience you'll have, the better you will get. Thus you will be able to start charging for your work at a higher price point.

    It's harder to go from a $75 per session business to hundreds/thousands per session, than it is to start off charging more because your product is worth it.

    But hey, if your ready, then your ready. You may get more input if you link or post some of your work.
     
  3. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Don't call it working for free. Call it portfolio building and photography practice. These are thing you do before you go into business.

    How many should you do? How long? Only you can answer that...and it will be (should be) when you are ready. One way might be to say that when you are at the point that you can get the job done, up to your/their standards, then you're ready.

    I did a lot of shooting AT family weddings (not as the hired pro). I always got paid (not much, but something) but it was practice and portfolio building. When I turned it into a business, I made sure that I could get the job done. A big part of that, (especially for wedding photography) is having back up gear, and good quality gear for the task at hand. A big part of it is knowing what to do when things don't go as planned.
    Anyone can go out and occasionally take some nice photos....but a professional can do it, when they need to do it, even in adverse circumstances.
     
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  4. stephaniemoore

    stephaniemoore TPF Noob!

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    I don't believe I am ready yet, just wondering what others have experienced. I'm not really sure how to jump into it. How to get business from people. Do I pay for advertising or just hope someone will find me? I have a lot to learn when it comes to the business side of it.

    Here is a link to my site that has some photos on it. Stephanie Moore Photography

    there is a pricing link, that's mainly just for "looks" right now. I have not had anyone contact me other than doing free photos. Though if someone thought well enough of me and wanted to pay, I wouldnt stop them :)
     
  5. CCericola

    CCericola Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I didn't . I got a job at a studio THEN went out on my own. Why do people think freelancing is the first step? Freelancing or having your own business comes AFTER you have paid your dues, shooting in the trenches. When you learn the business then you can go into business. And all these questions about LLC and taxes and insurance are mute because you already know the answers or at least how the studios you worked for did business. Forget the business and go get a full or part time job as a photographer or assistant.
     
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  6. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Way, way, way more photographer have failed companies because they were bad at the business side of things, than because they were poor photographers.

    Read some book, take some classes, work with a pro (as mentioned above), hire/consult an accountant and a lawyer. Contact your local city/county/state office to see what advice or guidance they have for small business owners & start-ups. Join a professional association, where you can probably get advice & guidance and tap into their resources and group discounts etc.
    Professional Photographers of America
    Wedding Photojournalist Association® | WPJA® | Wedding Photojournalism Photos and Wedding Photographers Resources | Reportage and Candid

    Word of mouth has been, and probably still is, the best way of advertising for photographers. Your clients, talking you up to their friends & family is the best way to get more clients. But you have to get the clients in the first place...and know how to keep them. That's where the business savvy comes in.

    A website is key, but it's useless if nobody see is. I'm guessing there are tons of photographer in OKC...so not only do you need to get your site where it can be seen...but you need to rise above the crop. This is where SEO (search engine optimization) comes in. It's a complicated subject that few really understand...especially at it changes often. But know that you know...you can look into it further.

    There are any number of different ways to advertise a business. But they key is to find something that gives you good return on investment. I know (of) a photographer who advertises on a bill board (in his town), about six months of the year. He has large displays set up in the shopping malls and uses TV & Radio ads. Of course, in his small town, those things are cheaper and reach a large portion of the population...it will be different where you live.
    Networking with people who are, or are affiliated with your target market is a good idea. You said you shoot kids & babies? I recently read about a baby photographer who donated large photos to the maternity ward of her local hospital, and then makes sure that her contact info is easily available when someone asks.
    Any store that sell baby products will have new moms coming and going...there is your target market, figure out how you can reach them.
     
  7. orljustin

    orljustin No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    It must be the warm spring weather driving all these new business people out into the sun with their Christmas cameras...
     
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  8. Joey_Ricard

    Joey_Ricard TPF Noob!

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    lol
     
  9. 12sndsgood

    12sndsgood No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    not really, they pop up every day.
     
  10. MReid

    MReid TPF Noob!

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    I never intended to go into business....people started coming to me.
    When you KNOW your stuff is good then it is time to feel confident about charging for your work.
     
  11. stephaniemoore

    stephaniemoore TPF Noob!

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    I am really disgusted by some of the comments here. I came here for help and trying to learn and some of you guys are just plain rude. I thought this was supposed to be a community where we help each other not put each other down. I have read several threads from others looking for help and I read the same rudeness as I see here.

    For one, this is not my "christmas camera" I have had it for several years and know how to use it thank you very much. And I have done my share working with another photographer shooting weddings of all things. I have just recently started to do individual portraits for families. Maybe I should have stated that in the first place but I'm sure there would still be some bullies out there. Like I said I'm not ready to jump into it yet. I need more practice I know that. I was just wondering how long it took others to make that jump. Just curious really.

    Thanks to those who did say something helpful.
     
  12. CMfromIL

    CMfromIL No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    So let me get this straight. You are essentially running a business, albiet unpaid. With newborns. And you are uninsured? And what exactly is the opposite of a 'safe' baby pose?

    What exactly is your fallback position if an infant gets harmed taking a picture? Think the parents will take a moment to consider that you are doing it for 'free'? No, they will sue you first.

    This is like test driving a Ferrari, and telling the dealership to 'relax' afterall...it's just a testdrive. Who needs insurance for that?
     

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