I need a little help with this Idea, Is it good or bad?

FITBMX

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I live outside of a town with 180 people in it, and another 100 outside of town.
I am thinking of offering photo shoots for $50-$100, there is a community building in town I can rent for $25 if needed. I could set up my lights and a backdrop in there.
But here is the BIG problem... I have only done two self-portrait shoots, (you guys have most likely seen those posted on TPF) that is all I have for experience. My biggest problem with those portraits was having 10sec to run across the house before the shutter firered. So it was hard to get a sharp focus, and to know how the lights were hitting me.
I petty much just want some portrait/photo shoot experience, and I have NO friends to practice on, and no family that will let me use them. :(

Good idea, or bad idea?
Any feedback would be great! :)
 
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Practice with a paid model.

I thought of that, but it would be over 30 miles to get to a town big enough where there are some models, even then I will only be able to find one or two models. I also am short of money right now. Other wise, I would hire one in a second. :)
 

goooner

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I would not feel comfortable charging people where the main purpose would be gaining experience, and using them as guinea pigs. I would call it a promotion, and give them a low res digital file with a watermark on it. Then if they want more, charge them for prints.

This would cost you 25 bucks, and might lead to future business. The experience gained would be priceless imo.

Saying this, I've never sold a photo in my life, so just my 2 cents.
 

tirediron

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The photographer/subject dynamic changes drastically as soon as money is involved. Chances are most people will be happy since it's going to be better than the cell-phone snaps they have, BUT... there will always be one or two who either do, or think they know something about portraiture and aren't happy with the result. One unhappy customer can undo the work of a thousand good ones.

Having done a LOT of this type of work, where you have no idea who's going to walk into your lens next, you need to be prepared for and able to deal with the non-mainstream stuff. In the last couple of sessions I've had: A couple where the man was 6' 4" and his wife maybe 5' 2"; a couple where the man was 5' 6" and portly, and his GF 6' 3" and maybe a buck-five dripping wet; two very heavy-set men, one of whom was in a wheelchair. Those are the situations you need to be able to deal with on the fly. Two nice-looking people, similar height and average build? Heck, you don't even have to wake up to shoot that, but that's not every client, ESPECIALLY at an event such as you're considering.

In short: BAD idea.
 
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I would not feel comfortable charging people where the main purpose would be gaining experience, and using them as guinea pigs. I would call it a promotion, and give them a low res digital file with a watermark on it. Then if they want more, charge them for prints.

This would cost you 25 bucks, and might lead to future business. The experience gained would be priceless imo.

Saying this, I've never sold a photo in my life, so just my 2 cents.

For a guy who has never sold a photo, you have a great idea there!
I never thought of calling it a "promotion" that is a great way to put it!
Also, that $25 gets me the building for the whole day, so I could set up multiple shoots for the same day. :)
 
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The photographer/subject dynamic changes drastically as soon as money is involved. Chances are most people will be happy since it's going to be better than the cell-phone snaps they have, BUT... there will always be one or two who either do, or think they know something about portraiture and aren't happy with the result. One unhappy customer can undo the work of a thousand good ones.

Having done a LOT of this type of work, where you have no idea who's going to walk into your lens next, you need to be prepared for and able to deal with the non-mainstream stuff. In the last couple of sessions I've had: A couple where the man was 6' 4" and his wife maybe 5' 2"; a couple where the man was 5' 6" and portly, and his GF 6' 3" and maybe a buck-five dripping wet; two very heavy-set men, one of whom was in a wheelchair. Those are the situations you need to be able to deal with on the fly. Two nice-looking people, similar height and average build? Heck, you don't even have to wake up to shoot that, but that's not every client, ESPECIALLY at an event such as you're considering.

In short: BAD idea.

Thanks! That's why I asked you guys. :)
What do you think of the "promotion" idea?
 

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You would need to do some marketing so people would know you were going to be at the community center for a day.
You would also need to do that marketing in the towns surrounding yours if you want to do more than 1 or 2 shoots.
Some people would be willing to drive 30 miles one way, so market in Newton too.

Your marketing could be as simple as putting up a flyer in each town's post office, but you would need more flyers in more places to market in Newton.
However, your flyers should have some small portrait type photos on them even if the photos are of you.

As far as using yourself as the model, focus and lighting, put a chair or a stool where you will be posing, put something on the chair- a stuffed animal, a lamp, whatever - focus on that and look at how your lighting is falling on it.

If you aspire to being a professional photographer, acquiring business skills is way more important than acquiring photography skills.
 

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What do you think of the "promotion" idea?
It's worth a try, but my gut feeling is that turn-out will be low. People tend look at "Free" with a bit of suspicion. My thought would be to try advertising for models. If you've got a 100+ people, one of them is a frustrated wanna-be model. You just need to find him/her.
 
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What do you think of the "promotion" idea?
It's worth a try, but my gut feeling is that turn-out will be low. People tend look at "Free" with a bit of suspicion. My thought would be to try advertising for models. If you've got a 100+ people, one of them is a frustrated wanna-be model. You just need to find him/her.

That's why I was thinking of changing originally.
 

tirediron

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What do you think of the "promotion" idea?
It's worth a try, but my gut feeling is that turn-out will be low. People tend look at "Free" with a bit of suspicion. My thought would be to try advertising for models. If you've got a 100+ people, one of them is a frustrated wanna-be model. You just need to find him/her.

That's why I was thinking of changing originally.
Gotcha, but that's puts us back to the "I paid, I expect results". How about splitting the difference? Do it as a charity fund-raiser? Team up with a local charity and offer to do this, and have people "pay" by donation. You get enough to cover costs & lunch, the rest goes to the charity. As we're getting close to Christmas, maybe shanghai a Santa and do a kids/pets w/ Santa?

That way you get: lots of practice, good karma points, good publicity, and a VERY low chance anyone will be too upset if their pictures aren't perfect because after all... it's for charity.
 

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I would try to gain more experience in photographing people before offering photo shoots on a regular, ongoing basis. There's plenty to know, plenty to learn about photographing people. If you want to sell professionally-done indoor photo shoots of people, you need some lighting and grip equipment, and the skill to use it. If you look the part, people will buy into it. There's just something about setting up real lights that makes people feel like their shoot is an actual photo shoot. As far as getting experience--have you contacted any businesses or organizations, and asked about photographing their employees or their members?

Anyway, good luck on this. I think Tirediron's suggests above are solid. The pay by donation idea seems capable of generating a pretty good amount of money from some articles I've read.
 
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You would need to do some marketing so people would know you were going to be at the community center for a day.
You would also need to do that marketing in the towns surrounding yours if you want to do more than 1 or 2 shoots.
Some people would be willing to drive 30 miles one way, so market in Newton too.

Your marketing could be as simple as putting up a flyer in each town's post office, but you would need more flyers in more places to market in Newton.
However, your flyers should have some small portrait type photos on them even if the photos are of you.

As far as using yourself as the model, focus and lighting, put a chair or a stool where you will be posing, put something on the chair- a stuffed animal, a lamp, whatever - focus on that and look at how your lighting is falling on it.

If you aspire to being a professional photographer, acquiring business skills is way more important than acquiring photography skills.

If you know about Newton, then you looked me up!:biglaugh:

Marketing around here is hanging a flyer in the bank, post office, and hardware store.:lol:
Thanks for the input. :)
 
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FITBMX

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I would try to gain more experience in photographing people before offering photo shoots on a regular, ongoing basis. There's plenty to know, plenty to learn about photographing people. If you want to sell professionally-done indoor photo shoots of people, you need some lighting and grip equipment, and the skill to use it. If you look the part, people will buy into it. There's just something about setting up real lights that makes people feel like their shoot is an actual photo shoot. As far as getting experience--have you contacted any businesses or organizations, and asked about photographing their employees or their members?

Anyway, good luck on this. I think Tirediron's suggests above are solid. The pay by donation idea seems capable of generating a pretty good amount of money from some articles I've read.

I have the lights that PixelMedic sent me, and I have a flash with a DIY softbox. I would like to get a grip for my camera, and they are even pretty cheap. So I will most likely do that fairly soon.
I know people expect to see a nice looking setup, with all the gear to go with it, plus a photographer that can use it.
The one thing that I have going for me is that every picture taken these days is from a dang cellphone, and I know I can do way better than that! :)

Thanks for the help! :)
 

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