October 31, 2014, 03:49:10 AM

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Messages - agierke

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31
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Go grab market share.  Coupons, promotions, word of mouth, etc.  Get your name out there and have a high quality product and people will come back to you.

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Also... market to groups that frequent these types of services... maternity wards, preschools, etc... make lasting relationships with customers so they don't feel like they are just a meat bag with money. 

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Offer them free Facebook sized prints for upload and sharing.  Feed their ego.... having omg, that is the cutest child ever, LIKE, will do more for your business than a print hanging in their living room.

No, no and no. these are all ways to cement yourself into low prices in a low paying market that competes with low charging, rebel wielding amateurs.

in most markets, its increasingly more difficult to find clients that pay well. you won't find them any faster by offering coupons, discounts and freebies. you will set up the expectation of continued discounts and freebies.

any further advice would greatly depend on what type of photography business you are trying to start up. are you looking to get commercial/advertising type of stuff with 1200.00+ day rates or are you trying to do private/family types of jobs? they are two very different markets and require different approaches.

two things that have helped me get higher rates is staying diversified and maintaining a professional network of photographers in my area. the diversity allows me to survive any lulls in business. i shoot corporate and collegiate events, commercial and advertising, weddings, head shots of all sorts, architecture, and product. if any one of those business streams starts to slow i can usually count on the others to pick me up. because i stay busy i dont feel the pressure to take low paying jobs. networking with other professionals also helps. i still assist and do second shooting for my fellow photographers when i am free. the relationships i have developed by doing this has gotten me my best paying work as when one of those photographers cant take a job they flick it to me.

it takes time and patience to build a sustaining business. you have to know what your bottom dollar is though and have the discipline to say no to a rate that is too low. try not to worry about the low rate amateurs, even though they will keep coming out of the woodwork they never last that long. they literally price themselves out of the business.

private photography unfortunately is really difficult to reach decent wages unless you are doing massive amounts of work and have a support staff you can pay minimum wages. professional clients are harder to find but you will get better wages in the long run and won't run into as many rebel toting, discount waving amateurs. pursue professional businesses, doctors, lawyers, commercial real estate companies, universities etc. they will understand better the difference between a professional and an amateur and will pay better.

get a good website going and only show professional caliber work. do not rely solely on social networking sites like facebook...they aren't professional and real professional clients avoid them like the plague.

32
It is unfortunate that when you volunteered your time to shoot for this organization, they were ungrateful and did not recognize the value of your work. Regardless of whether or not it was exactly what they wanted, they should remember that YOU DID IT FOR FREE. Sadly, a paying client will make sure they let you know exactly what they want (or at least their is a much greater chance they will) so that their money is not wasted on you.

Since you did them a favor of shooting for FREE, that is about how much they value your work. I would not waste any more time with someone who does not value your work and is not willing to set you up to succeed in meeting their needs.

As a documentary/commercial photographer with 25 years of doing this, cut your losses and move on. They will never be happy, and you will never get that feeling of a job well done from this group of self-seeking "volunteers."

This same phenomenon happens with paid clients, too. They talk you into giving them a good deal on pricing, and then they start to change the deal and want more, or decide after the shoot (and they've signed off on the work already) that they suddenly aren't happy with what was shot.  They plead poverty, ignorance, etc. etc. when you hold them to the signed agreement.

The best thing you can do is take your photos, chalk it up to experience and move on. If they are not happy with them, then certainly they don't plan to use the images... right??  So then you can all happily part ways. You with your photos and them without your photos.

 If you want to shoot for non-profits, there are plenty of good ones out there that will appreciate your efforts.


After a string of very positive input from forum members and a VERY positive response from the OP, this post hits a jarring note.
I have not shot any photos for money till date, but if someone whom I shot doesn't like my photos I won't deduce automatically that he/she isn't appreciative of my work. It might be a question of taste, or perspective. It is very important to understand the audience. It is unfortunate that your 25 years experience has made you so cynical.


i actually think, from a professional stand point, CamsSD is spot on. running a professional photography business is expensive and very time consuming. regardless of the terms, if the results are not appreciated then it only makes business sense to cut the losses and move on....especially if the net gain is zero dollars. charity is one thing, but risking a photo business to open ended circumstances where the client continually asks for more and more at no compensation is ridiculous.

that aside, i dont think that was the situation for the OP. this just boils down to listening to what the client wants, even it that means taking boring shots. i don't think the shot posted does a very good job at all of what the client asked for.

no matter what job i do (however boring it may seem to me), i first attend to the clients needs. if i come to a point where i am confident i have covered what the client wants then i start shooting for myself. i submit the best of what i get (again making sure clients original expectations are covered) and whatever shots are selected is fine. client gets what they want and hopefully i can get a portfolio shot or two for myself.

these days, i pretty much expect that a client will choose safe, boring shots. it happens all too often. just the way the world works today. bottom line is to fulfill what the client wants.

33
Photography Technique / Re: So I really stepped into it....
« on: May 07, 2014, 12:14:15 AM »
local photo clubs are often the worst place to get innovative, thought provoking and open minded discussion about progressing photographic technique.

they are often run by long time amateurs who's skill and experience plateau well below an advanced, well versed professional. i have found that they tend to exist only to slap each others backs and boost the egos of whoever is running the show.

i've run across a number of them in my area and i avoid them like the plague...

not to be overly harsh, i'm sure there may be some good ones out there...but as a rule of thumb i wouldn't put too much stock in them at all.

this community far exceeds the experience one can get from a local camera club imo.

34
Photography Technique / Re: What Lenses Do You Use for Panoramics?
« on: May 07, 2014, 12:01:10 AM »
the biggest problem with lens choice and panos is distortion and parallax. these issues are more likely to be a problem the wider the focal length used so i'm not surprised by those who have found the 40-50mm focal length ideal.

stitching software can mostly mitigate any problems that arise but sometimes cannot handle extreme instances of barrel distortion and parallax thus resulting in ghosting and dali-esque edges. it's usually not difficult to photoshop these errors by hand but it does add time to the PP.

ideally you would want to use a low distortion lens and correct for parallax using an appropriate tripod head but its certainly not a necessity anymore with the software solutions available. 

35
the truly inane thing about this is how does one enforce this?

if i create a set up that uses the same configuration of lights but i change the positions by a foot or two and the angle by a foot or two i will effectively get the same lighting result but technically not infringe upon the patent. and even if its argued that i did infringe...how in the heck would you ever prove that i did?


36
Photography Technique / Re: Thin dof posing/shooting advice
« on: April 30, 2014, 04:17:57 PM »
yes i am interested as well to see additional shoots. good luck with it!

37
Photography Technique / Re: Thin dof posing/shooting advice
« on: April 30, 2014, 03:31:00 PM »
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Diffused is hard to come by outdoors when shooting on my own at this time of day

yes, it can be difficult to find that really special quality light. if its not there, its not there. sometimes you just have to make do with what you got.

to avoid that though, i do lots of scouting for locations that tend to have quality light in spite of how much cloud cover there is. shadows being casted, exteriors that bounce light back into scene, etc and then try to schedule as many shoots at these locations as possible. i avoid open parks like the plague...too unpredictable especially considering i work almost exclusively alone and don't have the option to bring sunblockers, reflectors, and other such light modifying gear. im sure this matches the situation many find themselves working under.

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Having said that, this series is intended to give an impression of the people using the free dog doctor care - and considering an project I had as a template, any shots of mine make the model look way, way too good already :-p

i definitely think the images are serviceable. for what the project is and what the end uses may be i think they will work fine. i understand there is a difference between "they work" and being personally satisfied with the shots. i imagine you seek greater personal satisfaction through your original post.

that in mind, i still think you can use your existing gear, open up a bit on the aperture, find backgrounds that allow for greater fall off and you can get more personally pleasing results. i would find it in camera first before resorting to PP tricks...those things tend to look fake and cheesy and are a ton of effort in post. i imagine most people get tired and compromise their post production resulting in that faked look. 

38
Photography Technique / Re: Thin dof posing/shooting advice
« on: April 30, 2014, 12:14:07 PM »
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I've also mulled over taking the shot with a small aperture... waiting till the subject is away... turning the focus to manual so it doesn't shift, and the opening the aperture wide... And then placing them in the bokeh filed image with Photoshop.

You would need a tripod of course.


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I've thought about this... but I don't think it is an option I can use with my body's firmware.

Shoot two images onewide open and the other at f8 in quick succession... then over lap then in layers in Photoshop and just make the dog in focus...

I think it would look strange at really large print sizes, but at calendar size, it would go unnoticed.

I probably should read the manual, but I don't think any bodies are set up for that type of on the fly automatic adjustment.

you could do this...it takes a considerable amount of time and care in PP to do it so it doesn't look fake (even at smaller outputs). or, you can just find the appropriate aperture, focal length and distance from subject while you are shooting.

39
Photography Technique / Re: Thin dof posing/shooting advice
« on: April 30, 2014, 11:39:00 AM »
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My 100L with f2.8 produces a way too thin dof wide open.

well, you dont HAVE to shoot wide open. i think sporgons suggestion and mine is that you should understand what each focal length will behave like and what apertures are afforded to you given any given situation.

you could use the 17-40mm at 40mm and F4 and get usable shots. you could also use the 70-300 at 70mm and 5.6 and get usable shots. its all about understanding how each lens will behave in a given situation and what apertures are available to you given the look you are trying to achieve.

unfortunately this takes alot of time and shots to familiarize yourself with how your gear behaves in certain situations so you can confidently make decisions quickly during a shoot. i know when i can pull off F2 on my 35mm or when wider than F5.6 isnt an option on my 70-200mm. but i only know that through taking ALOT of shots where things didnt work out.

beyond that, considering the shots you posted, i would suggest you ditch shooting in sunny spots and seek out more flattering light. you are using the speedlights to fill well but it still looks flashy to me. softer, more diffused light is much more flattering for portrait work. you can still use a speedlight on camera with diffuser to pop a little catchlight in the eyes while shooting in shade and maintain a more natural light look.

40
Photography Technique / Re: Thin dof posing/shooting advice
« on: April 30, 2014, 11:11:20 AM »
i agree with sporgon about using a 50mm or 85mm rather than your longer focal lengths. compression from focal length is one thing but i noticed in alot of your shots your background wasnt that far away. so you are basically losing the benefits of the longer lens if a shallower depth of field is the desired look.

in my above posted shot, i would not have used the 70-200mm if it weren't for the corridor like view i had of the sidewalk. if my background is a bit closer but i still want the isolation of shallow depth of field then i'm going for one of my fast primes. even a 35mm used properly can give good results at much wider apertures.

below shot: 35mm 1.4 @ F2.2 1/2000th ISO 800

41
Photography Technique / Re: Thin dof posing/shooting advice
« on: April 30, 2014, 10:51:01 AM »
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I always end up shooting @f9-f11 for safety which kills the bokeh and has a distinct mobile phone look (well, my lens is white). Since I like the compression I'm usually using 100-200mm with my 70-300L.

i'm afraid that's just the nature of the beast (forgive the pun). the only time i'll shoot at 2.8 on a long lens is if i am shooting a single individual or trying to isolate an individual in a group. usually for two people F4 is max aperture i will go with.

dogs are just tricky. its a bit easier maintaining depth of field with people because faces are relatively flat compared to dogs. if you want tip of nose back to ears in focus with a dog you generally need smaller apertures. that being said, i dont think you need to be hyper critical with holding the depth of field with these types of shots.

below is an example. shot at 140mm on 70-200mm F2.8, @ F4 1/320th ISO 1600. yes the dog starts to go a little soft but the client was perfectly happy with the shot. you have to remember that the end goal is to please the client. the likelihood of your average person noticing that the tip of the dogs nose isn't critically sharp and feeling that its ruining the photo is almost nil. they will be thrilled if it only captures the cuteness of their buddy...which most likely it will. 

42
Lenses / Re: New 50mm Sigma ? There are other options !
« on: April 16, 2014, 09:04:33 AM »
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I wonder how many professional photographers truly enjoy photography?

i do.

my father (incidentally a phd chemist) always told us kids growing up to do what you love, the rest will take care of itself. so i listened...and that's exactly what is happening. i am able to fully support myself on photography alone. i do feel quite lucky though as it isnt easy and i see alot of people struggle with it and fail.

i never understood the comments some people make about not wanting to be a professional and ruin what they love doing. i always thought the best thing you could hope for is to get to do what you love everyday....AND have someone pay you to do it!

but i have absolutely no problem with amateurs buying the best gear...i say why not! at the very least it helps support the company i expect to continue to produce top notch tools for my business. the only issue i have is when an amateur thinks they can take on pro jobs simply because they have the gear and then they do the work for ridiculously low rates or free. that aint cool!

43
Third Party Manufacturers / Re: Dissuade me to get a Rolleiflex
« on: April 15, 2014, 11:06:16 PM »
this past winter i refurbed a polaroid 180 so that i can shoot with it for fun. for me, polaroid pack film captures the "magical" experience of film photography without the hassles of roll film.

The Impossible Project has once again pulled off a minor miracle & designed & built a new Polaroid instant camera this year (thanks in part to Kickstarter).

The Impossible Instant Lab converts iPhone images to Polaroids.  There's a shop close to me where I've seen it at work, & it's the real deal.  I sincerely hope that this thing will enable them to scale up to where they can sell their film for less than two bucks a shot.

i was super excited about IP coming into existence but alas, they have mostly disappointed me. their films take an excrutiating amount of time to process and the results are pretty random and lackluster. when your "instant" film takes 30 to 60 mins to develop properly it is a) not that instant and b) lacking severely in practical useability.

Fuji packfilm on the other hand is an absolute joy to use. very sad that it seems to be slowly going away as well. 

44
Lenses / Re: New 50mm Sigma ? There are other options !
« on: April 14, 2014, 12:39:24 PM »
the only thing zooms dont offer that fast primes do is the look you can get at F2.0 and wider. thats about it.

there is alot of nonsense in this thread...about outgrowing this/that or what pros know about whatever...

i carry both zooms and primes with me for work. currently i enjoy shooting with primes over zooms but that is ONLY because i seek out opportunities to shoot at wider than 2.8. that is simply a personal preference though. i wouldn't be caught dead on a job without my zooms but if i can, im grabbing my primes first.

its downright silly to make blanket statements about technique (especially in a creative medium) with only a modest "professional" career to back up those statements.

one of the things i have learned over my years is that you can make all the "rules" you want but a talented creative person will come around and smash those rules to bits. and make you and your "rules" look silly in the process.

45
Third Party Manufacturers / Re: Dissuade me to get a Rolleiflex
« on: April 14, 2014, 09:00:04 AM »
i sorta get it. this past winter i refurbed a polaroid 180 so that i can shoot with it for fun. for me, polaroid pack film captures the "magical" experience of film photography without the hassles of roll film.

i also picked up a mint condition Kodak Stereo camera and a vintage 1904 stereo viewer this past winter. ran a test roll through it and printed up some test prints for viewing. had tons of fun doing it but still need to tweak the process a bit to refine the results.

i lived through the film days and understand the tedium, cost, and anxiety over potentially screwing up an irreplaceable photo moment....but there is something that goes a bit beyond nostalgia when using vintage gear. i simply love photography, in all its forms, and using different processes is a way to further enjoy photographing as it changes the experience slightly.

changing the way i think, the way i work, and the way i see are all ways of refreshing photography for me. i find quite a bit of tedium in digital photography through my jobs so revisiting historical tools and techniques is somewhat of a release. i find it is a similar experience to using a particular lens alot and getting sick of it, then buying a new lens and falling in love with how it changes the way you see things.

would i spend 2300.00 on a rollie? no. but i cant really judge the OP since every time i consider selling my Hassi i come up with enough reason not to do it.     

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