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Author Topic: Want to start shooting professionally aNy suggestions?  (Read 5512 times)

KKCFamilyman

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Want to start shooting professionally aNy suggestions?
« on: September 16, 2012, 11:10:08 PM »
I have a 5d3 24-105, 70-200 2.8 is ii, 50mm 1.4. I want to start a photography business shooting family portraits at family outings or where ever they want to shoot. I like Candids and would love to go and capture those moments for families like first days at schools, parties, holidays, etc. just not sure how to get started and if I should do some free work to gain experience, etc. Any suggestions would be helpful.
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Want to start shooting professionally aNy suggestions?
« on: September 16, 2012, 11:10:08 PM »

bdunbar79

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Re: Want to start shooting professionally aNy suggestions?
« Reply #1 on: September 16, 2012, 11:45:35 PM »
I have a 5d3 24-105, 70-200 2.8 is ii, 50mm 1.4. I want to start a photography business shooting family portraits at family outings or where ever they want to shoot. I like Candids and would love to go and capture those moments for families like first days at schools, parties, holidays, etc. just not sure how to get started and if I should do some free work to gain experience, etc. Any suggestions would be helpful.

If you want to start a business, in the true sense, it's going to be a long tough way ahead.  I'd keep your day job and give yourself about 2 years.  Advertise, and be prepared to shoot for very little money at first.  As you do more and more events, you can build yourself a photo gallery and porfolio and you must have a website.  Then and only then will people become interested in your work.  After that, you can buy more equipment and do senior pictures.  It wouldn't hurt either to shoot weddings as backup.  Ultimately though, if you want to make a living, you're going to have to do senior pictures and weddings.  If you don't want to do those things, you'll have to keep a 9-5 job and do photography as a 2nd job.  That's what I do.

Start small by advertising to those who do not want to pay for/cannot afford a full-time professional photographer.  Make sure you have the bare minimum, but sufficient equipment to shoot the things you want to shoot.  Someone may have you do senior pictures right away, especially someone who cannot afford a full pro package, and even be prepared to have offers for weddings.  Again, be prepared to make very little money, but this is valuable experience for building a portfolio later on, down the road.  These little jobs will have big gains later.
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nightbreath

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Re: Want to start shooting professionally aNy suggestions?
« Reply #2 on: September 17, 2012, 02:22:57 AM »
You can practice by shooting your friends for free. But don't let them feel that you're always going to do this without carging people  :)
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Mt Spokane Photography

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Re: Want to start shooting professionally aNy suggestions?
« Reply #3 on: September 17, 2012, 12:46:08 PM »
Its a business.  Build a business plan, and run it by your accountant (He should be willing to help you and make sure you have enough reserve cash to keep going for the year it takes to get established.
Advertise!
Everyone and his brother is buying a DSLR and hanging out his sign with silly low prices on Craigslist.  If you want to actually succeed, you need to approach it like a business, not a hobby.

KKCFamilyman

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Re: Want to start shooting professionally aNy suggestions?
« Reply #4 on: September 17, 2012, 10:40:08 PM »
I have no problem with that. I am just concerned about the ROI on my investment and if this is still a good time to be a photographer. I would like to start a business and eventually have people going out shooting for me. I do enjoy this but I am a good salesman and could really make it thrive. I was just looking to get started to see if my photography is good enough and people like it and would pay for it to start with.
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Mt Spokane Photography

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Re: Want to start shooting professionally aNy suggestions?
« Reply #5 on: September 18, 2012, 12:44:21 AM »
I have no problem with that. I am just concerned about the ROI on my investment and if this is still a good time to be a photographer. I would like to start a business and eventually have people going out shooting for me. I do enjoy this but I am a good salesman and could really make it thrive. I was just looking to get started to see if my photography is good enough and people like it and would pay for it to start with.
Imho, being a good salesman and having a sound business plan is more important than creative talent when it comes to making a profit.  Most photos follow a relatively fixed plan, certainly, creativity helps, but listening to the customer and sellling yourself as a serious photographer trump everything else.
Have a website, a few sample photobooks and prints showing your best work, and some references.  Sign up with the BBB (USA) since many do check with them for complaints.
You will do fine as long as you do not undersell yourself by begging for customers or offering photography for under cost on Craigslist.  I think I'd hire you already :)

Heavyweight67

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Re: Want to start shooting professionally aNy suggestions?
« Reply #6 on: September 18, 2012, 03:39:02 AM »
There is always a danger of turning a hobby into a business, that one thing that you loved to do so much soon loses it's shine when it becomes a "have to" not "want to"...

That being said, like many starting out, you need to know your market or "if" there is a market...and if that market will provide the income you need to pay the bills and keep the family fed.

From my observations it seems that now "everyone" thinks they are "pro grade" photographers, so this is something to keep in mind, as many on this forum have stated in the past one of the biggest hurdles in the photography business is "Uncle Bob"...

It seems that anyone that can afford a half decent camera is now opening a business, I think this is where it becomes difficult to get your foot in the door (the salesman in you has to step in at this point), good portfolio, good website.

i.e...just recently a friend of mine got married (low cost) she posted a link on FB of the wedding photographers website,  I have to say I was shocked at the poor quality of the photo's this person had used to promote their  business...even though they were cheap $1000 for the Premium Package, I would expect better quality (photo's & PP)

You mentioned that you would eventually like to "sub-contract" work to others, maybe this is a place you could start...Find a similar business and see if they will take you on as a "subbie"...

This way you get experience, you get the companies contacts and knowledge, you can probably pick and choose your jobs or hours... If you find that it's what you want to do, in the future you can go out on your own (maybe don't sign too many contracts that may prevent you from moving out on your own).

Photography is a rapidly changing business, those 8x10 that once were framed and hung proudly are now Instagram on FB.



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Re: Want to start shooting professionally aNy suggestions?
« Reply #6 on: September 18, 2012, 03:39:02 AM »

KKCFamilyman

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Re: Want to start shooting professionally aNy suggestions?
« Reply #7 on: September 18, 2012, 08:38:23 PM »
There is always a danger of turning a hobby into a business, that one thing that you loved to do so much soon loses it's shine when it becomes a "have to" not "want to"...

That being said, like many starting out, you need to know your market or "if" there is a market...and if that market will provide the income you need to pay the bills and keep the family fed.

From my observations it seems that now "everyone" thinks they are "pro grade" photographers, so this is something to keep in mind, as many on this forum have stated in the past one of the biggest hurdles in the photography business is "Uncle Bob"...

It seems that anyone that can afford a half decent camera is now opening a business, I think this is where it becomes difficult to get your foot in the door (the salesman in you has to step in at this point), good portfolio, good website.

i.e...just recently a friend of mine got married (low cost) she posted a link on FB of the wedding photographers website,  I have to say I was shocked at the poor quality of the photo's this person had used to promote their  business...even though they were cheap $1000 for the Premium Package, I would expect better quality (photo's & PP)

You mentioned that you would eventually like to "sub-contract" work to others, maybe this is a place you could start...Find a similar business and see if they will take you on as a "subbie"...

This way you get experience, you get the companies contacts and knowledge, you can probably pick and choose your jobs or hours... If you find that it's what you want to do, in the future you can go out on your own (maybe don't sign too many contracts that may prevent you from moving out on your own).

Photography is a rapidly changing business, those 8x10 that once were framed and hung proudly are now Instagram on FB.

See that last comment is my concern. I am trying to devise ways of being different. One idea was an iPad photo album package spinning off iPad photo frames. Really it's a nice digital picture frame and you could offer photo shoots to bring  current photos to update their albums. Anyway just a thought.
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Re: Want to start shooting professionally aNy suggestions?
« Reply #8 on: October 16, 2012, 05:00:41 AM »
If you want start a business you have to ask yourself:

What professional photographers are in my area, how good they are and are a few of them well know for family photos or events?

Compare your photos with the photos taken by the professional photographers in your area. If they can make outstanding photos and the photographers are better than you forget your dream and shoot photos only as a second job.

Have I all the skills (professional lightning setup and image development included) to run the business?

Can I assure possible clients, that I am the photographer for family photos they need?

What I have to invest to run the business?

Can I live from famliy photos?

If you think you had a chance you need a business plan:
Add you private costs and business cost (equipment, investments, insurance, advertising etc.) together and compare it with the possible (realistic) income as a photographer.

Only a few photographers in the world can live very well from photography. For me it´s a business, but also a lot of fun. For the most professional photographers it´s a daily battle to earn the money and get some new clients.

Remember: A professional camera and some professional lenses don´t make a professional photographer.
« Last Edit: October 16, 2012, 06:21:10 AM by M.ST »

paul13walnut5

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Re: Want to start shooting professionally aNy suggestions?
« Reply #9 on: October 16, 2012, 06:55:41 AM »
Find a local working photographer, ask about the possibility of doing B camera.  Candid rolls etc.

Can you direct people?

Can you compose a scene?

Can you control the light?

Can you mix ambient light with additional light?

What if the church minister says in no uncertain terms that flashes are not allowed in his church? 

You have a 5D3, whats your B camera? 

You have professional indemnity insurance?

You have public liability insurance?

You have theft or damage kit insurance?

Even volunteering for a couple of shoots, are you prepared to make a contribution to the church for their consent to shoot? 

You'll have done some training or similar?  You'll know your top shutter synch speed?  You'll know at which apertures your lenses are soft and at which they are sharp?

I turned video from a hobby into a job.  I can have really rewarding days at work, where I come home bouyed by a happy forward thinking client who loves my work, I can also come home shattered, creatively drained by a conservative or pernickity client, who has wandered off brief and is also angling for a discount, or doesn't want to pay for the 7th re-edit which was pretty much the same as the first.

I'm lucky in that I'm a staffer, topping up with the odd repeat freelance work.  My staffer bit gives me holiday pay, sick pay, no books to do.  The freelance work gives me a little paperwork now and again, if I was a full time freelancer I would be needing to think about chasing the work, invoicing every bit of work, doing full tax audits, not to mention actually doing the work.

I think everybody so far has been very pragmatic.  Nobody is saying 'don't do it', more 'know what you are getting into'.  It is a different kind of experience shooting for pleasure and shooting on somebody elses time and budget.

PeterJ

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Re: Want to start shooting professionally aNy suggestions?
« Reply #10 on: October 16, 2012, 07:59:29 AM »
You have some great gear and often others on forums will try to put you off using obscure terms like "composition" and "controlling light". Those things are not really that important so go forth and prosper and I wish you luck in your new career ;D.

neuroanatomist

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Re: Want to start shooting professionally aNy suggestions?
« Reply #11 on: October 16, 2012, 08:04:03 AM »
I can also come home shattered, creatively drained by a conservative or pernickity client...

I far prefer the term persnickety over pernickity.  Not that I'm either.   :P

Seriously, great feedback and tips!
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Re: Want to start shooting professionally aNy suggestions?
« Reply #12 on: October 16, 2012, 08:09:50 AM »
I have a 5d3 24-105, 70-200 2.8 is ii, 50mm 1.4. I want to start a photography business shooting family portraits at family outings or where ever they want to shoot. I like Candids and would love to go and capture those moments for families like first days at schools, parties, holidays, etc. just not sure how to get started and if I should do some free work to gain experience, etc. Any suggestions would be helpful.

Keep your day job

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Re: Want to start shooting professionally aNy suggestions?
« Reply #12 on: October 16, 2012, 08:09:50 AM »

joshmurrah

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Re: Want to start shooting professionally aNy suggestions?
« Reply #13 on: October 16, 2012, 09:38:40 AM »
I'm in pretty much at the same stage as the OP.

My thought on the matter is that I should be a subbie or second/intern for a year or two, and see if it's appetizing at all... and after that year or two, either jump in, or go back to firm hobby status.

I will say I was pretty horrified at the overhead of just running the business, for something that's guaranteed not to make any money for the first year or two typically... just a business license was ~$200, that didn't include the excise tax addition.
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Re: Want to start shooting professionally aNy suggestions?
« Reply #14 on: October 16, 2012, 09:47:42 AM »
Seven years ago, I found myself asking the same questions.  I loved photography, especially landscape work, and had a decent film based portfolio for someone my age (at the time).  Folks started translating good landscape work into requests for weddings and family portraits, of which the first few were terrible as I didn't understand good portrait composition and didn't have the right lighting equipment for indoor work.

I persevered and continued reinvesting my meager photo income in equipment until my imagery began really popping compared to many other local photographers.  Additionally, and this is the biggest tip I could offer any aspring photographer, because I am a school teacher, I started shooting all of the local school district team photos.  Complimentery coach images and providing photos for school flyers and yearbooks at no charge is a guaranteed call back.  Before I knew it, I was shooting every team in the district, and there are huge dollars in what parents will buy--if your work is good.  What I began noticing, though, is that once I had my foot in the door with the school district, the trickle up effect began.  Pretty soon many of the athletes and parents were calling me to do senior portraits, family portraits, and even weddings.  I built my business from the bottom up, and today I NEVER advertise and have more work than I could ever deal with.  I just finished my 13th wedding since June 1st, my 23rd senior portrait session in the same window and am now photographing many of the local rec district sports programs as well.  Good work, competitive pricing, unrivaled customer service and some sort of connection with local schools will grow a photography business better and faster then one might imagine.

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Re: Want to start shooting professionally aNy suggestions?
« Reply #14 on: October 16, 2012, 09:47:42 AM »