Career advice wanted, could you review my portfolio?

Discussion in 'Wedding and Event' started by ned|1, Sep 7, 2006.

  1. Right now I'm working for two "turn and burn" studios. When I started doing the
    work I looked at it as a learning experience. I'm starting to think it's time
    for me to move up a notch. Could the old hands out there:

    A) Review my portfolio ( http://www.photo.net/photodb/folder?folder_id=595619 )
    and tell me if I'm ready.

    B) OK, if I am, where should I go and how do I get there?
     
  2. I have my first solo wedding this weekend and I'm stealing the grooms ring shot and using it this weekend.

    If I knew how to replicate to procession shot with the flash, I would steal that shot as well. That is really my favorite and my eye went straight to that little jpeg.

    So there! The sincerest form of flattery is stealing your ideas!

    Just kidding... (but you have given me a couple ideas)

    Wonderful work!

    What are you waiting for...?
     
  3. To replicate the procession shot have the other photographer sync his flash with yours.
     
  4. You have some decent work Edward. If your whole wedding is in line with this work and this is not just a crop of your bests, then you should be able to sell it to a bride. Now the question is, what will someone pay for this level of work.

    Answer: It depends on what you can get for it. ;-)

    Compare to other photogs in your area and see how your work stacks up against theirs. Once you have an idea of where you stand, set you price and advertise.

    Best, D.
     
  5. nice work.
     
  6. I'm not an old hand in the photography business yet (4 years now), but I've been running businesses for over 20 years. I think your work looks great, but that's the smallest part of going into business for yourself. Even bad photographers can be successful in this business. Do you have all the photography gear you need? Have you contacted the city to check on the legalities of running a business? You'll need to get a business account at the bank. You may need to register a business name with your state (called a "Doing Business As"), the bank may have those forms. If your state has sales tax laws, you will need to apply for that. Call your state tax commission to get that set up. Get a marketing plan together. Marketing without a plan can drain the wallet faster than buying useless gear on a whim. Bridal fairs are usually good and take quite a bit of expense and preparation to make it worthwhile. You really should have a website. You would also need to register a domain name. To do a site yourself takes a lot of time learning HTML, or there are all kinds of templates online for reasonable costs, or hire a pro to custom design one for you. And the most important advice of all, you should definately find a good CPA and have him/her help you set up your books so come tax time, you can write off all those expenses! A good CPA is worth their weight in gold. Good luck to you!
     
  7. You are SO way past ready to move on. I can't believe you've been working in a sweat shop. I'm not an old hand either but you need to be making some serious cash as a wedding photographer, not the slave wages a "turn and burn" studio is no doubt paying you. As far as specific advice, not knowing your market it's hard to say. Hopefully some of the folks from MA will chime in. Seems to me though that the biggest thing you need is a good dose of confidence to move on. Based on your portfolio here, you should be very confident. (Caveat: Of course taking pictures is only part of making money. You've also got to know how to run a business. If you don't, I'd learn how before stepping out.)

    Paul
     
  8. Edward, You are more ready than many so-called "professional" photographers who are making a killing doing the "shoot to burn" shuffle. Your portfolio is good and should turn more than a few prospective clients heads. That is the next step - you have to get your work in front of the paying audience (how you do that is up to you). Set up your pricing structure and get your name out there.Don
     
  9. I agree Edward, you have a good eye and the technical abilities to pull it off. I like the way you look for the subtle and not just the obvious photos. You also have a good understanding of the quality of light.
     
  10. I find myself under an unexpected time limit here. I only started shooting professionaly less than a year ago, so I didn't mind being paid peanuts ($275) to shoot a wedding since I considered it all practice and learning anyway. Problem is that last week I went to one of the dog and pony shows that one of the agencies does every week and I signed up every bride in the place. Shut all the other photographers out. Next year is filling up fast now, MUCH faster than I was planning on, and if I'm not carefull it will be totally filled soon with slave wage jobs. Problem is I have absolutes NO idea where to go from here, which is why I'm asking for some help.
     
  11. "I signed up every bride in the place. Shut all the other photographers out." Getting a bit cocky, aren't we? What does Randy think about all this? Have you told him you think his Open Houses are dog and pony shows?

    I would think you'd want to be a bit more respectful towards a company and the photographers that helped get you started in the business. Just my opinion.
     
  12. From the looks of what you have provided, you seem as ready as anyone could possibly be for taking the wedding photographer plunge.

    Where to go from here? Keep in mind, there are a million different things you could do and a million different ways to go about doing those things. What follows is merely one set of options at getting you started. With my disclaimer being stated, IMO, you should first look into the following:

    1) Decide how you want to run your business (sole proprietor, Sub-S corp, etc.) and take the appropriate action to make your business legal (sales tax, state, fed). After you have these steps completed, then open a business checking account.

    2) Set up a website with your portfolio, packages/prices, contact info, etc.

    3) Get some solid contracts -- hire a lawyer if need be. Bad contracts turn into bad learning experiences.

    4) Market yourself like crazy. Be prepared to have some dry spell time between working for your old boss and your new boss (i.e., you).

    5) In the meantime, get yourself acquainted and set up with a photo lab and album manufacturers.

    6) Create good relationships with your clients and your efforts will come back tenfold.

    Good luck!
    Jen
     
  13. I don't know, Jay. 4 brides was about all of them, no?
     
  14. And Jay, you'll note that I was very careful NOT to mention the company. Easy there man.
     
  15. Edward, a few questions... have you done a wedding on your own or are these second shoot jons? have you done some posing? Can you ease into being on your own? (take dates from the studio, while also setting up some of your own). Your portfolio is good. I would say it is all in your confidence (something I have troyuble with myself). I don't feel ready, but often see "pro" sites with work I feel I can duplicate at the least if not do better. It all depends on your confidence (I think). If you think you can pull off shooting the whole day and handling whatever challenges may come about, then you are definitely ready to think about web site, advertising, etc...

    Even starting in "budget" level around here can bring you more than you are getting now and start your word of mouth reputation. target the north and south shores and the Cambridge, Newton, etc... areas.

    basically, I think only you can know if you are ready (unless you show us some entire weddings). In my experience, that is a very personal decision based on confidence.

    Keep me posted, we can build a great little back-up group here!
     
  16. Lauren,

    For agency "A" I'm a solo shooter. For "B" I'm a second shooter. All of the recent postings have been as a solo. And you're right, I do lack confidence. Confidence is like good health: it's something we all need but you can't just go out and buy it.
     
  17. That's why I say it is individual. Someimtes I wonder if I will ever have the confidence. I am someone who needs a push, while I see others whose confidence is beyond their skill and they seem fine.
     
  18. Cheers Edward, I shoot as a second in DC. Regarding what to charge for your services. Charge the market (fair) value. If your work stacks up then you shouldn't undercut others, price-wise. The general public needs to be educated about what good wedding photography is, and $275 (I think that's what you said you would charge) is peanuts, but let's say I've misread and you are going to charge 50% less than others, what's to stop someone from doing it again and again. A survey last year (as I have been told) said that EIGHTY PERCENT of all brides wished they had spent more money on the photography, your work should stand out as to why they should know it. Otherwise we should all trade in our D2 an EOD's for Kodak disposable cameras.

    You can do it.
    Best,
    Daniel
     

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