Is this worth it?

Discussion in 'Business of Photography' started by anthonyd, Oct 17, 2007.

  1. I'm working on building my website and trying to get my biz rolling. Having a
    hell of a time getting people who say they are willing to pose for shots for
    my portfolio in trade for a CD, and actually having them showing up for the
    shoot. It's really pissing me off. I know getting started is tough, it is with
    any new business. I don't mind it being tough as long as I feel that there is
    a good chance it will pay off in the long run. So, I have two questions for
    anyone that does this for a living. First, would you mind looking at my
    portfolio for a minute and giving me your honest opinion on whether or not you
    feel my work is good enough? Second, are you actually happy that you went full
    time or did you find that doing it full time kind of just turned it into
    another job?
  2. Anthony,

    Your portfolio is nice enough. I'm sure you will get better if you keep at it too. I started shooting weddings and some models last year thinking that I might but go full time. I have decided to give up the professional side of photography though. My reasons are: photography is the best hobby I have ever has and making it a job ruins the hobby; it's not always easy to collect payment from customers; compared to what I make as a programmer, income from photography is not worth the work involved. Weddings are hard work and stressful. I would rather keep programming because it pays much better than photography ever will and enjoy my hobby when and where I want.

  3. Anthony-

    I went full-time pro a year ago now, after getting fired from my cubicle job. I couldn't be
    happier with the decision. This is what I wanted to do in the first place, and only wish I'd
    done it sooner.

    It sounds to me like much of your frustration is with not being able to keep busy. You
    book people, offer them something in return, and they no-show.

    So, a couple of thoughts.

    There's something to perceived value. In your case, you're doing the shoot for free, and
    giving them the shots for free. This gives your work a low perceived value to your
    clients--even though they may only be "test" clients to you. You may consider instead
    charging a reasonable rate, but offering a discount for your first new clients, or for
    sending referrals, or whatever.

    Another idea... you may get some good exposure and practice by contacting non-profits
    in your area and asking if they could use a pro bono photographer for their events, say, in
    return for their naming you an official sponsor in their printed programs or newsletters.
    It's not quite the same as portraiture, but it's not so different either. It could be good
    positive advertising, and who knows what prospective clients you could meet. Plus, you'll
    be out shooting, and that's never a bad thing.
  4. Hi Anthony,

    You have a wide range of subjects matter on your folio. In the end you may have to think in what area you want to concentrate on and go down that path. Photography is in many ways like no other still have to do the yards in so much as having a business plan set out before hand...what are your targeted market segment etc...and compare what your competition is charging for similar type of work. Since the on set of digital, I feel a great deal of people jump into the Wedding market thinking it may be a quick way of making an honest living. As the previous poster is hard work. I get to do perhaps 5 weddings a year, just through word of mouth, as I tend to work more in the commercial field with products etc...However, I made the decision to move to a different country and therefore a different market to a certain extent in the hope that perhaps with just a few jobs every month, topped up with the odd Wedding here and there, I have a certain lifestlye which required a great deal more income to maintain where I was living before hand. In regards to whether it has turned into just another never will....not for me anyway....everyday brings a new adventure for me...whether dealing with clients and showing them why they should pay the asking fee for my work through to seeing it in the end product...whether in mags or a billboard....its worth it for me.

  5. Have you tried posting something on Craigslist or in the classifieds? Trying to talk someone into modeling for you is much harder than finding people who already want to be photographed in my opinion.
  6. Thank you all very much!

    Joe: I am a home Loan Officer in California. The market is so dead here that I'm in the position of either finding a part time job and getting this going or finding a full time job and keeping this as a side hobby/job. Would be nice to do something that I loved for a change but I don't want to kill that passion. Thank you so much.

    PETER: Yes, I think that may be a great deal of the problem. I don't think that most of the people who responded seem to think that there is enough value in what I'm doing for them and perhaps a percieved discounted fee would work better. Also like the non-profit idea. Thanks!

    Artur: Thank you. Yes, I know I have to nail down the type of photography that I would like to do. That's been very tricky. I lean to the creative aspects but really have no idea how I would get into something like commercial work that would allow me to profit from it. I'm completly self taught, have only been doing this for about 18 months and know no one in the field. I'm working on it though!

    RYAN: I totaly agree with you. I started off trying to talk people into modeling for me. Wasn't working very well so I posted an ad on Craigs list. I got a decent responce from about seven people who seemed very eager. When it came time to set dates or when the shoot dates came up, most of them became very hard to deal with, didn't return emails or have cancelled within a half hour of the shoot! I've got one lined up for today, I guess we'll see how that goes!
  7. Curious why you removed all your images the day after the above last message?
  8. Hi J.W.,

    That was an unfortunate co-incidence. A combination of several things made me decide not to post my images here anymore. Thank you for asking.

  9. So long Anthony, I just briefly got to see your images before you left.
  10. You take care Shawn. I'll let you know if I land any place else. I'll be checking on you guys from time to time!
  11. Wish you good luck Anthony.

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