I've always had a passion for photography but never been in a financial position to buy a SLR camera, photo editing software and attend a photography course.
It's something I really want to do so I've decided to sell some my stuff that I don't use any more to try and get some money together but I don't think it would be enough to buy everything at once.
I might buy the camera first and join a local camera club. I'm going to offer free shoots to my family and friends to build up some experience too while I save for a proper course.
Do you think this is a good idea? Ideally I'd love to do babies and kids photography. Do you think it would be fair to charge for photo shoots while I am attending school or should I wait til I finish the course before charging?
I don't really know where I should start. If anyone has started their own photography business, I'd love to read about your experiences.
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29-06-2012 14:23 #1
Looking into photography
29-06-2012 22:19 #2
29-06-2012 22:48 #3
I have a friend in this position and while she is in the process of setting up/learning and acquiring all the neccessary equipment she offers photo shoots for free or at a heavily discounted rate.
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29-06-2012 22:51 #4Junior Member
- Join Date
- Jun 2012
It really depends on the quality of your work and if people are willing to pay. I'd go free for a bit and see what sort of response you get.
30-06-2012 01:01 #5
I'm not a lady, but I am a commercial and real estate photographer. I dabble a bit in portraiture, but generally only for community and sporting groups doing their end of year wind up portraits and the like. I'd rather stick a pencil into my eye than deal with the wedding or family portrait market, but I have done both in the distant past.
First and foremost, I'll give you the standard advice that I give anyone saying that they want to be a photographer: Go for it, and I wish you all the very best. If photography is your passion and every fibre of your being is pointing you that way, then don't let whatever anyone (including me) has to say dissuade you. Right now, I get to make a decent living doing exactly what I love to do, and that's a beautiful thing. If you can find the same, then more power to you.
That said, the photography business isn't really what you'd call a very good bet these days.
You could throw a rock and you'd hit a "professional photographer" that isn't making enough to put him in a tax bracket high enough to put him alongside the person who mans the drive-thru window at McDonalds for 40 hours per week. Hell, I know of absolutely brilliant photographers, experienced, talented people with stellar folios and awards (who are better on their worst day than I am on my best) who are working outside of the industry because they couldn't find a way to make photography pay the bills.
I am one of the lucky ones, as I am protected somewhat by the lack of competition in a remote town and a fairly loyal client list that shops on service rather than price. But I charge WAY more than the backyarders, and I never drop my price to try to compete. I honestly believe that I have maybe 2-3 years before my business becomes unviable. I started uni this year, and I'm working my backside off to finish a four year degree within the next two years, primarily because I want to make sure that I have a lifeboat ready when the ship sinks. And it will, of this I am positive.
If you give it a try, don't do freebies. I've heard all of the reasons why someone does freebies: "I'm trying to build my folio", "I'm still learning how to use my equipment", "I want to get some more experience" and the rest. Every single of one them is an ill-considered, self-defeating mistake. Once your clients see you give your work away, they will assign your product the same value that you have. They will never see any real value in your work, and you will be consigned to hoping that you can undercut the next person to get some work. It has killed the perceived value of the industry and it simply doesn't work as a way of growing a viable business.
Funnily enough, want to know one of the more profitable aspects of my business over the past couple of years? Teaching photography to people who harbour dreams of one day becoming a pro.
If you're going to do it, keep it has a hobby and save yourself the stress. With the thousands of dollars you'll need to spend on getting yourself kitted up to shoot for paying clients (and it's WAY more than just a camera and a copy of Photoshop) there are far cheaper ways of making no money. As much as I wish it wasn't the case, photography as a viable profession is in its death throes.
30-06-2012 17:41 #6
Thanks for the replies everyone.
DaddyLarge I really appreciate your thorough and honest reply.
My sister in law let me borrow her DSLR camera today for a play and it's only made me want to get one even more. But I think for now I will keep things as a hobby only and join a local camera club and see where that takes me.
I would love to do a course but I might have to wait until I return to work and we have more money to spare
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