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Old 17-04-2005, 23:43   #1 (permalink)
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I'm going pro

After talking with a mate last week and thinking lots I've decided to move from web development to photography. It was an easy decision to make really. I just thought whether I want to sit at a computer for the rest of my life programming, or be somewhere doing photography. I do worry that the exact same thing that happened with web design will happen with photography in that clients will dictate my photography and I'll end up hating it. However my friend pointed out that if you are that good you don't get that. He said he thinks I am. He said the key to getting there is talent and exposure. He told me I have the talent and that I just need the right exposure now. I definetly don't want to do stock photography or weddings. What I want, hope, to do is well I don't really know. I know what I don't want to end up doing. I would love to have people hire me and give me the freedom to do anything. I've done a few shoots for some local bands and it would be very cool to continue shooting for them. I would also love to do some more car photography. I don't know where I'm going but I know it'll be more interesting than computing. I'll meet more people. I'll get out more.

I have to remind myself that I can do it, to remind myself that everytime I've gone on a photo shoot I've always come back with the shots.

Any tips?
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Old 18-04-2005, 00:28   #2 (permalink)
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I'm not a pro, this is just a hobbie for me, but I can tell you, do what you wanna do, and do what makes you happy.

Good luck!
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Old 18-04-2005, 09:48   #3 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ppuga
I'm not a pro, this is just a hobbie for me, but I can tell you, do what you wanna do, and do what makes you happy.

Good luck!
It all depends what type of photography you do. Don't be too idealistic... you WILL be told what to shoot.. at the end of the day, clients are commisioning you to shoot what THEY want. It's money... why be arsy about it? It's still photography, and you're still being paid for doing what you love to do.

So what DO you shoot? How are you thinking about promoting yourself? Do you have a decent portfolio yet?

If you need any advice... just ask.
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Old 18-04-2005, 10:08   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pook
Quote:
Originally Posted by ppuga
I'm not a pro, this is just a hobbie for me, but I can tell you, do what you wanna do, and do what makes you happy.

Good luck!
It all depends what type of photography you do. Don't be too idealistic... you WILL be told what to shoot.. at the end of the day, clients are commisioning you to shoot what THEY want. It's money... why be arsy about it? It's still photography, and you're still being paid for doing what you love to do.

So what DO you shoot? How are you thinking about promoting yourself? Do you have a decent portfolio yet?

If you need any advice... just ask.
Yer I am expecting a certain amount of client bitching, but I'm hoping to have more freedom than I currently do with web design. I really enjoy band photography as so far as I've been allowed to wander around and take cool shots. Its one of those things where you can't really be told what to shoot you simply go there and shoot and enjoy the tunes. Obviously it would get annoying if I had to shoot bad music

I do have a photoblog but I'm thinking of building a more professional portfolio. As for promoting myself... I plan to tell everyone I'm a photographer, take every job I can, hand out business cards to anyone possible. As for what DO I shoot, um, anything that looks good really I enjoy bands, cars, architecture, landscapes. I would love to do more portraits or photos with people in if only to get over my shyness more.
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Old 18-04-2005, 10:26   #5 (permalink)
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You really need to concentrate on one genre you really like doing, and making a portfolio based on that. ALso, a second folio of "published" work is a good idea... this is where you'd put the varied stuff. This shows clients what you are about, and what your style is (personal folio) and the published work shows how versatile you can be.

Call to make appointments with magazines, publishers, ad agancies.... show your work as often as you can. Just telling people you're a photographer and handing out a card won't cut it I'm afraid.

Where are you based? For certain types of work, you really need to be in London.

You have to treat LOOKING for work, AS work... get up at 9am.. start calling people... start making appointments to see art directors at publishers... ad agancies... etc. Get known... even if it's known as "That pain in teh ass again"... at least your name is on people's minds.

Reshoot at least 1/3rd of your folio every 6 months.

Mailshots of your work on CDs, or giving people a link to a website DOES NOT WORK... these are busy people... send them a CD, and it goes in the bin. You need to go and see them in person!

As for shooting people... there are THOUSANDS of models out there who want prints for their book, so they'll shoot a test for prints only. Look on sites like Net Model etc.

Get over that shyness... you'll never make it if you're shy... you gotta be bold, brassy.. confident... EVERYONE wants to be a photographer, cos they think it's sexy.... well.. unless you're Nick Knight, it's not... but people think it is, so everyone wants to be one... the conpetition is fierce, so you gotta sell yourself. No one wants to commission someone who looks scared to death, or looks like they'll not be able to hack it.

SOrry if I'm being a bit brutal here... but it IS brutal... it's business... well it is to the people commissioning you, and people will NOT take risks with money. The more successful you become, the more true this becomes also, as your fee is higher.

Shyness = lack of confidence... therefore ability.... that's how THEY will see it.
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Old 18-04-2005, 10:32   #6 (permalink)
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Oh.. one more thing.. FEES!

Don't undercharge.... it makes you look stupid. For instance... if you got commissioned to shoot some pics for a holiday brochure.... be looking to charge at least £800 a day. If they balk at that... they're not worth working for. Believe me.. £800 for a photographer's day rate is LOW. An average day rate for a successful, established advertising guy is in the order of £3k.

Get a Copy of Beyond teh lens... I can't remember if it's the AoP or BIPP that publish it now. A quick Google will tell you.
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Old 18-04-2005, 11:05   #7 (permalink)
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On the matter of exposure, you need to go out and win a few magazine and if possible prestigious competitions, perhaps join the RPS. Nothing impresses like letters after your name
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Old 18-04-2005, 11:07   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pook
You really need to concentrate on one genre you really like doing, and making a portfolio based on that. ALso, a second folio of "published" work is a good idea... this is where you'd put the varied stuff. This shows clients what you are about, and what your style is (personal folio) and the published work shows how versatile you can be.
Sounds like a plan. I'll keep my photoblog as my reserve portfolio of varied work and build a new one for clients.

Quote:
Call to make appointments with magazines, publishers, ad agancies.... show your work as often as you can. Just telling people you're a photographer and handing out a card won't cut it I'm afraid.
Ok sounds good. Any tips what to say? "I'm a freelance photographer enquiring if you need any photoshoots doing?"

Quote:
Where are you based? For certain types of work, you really need to be in London.
North West, near Liverpool which is great for bands.

Quote:
You have to treat LOOKING for work, AS work... get up at 9am.. start calling people... start making appointments to see art directors at publishers... ad agancies... etc. Get known... even if it's known as "That pain in teh ass again"... at least your name is on people's minds.
Hmm nuts. I'm hoping to gradually move from web design to photography and won't be quitting my current job until I can afford to.

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Reshoot at least 1/3rd of your folio every 6 months.
You mean redo old shots or simply update the portfolio with new content in various sections to keep it fresh?

Quote:
Mailshots of your work on CDs, or giving people a link to a website DOES NOT WORK... these are busy people... send them a CD, and it goes in the bin. You need to go and see them in person!
Yer I got that feeling with web design.

Quote:
As for shooting people... there are THOUSANDS of models out there who want prints for their book, so they'll shoot a test for prints only. Look on sites like Net Model etc.
Cool. A tad scary, but cool. It would seem a bit odd contacting some random stranger to do a photo shoot with, but then thats the thing I need to work on and one of the reasons for doing this.

Quote:
Get over that shyness... you'll never make it if you're shy... you gotta be bold, brassy.. confident... EVERYONE wants to be a photographer, cos they think it's sexy.... well.. unless you're Nick Knight, it's not... but people think it is, so everyone wants to be one... the conpetition is fierce, so you gotta sell yourself. No one wants to commission someone who looks scared to death, or looks like they'll not be able to hack it.
Yup definetly. Its why I need to do this. Sitting at a computer is doing nothing for my social skills. Getting out and meeting people is. I have to remind myself that I am a good photographer and that I can do anything if I put my mind to it. I know that if I am not confident I won't get the shot and then I'll regret it later. This is something I hate and in recent months I have forced myself to get over it. Like my recent street photography shots. I just went up to random strangers and asked to take their picture. It works and it shows I can do it. Through photography I have found an ability to push myself to get the shot. I just have to remind myself of this and I know I will go far.

Quote:
SOrry if I'm being a bit brutal here... but it IS brutal... it's business... well it is to the people commissioning you, and people will NOT take risks with money. The more successful you become, the more true this becomes also, as your fee is higher.

Shyness = lack of confidence... therefore ability.... that's how THEY will see it.
No worries. I was hoping for some real world advice instead of lots of people wishing me luck. It gives me things to do, things to work on. Cheers

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pook
Oh.. one more thing.. FEES!

Don't undercharge.... it makes you look stupid. For instance... if you got commissioned to shoot some pics for a holiday brochure.... be looking to charge at least £800 a day. If they balk at that... they're not worth working for. Believe me.. £800 for a photographer's day rate is LOW. An average day rate for a successful, established advertising guy is in the order of £3k.

Get a Copy of Beyond teh lens... I can't remember if it's the AoP or BIPP that publish it now. A quick Google will tell you.
Yup I also got that with web design. Clients who want a £2000 site for £200. If they can't afford it, screw them. More hassle than they are worth.
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Old 18-04-2005, 11:07   #9 (permalink)
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Tough game! :wink:

I've made a lot of money out of photography but I never felt the urge to go full time at it. I did go full time for a few years after I retired but I was never dependant on it to put the food on the table. Some sound advice there from Pook. I've known a few photographers who've turned pro and some of the best of them have failed through lack of business acumen, not photographic ability. There are plenty of pros about who are really nothing special - they just know how to promote themselves.

Try to look professional when you turn up to meet people - a suit and tie rather than jeans and trainers, at least gives the impression you're not working off the back of a wheelbarrow somewhere. Good luck Pete if you decide to go for it.
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Old 18-04-2005, 11:08   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steep
On the matter of exposure, you need to go out and win a few magazine and if possible prestigious competitions, perhaps join the RPS. Nothing impresses like letters after your name
Yer I plan to submit some of my best shots to photography magazines if only to get them in there. I have a friend, the one who convinced me to do this, who wants to move into marketing / Page Ranking for bands so hopefully that will help
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Old 18-04-2005, 11:13   #11 (permalink)
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Tough game! :wink:

I've made a lot of money out of photography but I never felt the urge to go full time at it. I did go full time for a few years after I retired but I was never dependant on it to put the food on the table. Some sound advice there from Pook. I've known a few photographers who've turned pro and some of the best of them have failed through lack of business acumen, not photographic ability. There are plenty of pros about who are really nothing special - they just know how to promote themselves.

Try to look professional when you turn up to meet people - a suit and tie rather than jeans and trainers, at least gives the impression you're not working off the back of a wheelbarrow somewhere. Good luck Pete if you decide to go for it.
Yer exactly. I know plenty of bad web designers who get the job simply cos people know them. My mate told me that he's working on a web site for a local photographer who takes pictures for the FA and he said that I'm a better photographer. Taking pictures is easy in comparison to getting contacts. But nothing worth doing is ever easy. Suit eh. Nuts I was hoping to be one of those trendy photographers that don't really exist. Like that guy who runs a large papperazzi agency in London, the Australian bloke. But I guess he can be that way since he's made it.
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Old 18-04-2005, 16:20   #12 (permalink)
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Go for it Pete - my line of work is relatively straightforward - wait for people to start killing each other then photograph them.
I'm frantically building up lists of people and talking to them now, so that when I leave the Army and 'go solo' I'll have an established client base to sell to who already know the calibre of my product.
The picture-taking really is the easy part, it's the logistics and sales part that really b*gg*rs people up in the end.
I have tentative 'OK's from Getty and PA to freelance for them when I leave in 3 years' time, but it'll still involve getting out there and doing stuff almost 'on spec' to begin with. Which is a scary thought for a morgage-payer...
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Old 18-04-2005, 17:58   #13 (permalink)
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Wow...some really good advice from everyone Pete...

Quote:
Pete Said
I was hoping for some real world advice instead of lots of people wishing me luck.
Good luck!
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Old 18-04-2005, 23:59   #14 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steep
On the matter of exposure, you need to go out and win a few magazine and if possible prestigious competitions, perhaps join the RPS. Nothing impresses like letters after your name
I hate to disagree, but no one gives a stuff about letters after your name. I got letters after my name, but I don;t use them becaue A) no one cares, and B) you look like a knob if you do. Plus... no one, ever, has once asked to see my degree(s).. what they DO ask to see tho, is my portfolio. NO one cares a fig about letters after your name. Also....No one cares about magazine competitions either.. the only competitions that anyone in the industry cares about are the AoP awards, the Fuji awards, and a handful of others... certainly no magazine awards... with the exception of the BJPP stuff, as that's a professional publication. For instance, winning a competition in Amateur Photogapher will not really do you much good... not unless the REST of your book is as good as that winning image... the fact is... no one in the industry really cares what's in Amateur Photographer.. because it's an amateur publication, and no one reads it except amateurs. Sounds snobbish? Yes it is.... unfortunately, it's true.

No.... there's only one way: Get out there... use some shoe leather, and show your book to as many people as you possibly can. Like I said... treat fiding work AS your job. Get up at 9am, start phoning, start making appointments, start seeing people. How else are they going to even know you exist??? Not by seeing you as a winner in a amateur photography publication, that's for certain.

Even if you DO have a great folio... you still have to convince then that you're reliable... and can deliver the goods time and time again, on schedule, and on demand.

Trust me... it's ******* hard work to get anywhere in anything except weddings and local stuff. It takes work.. hard work, and dedication. There is no magic way in... You just have to consistently take photographs that people will want to buy.. keep doing so, and keep showing people... but people who are in a position to actually buy them. No point showing all and sundry on the internet (not that there's anything wrong with that.. it just won't earn you anything most of the time) when you should be showing ad agencies, and publishers. After all... these are the people who you want to buy your pictures.

I apologise if this is not what you want to hear, or if it seems hard.. but it IS hard. At the end of the day, you won't be able to blag it... either you're good enough, or you're not. There's only ONE measure of that, and that's your work. If your work is good enough, you will succeed.... but you still have to ensure that the right people are seeing your work. They won't come to you... you have to go to them. Sending your work to amateur photographer for instance, won;t do it... the people who matter don't read it.

Like you said... you don;t want people wishing you good luck... Luck has nothing to do with it... nothing whatsoever. Skill and hard work however, does.

That's my advice.... I won't wish you luck... I will wish you success... after all, THAT'S what you want.

Go for it fella!!!
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Old 19-04-2005, 14:13   #15 (permalink)
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Thanks for the support guys The band I sold some photos too wants me to shoot their next gig. Given that they didn't like the idea of £15/image for 4 photos I'm thinking £150 for the night and seeing what they say. As I'm just starting out I want to increase my contacts more than make money. You can't buy good contacts, I don't think I haven't seen them at Tesco thats for sure
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Old 19-04-2005, 14:35   #16 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by petemc
Thanks for the support guys The band I sold some photos too wants me to shoot their next gig. Given that they didn't like the idea of £15/image for 4 photos I'm thinking £150 for the night and seeing what they say. As I'm just starting out I want to increase my contacts more than make money. You can't buy good contacts, I don't think I haven't seen them at Tesco thats for sure
Have you tried Specsavers? I believe they do good contacts. BooM Tish'!
:roll:
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Old 19-04-2005, 14:39   #17 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by petemc
Thanks for the support guys The band I sold some photos too wants me to shoot their next gig. Given that they didn't like the idea of £15/image for 4 photos I'm thinking £150 for the night and seeing what they say. As I'm just starting out I want to increase my contacts more than make money. You can't buy good contacts, I don't think I haven't seen them at Tesco thats for sure
Have you tried Specsavers? I believe they do good contacts. BooM Tish'!
:roll:
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Old 19-04-2005, 23:15   #18 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by petemc
Thanks for the support guys The band I sold some photos too wants me to shoot their next gig. Given that they didn't like the idea of £15/image for 4 photos I'm thinking £150 for the night and seeing what they say. As I'm just starting out I want to increase my contacts more than make money. You can't buy good contacts, I don't think I haven't seen them at Tesco thats for sure
They didn't want to pay £15 per image???? LOL.... tell them to find someone else then... they're taking the P mate. Not only wouldn't I get out of bed for that, I wouldn't open my eyes. Just make sure they realise what a bargain they're getting. Most wedding photographers are on £1000 per day, and they're moaning about 60 quid!! Tell them to grow up.

Making contacts I understand... but are you making any shooting this band who think £60 for Page Ranking shots is too much? Somehow I doubt it.
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Old 19-04-2005, 23:34   #19 (permalink)
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Haven't they just recorded a CD? If they're not signed by a record company yet, they'll have spent a considerable amount of money on hire of studio time and professional mixing of their tracks. No-one does that for nothing - it's big bucks usually. You've supplied them with good work there Pete IMO, and I'd be inclined to call their bluff and tell them to get someone else.

I bet they'll soon come round - don't be a soft touch.
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Old 20-04-2005, 08:14   #20 (permalink)
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Agreed - call their bluff - if they want the photos, then they'll pay up - it'll cost them a hell of a lot more to get a re-shoot done.
It's not like you were charging the earth.
Bands are all the same when they start out - skint. That doesn't mean you have to be too!
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Old 20-04-2005, 08:28   #21 (permalink)
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We've already agreed on £40 for the images annoyingly. But for the new photo shoot, should I say £500 and tell him that a wedding photographer charges twice as much so its a great deal?
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Old 20-04-2005, 10:40   #22 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Pook
Most wedding photographers are on £1000 per day, and they're moaning about 60 quid!! Tell them to grow up.
Only established Wedding Photographers aiming themselves at higher end customers are on £1k+ a day.

Generally people budget between £500-£800 for a photographer which includes a set of prints and a Wedding album.
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Old 20-04-2005, 10:42   #23 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pook
Most wedding photographers are on £1000 per day, and they're moaning about 60 quid!! Tell them to grow up.
Only established Wedding Photographers aiming themselves at higher end customers are on £1k+ a day.

Generally people budget between £500-£800 for a photographer which includes a set of prints and a Wedding album.
So since these are only photos for their website and theres no real material costs to be considered, £300? I feel like i'm a basic web designer again Not a clue what to charge people without scaring them off.
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Old 20-04-2005, 11:35   #24 (permalink)
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I don't think anyone can really advise you what to charge Pete, but start out by just working out how much time you're going to put into the shoot altogether with processing and travelling time etc. and you should at least be able to come up with an hourly rate which YOU think is reasonable for your time and expertise without going OTT.

I know you're in a cleft stick situation in that you're trying to get started, but you seem to be hanging on to this band as though it's some sort of life line - which it isn't. There's plenty of photographic work out there which will pay lots more than these guys are currently offerng you - weddings, christenings, kids parties, social functions - just turn up at the latter and you'll be amazed how many people want their photo taking when they're having a night out. Get round some schools and see if you can get some of that work - big money! Don't turn your nose up at ANYTHING which involves a camera and getting paid - it's all invaluable experience. Start to think about the direction you want to go once you're more established. :wink:
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Old 20-04-2005, 11:39   #25 (permalink)
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We just got some Page Ranking photo's done. If it wasn't for the fact it's me in the photos I'd have done them my self.

They came in at £50 per shot and we get copyright. I have no idea though if this is typical, perhaps one of the established guys on here would know. We needed them in a hurry and weren't going to mess about getting quotes, basically the first guy who could do them quick got the job.
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Old 20-04-2005, 12:02   #26 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dod
. We needed them in a hurry and weren't going to mess about getting quotes, basically the first guy who could do them quick got the job.
A while back I was phoned on a weekend by the boss of a factory to take some shots of the factory for a meeting on the following Wednesday where they were going to discuss proposed alterations and extensions to the building. He wanted just about half a dozen shots of various aspects of the building, but huge enlargements he could pin up for people to discuss the alternatives. I rang the lab I use (and a few others) and as I suspected, there was no way they could (or would) do the work in the time.

The guy was saying put in a bill for around 2K and no-one will turn a hair! I tried to talk him into the Powerpoint or slide show route, but he was adamant he wanted the big prints. I had to let it go, but it rankled a bit that one.
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Old 20-04-2005, 19:44   #27 (permalink)
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Congratulations on your decision Pete, with your skill I am sure that you will succeed. As pook and a few others have already given you the good advice I will stay out of it but would just like to echo that you should never undersell yourself as this is as bad as overcharging and could well put of as many potential clients. I admit its always a difficult thing to get right though.
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Old 20-04-2005, 19:46   #28 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CT
The guy was saying put in a bill for around 2K and no-one will turn a hair! I tried to talk him into the Powerpoint or slide show route, but he was adamant he wanted the big prints. I had to let it go, but it rankled a bit that one.
Thats a killer and the last thing you want to hear now is that you should have given me a shout as I could have pointed you in the direction of someone that may have been able to help :?

Still if you find yourself in that situation again sometime in the future....
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Old 20-04-2005, 22:54   #29 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SDK^
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pook
Most wedding photographers are on £1000 per day, and they're moaning about 60 quid!! Tell them to grow up.
Only established Wedding Photographers aiming themselves at higher end customers are on £1k+ a day.

Generally people budget between £500-£800 for a photographer which includes a set of prints and a Wedding album.
Perhaps.... still a far cry from £15 tho!!!

If you want a competent wedding shoot however, you won;t get much change from a grand I'm afraid... not where I live anyway, and I'm currently in the North!!
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Old 20-04-2005, 22:58   #30 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dod
We just got some Page Ranking photo's done. If it wasn't for the fact it's me in the photos I'd have done them my self.

They came in at £50 per shot and we get copyright. I have no idea though if this is typical, perhaps one of the established guys on here would know. We needed them in a hurry and weren't going to mess about getting quotes, basically the first guy who could do them quick got the job.

That's another thing.. NEVER give up your copyright... this is especially true for the band stuff.. never, ever, bloody ever give up your copyright.... ever. It's yours.. people have campaigned long and hard to get these rights for photographers, and it's now law. They're yours. License teh work if you do sell it to teh band. For instance.. do the shots for the agreed price, then draw up a license agreement that gives them the right for certain usage... e.g., print and web use.. that way, if they suddenly get famous, and want to use your shots for something else.. they cant without you suing them. They'd have to come back to you, and pay for extra usage.

Beg, borrow, or steal a book called "beyond The Lens"... can't remember if it's the AoP or the BIPP who sell it, but like I said... give it a Google and find it... if you're planning to go pro.. doing so without this book is extremely stupid.. it IS that good.
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