About to have a first photoshoot!

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by pasisti, Jul 9, 2014.

  1. pasisti

    pasisti Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 16, 2013
    Helsinki, Finland
    Hi everyone

    I'm planning to have my first photoshoot for paying customers and I would like some advice on the business side of things before I start advertising.

    Background: I have been taking photos for 2 years now, here are some of my better (not all the best) photos: https://www.flickr.com/photos/120346227@N08/sets/72157642311292833/ I don't think I'm going to enter the photography field full-time at any point but it is part of my business model as-is. It has been a very dear hobby and people have been telling me I should do some real business with it. I have done a couple of public events that friends of mine have organized but nothing like this before. So I would like to try it out and see what happens.

    Plan: My plan is to have one or two weekend days in August where I would have slots for people to come and have their portraits taken. I would have maybe 7-8 slots for one day. Slots would include 45 minutes of customer time and a 15-minute break for me and to make sure I don't fall behind in the schedule. I would choose a location with various background and lighting choises that I could discuss with the customers. They could also send me information about themselves and their ideas for a portrait beforehand. I already have decent social media marketing channels due to my other work so that is not an issue in this case. The portraits could be of single people but also of small groups/couples.

    Equipment: I have an E-P5 (E-PL3 as backup), O25/1.8, O45/1.8 and the bonuszoom 40-150 lens that I hope will arrive in the next couple of weeks. I also have an external flash unit (Sunpack 433D) and a decent tripod for the camera. I am open to getting additional equipment if necessary. I use Lightroom 5 for the photos.

    Delivery: All customers would get a 30-40 photo collection of non-edited photos, of which they could choose 5 for my to process and send them in full quality and without watermarks. Is this a good way to do it or should I do something else?

    Payment: I already have a company that I'm using for the photography so no black market stuff included. I still don't have to pay VAT for my business because my income is so tiny (I'm a student). My ideology has up to this point been that as I'm not a professional and I'm not sure if I can always deliver the quality photos I haven't really asked for money. For the events I did, I just got the festival pass for all the workshops and parties that went on during the festival events and so on. But now even though I would like to enter the money area I'm still worried about asking for too much. I have thought that I could market this as a "student photoshoot" kind-of-thing and for lower price. The normal portrait photoshoots in my country are between 100-250 euros depending on the locations and needs. I would ask for 30 euros. How would that sound? I don't want to sell myself too cheap out of respect for the real professionals but I feel like I would not be worth much more.

    How does all this sound? Do you have any suggestions for me or for anyone else thinking about entering the business?
  2. barry13

    barry13 Super Moderator

    Mar 7, 2014
    Southern California
    Real Name:
    You should sell prints too.
    Find a good service locally or online, and mark them up enough to at least cover the time involved.

    Charging 1/5th of the average seems far too low.


    Sent from my iPad using Mu-43
  3. xdayv

    xdayv Color Blind

    Aug 26, 2011
    Tacloban City, Philippines
    Real Name:
    I would suggest to submit edited photos to client, for them to better appreciate your output and your personal style. And further edits can be made thereafter.
  4. Pecos

    Pecos Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jan 20, 2013
    The Natural State
    At a workshop I attended years ago True Redd gave the advice - "Never show anything but your best work." I like that idea for a variety of reasons.
  5. pasisti

    pasisti Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 16, 2013
    Helsinki, Finland
    Thanks for the input so far! Maybe I should in fact edit the photos before I send any to the customers. The thing is that if there are many similar photos, I would like to let the customer decide what they like the best. As we all know, we are the best ans worst critics of our own faces.

    About the price, this would be a "try out having your photo taken" event so the price has to be lower than average anyway. I'm still trying to find the good price, though.
  6. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Real Name:
    Ray, not Oz
    First off, 45 min is no where near enough unless you have a studio where you're planning to churn the customers out one by one, and even then it's unlikely it'll be enough. Given a studio, you will need time to discuss what you're planning to do, how you plan to do it, get the customers prepared, determine what options they have regarding styles, props etc and at do some test shots etc.

    Secondly, while we all know that the Pen series of cameras are very capable in the right hands, you will be facing some serious doubt and confidence loss when the customer sees what you plan to use. Plan on how you intend to overcome that doubt and instil confidence in your capabilities. That will perhaps involve them seeing large prints of the highest quality that you've taken of other customers, so that they can see what you are capable of providing.

    Thirdly, aiming low on price already implies that you aren't going to produce high quality results and that will be another confidence loser when it comes to getting customers. Some very brave novices often charge top price because they have the confidence to produce the goods and want to project their professionalism. But with your gear (perceived image), you probably need to step it down a few notches.

    Fourthly, never give your customers unedited files. Go through all the shots, throw away the crap, edit the good shots and put some extra effort into the really good ones to make them stand out. That's another reason for not low balling the price, you will be doing extra work. More than likely, if you give the customer unedited shots, that's they last you'll see of them anyway and that's what all of their friends etc will see down the track.

    Finally, with regard to the files, give the customer the fully edited files to use as they wish, but offer them the option of allowing you to produce large prints of their chosen shots, while they get smaller prints done themselves. Printing isn't the money maker it once was and many pros have moved to being paid for their time and skills, not the materials, very much like tradies; carpenters, plumbers, electricians etc. Consider developing a relationship with a printer where you can get large prints done at good prices, like a tradie does with materials suppliers.
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