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  1. #1
    WesFoster is offline Wes Foster
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    Question Amateur , and new to photography trying to become professional

    Pretty recently I took up photography - I've always had an interest in it but early this year I got my dads old Canon ae-1 and started shooting (they were all awful, but you learn). I then took up photography as one of my subjects at college, and about a month or two ago I got my first DSLR, a 650D. Partially because of trying to pay my camera back off and partly because it is something I really enjoy, photography is something I want to pursue as much as I can - or at least something I want to keep doing.

    I mainly enjoy shooting bands - and with the right light can get pretty good portraits. Haven't tried much landscape/architectural/sports photography, but that is always something that I would love to at least try in the future.

    Anyway, I digress, I have little to no money constantly and thus want to start using photography to try and get what I can (on top of other work). I am by no means professional, and cannot guarantee great/good pictures but I still think (perhaps naively) if I push myself into it I can do well.

    What would you recommend for someone of my experience/ability to charge in case I do get offers? I'm just trying to cover my back now, so that if I do get something I know what I'm charging etc - and can be professional - i.e. know my fee straight away.
    Also bearing in mind I don't have much kit, two cameras (one film) three lenses between them and a tripod. (With some filters- but there seems little point in using them for this sort of work which will generally be non abstract; plus if I want to add anything later Lightroom/Photoshop will probably do the job better.

    Sorry for what seems to be a dissertation. Oh, if it could be in sterling that would be great (I live in the UK) but I don't mind, any advice is great for me at the minute)

    Thanks

    Wes Foster

  2. #2
    rspears's Avatar
    rspears is offline The Wedding Guy
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    If you had just bought a fender guitar, and taking lessons, and had learned 3 chords.... would you be trying to book concerts?

    Learn your equipment... Learn how to shoot in low light. In the meanwhile, study the photography of some of the best in music photography. A photographer that I admire here in the US has been photographing bands for years, but he is a master at the craft of photography and use of light. Check out the blog of Zack Arias here

    Take baby steps in your journey. You'll be thankful someday.
    Rich Spears www.rspearsphotography.com
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  3. #3
    Jim Bryant's Avatar
    Jim Bryant is offline Stoned Cold Crazy
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    with little or no money your chances of going pro at this point in life with very little experience are slim and none. Takes years of experience, not only in photography, but photography business as well. If you are still in college, my suggestion to you is to take some business and marketing classes. You need to master what equipment you presently have instead of relying on post processing program to fix mistakes made by a lack of photographic knowledge.
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  4. #4
    veritasimagery is offline I'm one of "those" people
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    I'm in consensuses with the others. You are no where near ready to even be thinking about how much to charge. Photography is not something where you can just go out and buy a camera and start making money. The idea that you can do that would be no different then thinking you can jot down to your local hardware store, buy a hammer and a box of nails and then start charging people to build houses. Or better yet, go buy a paintbrush and some paints and expect to be able to charge people to paint their portrait.

    Some things you said jump out:

    "...early this year I got my dads old Canon ae-1 and started shooting (they were all awful, but you learn). I then took up photography as one of my subjects at college, and about a month or two ago I got my first DSLR..."

    So, within a year you picked up your first SLR camera and were awful at taking pictures, picked up a DSLR a month ago, and now think you can charge people?

    "...and with the right light can get pretty good portraits.

    "I am by no means professional, and cannot guarantee great/good pictures..."

    A huge part of photography is being able to get the shot no matter the light. And "pretty good portraits" are not the same as "good portraits" which are what you need. Being able to consistently get the good shot, no matter the light, is part of being a professional. If you can't guarantee a good picture, you shouldn't charge.
    Kevin
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  5. #5
    MattEthan's Avatar
    MattEthan is offline Storyteller :)
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    Quote Originally Posted by rspears View Post
    If you had just bought a fender guitar, and taking lessons, and had learned 3 chords.... would you be trying to book concerts?

    Learn your equipment... Learn how to shoot in low light. In the meanwhile, study the photography of some of the best in music photography. A photographer that I admire here in the US has been photographing bands for years, but he is a master at the craft of photography and use of light. Check out the blog of Zack Arias here

    Take baby steps in your journey. You'll be thankful someday.
    Very sound advice - and I wish I'd have listened when I started out. Malcolm Gladwell says it takes 10,000 hours to be an expert at something (work out how many FULL days works that would be!). Not that I'm saying you have to be an expert to be professional at something, but defntely start working towards that and learn before you do anything. And get better kit, band photography is notoriously difficult to get money for - I'm in Newcastle, and I don't know a single band photographer who makes any money at all. Slowly build that kit up, and work out what you're good at

    Ps I'm also originally from Hull

  6. #6
    WesFoster is offline Wes Foster
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    Thanks for the quick replies,

    Quote Originally Posted by rspears View Post
    If you had just bought a fender guitar, and taking lessons, and had learned 3 chords.... would you be trying to book concerts?
    Sex Pistols did, worked for them

    Sorry for the multiple threads by the way, I think my browser crashed out when I was trying to post it. Is there a way to delete threads on here (I'm fairly new)?

    I know I'm 'jumping the gun' with trying to charge - I was more just looking for what people thought was a fair starting price for starting out - for use with family & friends; by no means am I trying to go pro.

    I'm pretty happy with most of what I shoot - I'd didn't add before that my first photos were awful because the lens was full of fungus - as much as it was just playing with the camera there are still some elements of composition. For me to say they were completely awful was probably slightly hyperbolic or emphasized.

    And yeah, some better kit is a must for me - I'm going to try and get a new lens in the next couple of months, the only lens I have which has anywhere near a wide enough aperture for gig photography is my 28mm, which still only goes down to 2.8 (not really enough just yet). Would you recommend a USM lens (second hand), I'm not sure what focal length would be good yet, but probably something like 35-70mm or to try and get FD fit lens which would hopefully be cheaper and allow me to get a better quality lens with a wider aperture range? I hardly ever use autofocus, so that would be no great loss; plus I love the feel of my older lenses because they are bulkier and heavier (unless USMs are similar, I wouldn't know). Then I also have the added bonus of having all my lenses (apart from the kit lens) work on both my cameras.

    Anyway, sorry for writing so much - just to clarify it is only for family and friends at the minute. I am sort of hopeful of other offers too though, because I was recently asked to make a promotional video for a local band and so hopefully with doing things like that I may have more offers, or at least become known in the area.

    Ps I'm also originally from Hull
    Oh really? West or East?

    thanks for the help,

    PS, checked out Zack Arias' blog, great photographer, thanks for the recommend.
    Canon 650D (gripped); Canon EOS 10; Canon Ae-1; Canon 50mm 1.4 USM EF; Canon 18-55mm 3.5-5.6 EF-S; Canon 75-300mm 4-5.6; Canon 50mm 1.8mm FD; Canon 28mm 2.8 FD; Vivitar 4.5 80 - 200mm FD;Speedlite 199A; Yonguo YN560-III

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  7. #7
    WesFoster is offline Wes Foster
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Bryant View Post
    You need to master what equipment you presently have instead of relying on post processing program to fix mistakes made by a lack of photographic knowledge.
    Yeah I do completely agree - I wouldn't ever rely on PhotoShop or other image manipulation software to rectify the images that haven't worked, I only meant that the filters which I have (not screw ons, they sit on a frame/adapter) are fairly useless compared to editing later... for any more abstract work, as I say, I would never try to 'rescue' an image and make it up in photoshop.

    In some ways I don't want to spend loads of money (at the minute) until I'm making some with it - so I'm more heading for a photojournalism style instead of a studio heavy catalog. In some ways I think this allows for better photos.

    Wes
    Canon 650D (gripped); Canon EOS 10; Canon Ae-1; Canon 50mm 1.4 USM EF; Canon 18-55mm 3.5-5.6 EF-S; Canon 75-300mm 4-5.6; Canon 50mm 1.8mm FD; Canon 28mm 2.8 FD; Vivitar 4.5 80 - 200mm FD;Speedlite 199A; Yonguo YN560-III

    |FLICKR|TUMBLR|TWITTER|

  8. #8
    veritasimagery is offline I'm one of "those" people
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    Quote Originally Posted by WesFoster View Post
    I know I'm 'jumping the gun' with trying to charge - I was more just looking for what people thought was a fair starting price for starting out - for use with family & friends; by no means am I trying to go pro.
    What we are saying is that it is way to early to even be thinking about what to charge. STOP THINKING ABOUT THE MONEY YOU CAN MAKE and concentrate on developing your camera skills.
    Kevin
    Canon EOS 60D, Canon EOS T3i, Canon A-1, Canon AE-1 Program, Various lenses
    http://500px.com/VeritasImageryNW/photos
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  9. #9
    veritasimagery is offline I'm one of "those" people
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    Quote Originally Posted by WesFoster View Post
    In some ways I don't want to spend loads of money (at the minute) until I'm making some with it
    This doesn't work. The old adage of "It takes money to make money" really applies here. You have to be willing to spend money before you can even think about making it.
    Kevin
    Canon EOS 60D, Canon EOS T3i, Canon A-1, Canon AE-1 Program, Various lenses
    http://500px.com/VeritasImageryNW/photos
    http://veritasimagerynw.smugmug.com/

  10. #10
    Roshenk's Avatar
    Roshenk is online now "f/2.8 and be there"
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    Quote Originally Posted by veritasimagery View Post
    This doesn't work. The old adage of "It takes money to make money" really applies here. You have to be willing to spend money before you can even think about making it.
    I agree with this totally...you also can't develop professional levels skills without higher caliber gear. Therefore FIRST you have to put out the cash, then find out if you can ever hope to make it back. Since this is the case, make sure you love it.

    You need to commit to photography out of love for the art. If down the line it becomes a career, then great...but it likely won't no matter how good you are. Think of it like sports...lots of good players out there...very few can go pro.
    I shoot Canon and carry Think Tank.
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