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  • Hobby Photographer - Wanting to sell..

    Hello. I've posted a couple of times on these forums some of the pictures I've taken last summer. Well, I've decided to try selling my work. I started a new FB page for my photography and set up a free website as the first step of getting some local advertising.

    After some thought, I decided to offer 10 free sessions in order to expand my portfolio. My images right now mostly consist of a few sunset pictures and pictures of my children. I want to have a variety of pictures other than what I have. I have 8 people in line in about 3 days of advertising it. To be honest, it's a little bit higher than what I expected!!

    So, now I'm in the position of deciding what to charge people after this free promotion. Last fall I put on my FB $50 for an unlimited session with a copyright free DVD of the images post edited. I got a couple nibbles but nothing concrete. Now that it's free everyone wants in. Which leads me to question my ability. Am I good enough for free pictures but not for paid pictures? ahh!!! Really, it's just racking my brain! I thought $50 was a steal... lol

    Okay so where I'm at... I love photography. But, I am definately an amature. I want to learn how to make my photography better. I don't want cookie cutter images; I want those that just take your breath away. I know I'm not a $500 / print photographer. Heck, not even a $50 / print photographer. But, I am finding it very difficult deciding what is an appropriate amount to charge. I would also like to add that I work full time, go to school full time and have 3 children under the age of 4. So, I'm very busy. I would like to make money at this, but on the weekend for now. It's definately not steady enough for me to quit my day job so to speak. However, that would be really nice if I could get to that point!!

    Where do I begin to even decide what to charge? I have no idea. . . I would gladly appreciate any input anyone might have.

    You can visit my website at Wix.com Photography created by theresaknapp07 based on Photography 101 to see some of my images or look me up on facebook under Photography by Theresa Knapp

    Thanks for taking the time to read this. Thanks even more if you leave me input!!! =)

  • #2
    You won't make any money charging 50.00, after the session fee and editing, burning, you'll have hours invested and hours = $$$ and why give away your images/copyright??...thats not a good idea as I'm sure others will agree
    Nikon D7000:18-105mm VR Kit, Nikkor 35-70mm 2.8AF, Nikkor 50mm f/1.8d AF, Sigma 150-500mm f/5-6.3 AF, SB600
    Web Design of Palm Beach
    Photo Blog
    Become a Fan on Facebook

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    • #3
      With all due respect (that always seems to come right before something nasty, huh?)... you really should start working on the "cookie cutter" images. People expect that, if you can produce more than that, then wonderful... but the "cookie cutter" stuff got that way for a reason... it works.

      I looked through your portfolio and nothing screams "hire me". Sorry.

      ~Eric

      Comment


      • #4
        BuddhaPi,
        Thanks for the reply. The reason I give away the cd is because anymore people come to expect the images.

        Eric, thanks for being honest. What is the reason that you would not hire me? Perhaps that this is because you're a professional photographer yourself? If you could please tell me exactly what you see flawed in the images? Where do you think I can improve? I would like to point out that I am in no way a professional photographer. I enjoy photography and would like to improve and possibly make a little money doing it. So, if you would tell me why you think that I'm not good instead of just saying that I'm bad. Thanks!
        Last edited by tknapp84; 04-02-2011, 01:22 AM.

        Comment


        • #5
          Sony now make a digital photoframe stuck on the back of a 6x4 printer. Also a D/frame that plays video and has an alarm. It's not in the consumers interest, or the companies or the markets. But people whinge that they want it. Sometimes, people need to be told what they want - otherwise you end up with shit like that. Consumers don't know how things work, they aren;t always the best people to listen to.
          Art: www.jamieorourke.co.uk
          Work: www.jamieorourkephotography.co.uk
          Sony a200 Sony a580, Canon 500D, Canon 550D, Canon 600D, Canon 600D

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          • #6
            It's wonderful that you have such a love for photography, but I do believe you're jumping the gun to start charging. Please don't take offense, you've got some creative ideas, but as far as exposure, lighting, white balance, etc. are concerned, a bit more learning and practice may be in order, as well as post processing skills. Business knowledge is also paramount, even more so than the "glamorous side" of shooting, lol.

            Every single successful photographer I know (including myself, and even part-time, as I do) has started off by building their skills first. Once they could nail the technical stuff, they started portfolio building (using friends and family for free). As they built their portfolio, they educated themselves on the business aspects. Once they had a solid portfolio and solid business knowledge, they were able to start a business.

            Please don't let undercharging and underserving bite you in the butt.
            Last edited by SusanH1970; 04-02-2011, 02:06 AM.
            Susan
            Mostly Canon stuff
            My Flickr
            Facebook - new photos always posted and always happy for new "likes"!
            Website going through an overhaul!

            Comment


            • #7
              I want to second the idea of knowing the business side. I have been in business for about 11 years and I would advise reading as much as you can about starting a business as well as requirements for any permits, licensing, insurance etc.. How are you going to setup the business (ie. S Corp, C Corp, Sole Proprietor, LLC) . You will quickly find that at $50.00/Session you have to do many sessions per day just to break even.
              Nikon D90, D300, Nikkor 50 F1.4, Nikkor 70-200 VR F2.8, Tokina 100 Macro F2.8, Tokina 11-16 F2.8, Nikkor 10.5 Fisheye, Nikkor 18-200 VR F3.5/5.6, Nikkor 80-400 F4.5/5.6, SB600, Manfrotto T-Pod

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              • #8
                Originally posted by timlaug View Post
                I want to second the idea of knowing the business side. I have been in business for about 11 years and I would advise reading as much as you can about starting a business as well as requirements for any permits, licensing, insurance etc.. How are you going to setup the business (ie. S Corp, C Corp, Sole Proprietor, LLC) . You will quickly find that at $50.00/Session you have to do many sessions per day just to break even.
                I agree with that. Do you have a professional printing company for your work? Do you have a post-processing program that you know how to use and can use it well?

                I looked through your profile and to be honest there wasn't an image in there that made me want to hire you for your services. I think you can get there, but you need to practice, practice, practice and build your skills before you start charging people. I've been shooting with my current camera for almost 3 years and only did a shoot I was paid for about two weeks ago.
                Canon 450D
                Canon 18-55mm | Canon 10-22mm | Canon 70-300mm | Canon 50mm

                "A true photograph need not be explained, nor can it be contained in words." - Ansel Adams

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                • #9
                  As far as "why" someone may not hire you based on your online portfolio, let me share my personal opinion. This may differ from the others on here, but here's my two cents:

                  1. Almost every photo has some sort of special effect... vignetting, b&w with one element in color, sepia, border, text, collage... it comes across as though you NEED these special effects to bring your photos to life. I sometimes get carried away with special effects, but find my strongest pictures are the ones that can stand on their own - without edits beyond white balance tweaking, exposure fixes, levels...

                  If you don't feel confident about a picture without any of these effects, then it's time to take more pictures because something is lacking. Is there a distracting background (in one picture of a child, I noticed a car in the background in spite of the special effects and it's all I could focus on)? How is the angle of the shot? How does your subject relate to his or her surroundings? I see a lot of potential, so keep on keeping on until you are satisfied with non-doctored shots.

                  Lastly, the special effects that ARE used are basic, and sometimes come across less professional. Perhaps this is because we don't want special effects used for the sake of using them, but to enhance an image and increase its impact. If all we notice is the special effect and not the image itself, it isn't doing its job right. It is all in the subtleties. For example, I like an occasional vignette for a photo, but like it to just barely darken the corners for a subtle framing... not create a full oval around my image. Use these effects in moderation and only to create that WOW! factor (meaning not on every image, but only on particular images that really benefit from such an enhancement).


                  Don't ever be discouraged. This is your passion, so carry that with you as you find the willpower to continue to strengthen your abilities. As your skills improve, you'll find much less need for those effects as the images will speak volumes on their own.

                  Good luck!!
                  Last edited by missclareski; 04-03-2011, 02:47 AM.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I really appreciate all of you taking the time to reply to this thread.

                    Sometimes hearing the truth really packs a sting. Even a well intended constructive criticism hurts lol.

                    I know that I am only a newbie when it comes to photography. Although I've always had a camera in my hand, this is all pretty new to me. I've never taken a photography class. Everything I've learned, even editing, has been self taught. I've watched a lot of youtube videos and done a lot of online research. Apparently, I need ALOT more.

                    The problem I have is this; friends and family. I love them and they love me. They all tell me what wonderful job I do and how much they love my pictures. I hear how wonderful they are. When the truth is, nobody criticizes anything that I do. I too found that a bit suspicious. Everyone said I should charge. My gut told me, it's too soon. See there is an example of listen to your gut! Well, that's partly why I posted here too. So many of you are professional photographers who do this day in and day out. I've taken the time to look at the links that several of you have provided in your signatures of your work. I'm floored. That's where I want to be. I really admire you all.

                    And I look at the pictures and notice something, there's no vignetteís in every pictures of special effects. (Although I do still like some special effects). The ones that I love the most are the simplest ones. That's what I love.

                    So, for me it's about finding balance and doing more research on lighting and composition. I did a maternity shoot today and as I was reviewing my images I found a lot of things that I need to work on. Nobody had to point them out to me, I just see them. I suppose in a way that is why I do so much editing. I see imperfections with the way the shot was done and I try to correct it... um, overcorrect it. lol.

                    Anyway, someone mentioned a professional lab. What lab do you suggest? I have searched online and found one in particular, but I can't figure out their ROES system. It's called Nations Photo Lab - Professional Photo Printing and Digital Photo Finishing Services Online . What lab (s) do you use to print in? Thus far the pictures I've had printed were for myself and I just had them printed at Wal Mart. Eventually, when I get to the point of selling my work, I definitely do not want to use Wal Mart. They do not sell professional quality prints.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      As far as professional printing choices, I went with White House Custom Color. I know Color Inc is another lab that people use. I know WHCC uses ROES and I'm pretty sure that Color Inc does too. I love White House Custom Color, the customer service is amazing and I've never had a problem with my prints I've ordered from them.
                      Canon 450D
                      Canon 18-55mm | Canon 10-22mm | Canon 70-300mm | Canon 50mm

                      "A true photograph need not be explained, nor can it be contained in words." - Ansel Adams

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        tknapp84

                        I have been a member of this forum since 2008. I have seen a ton of these exact posts. I commend you on the ability to listen and receive criticism, even when its not what you want to hear.

                        I would say the majority of the people on this forum looking to start charging for pictures fall into the same category as you. They have a consumer DSLR which automatically takes better pictures then a point and shoot. Next thing they know they have friends and family raving about how great their pictures are. Then they start telling them that they could charge for their services. Then those people come on here and get some real un-biased feed back on there work. Usually two things happen.

                        One the people get offended and mad, because everyone is being mean to them, those people usually donít stick around for long, and I would be willing to bet that they are no longer trying to charge for there prints. Or they listen and learn and become better photographers. Eventually becoming established and even making some money.

                        I am not a professional. So my opinion may or may not count as much. I donít charge for portrait sessions, I also donít do portrait sessions for strangers. When friends want me to shoot for them, I trade them dinner for prints. It has helped me become confident in my ability so shoot portraits, and helped build a portfolio for when I retire from the Military, and then go pro.

                        There are some great people on this forum, they may give you advice that you donít want to hear, and it may come across as mean but they are not jerks. They just see a lot of the exact same thing over and over. People like the two Jim's, Maxharvard, SusanH, jdepould, Sime, and countless others offer great advice on a daily basis. My post count may not be high, but I have read these forums almost daily for three years. The people here can help if you want to listen.

                        And if you are thin skinned you can always PM people for a private critique.

                        jojo
                        D3s, D700, 14-24mm f2.8, 24-70mm f2.8, 70-200mm f2.8 VR II, 85mm f1.4, 50mm f1.8, 24-120mm f3.5-5.6, 60mm f2.8 macro, SB-900, SB-800, SB600

                        my blog www.joeldavidsonphotography.com
                        my flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/68233716@N00/

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by missclareski View Post
                          As far as "why" someone may not hire you based on your online portfolio, let me share my personal opinion. This may differ from the others on here, but here's my two cents:

                          1. Almost every photo has some sort of special effect... vignetting, b&w with one element in color, sepia, border, text, collage... it comes across as though you NEED these special effects to bring your photos to life. I sometimes get carried away with special effects, but find my strongest pictures are the ones that can stand on their own - without edits beyond white balance tweaking, exposure fixes, levels...

                          If you don't feel confident about a picture without any of these effects, then it's time to take more pictures because something is lacking. Is there a distracting background (in one picture of a child, I noticed a car in the background in spite of the special effects and it's all I could focus on)? How is the angle of the shot? How does your subject relate to his or her surroundings? I see a lot of potential, so keep on keeping on until you are satisfied with non-doctored shots.

                          Lastly, the special effects that ARE used are basic, and sometimes come across less professional. Perhaps this is because we don't want special effects used for the sake of using them, but to enhance an image and increase its impact. If all we notice is the special effect and not the image itself, it isn't doing its job right. It is all in the subtleties. For example, I like an occasional vignette for a photo, but like it to just barely darken the corners for a subtle framing... not create a full oval around my image. Use these effects in moderation and only to create that WOW! factor (meaning not on every image, but only on particular images that really benefit from such an enhancement).

                          Don't ever be discouraged. This is your passion, so carry that with you as you find the willpower to continue to strengthen your abilities. As your skills improve, you'll find much less need for those effects as the images will speak volumes on their own.

                          Good luck!!
                          +1 on the above

                          And ...

                          You mention your portfolio is mostly landscapes and portraits. If I'm looking for a portrait photographer, I don't care about your landscapes and if I'm looking for a landscape print for my wall, I don't care about your portraits. You might consider separating them into different businesses or at least find a way to separate them better on your site. When I first got into digital photography, I shot a picture of pretty much everything that found itself in front of me. Now, just four years later, I shoot mostly storms and dogs with an occasional sporting event. If I were to step into business, I would take photographs of dogs, in action mostly, and do storms and sports just for fun. In other words, I would specialize. On that topic, you might find this series of critiques by Zack Arias to be quite enlightening. They were for me ...

                          ? Critique • Photography By Zack Arias ? ATL ? 404-939-2263 ? studio@zackarias.com

                          Looking at your work and ignoring all the effects, you do have a better than average eye for photography. You noted that you are rather critical of your own work and I think that is a big plus for moving forward in the arts. Stick with it and learn and practice. It might just lead you to something special.
                          Canon 50d, 17-55mm f/2.8, 60mm 2.8, 70-200mm f/2.8, 300mm f/4, and couple of speedlights
                          Flickr

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by jojonac View Post
                            tknapp84

                            I have been a member of this forum since 2008. I have seen a ton of these exact posts. I commend you on the ability to listen and receive criticism, even when its not what you want to hear.

                            I would say the majority of the people on this forum looking to start charging for pictures fall into the same category as you. They have a consumer DSLR which automatically takes better pictures then a point and shoot. Next thing they know they have friends and family raving about how great their pictures are. Then they start telling them that they could charge for their services. Then those people come on here and get some real un-biased feed back on there work. Usually two things happen.

                            One the people get offended and mad, because everyone is being mean to them, those people usually donít stick around for long, and I would be willing to bet that they are no longer trying to charge for there prints. Or they listen and learn and become better photographers. Eventually becoming established and even making some money.

                            I am not a professional. So my opinion may or may not count as much. I donít charge for portrait sessions, I also donít do portrait sessions for strangers. When friends want me to shoot for them, I trade them dinner for prints. It has helped me become confident in my ability so shoot portraits, and helped build a portfolio for when I retire from the Military, and then go pro.

                            There are some great people on this forum, they may give you advice that you donít want to hear, and it may come across as mean but they are not jerks. They just see a lot of the exact same thing over and over. People like the two Jim's, Maxharvard, SusanH, jdepould, Sime, and countless others offer great advice on a daily basis. My post count may not be high, but I have read these forums almost daily for three years. The people here can help if you want to listen.

                            And if you are thin skinned you can always PM people for a private critique.

                            jojo
                            What a lovely reply!

                            I've been taking photos since I was knee high to an ant and all my family and friends have always raved about how awesome they think my photos are and that I should charge extortionate rates for the privalege of my photos but really and truly my gut instinct has always been that I am "not good enough" and so when I joined this site and uploaded my photos to SYS I got 0 replies quite a few times over so that really confirmed that that I was right and family and friends were wrong!

                            However, it hasn't put me off at all as I am here for the long haul and quite alot of people here have been just so helpful answering some quite dumb questions.

                            I went to the library today and came away with a whole stack of reading matter and right now I am reading "Digital Photography Lighting for Dummies". It's easy to read and easy for my non-technical brain to process the non-jargonised text!

                            Head off to your local library. You may be surprised by what you will find!

                            Enjoy the photographic journey
                            http://www.flickr.com/photos/rachelgingell/

                            "Do not wait, the time will never be just right. Start where you stand and work with whatever tools you may have at your command, and better tools will be found as you go along" - Napoleon Hill

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