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10-10-2010, 06:59 AM   #1
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Advice requested: Are my photos good enough to charge for?

Hi all

where I live is a rural area the population for my town is under 20,000 and the big city across the river and the neighbouring one have in total about 85,000 , and there is a demand for photographers .

I have been off work for a few months due to PTSD , and threw myself into the photography as a catharsis , and I think my pictures have improved enough that I could possibly start doing gigs locally here.

SO....... Im sort of putting myself out here, but if you could look at my flickr page and see what you thought I would appreciate it

2 things to consider however

1: I am still getting paid full salary until december, so money isnt a problem and even after then Ill be on 70% pay for up to 2 years

2: this is what people pay for up here , and this lady is in big demand!!

Tanya Everett Photography

My intent wasnt to put down her skills, but I am sure my shots can be as good as hers if not better


thanks in advance


Last edited by dude163; 10-10-2010 at 08:46 AM.
10-10-2010, 07:01 AM   #2
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Oh I forgot, the main impetus for this was, I submitted a photo to one of our national newspapers and its used this weekend for their ad for Thanksgiving themed pics , its even on the front page of their website

Share your photos on the theme of Thanksgiving - The Globe and Mail
10-10-2010, 07:54 AM   #3
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I'm a very amateurish photographer only for my own joy. Thus my opinion might be very wrong.

IMHO when talking about photography as business, i don't think it's about how good it is. It is about what sells and what you're able to deliver.

This means you need to be good technically. Able to make clear, sharp images. Know how to set up lights to achieve any effect required.
Be able to reproduce exactly what client requests, or come up with your own ideas.
Return results (prints, CD's) in time (clients will not want to know that you were busy in your other work). Know how to work with all kinds of people - creative, nice and open models, shy persons that don't know what they want, fast moving kids. How to avoid and deal with unfair customers.
10-10-2010, 08:05 AM   #4
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Being a successful professional photographer is more about marketing than taking pics. Takes a while to build up some business, so having a regular income helps through the lean beginnings. Your pics are good enough to sell if they sell--simple as that.
Sounds like yours are good enough, and you have confidence in them, so go for it.
You need, however, to have a thick skin and accept rejection well. Don't know how PTSD relates to that...dealing with people can be frustrating.

10-10-2010, 08:46 AM   #5
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Ron,
the PTSD is under control, and luckily Im outgoing and I talk for a living, and on top of that, being an Air Traffic Controller means I can be a dick on command

Just ask my wife !
10-10-2010, 08:51 AM   #6
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Given that you can market yourself successfully, and have the product that meets or exceeds your customer's expectations, then you are a professional.

The other aspect of being in business for yourself, is tight money management, so that you are able to survive the down periods in your business.

Good Luck!!!!!
10-10-2010, 02:47 PM   #7
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Well, did you make the newspaper pay you for that image usage? If not, than no, your images aren't good enough to charge. Because no one is ever going to make that decision but you. Until you decide that your images are valuable, then they're not.

As for how good they are, the shot in the paper is a decent shot, but I would need to see a lot more than that to really judge. As for the competition, without being too mean, I would say that she certainly has some room to grow, before being at a level that I would consider suitable to begin professionalism. At the very least, her image are repetitive, but lack consistent quality. Repeatable quality is a huge part of being a pro photog. Lots of people can shoot for a year or two, and come away with 12-15 good shot and call it a portfolio. But it's far from representative of the quality of images that would come back from any given shoot that they are hired for.
10-10-2010, 02:55 PM   #8
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Formerly general Benson

these are my shots

Flickr: dude163's Photostream

( be gentle!!)

The paper hasnt paid me, because they are using it for the reader submission page, if it is selected for photo of he week, I believe you get paid then .

Thanks for the info though , I need to sit down and see how i am going to approach this as something marketable , instead of just thinking about it, I need to get off my ass and get the ball rolling!

10-13-2010, 08:48 AM   #9
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I think what I am going to do, is just chillax off work on the meds, and do poertait shots of friends and kids etc, and rely on word of mouth, and see what happens

thanks for all the advice/commenst

Robert
10-13-2010, 09:44 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by dude163 Quote
I think what I am going to do, is just chillax off work on the meds, and do poertait shots of friends and kids etc, and rely on word of mouth, and see what happens

thanks for all the advice/commenst

Robert
I think this is a good idea. Weddings can also be a good source of income. There's a big market for folks who want something better than Uncle Joe's pics of the wedding, but they can't quite afford to hire a specialist. However...be forewarned...hell hath no fury like a bride with bad wedding pics! lol
10-13-2010, 10:52 AM   #11
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A good approach.

To successfully market yourself as a paid photographer it will take many more months to develop the critical and basic skills for shooting in multiple environments.

The shots in your Flickr collection are pleasant enough, but lack demonstration of skills with indoor lighting, strobe use, and use of shadowing to create drama and depth. Most of the people shots are straight forward head shots. These may work for business cards and passports, but for events with emotion attached (like weddings) it helps to provide different and creative perspectives of faces and bodies.

I'd suggest you also practice shooting products; there's often a market for establishing and updating online catalogs, especially local jewelry and art objects. Things are more convenient to work with than people and will let you learn about lighting techniques in a more flexible manner.

I would also learn from the markets that the woman whose site you linked to is aiming for. After a quick looksee, she's a pretty decent sports shooter. More importantly she has a nice network of community-based clients. I'm sure that took a while to develop. That's as important of a skill as handing a camera.

M

QuoteOriginally posted by dude163 Quote
I think what I am going to do, is just chillax off work on the meds, and do poertait shots of friends and kids etc, and rely on word of mouth, and see what happens

thanks for all the advice/commenst

Robert
10-13-2010, 12:37 PM   #12
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Miguel, I agree with all that you said

( I bet you dont hear that often enough!)
10-14-2010, 07:23 PM   #13
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You have a great collection of photos. Too me, it looks like most your shots are straight of camera. I am not a fan of Photoshop but I if you look at a lot of successful photographers they use it to some degree. I use lightroom to do all my editing and I do keep it to a minimal but it can give you the extra pop you might see in others photos. I am no expert but try to figure out your target market, are you mainly going to be shooting sports, children, weddings…? I am in the same boat, I work a full time job and am trying to get to the point where I can shoot full time. I live in a town less than 20,000 and have a neighboring town 1 hour away with 80,000. Here is my site and good luck!
Captivated Studio | Wedding Photography
10-14-2010, 07:30 PM   #14
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I do a little PP , but its mostly cropping, then adjusting white balance and contrast for my old lenses , thats next on my list, I learned a few small tricks the last few days that should really help my photos pop , saying that, the engagement shots I took were a huge hit, but they were free so they couldnt complain , Like I said , Im going to relax a bit and enjoy my new lenses , ( well new to me) and see what comes my way)

thanks for the advice and comments!
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