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05-07-2011, 06:27 PM   #1
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Elusive 1st portrait client and wedding inquiries...

I have been advertising on social networks and in a local service newspaper for a few months now. I am branching out from my nature and sports fields into portraiture. Now that I've decided to go from free hobby portraits to paid professional portraits the phone has stopped ringing, for portraits anyway. I have turned down three weddings so far and have a fourth on the line. Do I with no wedding experience keep turning down or bite the bullet and take the job?


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05-07-2011, 07:36 PM   #2
Ash
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G'day mate.
The real question is, do you want to go down that road at all?
You're already doing portraiture, and confidence in your work is very important in streaming laterally into wedding photography. There's certainly more to weddings than just portraits, and you will be under less controlled situations to get the results you need, but you do have to work around that.

If you're keen, you need to start somewhere. And with your current kit, you've got most things covered with the two fast Sigmas, two bodies and flash (but having two flashes, at least one being a swivel-capable flash is a must IMO). Portable lighting modifiers are also important and lots of batteries.

But in the end, you must know for yourself whether you're ready for it or not. There is no substitute for experience, and getting a few under your belt under no pressure (i.e. unpaid) would go a long way into building your confidence as well as your portfolio.

All the best in your decisions.

Last edited by Ash; 05-08-2011 at 03:24 AM.
05-07-2011, 08:36 PM - 1 Like   #3
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I did a wedding for a friend about a year or so ago. I was paid and keep things simple as per the instructions of the friends. It was the first one I have done in a long time. I recommend that you try a few to get the feel for it. With a wedding your potrait skills will come but you have to plan for things like weather. Having some form of backup plan is important. One thing to consider is that not all things will work out as planned. Just do the best you can do to see that the pictures that are expected are done. You have the equipment, all you need is the experience now to gage where you strengths and weaknss are.

This will help you out by having some sample pictures to show future customers what you can do. The important part of the job is working smoothly with people in a confident manner for the various pictures needed. Having a strong plan as to when each picture will be taken and the type of sett-up needed to complete the job. Try to keep it as smooth running as possible and be the boss in these conditions. Family members like to try to cut in on your place. I had someone from the family act as a moderator to help keep the family from getting too close to to my work place. Once I was done the family can come in but watch that they are not doing to much like what you are getting in the formal shots.

Once you get a feel for what is going on, you feel a bit better on future jobs. Just remember to get a good idea of what to charge. Do not go cheap. You have to cover the cost of things you would not really think about. I would recommend taking a basic business course to cover the basics of your business. This is just like learning the basics of picture taking if you are see any long term growth with the picture taking for profit.
05-07-2011, 10:58 PM   #4
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The problem with making a living with portrait photography is potential customers can go someplace like K-mart and get OK portraits really cheap. It's hard to compete when most of your customer base want it cheap. You will need to provide something unique or value-added. School portraits can be a good start, but you need to be portable and go to the school. If you want the clients to come to your studio, advertise for Senior Portraits. Use these to build your reputation. Once established, add other types of portraits to your advertising--family, anniversary, engagement, etc.

05-18-2011, 08:09 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by AOShep Quote
The problem with making a living with portrait photography is potential customers can go someplace like K-mart and get OK portraits really cheap. It's hard to compete when most of your customer base want it cheap. You will need to provide something unique or value-added. School portraits can be a good start, but you need to be portable and go to the school. If you want the clients to come to your studio, advertise for Senior Portraits. Use these to build your reputation. Once established, add other types of portraits to your advertising--family, anniversary, engagement, etc.

That's the plan right now I'm completely portable. I do not have a studio set up most of my engagements are in the clients home or in a disclosed public location.
05-19-2011, 02:08 AM   #6
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I've shot two weddings and I have less gear than you. However I didn't shoot either of them on my own. I would really advise that you get some second shooting experience under your belt before doing weddings on your own.
05-19-2011, 02:21 AM   #7
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You have enough to get started, just bite the bullet and shoot your first, all wedding photographers have to do it sooner all later, you will know when your ready.

I did my first wedding last month, it was great fun. You can see a handfull of shots in my flickr link in my sig.
05-19-2011, 02:29 AM   #8
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Now that you have PS CS5, you also are well set up for the PP side of your work.

05-19-2011, 02:32 AM   #9
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Gorgeous shots Tougefc
05-19-2011, 03:53 AM   #10
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Thanks Nicole
05-19-2011, 04:04 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by ChallengedOne Quote
paid professional portraits the phone has stopped ringing
The mention of money often has that effect, stick to your guns because at the end of the day you still need to eat.

As for doing wedding work, it's really only a question you can answer, it's a tough gig and don't let others tell you otherwise, you do work hard for your money.

It's not something I've ever got into, thankfully, but that's just me.

Stay lucky.
05-22-2011, 06:06 AM   #12
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my wife and I are doing a wedding this fall and everytime I go to the book store I read this book (plan on buying it soon)

Amazon.com: Captured by the Light: The Essential Guide to Creating Extraordinary Wedding Photography (9780321646873): David Ziser: Books

It has some very useful technics and is very easy to understand

good luck
05-23-2011, 12:07 AM   #13
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I'd go in apprentice mode, as a backup to someone else if at all possible. Weddings are touchy if you're not confident yet, given the fact that you can't really ask people to "strike that pose again, please, I wasn't ready"

Good luck on this endeavor and I wish you all the very best
05-23-2011, 01:01 AM   #14
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At first I read the thread subject as Elusive 1st portrait client and wedding injuries and I was quite intrigued. Something about photographic quacks and ambulance-chasing lawyers?

Yes, work as an apprentice to gain experience on actual wedding shoots. My career and life might have been quite different had I apprenticed before attempting a (disastrous) shoot long ago. HINT: Never shoot your boss's daughter's wedding unprepared.
05-23-2011, 02:59 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote
At first I read the thread subject as Elusive 1st portrait client and wedding injuries and I was quite intrigued. Something about photographic quacks and ambulance-chasing lawyers?

Yes, work as an apprentice to gain experience on actual wedding shoots. My career and life might have been quite different had I apprenticed before attempting a (disastrous) shoot long ago. HINT: Never shoot your boss's daughter's wedding unprepared.
Oh my... I would love to hear that story
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