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Thread: Entering the world of Photography + Biz

  1. #1

    Default Entering the world of Photography + Biz

    Hi all CSers,

    I am new to this forum as well as the world of photography. Like to share with you all about myself and gather some thoughts (pls feel free to share).

    1. Why I am entering photography
    -Main reason is that my wedding last year, we hired a photographer after shortlisting a few. Horrified at the results! yes it is shot with great clarity (probably he used a full frame DSLR) but it is lacking in so many aspects (no life, no feel, group shots -some pple not even looking at the camera). It was so badly done and I thought, even I have never used a DSLR, with a normal camera, I at least will ensure everyone looks at the camera before taking the shot right?
    -I enjoy seeing all the nice shots my cousin took for me during wedding. My cousin started photography and he didnt use very expensive stuff yet able to deliver (hes not being paid, he just took for us as his hobby). This was what inspired me to pick up photography. A hobbyist is able to deliver better than a "pro".
    -I have been "brother" or "best man" for at least 5 weddings and I really enjoyed all of them. I believe I want to be a wedding photographer because I enjoy the festivity and making sure the event is well run and the smiles, the joy, the laughter makes me fill a great sense of acheivement (though it was just being the best man or main organiser)

    2. Why I am thinking of getting into the photography biz
    -After 5 years of working (I am getting well paid in a big MNC now), I dont feel inspired anymore by corporate life. I have worked in a bank previously, to be honest, I am in finance only for the money as everyone tells me finance pays the best during my uni years, but i dread going to work and I dont feel passionate about work. I thought it is temporary or burnt out, so I switched job after 2 years, but after sometime, it all feels the same again.
    -Though I have no prior entrepreneur experience, I believe I have the commercial acumen to do business and I want to do a photography business as I have good control over what I can deliver. Finance, marketing part of things, I am very familar.

    3. What have I done?
    -Bought my first DSLR Canon 7D kit I. Also got a free nifty fifty EF50mm f/1.8 II that came along with it. So have started learning more about my camera etc. Started taking a few shots, and am happy that I am constantly improvely though a bit at a time as I still am working full time.
    -Started to research what is it like to start a photography biz

    4. Future plans
    -Continue to learn more about photography, gain experience (this part probably need you guys to advise)
    -Once I am ready, I will quit my job and go full time (serious, my wife supports ONLY if I am able to produce professional photos, she trusts my business acumen)

    What do you guys think? Am I out of my mind or too bold?

    Thankssssssssss

  2. #2

    Default Re: Entering the world of Photography + Biz

    Well, if you think you are sufficient in your business acumen, why don't you give us some breakdown on things that you need to do to get the business?

    To be entirely honest, from what you have posted, more or less, you are at your infancy state of photography (i could be wrong).

    Photography business is simple... Simply having a right product (Photography) and know where to market the product to and understand numbers.

    So if you can demonstrate that you know all 3 items above, I am sure that your business will be good.

    Hart

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Entering the world of Photography + Biz

    u r not out of ur mind or too bold. u just don't understand well in depth how things work as a wedding photographer. Its not longer a hobby , its a biz, which is not just purley to deliver good photo only. u need to know how to run a biz. For now, everything looks simple to u. Go Bride/groom house , take pic, edit, print, deliver. There are much much more things besides those.

    there are many people out there with the same thinking as u . go look at the Photography Services Directory forum .



    Quote Originally Posted by ninja1943 View Post
    Hi all CSers,

    I am new to this forum as well as the world of photography. Like to share with you all about myself and gather some thoughts (pls feel free to share).

    1. Why I am entering photography
    -Main reason is that my wedding last year, we hired a photographer after shortlisting a few. Horrified at the results! yes it is shot with great clarity (probably he used a full frame DSLR) but it is lacking in so many aspects (no life, no feel, group shots -some pple not even looking at the camera). It was so badly done and I thought, even I have never used a DSLR, with a normal camera, I at least will ensure everyone looks at the camera before taking the shot right?
    -I enjoy seeing all the nice shots my cousin took for me during wedding. My cousin started photography and he didnt use very expensive stuff yet able to deliver (hes not being paid, he just took for us as his hobby). This was what inspired me to pick up photography. A hobbyist is able to deliver better than a "pro".
    -I have been "brother" or "best man" for at least 5 weddings and I really enjoyed all of them. I believe I want to be a wedding photographer because I enjoy the festivity and making sure the event is well run and the smiles, the joy, the laughter makes me fill a great sense of acheivement (though it was just being the best man or main organiser)

    2. Why I am thinking of getting into the photography biz
    -After 5 years of working (I am getting well paid in a big MNC now), I dont feel inspired anymore by corporate life. I have worked in a bank previously, to be honest, I am in finance only for the money as everyone tells me finance pays the best during my uni years, but i dread going to work and I dont feel passionate about work. I thought it is temporary or burnt out, so I switched job after 2 years, but after sometime, it all feels the same again.
    -Though I have no prior entrepreneur experience, I believe I have the commercial acumen to do business and I want to do a photography business as I have good control over what I can deliver. Finance, marketing part of things, I am very familar.

    3. What have I done?
    -Bought my first DSLR Canon 7D kit I. Also got a free nifty fifty EF50mm f/1.8 II that came along with it. So have started learning more about my camera etc. Started taking a few shots, and am happy that I am constantly improvely though a bit at a time as I still am working full time.
    -Started to research what is it like to start a photography biz

    4. Future plans
    -Continue to learn more about photography, gain experience (this part probably need you guys to advise)
    -Once I am ready, I will quit my job and go full time (serious, my wife supports ONLY if I am able to produce professional photos, she trusts my business acumen)

    What do you guys think? Am I out of my mind or too bold?

    Thankssssssssss
    Last edited by Errz; 31st January 2012 at 10:27 PM.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Entering the world of Photography + Biz

    Am curious how did you select your wedding photographer in the first place. Based on price? Based on recommendation/referral from people who used him? Based on portfolio you seen? Based on advertisement?

    In wedding photography, there is a term: Uncle Bob, it is not localized slang, but a term understood worldwide in wedding photography circles. Your wedding photographer did not get good group shots probably exactly because your cousin is uncle bobbing him and interrupting his group shots.

    You are yet another one of the countless people who think its an easy job and want to jump into it. Many like you, just bought a camera recently and suddenly they are professional photographer. Follow Errz's link. and see, this is just a fraction of it. The horde is way larger. I think I mentioned somewhere before, my videographer partner's niece posted an ad trying to hire a wedding photographer on Services Wanted section of this forum, she received 100+ offers from wannabe photographers not very different from you.

    You got children? You ever seen young children imitating adults; ie talking the phone with an imaginary friend, cooking with plastic toys, etc. Photography same. Lots of camera buyers can't tell f stops from bus stops, are pretending to be professional old hands. Thats why they messed up people's weddings. Maybe you hired one of those for your own wedding back then? Now you are trying to do the same?

    Feeling burned out in the corporate world - yeah lotsa people feel the same. Till they realized self employment burn them even more.

    Most photography 'business' are not real business - simply just a self-employed job. A business can auto-pilot without your presence, you can sell it to someone else and it will still function totally. Very few could achieve that because fundamentally creative business models seldom work this way.

    Stay in your corporate job. Enjoy your hobby. Research all you want - you can start from reading the threads on the Photo Biz forum.


    Quote Originally Posted by ninja1943 View Post
    Hi all CSers,

    I am new to this forum as well as the world of photography. Like to share with you all about myself and gather some thoughts (pls feel free to share).

    1. Why I am entering photography
    -Main reason is that my wedding last year, we hired a photographer after shortlisting a few. Horrified at the results! yes it is shot with great clarity (probably he used a full frame DSLR) but it is lacking in so many aspects (no life, no feel, group shots -some pple not even looking at the camera). It was so badly done and I thought, even I have never used a DSLR, with a normal camera, I at least will ensure everyone looks at the camera before taking the shot right?
    -I enjoy seeing all the nice shots my cousin took for me during wedding. My cousin started photography and he didnt use very expensive stuff yet able to deliver (hes not being paid, he just took for us as his hobby). This was what inspired me to pick up photography. A hobbyist is able to deliver better than a "pro".
    -I have been "brother" or "best man" for at least 5 weddings and I really enjoyed all of them. I believe I want to be a wedding photographer because I enjoy the festivity and making sure the event is well run and the smiles, the joy, the laughter makes me fill a great sense of acheivement (though it was just being the best man or main organiser)

    2. Why I am thinking of getting into the photography biz
    -After 5 years of working (I am getting well paid in a big MNC now), I dont feel inspired anymore by corporate life. I have worked in a bank previously, to be honest, I am in finance only for the money as everyone tells me finance pays the best during my uni years, but i dread going to work and I dont feel passionate about work. I thought it is temporary or burnt out, so I switched job after 2 years, but after sometime, it all feels the same again.
    -Though I have no prior entrepreneur experience, I believe I have the commercial acumen to do business and I want to do a photography business as I have good control over what I can deliver. Finance, marketing part of things, I am very familar.

    3. What have I done?
    -Bought my first DSLR Canon 7D kit I. Also got a free nifty fifty EF50mm f/1.8 II that came along with it. So have started learning more about my camera etc. Started taking a few shots, and am happy that I am constantly improvely though a bit at a time as I still am working full time.
    -Started to research what is it like to start a photography biz

    4. Future plans
    -Continue to learn more about photography, gain experience (this part probably need you guys to advise)
    -Once I am ready, I will quit my job and go full time (serious, my wife supports ONLY if I am able to produce professional photos, she trusts my business acumen)

    What do you guys think? Am I out of my mind or too bold?

    Thankssssssssss
    Last edited by JasonB; 1st February 2012 at 12:06 AM.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Entering the world of Photography + Biz

    Quote Originally Posted by ninja1943 View Post
    Hi all CSers,

    4. Future plans
    -Continue to learn more about photography, gain experience (this part probably need you guys to advise)
    -Once I am ready, I will quit my job and go full time (serious, my wife supports ONLY if I am able to produce professional photos, she trusts my business acumen)

    What do you guys think? Am I out of my mind or too bold?

    Thankssssssssss
    I would suggest that you take as many courses or learn as much as you possibly can about the techniques and skills in the craft. You may also want to ask other photographers (if they are willing) to allow you to tag along on their jobs.

    But having said all of that, on a average it would take about 3 years or so to be where you could possibly want to be.

    I would also agree with Agetan that you could possibly be in your infancy state of photography and much more needs to be developed.

  6. #6
    Moderator catchlights's Avatar
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    Default Re: Entering the world of Photography + Biz

    in short, running a photography business is 20% photography, 80% business,
    the 20% photography segment is not mean you only need to know about 20% of photography, that is very wrong when most people thinking and doing, you need to be a 100% competent photographer before you can and should consider offering your service.

    when photographers are in business, if their skills is not up to par, you will see them like what you have hired for your wedding.

    when photographers are shooting for leisure, usually can shoot better especially they have no stress for what to shoot, no pressure of what to deliver, no rent to pay, no bills to settle, don't need to put food on the table, don't need to buy milk powder, got extra pocket money to buy new lenses.... etc.


    why don't you spend solid one or two years to be a competent photographer first, before you plan for next stage? because when you are in business, you will have no time for these already.


    btw, just to like you know, it is fun and pure passion when you are shooting for leisure, but shooting the something day in day out, you will think totally different after a year or two.
    only a small percentage of photographers will or able stay in business after 5years, you have to work very hard and very determined to stay, every cycle of economy downturn will put many many full time photographers out of business.
    Last edited by catchlights; 1st February 2012 at 09:21 AM.
    Shoot to Live, Live to Shoot
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  7. #7

    Default Re: Entering the world of Photography + Biz

    Quote Originally Posted by catchlights View Post
    btw, just to like you know, it is fun and pure passion when you are shooting for leisure, but shooting the something day in day out, you will think totally different after a year or two.
    only a small percentage of photographers will or able stay in business after 5years, you have to work very hard and very determined to stay, every cycle of economy downturn will put many many full time photographers out of business.
    This paragraph is gold.

    All pros starts with glowing fiery passion. All the passion is gone after you turn it into a job. Shooting day in day out, getting the same professional results, pros feel frustrated that they had not progress artistically for the past few years. Due to no time, same old subject genre, industry norm/pressure, and client/commercial requirement or simply taking the same thing for the 9638th time.

    Hobbyists shoot a nice pro looking photo and get surprised and pleased with themselves, plus some praise from friends they get the nice sweet feeling inside 'oh I am good, I can do this like a pro and better'. They get carried away and 'a light shines through among the clouds and land on their face and they almost feel like they found God and God had chosen them to be the gifted one for photography.' Yawn, we all got that old dream. Back to reality they forgot most of their photos are crap. Of course they forgot, coz in digital age they Deleted those only seconds after those were created! In film era the negatives are there as realistic reminder of humbleness and modesty

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Entering the world of Photography + Biz

    me 3yrs (Freelance)~ but out due to having additional member in my life. nothing beats spending time with daughter and watch her learn and grow.

    Quote Originally Posted by catchlights View Post
    btw, just to like you know, it is fun and pure passion when you are shooting for leisure, but shooting the something day in day out, you will think totally different after a year or two.
    only a small percentage of photographers will or able stay in business after 5years, you have to work very hard and very determined to stay, every cycle of economy downturn will put many many full time photographers out of business.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Entering the world of Photography + Biz

    Thanks all for your candid advice. Now I know that I am delusional, having imaginary friends to talk to and probably using plastic water bottle camera to shoot. =P (just kidding JasonB!)

    Do you guys have any good references or books or magazines to recommend that allows me to learn more about photography itself?

  10. #10
    Moderator catchlights's Avatar
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    Default Re: Entering the world of Photography + Biz

    Quote Originally Posted by ninja1943 View Post
    Thanks all for your candid advice. Now I know that I am delusional, having imaginary friends to talk to and probably using plastic water bottle camera to shoot. =P (just kidding JasonB!)

    Do you guys have any good references or books or magazines to recommend that allows me to learn more about photography itself?
    Bryan Peterson's photography books series, start with "Understanding Exposure".
    Shoot to Live, Live to Shoot
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  11. #11

    Default Re: Entering the world of Photography + Biz

    Quote Originally Posted by ninja1943 View Post
    Thanks all for your candid advice. Now I know that I am delusional, having imaginary friends to talk to and probably using plastic water bottle camera to shoot. =P (just kidding JasonB!)

    Do you guys have any good references or books or magazines to recommend that allows me to learn more about photography itself?

    The Scott kelby books are pretty good- The Digital Photography Book Series and His Photoshop/ Lightroom books are great as well.
    The Photographer's Eye: Composition and Design for Better Digital Photos by Michael Freeman is also quite good.

    Take your time and learn the ropes first, cos there's soo much to learn. That includes things not directly related to Photography, like buying the right monitor and calibrating it, choosing a good printer (for prints and books) and things like Art Direction and posing. Its easy when another photographer does the Art Direction and you just Tom Pang him and shoot, but when you are the one doing the Art Direction, trust me, you'll free the heat hahaa. U have to consider Background, Foreground, Posing, Lighting direction, depth of field etc. Whatever you do, just don't quit yet All the best.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Entering the world of Photography + Biz

    My ex-boss is the owner of a photo & video company. He is also someone who claims to have done in lot in the corporate world and possessing of business acumen. But for some reason(s) he just failed in managing people, money & resources. After a while we wondered what kind of acumen is he claiming to possess. Maybe he failed to or chose not to factor in the many differences in managing a corporate entity vs a small business.

    So yeah, keep a steady head on your shoulders and work hard.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Entering the world of Photography + Biz

    Wow JasonB, you don't really have much good things to say about starting out as a pro do you? Are you still doing photography?

  14. #14

    Default Re: Entering the world of Photography + Biz

    Quote Originally Posted by foxtwo View Post
    My ex-boss is the owner of a photo & video company. He is also someone who claims to have done in lot in the corporate world and possessing of business acumen. But for some reason(s) he just failed in managing people, money & resources. After a while we wondered what kind of acumen is he claiming to possess. Maybe he failed to or chose not to factor in the many differences in managing a corporate entity vs a small business.

    So yeah, keep a steady head on your shoulders and work hard.
    Thanks for your advice. Agree, managing small biz and working in a big corp is a total different ball game. Some skills set are portable while some are required to learn on the job. Definitely will work hard, have set realistic targets/expectations/goals and keep feet on the ground. Before know how to walk, must crawl first. So in terms of photography, I think i am just born, just opened my eyes. LOL.

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    Default Re: Entering the world of Photography + Biz

    Quote Originally Posted by ninja1943 View Post
    Thanks for your advice. Agree, managing small biz and working in a big corp is a total different ball game. Some skills set are portable while some are required to learn on the job. Definitely will work hard, have set realistic targets/expectations/goals and keep feet on the ground. Before know how to walk, must crawl first. So in terms of photography, I think i am just born, just opened my eyes. LOL.
    yeah... my ex-boss liked to "fly" a lot. His opinion was to strike whenever the opportunity was there, but for me and my colleagues we found out too late that the contract terms agreed with the client != the amount of work required & appropriate payment. So that's where the problem arises, the boss promised moon and sky while charging extremely "competitive" rates under the notion the client will call us again next time. Once you create the circle for cheap but good service, it's very hard to get out. Cheap but fair is a better deal for expansion. Commercial clients, unless they have regular work, takes a long long time to come back for the return service.

    Initially having a business man at the helm sounded grand, but a common direction and understanding is still important. I had thought it was possible to segregate business direction vs photography direction. Example he can lead the company in his envisioned course while we do our photography regardless but we found ourselves unhappy with each side's performance. So I left after a year.

    It's good that you take the chance to learn photography side, something my ex-boss never bothered much to do. Eventually you may be cease to be a 1-man show and recruit a small team to work under you. Which case you can put your past experience to bear.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Entering the world of Photography + Biz

    Pricing itself is a very difficult topic and deserves a great deal of our attention. Itself, it determines our revenue (not nett profit yet) and from there we work the numbers.

    Pricing also affects marketing strategy and positioning. If LV or Gucci now priced at S$1000 a bag instead of $3000 a bag due to passing costs to consumers as they saved money through moving production to another cheaper part of China or via technology, consumers MAY perceive it to be bad quality even though the quality is better. Thus, pricing must be dealt with great care, too low you will be perceived as bad quality, too high you got no one to buy. Where is the balance, it is your call on your market positioning, market competitiveness, consumer demand, general economic conditions, etc. Once price is set, perception and expectation is also set and that is very hard to change.

    Unfortunate to hear that your boss is quite detached from photography. I am of the belief that if one opens a restaurant, he must be able to cook first - as professional as possible and knows what is going on in the kitchen 100%. So to run a photography business, shop, self-employed whatever you call it, you must be proficient to a good level.

    Business skills and technical skills to me are equally important. A good chef doesnt make a good profitable restaurant. Technical skills form the basis and business skills provide the opportunity and avenue for profitability.

    A person who is only good in technical = hobbyist
    A person who is only good in business = bullshitting
    A person who is reasonably good in both = profitable
    Last edited by ninja1943; 1st February 2012 at 03:41 PM.

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    Default Re: Entering the world of Photography + Biz

    Quote Originally Posted by ninja1943 View Post
    Pricing itself is a very difficult topic and deserves a great deal of our attention. Itself, it determines our revenue (not nett profit yet) and from there we work the numbers.

    Pricing also affects marketing strategy and positioning. If LV or Gucci now priced at S$1000 a bag instead of $3000 a bag due to passing costs to consumers as they saved money through moving production to another cheaper part of China or via technology, consumers MAY perceive it to be bad quality even though the quality is better. Thus, pricing must be dealt with great care, too low you will be perceived as bad quality, too high you got no one to buy. Where is the balance, it is your call on your market positioning, market competitiveness, consumer demand, general economic conditions, etc. Once price is set, perception and expectation is also set and that is very hard to change.

    Unfortunate to hear that your boss is quite detached from photography. I am of the belief that if one opens a restaurant, he must be able to cook first - as professional as possible and knows what is going on in the kitchen 100%. So to run a photography business, shop, self-employed whatever you call it, you must be proficient to a good level.

    Business skills and technical skills to me are equally important. A good chef doesnt make a good profitable restaurant. Technical skills form the basis and business skills provide the opportunity and avenue for profitability.

    A person who is only good in technical = hobbyist
    A person who is only good in business = bullshitting
    A person who is reasonably good in both = profitable
    Well Said!!!

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    Default Re: Entering the world of Photography + Biz

    Quote Originally Posted by ninja1943 View Post
    Hi all CSers,

    I am new to this forum as well as the world of photography. Like to share with you all about myself and gather some thoughts (pls feel free to share).

    1. Why I am entering photography
    -Main reason is that my wedding last year, we hired a photographer after shortlisting a few. Horrified at the results! yes it is shot with great clarity (probably he used a full frame DSLR) but it is lacking in so many aspects (no life, no feel, group shots -some pple not even looking at the camera). It was so badly done and I thought, even I have never used a DSLR, with a normal camera, I at least will ensure everyone looks at the camera before taking the shot right?
    -I enjoy seeing all the nice shots my cousin took for me during wedding. My cousin started photography and he didnt use very expensive stuff yet able to deliver (hes not being paid, he just took for us as his hobby). This was what inspired me to pick up photography. A hobbyist is able to deliver better than a "pro".
    -I have been "brother" or "best man" for at least 5 weddings and I really enjoyed all of them. I believe I want to be a wedding photographer because I enjoy the festivity and making sure the event is well run and the smiles, the joy, the laughter makes me fill a great sense of acheivement (though it was just being the best man or main organiser)

    2. Why I am thinking of getting into the photography biz
    -After 5 years of working (I am getting well paid in a big MNC now), I dont feel inspired anymore by corporate life. I have worked in a bank previously, to be honest, I am in finance only for the money as everyone tells me finance pays the best during my uni years, but i dread going to work and I dont feel passionate about work. I thought it is temporary or burnt out, so I switched job after 2 years, but after sometime, it all feels the same again.
    -Though I have no prior entrepreneur experience, I believe I have the commercial acumen to do business and I want to do a photography business as I have good control over what I can deliver. Finance, marketing part of things, I am very familar.

    3. What have I done?
    -Bought my first DSLR Canon 7D kit I. Also got a free nifty fifty EF50mm f/1.8 II that came along with it. So have started learning more about my camera etc. Started taking a few shots, and am happy that I am constantly improvely though a bit at a time as I still am working full time.
    -Started to research what is it like to start a photography biz

    4. Future plans
    -Continue to learn more about photography, gain experience (this part probably need you guys to advise)
    -Once I am ready, I will quit my job and go full time (serious, my wife supports ONLY if I am able to produce professional photos, she trusts my business acumen)

    What do you guys think? Am I out of my mind or too bold?

    Thankssssssssss
    Read below 1st!

    You have your camera charged, and memory cards ready. You are getting ready to shoot your first wedding. You are sweating buckets because you are nervous, but you are excited for the opportunity. A new photographer who has had their camera for not even 5 months, you think you ready and prepared.

    You listed an ad for cheap wedding photography--$500 for all day coverage.

    You go to the wedding and you shoot. The day goes off without a hitch and you are loving this new "job"! The pictures on the back of the camera look awesome, and you can't wait to get home to edit the pictures!

    BUT

    The ball drops.

    You get home and download the images to find that there are NONE. The memory card that you shot the entire wedding on is corrupt. No images at all. This happened to me. I was a brand new photographer. I had my Nikon D70 for about 5 months, and wanted to start doing weddings. I listed an ad for cheap wedding photography, and found a couple that was willing to let me shoot their wedding. I was new and didn't know what I was doing, so we met up and talked about their wedding, and agreed I would shoot it for $500. No contract signed. No LLC to protect myself, nothing. There is no way that I would get sued, right? The bride and groom were super nice, and hey, he was a lawyer, so if we needed a contract he would have mentioned it, I figured.

    I took my camera, in P mode, with an 8gb card, and shot their entire wedding on one card. I couldn't wait to get home and see the images I saw on the back of my camera materialize in Photoshop. But instead, I got home and found that the card was toast. I had not 1 image from their wedding. I had to tell them that I had nothing. Talk about gut-wrenching. I knew I was going to give them their $500 back. That was all I planned on happening. Little did I know that my world was about to get rocked. I got sued. I had no LLC, I had no contract. Even worse, I had no insurance. Either I pay him what he was asking, or else we would end up in court, and I would have to pay an attorney, and that would cost even more. They sued me for the cost to rent new tux's, new makeup, and hair, new flowers, a new photographer, and other things. They sued me for enough to recreate parts of their wedding so the new photographer could take their pictures. It would have cost me more to fight it. They would be able to eventually put a lien against my house and more. I paid up. I paid almost $3,000 on top of refunding them their $500.

    I quit photography. It was my first wedding, and I was devastated. My heart was broken that this had happened.

    Over the next year, I practiced on my kids, and shot my friends kids, friends who were engaged...and just had fun. I learned my camera and abused it. I still had a passion for photography, but was gun shy and scared. I knew that there had to be a way to protect myself, but I had no idea. During that year, I did tons of research and I filed for an LLC. Even if I was going to be shooting my friends kids, I wanted to keep my personal assets like my house protected in a lawsuit. Then I met Rachel. I had decided to try one more time, but start with a free wedding. This time I had a contract. This time I shot the wedding on 4gb cards, in case something happened to one of them. This time I was an LLC. This time I had practiced for a year, and knew my camera. I was no longer in P mode, but in Manual mode. This time I had more then my kit lens to shoot with. Even with all those things in place, if someone sued me, I would still have to pay out. What if my gear broke? How would I replace it? I didn't have the money to just replace a camera if it broke. What if I tripped and fell and my camera broke? What if my cards went corrupt again? What if someone at the shoot got hurt by tripping over my gear or lightstands?

    I looked and looked and finally decided that if I was going to do this, I had to do it right and protect not only myself but MY FAMILY. That is when I got insurance. I decided to go with Package Choice through Hill & Usher. It was worth the small amount each month to have that peace of mind. I knew that if I got sued or something broke I would be protected. My family would be protected. In NO WAY am I saying that insurance is all you need. You need to have backups. You need to be prepared for the what ifs. You need a contract that lays things out, and protects not only you, but your bride and groom, or your portrait clients. Our contracts under promise and we over deliver. Our contracts lay out what they can expect from us. They lay out the time line on how long till they receive their images (which is always longer then we know it will take, but then you look like a rockstar when you get them out sooner then they expected), to what will happen if for some reason something happens to their images, or even if something happened to US on the way to a shoot!

    Going into the photography business can be risky and scary. It is not easy or cheap. And there are certain things that you just can not get away with not having. You need to protect yourself and your family. You need to know your camera and you need to know how to handle the what ifs. I was absolutely not prepared.

    PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE do NOT fall into the line of thinking that I fell into, thinking that it won't happen to you. I mean, you're most likely right that it will not happen to you.

    BUT

    What if you are that small percentage that it does happen to? What if you are not prepared?

    I wish I could go back and change so much of what I did. (It is a huge part of why we are as open as we are with Pure.) The bride and groom forever do not have pictures of their actual wedding day because I was unprepared and untrained. I should have second shot with people before I went out and shot this wedding. I had no idea what to expect during a wedding day. I barely knew my camera. It was NOT fair to use their wedding to practice. I should have been a second or third shooter for someone else and practiced there. I am not saying that this would not have still happened, but at least I would have known to not shoot an entire wedding on one memory card. I would have known to have a backup camera and lens, even if I had to rent them. I ONLY use 4GB cards now and shoot RAW, so if something like this was to happen again... I would only loose 100 images due to the large file size on my 5d mark ii. Plus Rachel and I shoot together, so we are backed-up both in images and in gear. We have back ups of back ups now.

    My point here is do NOT ever think that it won't happen to you. Because, as sad as I am to say it, at some point in your career, whether if you are new or seasoned, something will happen at some point. Something you did not anticipate. The difference can be in what you did to prevent it, and what you do to learn from it, and how you protected yourself and your family.
    Shoot what you like
    D200|D70|18-135|18-70|SB800

  19. #19
    Senior Member
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    Default

    One thing about honing ur skills for the first few years, petaining to wedding photography. If one does not have enough exposure to do wedding photography, how could he or she improve? I feel that one could only improve his photography skills to a certain level via shooting other genres of photography that does not need others to give you a chance to do so. How would one learn without actual practice in a real wedding?

    If any pro don't mind having a learning guy to tag along and be learnt from, please sign me up.
    Last edited by Cowseye; 1st February 2012 at 10:04 PM.
    Equipment: D800|D700|11-16|28-75|105 Micro VR|50 F1.4G|85 F1.8G
    Through the Lens of Cowseye

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Entering the world of Photography + Biz

    Quote Originally Posted by JasonB View Post
    This paragraph is gold.

    All pros starts with glowing fiery passion. All the passion is gone after you turn it into a job. Shooting day in day out, getting the same professional results, pros feel frustrated that they had not progress artistically for the past few years. Due to no time, same old subject genre, industry norm/pressure, and client/commercial requirement or simply taking the same thing for the 9638th time.

    Hobbyists shoot a nice pro looking photo and get surprised and pleased with themselves, plus some praise from friends they get the nice sweet feeling inside 'oh I am good, I can do this like a pro and better'. They get carried away and 'a light shines through among the clouds and land on their face and they almost feel like they found God and God had chosen them to be the gifted one for photography.' Yawn, we all got that old dream. Back to reality they forgot most of their photos are crap. Of course they forgot, coz in digital age they Deleted those only seconds after those were created! In film era the negatives are there as realistic reminder of humbleness and modesty
    Quote Originally Posted by house3377 View Post
    Wow JasonB, you don't really have much good things to say about starting out as a pro do you? Are you still doing photography?
    I have to second every simple thing that JasonB has mentioned. All pros started from the fiery passion that they once had, decided to give up their well paid stable work and plunge head-on into this "dream career" of theirs.
    After weeks/months of turning pro, shooting day in and out, you started to feel burnt-out, your fiery passion extinguished.

    Imagine you are a wedding photographer, you are good and price is reasonable, you know how to reach out to the market you are targeting, you get a great deal of assignments. Sounds good, you have an approximate of 80 wedding assignments every year, 20 commercial and corporate, you are shooting almost every weekends and in peak period almost every day. Soon, every wedding starts to look the same, every wedding become a routine. You are purely repeating every day. In days where you don't shoot, you need to edit and clear backlogs, and you are looking at sets of photos which looks the same every day. You don't feel excited or inspired about it anyone, you continue to accept assignment only for the money, you dread going for shoot and don't feel passionate about it anymore.

    And the whole cycle repeats itself.

    In short, please consider it carefully, doing photography as a full time is not as nice as it sounds

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