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Thread: how do i start out?

  1. #1

    Default how do i start out?

    hi guys,
    ive been doing photography for a short while.
    and ive been meaning to do it as a job.

    ive done freelance photography and
    taken a few assignments of events and other projects.
    but its only a few/mth.

    how shld i so called 'sell' my photography services?

    you can feel free to drop me a pm if you dun wanna post here.
    but pls let me know how a greenhorn can start out in this industry.
    thanks in advance!

  2. #2

    Default Re: how do i start out?

    Hi Chiatlard,

    Perhaps you can start off with how much are you aiming to earn per annum, say 40k? (can get credit card already ) 80k?

    Also a link to your portfolio would be nice. Its paramount for us to see your skills, as a matter of survivability.

  3. #3

    Default Re: how do i start out?

    There is no sure fire way to start a business whether it is photography or not. You can start off working freelance or part-time or work for another professional photographer's company or be an apprentice. Until more people know you, you can also show off your work in forums or start a blog or facebook or tweeter. Publicity is important and so is word of mouth.

    Get references form your friends is important. Treat all clients well and you will be rewarded with more when they refer you to their friends. Do not expect clients to start flooding you doorstep all of a sudden. Maybe at first 1 or 2 clients you will get in the first 6 months.

    People who start asking you about business plan or what is your target is being absurd. I am assuming that you will not know how to get your targets or your hopes as you have no prior experience to business.

    Asking here in forums which is flooded by professionals is not very intelligent as you are a potential competitor. It is like seeing a famous chicken rice stall in the hawker center and then walk up to the owner and ask him 'can you teach me how to cook chicken rice as good as you so that I can open another stall opposite yours?'

    See? No one will really teach you. There are people in this forum who will teach you if you pay for a course they offer. It is up to you to believe them or not. Be prepared to lose some money and if you do, do not be a sore loser. Just pick up the pieces and move on.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: how do i start out?

    Keep shooting events, build up your gear, skills & technique. Learn to manage your business along the way. Eventually will be exposed to other genres, either through your own intentions to branch from events or client asking. Keep building up. You need perseverance, make good photographer friends and get lucky breaks.

    Or you can try to learn from studios, likely as an assistant due to your lack of knowledge. From there eventually you might have the chance to promote to junior photographer. But you have to suffer the life of an assistant first. Depending on your maturity and age, you might make it.

    In CS and elsewhere, there are the professionals photographers we inspire to be and there are also the professional photographers who continue to make their living producing photos of quality not far off when they first started. They don't charge a lot and the clients do not ask for much. As long as they can get jobs and earn money here and there, they don't care so much about improving themselves.

    How are you going to price yourself while dealing with hacks like them? Are you going to undercut to get the deal? Or can you provide a better service while still able to command a slightly higher price? It's not easy at the bottom unless you have talent and get noticed. And clients usually are on the cheap side, especially because they are asking a freelancer. If they can't chop you there's plenty others who will let themselves be.

    Here we can give advice on how to walk the high road (who will teach the low road ) so which step you take is up to you. Ideals can't feed the stomach or bills.

    All the best.

    ps. maybe you can consider providing more information about yourself, age, family to support?, reasons for photography career, etc.

  5. #5

    Default Re: how do i start out?

    Quote Originally Posted by nex100 View Post
    People who start asking you about business plan or what is your target is being absurd.
    I think having a target ($$) is not absurd. A lot of the bros in weddings who are enterprising enough are noticing + saying that being a wedding photographer is good money. Say I take jobs of 1k minimum, get 70 jobs/yr and that's 70k. That's really not too bad for say a < 30 year old without a degree and silver spoon in the mouth. But some really do not believe when I tell them its not a bed of roses and they will 99.9% never hit 70k.
    It would be a really bad idea to quit his 50k per annum job then.

    Some really aim to have a high-life and want to earn as much as possible and they are willing to risk. 23-yrs old, can risk. 35-yrs old, better not.

    And besides, one can always run the incomes in parallel. Why not? Backups are always welcome in today's society.

    Just being practical and not bring false hopes to anyone.

  6. #6

    Default Re: how do i start out?

    Here is what I would suggest that you start out... All assume that you are provision with your craft.

    Here is what is in the nutshell...
    1. Define your market
    2. Register your business
    3. Market your business
    4. Creating niche of your own
    5. Focus on clients satisfaction
    6. Understand value vs price relationship
    7. Making a business plan - short, mid and long term.

    Until you know your target audience, you won't be able to market your service effectively. Without creating a niche, you won't be able to stand out and without having client satisfaction, you won't get referral and without understanding the value vs price equation you won't know how to price your work and without business plan, it is like walking in the dark.

    Different people have different ideas on what is professional photography for them.

    It is not difficult to have your work sell like a hotcake once you know the about equation.

    Let's face it, I knew all that before I "sell" my service and for the first 2 weeks of marketing my work, I was fully book for 6 months and the rest is history.

    Aiming at the target annual turn over can only be done if you really understand the business plan side and it is not absurb.

    I am quite happy that the above come natural for me hence, turn over 100k in my first year in Singapore was relatively easy. It is really simple once you understand how each items co-relate to each other.

    The biggest part of running a succesful business is the willingness and openness to learn and the willingness to apply what you have learn.

    If one is keep doing the same thing without result, if you do the same thing again, it will be the same. Don't expect miracle by doing wrong thing over and over.

    This is what to get your started.

    Once you started and business is coming, there are different strategies to aim for higher and aiming for higher end clients.

    Good luck with your venture.

    Regards,

    Hart

  7. #7

    Default Re: how do i start out?

    Quote Originally Posted by 2100 View Post
    Hi Chiatlard,

    Perhaps you can start off with how much are you aiming to earn per annum, say 40k? (can get credit card already ) 80k?

    Also a link to your portfolio would be nice. Its paramount for us to see your skills, as a matter of survivability.
    Hi 2100,
    My aim is getting ard 3-4k/mth.
    but i understand that this shldnt be possible when im just starting out.
    My flickr has expired so now i only have my facebook.
    http://www.facebook.com/chiatlard (not really the best url to market lol)
    ive opened up the privacy of some albums to public, let me know if u have any problems viewing them. thanks.
    let me know what you think of my pictures. All CnC are welcome. thanks.

    Quote Originally Posted by nex100 View Post
    There is no sure fire way to start a business whether it is photography or not. You can start off working freelance or part-time or work for another professional photographer's company or be an apprentice. Until more people know you, you can also show off your work in forums or start a blog or facebook or tweeter. Publicity is important and so is word of mouth.

    Get references form your friends is important. Treat all clients well and you will be rewarded with more when they refer you to their friends. Do not expect clients to start flooding you doorstep all of a sudden. Maybe at first 1 or 2 clients you will get in the first 6 months.

    People who start asking you about business plan or what is your target is being absurd. I am assuming that you will not know how to get your targets or your hopes as you have no prior experience to business.

    Asking here in forums which is flooded by professionals is not very intelligent as you are a potential competitor. It is like seeing a famous chicken rice stall in the hawker center and then walk up to the owner and ask him 'can you teach me how to cook chicken rice as good as you so that I can open another stall opposite yours?'

    See? No one will really teach you. There are people in this forum who will teach you if you pay for a course they offer. It is up to you to believe them or not. Be prepared to lose some money and if you do, do not be a sore loser. Just pick up the pieces and move on.
    hi nex100,
    i understand there's no sure fire way, im not asking for a formula here lol.
    while viral marketing, word of mouth and referrals are very useful, what im trying to find out is other tips and techniques of the trade, or if its my pictures thats really the problem..

    why i think ppl will teach me?
    maybe im naive, but im just openly being honest abt trying to learn bit by bit of this trade.
    and i know, that im no lao jiao who has some award winning pics, excellent clientele or wide network of contacts to back them up, so thats why i dont think im a threat to them.

    well thats just my 2 cents.
    but hey, i get your point of view.
    thx for your input.

    Quote Originally Posted by foxtwo View Post
    Keep shooting events, build up your gear, skills & technique. Learn to manage your business along the way. Eventually will be exposed to other genres, either through your own intentions to branch from events or client asking. Keep building up. You need perseverance, make good photographer friends and get lucky breaks.

    Or you can try to learn from studios, likely as an assistant due to your lack of knowledge. From there eventually you might have the chance to promote to junior photographer. But you have to suffer the life of an assistant first. Depending on your maturity and age, you might make it.

    In CS and elsewhere, there are the professionals photographers we inspire to be and there are also the professional photographers who continue to make their living producing photos of quality not far off when they first started. They don't charge a lot and the clients do not ask for much. As long as they can get jobs and earn money here and there, they don't care so much about improving themselves.

    How are you going to price yourself while dealing with hacks like them? Are you going to undercut to get the deal? Or can you provide a better service while still able to command a slightly higher price? It's not easy at the bottom unless you have talent and get noticed. And clients usually are on the cheap side, especially because they are asking a freelancer. If they can't chop you there's plenty others who will let themselves be.

    Here we can give advice on how to walk the high road (who will teach the low road ) so which step you take is up to you. Ideals can't feed the stomach or bills.

    All the best.

    ps. maybe you can consider providing more information about yourself, age, family to support?, reasons for photography career, etc.
    hey foxtwo,
    that is actually the path im taking now, trying to do events and see how it goes.
    but how much should i really charge from the looks of my portfolio? click here

    and i was contemplating on being an intern in some media company, but im not sure if i'd really be able to shoot events alongside the main photographer or i'd just remain in the office to do his 'admin work'.

    and yes i guess i have to charge lower first and clock up more projects before slowly increasing my rate (and i need to get some wow shots and of course consistency before i do that).

    Im actually 22 going on 23 this year.
    my parents are self sufficient, i think, but when im making money, id have to contribute something at least.
    im trying to scrimp and save n survive with whatever income i get from this.
    not a ah sia kia definitely.

    well i was trying out photography as my interest and
    my family n friends have asked me to try it out as a career,
    so while my friends of similar age are getting degrees of their choice or just any tom dick and harry degree to fit the sg system,
    i thought hey why not try this out?
    i hope i provided enough information,
    thanks for the advice!

  8. #8
    Senior Member
    Join Date
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    singapore
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    Default Re: how do i start out?

    hey foxtwo,
    that is actually the path im taking now, trying to do events and see how it goes.
    but how much should i really charge from the looks of my portfolio? click here

    and i was contemplating on being an intern in some media company, but im not sure if i'd really be able to shoot events alongside the main photographer or i'd just remain in the office to do his 'admin work'.

    and yes i guess i have to charge lower first and clock up more projects before slowly increasing my rate (and i need to get some wow shots and of course consistency before i do that).

    Im actually 22 going on 23 this year.
    my parents are self sufficient, i think, but when im making money, id have to contribute something at least.
    im trying to scrimp and save n survive with whatever income i get from this.
    not a ah sia kia definitely.

    well i was trying out photography as my interest and
    my family n friends have asked me to try it out as a career,
    so while my friends of similar age are getting degrees of their choice or just any tom dick and harry degree to fit the sg system,
    i thought hey why not try this out?
    i hope i provided enough information,
    thanks for the advice!
    Don't expect to shoot as an assistant, definitely not as an intern. If the company does send you out on jobs, make sure the terms are satisfactory and not to your disadvantage.

    Intern will encounter paperwork for sure. Assistant you can expect to roll wires and sweep floor. You thinking is totally wrong if you expect to do photography there. It's all about learning and picking up skills on the side while doing sai kang.

    I can't view your album but searched some old photo threads of yours. You need a lot more knowledge in techniques and skills before I would even ask you to handle a simple shoot. You don't just have to meet your expectations, you have to meet the photographer's expectations. Only once they have confidence in you will you be allowed to touch a camera, their reputation with the client is at stake here.

    I was assisting for a solid year before I touched a camera out on a job. But I levelled up on lighting and PS techniques in the meanwhile. So if you don't have the passion to stay in then it's better to have a safety net. It's unusual that your family would suggest a photography career, but they don't know what it takes. Make sure you do.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: how do i start out?

    I am in the same situation one year back. Thinking and trying very hard to make ends meet every month through photography.

    There is no easy path, every step made is through plenty of hard work and it sure get a little demoralizing along the way.

    The first 6 months is enough to kill, to be very frank, i only get 2-3 assignments for my first 6 months (earn less than 1k in my first 6 mths). Even though i got a little lucky after that and earn a substantial amount of money to feed myself and contribute a little to my parent every mth, i still think that being a full time photographer is very very tough.

    Maybe i could share at what i did previously.

    1. It's good if you have a decent portfolios showing a variety of assignments that you have covered.
    Well if you don't (like my case previously), what i did is to try to take every single assignments that i can find. Of course at minimum sum of money to at least cover your transport and meal. In one way or another, it a.) builds your portfolios, b.) builds your confidence, skills and experience, c.) builds your network (provided that you don't screw things out). Even if you did, which i still do currently (honestly, who doesnt make mistake), learn from it and get out of that **** mood ASAP.

    2. Try your very very best to meet nice people from the area which you wish to venture. For example if you will like to be an event photographer, meet people from that area, event planner, videographer, other photographers. Build a nice relationship with them, you never know when they going to give you that ONLY CHANCE!

    3. Believe in the Power of Leverage, learn and sign up courses workshop from the best and experienced people out there. There are plenty of workshop and courses in clubsnap.
    Be inspired by all the masters in the field. Being inspired everyday is the only thing that kept me moving.
    These course not only enable you to gain knowledge but also build networks between other photographer. Note that being skillful is never enough, network and marketing are equally important.

    4. Save up whatever you can and spend them wisely on equipments. I started with a 40D and 17-55mm. Now i have 2 5Ds and a handful L lenses. (not really impressive but that's what i dreamt of the previous year).

    5. If you have excess cash, spend them to build on a decent website/blog (HTML/FLASH). First impression strikes! Continue to work on it and build it along the way.

    6. Continue to work hard and improve yourself.

    7. Network network and network.

    It has been a year for me. I have been earning enough to feed myself, buy myself some nice clothes, watch movie with my friends.

    After that, errr....i still learning, experimenting and trying.....i shall update you the following year....hahaa

    Hope that helps

    eRic
    Last edited by Teegongkia; 26th January 2011 at 07:44 PM.

  10. #10

    Default Re: how do i start out?

    Quote Originally Posted by Teegongkia View Post
    I am in the same situation one year back. Thinking and trying very hard to make ends meet every month through photography.

    There is no easy path, every step made is through plenty of hard work and it sure get a little demoralizing along the way.

    The first 6 months is enough to kill, to be very frank, i only get 2-3 assignments for my first 6 months (earn less than 1k in my first 6 mths). Even though i got a little lucky after that and earn a substantial amount of money to feed myself and contribute a little to my parent every mth, i still think that being a full time photographer is very very tough.
    Hi Eric,

    Have a quick look on your website... work is great.

    Perhaps, you might want to share how you "got lucky" after 6 months?.

    Many people started out too "quickly" without any planning and without any idea what they want.

    People don't even think doing it legally is an important start... if you go out and tell people to hand money over, well, isn't it just to give them invoice and receipt? that shows people your commitment. otherwise, one would be "just another guy with camera that sells their work".

    Here is a link of one of my favorite photographer...

    Advice

    If you learn it well... you will gain a lot...

    Good luck.

    Regards,

    Hart

  11. #11
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    Default Re: how do i start out?

    Thanks Hart

    Great advice!

    "- Style is a voice, not a prop or an action. If you can buy it, borrow it, download it, or steal it, it is not a style. Don’t look outward for your style; look inward."

    Very good advice, bookmark that link!

    ----

    How do i get lucky?

    I am one who strongly believe that opportunity comes and goes. You never know when it comes. So keeping that in mind, i decide to work out a portfolio of my own, showcasing some of the work that i did.

    The question that i had in mind previously is "But how am i going to find people to let me shoot?"

    I knew that i do have a (yes 1) videographer friend who shoot events. Volunteering my services as ASSISTANT videographer (not photographer but is videographer) give me the opportunity. Basically what my friend expected from me is pretty simple, i need to pack, carry, set up, mount the videocam and press the record button to document the whole event and he will pay me a nice sum of S$50.00.

    While recording, i will pick up my dslr and starting clicking on it.
    ~~*Building my portfolios*

    After a few S$50.00 weddings, I have built myself a decent "noobie" portfolios. There comes my very first opportunity, my vg friend recommended me to a client and with that noobie portfolios, i showcased it to them. There started my very first paid assignment as the photographer. After that, word of mouth and recommendation slowly brings me more works.
    And i continue to build my noobie portfolios, and with better works, i am able to draw more clients and the whole cycle repeats itself.

    Even up to now, i am still building my decent noobie portolios, its a never ending cycle.

    The rest will be following the sequence that i had wrote previously.

    eRic
    Last edited by Teegongkia; 26th January 2011 at 07:43 PM.

  12. #12

    Default Re: how do i start out?

    Quote Originally Posted by Teegongkia View Post
    Thanks Hart


    The question that i had in mind previously is "But how am i going to find people to let me shoot?


    eRic
    erictangallery
    The question remains....

    Do you know which type of "people" that you are looking for? I mean your target audience.

    If you don't even know who they are, then how do you find them? I mean market to your target market.

    Regardless if you have excellent portfolio or a starting one, without knowing your market, there is no way you can even have a chance to show them.

    Now once you know your "people", do you know how to get them to book? That is what I mean by value vs price relationship.

    It is dead simple, but people kept doing the wrong thing again and again and again and again and expect different result? And asking how come making a living with photography is so darn hard?

    Regards,

    Hart

  13. #13
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    Default Re: how do i start out?

    Quote Originally Posted by Agetan View Post
    The question remains....

    Do you know which type of "people" that you are looking for? I mean your target audience.

    If you don't even know who they are, then how do you find them? I mean market to your target market.

    Regardless if you have excellent portfolio or a starting one, without knowing your market, there is no way you can even have a chance to show them.

    Now once you know your "people", do you know how to get them to book? That is what I mean by value vs price relationship.

    It is dead simple, but people kept doing the wrong thing again and again and again and again and expect different result? And asking how come making a living with photography is so darn hard?

    Regards,

    Hart
    I get what you mean.

    It probably sound easy but back then, it took me quite a while for me to realize my target audience or rather the market that i am targeting in. After a couple of reflecting and self-questioning why i am not able to get any assignment over time.

    Knowing the audience to target isn't sufficient. Getting them to know you is another big question mark.

    I am still learning and experimenting in that. Hope i get the hang of it soon.

    What i wrote previously might or might not work but it's what i went through previously. It probably is the slowest method around but back then probably the only thing that i have with me is time (I'm a poor chap with no money to start with).

    cheers
    eRic
    Last edited by Teegongkia; 26th January 2011 at 07:14 PM.

  14. #14

    Default Re: how do i start out?

    Quote Originally Posted by Teegongkia View Post

    Knowing the audience to target isn't sufficient. Getting them to know you is another big question mark.

    cheers
    eRic
    How do you market your service? If you already know your market, you should know how to get to them by a series of marketing strategies.

    Regards,

    Hart

  15. #15

    Default Re: how do i start out?

    Eric, you shots are pretty nice!

    That's the reason I cannot rely solely on wedding photography as my sole source of income. (basket and I am still thinking to start retiring by age 45 ) I think I can do approx 80% of that only. Knee sockets already wearing out, I think I'm gonna start glucosamine + chondroitin supplement.

    Chiatlard, you got something to aim liao.

  16. #16

    Default Re: how do i start out?

    Quote Originally Posted by 2100 View Post
    Eric, you shots are pretty nice!

    That's the reason I cannot rely solely on wedding photography as my sole source of income. (basket and I am still thinking to start retiring by age 45 ) I think I can do approx 80% of that only. Knee sockets already wearing out, I think I'm gonna start glucosamine + chondroitin supplement.

    Chiatlard, you got something to aim liao.

    Make lots of money and do knee replacement. Then you can
    continue to shoot making youngsters jealous.

    _______
    Abdullah | www.PictureU.biz | Instant Photography for Events |

  17. #17

    Default Re: how do i start out?

    One last thing that I forget....

    How desperate are you to make your business work? I mean really....

    The problem that I can see here in Singapore is most people are quite "comfortable" especially those doing photography and able to afford the gear.... (I may get flame on this, but hey... I am stating the obvious).

    There is no real motivation for to get it "work".


    I guess the real reason why I made my work, I was desperate... I know everyday, my children is growing up and more money is needed to put them to school, etc...

    I don't believe if one give it all and understand the way to market themselves right while having an unique product would fail.

    Regards,

    Hart

  18. #18

    Default Re: how do i start out?

    Quote Originally Posted by Agetan View Post

    Here is a link of one of my favorite photographer...

    Advice

    If you learn it well... you will gain a lot...

    Good luck.

    Regards,

    Hart
    Excellent link. Bookmarked

  19. #19

    Default Re: how do i start out?

    Folks,

    What min resolution is needed for selling photos? I'm considering purchasing a new camera..
    Last edited by PhotoDude; 27th January 2011 at 01:27 AM.

  20. #20

    Default Re: how do i start out?

    Quote Originally Posted by PhotoDude View Post
    Folks,

    What min resolution is needed for selling photos? I'm considering purchasing a new camera..
    That depends on how big your clients need it to be. Resolution is not really an issue, a 6 mp can already print pretty big. If you're selling your photos through stock repositories or to magazines, then you need higher resolutions

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