dilly: (Default)
[personal profile] dilly
i am going to write today about something a friend once told me.

When you have children, give up on your dreams.

which i think is incredibly false. my children are a part of me yes, but my dreams will NEVER be given up upon JUST because i had children.

i dream of being a photographer. i want to try all sorts of stuff i never tried before. glamour, boudoir, fashion, runway, newborns, family, sporting events and so forth.

I've done a wedding. never doing that again. i give huge props to people who can do it. i would be a second photographer for one, but never a primary again. way too stressful.

i did do kids and families in studio while at the big box company, but want to learn more natural lighting, and setups with as little flash photography as possible.

i also want to try doing macro and landscape. i don';t think i got the eye for tiny photography or for landscape. i do know someone who shoots ants. his stuff is amazing and he should put together a collection of it for a gallery or something. i just can't look at it. i'm too squeamish about it.

so my kids can be part of my dream. If Anne Geddes can start from her incredibly humble beginnings, i can too. She is one of my photography heroes. and i really should go purchase her big coffee table book when i can. so amazing listening to where she started from.


i know i can get caught up in the little details. i would like a studio setup. i would love to have my living room be more versatile where i could move everything out or around and use it as a studio. i got a lot of natural light from one side, and enough room i could set up lights in there as well. one day. that is a $2000 dollar dream though~


so never give up your dreams. they might be put off for a little while. but never ever given up upon.

Date: 2012-02-12 10:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] emgy (from livejournal.com)
I whole heartedly agree with you!

Depending on your dream, things might be tougher to accomplish, but Children should be a blessing. Not a stop sign.

C does Ants too! He LOVES macro. I think its disgusting. He's photographed Ants, Wasps, Bees, Ladybugs, etc. He loves the macro. I can't do it. I like people photography. Romantic events. Personal events. I'm good at that stuff.

Your living room is an awesome place for photos! Especially with the natural light.

Date: 2012-02-12 10:28 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hep.livejournal.com
you can get lighting to do newborns in your living room for under $1K. i realize that is still a ton, but I am betting I could get it even lower, probably somewhere around $300.

www.strobist.com

all you need is an offboard flash, a line in hot shoe for your camera, and a 16ft trigger release cable. easy peasy. read all his stuff. he will explain.

Date: 2012-02-13 12:20 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] redhotlips.livejournal.com
If I can be so bold to suggest? Skip buying the Anne Gedes book and go for some of the fabulous business for photographers books instead. We all need inspiration, of course, but inspiration can be found online and more importantly, from within.

The most important thing you can do for the long term sustainability of your dream is to learn the business side. It's not enough to just have a dream, unfortunately.

XO

Date: 2012-02-13 12:23 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] blith.livejournal.com
no it's really not. i like anne geddes more so for the behind the scenes pictures, on how she set up her pictures and got that shot.

I am unsure how to go about learning the business side of photography. how to judge what i should charge vs what the market says to charge. stupid kijiji mentality.

Crash course

Date: 2012-02-13 03:02 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] redhotlips.livejournal.com
I am unsure how to go about learning the business side of photography. how to judge what i should charge vs what the market says to charge. stupid kijiji mentality.

Get this book. Study it like it was the last bible on earth for a fundamental Christian: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1581154976/ref=as_li_tf_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=a0ede1-20&linkCode=as2&camp=217145&creative=399369&creativeASIN=1581154976

You should be charging enough to make a living wage. Pricing is a complex topic that really boils down to just that. A living wage. As your skill increases so too should your compensation.

Count on 30% going to taxes. Count 40% going to reinvest in your business for the first five years ( in order to buy those props, backdrops, studio lights etc etc. done properly you need $10, 000 to launch a studio, assuming you have some basics like props and a studio space and your first year marketing materials ready. ) you can drop the 40% down to 20% after five years.

So, if you're making $100 a week ( two $50 sessions, or one $100 session) then $70 of that is gone, off the top. You can't live on $30 a week. " so, I'll do more sessions" you figure. The max you can fit into a week while doing a fairly poor job of it is 7. So $700 in our fictional scenario. You will have made $300 of that in salary for yourself. Still not a living wage.

So, to distill a whole business class into a paragraph: you can't shoot every day and you can't work every day. You need days off, you have kids that will eventually have a flu, you need a break at times too. So you can't work 365 days a year. you need at least a day a week on marketing and blogging and client relations. Two to three days a week on editing and orders. That leaves you a max of three days a week of shooting, if you have no weekends. So if you push yourself and get good at your organization and workflow, and rarely get sick and get behind, you might pack in four clients a week in your first years in business. How much money does 4 clients a week need to spend on Blith photography in order to get you to your desired salary?

Or, to put it in a logical format: figure out what you need and want to make in a year. ( say, $30,000 to be conservative. That means you need to make $100,000 a year in order to clear that amount for yourself. If you need to make $100,000 you can do that by bringing in 1,000 clients at $100 or you could bring in a more possible and practical 100 clients at $1,000, or 200 clients at $500 each. 200 clients, 52 weeks in the year...approximately 4 clients a week!

TA DA!

:-).

Seriously, read the book. And get off kijiji, it's harming your business before it's begun. Network instead with professionals... Reach for the level you want to be at, right? Not the level you want to avoid.

Other resources: www.takeoffyourmommygoggles.com
Professional photographers of America ( association for all of north America)
http://www.napcp.com/
http://www.professionalchildphotographer.com/information/
http://www.jotte-workshops.com/
http://www.kerimeyersphotography.com/newborn-mentoring-opportunities/

Re: Crash course

Date: 2012-02-13 03:06 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] redhotlips.livejournal.com
P.S. the market isn't telling you to charge a certain amount. If you feel it is, then you are in the wrong market. Seriously. kijiji isn't a market.

The second best in the business charge $700 to allow you to walk in the door. That's for the photographer's time only. Total their clients are spending $3,000+ per session. And their work is worth it.

Re: Crash course

Date: 2012-02-13 03:14 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] blith.livejournal.com
no, kijiji isn't a market. but it is everyone answer when i am trying to figure out where i want to be. do i want to do fetish as well? couples shots.. boudoir..

everyones answer is kijiji.. and " your pictures are good, i should hire you" and i never get hired. guess i am trying to figure out why.

How to figure out why you're not getting hired

Date: 2012-02-13 03:53 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] redhotlips.livejournal.com
Have you had a peer review of your work? Peer as in working professional photographers....? Finding out if your skills are on par with what is needed in each genre of photography is essential. You can't compete with the top tier income earning photographers until your work is good. ( no judgement on whether your work is good or not, as I've not seen your work. I'm laying out info only here. ;-)

Our friends and family love us, they are essential for our sanity and ego. They are not qualified to judge our art and work because they love us too much to be truly honest, and they do not have the knowledge and skills to describe what needs improvement like a pro can. Online review groups and forums ( ugh Flickr and the like) are just as bad for this. Enter a competition or 200, ask a photographer you know about their opinion. We can't think that we're ready to open a business just because our friends and family love us, cause that will burn us out and crack our dreams.

So, That's your first step to discovering why you are not getting hired.

Next:
Do you offer something unique in your geographic area?

Do you know your gear? ( ie: shoot on manual mode with consistent results and make the light work for you)

Do you know each of your target industries? ( can you name and identify the top photographers in that genre of photography? Do you know what worked and didn't work for them?)

Can you identify the pricing structure - it's different for every genre, wedding, babies, families, boudoir, commercial, editorial etc).

Do you know your target market like they are your best friend? Do you know where they shop, eat, socialize, play and connect?

Do you have gear that allows you to compete in the kind of market that is willing to pay for photography?

Do you have a consistent and identifiable style with your work?

Have you published, won an award, gone to school, or done something distinctive that you can use to market yourself as different than everyone else with a camera?

Do you know your competition?

Have you met, had coffee, and networked with your competition, offered to assist or sought mentoring from them?

Do you have a website, logo and brand comparable to the top photographers in your area? ( Facebook doesn't count. Your eventual target market doesn't use Facebook)

Have you partnered with another company to increase your market share?

Have you created a business card, price structure, bought insurance and registered your business?

Have you actively marketed your work with fliers, print ads, expos, second shooting, and other networking opportunities?

A "no" to any of those could be a reason for not having more clients. I can answer yes to every one of those, and I still have to work my ass off to bring in clients. They never just come to you, even when your name is Anne Geddes :-)

Date: 2012-02-13 08:17 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] haasiophis.livejournal.com
Children can be a part of your dream. I don't think you should give up on your personal pursuits and the things you love for your children. They could be delayed, you could have less time for them, but almost everyone can make time for their own interests even with children - at least once they are a little older. I think giving up on the things you love for them creates an unhealthy imbalance and maybe some resentment. To be the best parent you can be you need to take some time for yourself to. It is also a good example for your child - time management, taking care of yourself, healthy goals and interests. You can also get your kids involved with the things you love if they're interested. My kids will be playing in basic D&D games and coming to SCA events and all that when they are young if I have any say in it. You are a better parent when you are whole and mentally as well as physically well. It is more complicated but it is doable (usually) and important. I haven't read through the other comments so I hope I'm not repeating too much.

Date: 2012-02-13 09:57 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dracothrope.livejournal.com
O_o If kids (or at least a family,) aren't at least a small part of one's dreams, why would a person be having them?

Date: 2012-02-14 03:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] duskblue.livejournal.com
Good for you! You can have all those things! Go for it!! Being a mom doesn't mean you can't be the photographer you want to be!! :D

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