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PostPosted: Sun Apr 05, 2009 6:03 pm 
Hi all,

Ok, not sure how the economy is where you are but here in the states things are pretty bad. I was laid off last December. Job hunting was horrible. It seemed like the few jobs available had hundreds of applicants. To make matters worse some employers are low balling salaries big time because they know people are desperate for work.

So after a month of flailing about I decided to go into work for myself. The two marketable skills I have (I think) are IT Consulting and Photography. So I threw my hat into the ring in both, and boy, did lightning strike. I was fortunate to land 2 fairly well paying photography jobs - invoiced over $1k US on them. Lesson there - don't be afraid to ask for money. At the time I remember feeling like I was asking for too much, but I needed money to pay bills, so I told them what my rates were. They didn't even blink, just said ok. (another tip - never look surprised when something works. :D ) If anyone is interested, I came up with a general rate list. Commercial jobs my day rate is $1100/day. Half day rate is $600.

I haven't landed any further photo jobs yet - plan to start hitting the pavement on that tomorrow. I got busy/sidetracked with some IT consulting. That got me enough $$$ to upgrade my gear. Almost all of it is paid for and I have a little money in the bank. So not a horrible start. Let's see if I can keep it rolling.

Anyway, thought I'd start this thread to share my experiences on 'getting started' and perhaps invite others to share their experiences as well.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Apr 05, 2009 9:54 pm 
hi, thanks for sharing. I think entrepreunership is the way to go in US right now.
I feel that Employers are not going to hire anytime soon. Maybe next year they will start hiring.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Apr 08, 2009 7:54 pm 
if you don't mind me asking (i'm assuming you are in a different area of the US so there's no fear of competition-- i'm in Idaho)... how did you land the big job? Where did you look? Who did you contact? Did you advertise somewhere? Did you have a portfolio to show? Sorry lots of questions but i'd love to stop playing the rat race for jobs as well and start doing what I'd love to do...taking pictures.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Apr 08, 2009 8:09 pm 
JB wrote:
if you don't mind me asking (i'm assuming you are in a different area of the US so there's no fear of competition-- i'm in Idaho)... how did you land the big job? Where did you look? Who did you contact? Did you advertise somewhere? Did you have a portfolio to show? Sorry lots of questions but i'd love to stop playing the rat race for jobs as well and start doing what I'd love to do...taking pictures.


I actually got my foot in the door on the real estate job through a contact on facebook. I post a lot of photo content on facebook and twitter. I think I have people look at my profiles regularly just to look at my pics. Anyway, a 'friend' on facebook saw my work and her company needed executive portraits done, so they contacted me. I then asked after the portraits if they had any buildings I could photograph, and that led to more work from them.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Apr 09, 2009 3:41 pm 
Nice. Thanks! Congrats and good luck!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Apr 09, 2009 3:48 pm 
sure and thanks!

One other thing - it keeps crossing my mind something a photog professor I once told me about professional photography. Always ask for the job and always ask for the money you want. You'll be surprised at how often you get both. Really, from what I've seen (and realize I'm no seasoned pro yet), being a 'pro' isn't about photography skills - its about business skills.

And with that said, I'm off to print some promo photo's to send out to a few people. :)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Apr 10, 2009 9:52 am 
Mhh i am thinking of going to be pro photographer but in my country there things to consider this things are'

people arround me are hard to please then hard to let them pay :lol:

that in a contrary situation :(


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Apr 10, 2009 1:21 pm 
lomer - I hear ya! I make it a point to get paid before I hand over the photographs.

Trying to drum up more clients today. Cold calling real estate companies perhaps? Hmmmm.


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 Post subject: marketing
PostPosted: Tue Apr 28, 2009 5:18 pm 
Boy oh boy - learning about sales and marketing. 2 types. Push marketing and pull marketing.

Push marketing is anything where you reach out to potential clients. Cold calling, mail and email campaigns, and so forth. I've had some success here. I'm not specializing my photography (something I've been wondering about, but that's another discussion). I spent one day cold calling wedding coordinators at common wedding venues around town. I told them I was a local photographer looking to expand my business into wedding photography and I offered to shoot a wedding or two at a greatly reduced rate to build my portfolio. I do need to build a portfolio in this area, so my plan was to do a couple very inexpensively and then build from there. One lady was pretty abrupt and told me to come to the venue. She told me to bring samples and show her what I could do by shooting the venue. I showed them to her then next day, and she was impressed. She's now trying to help me book weddings with her. Nothings come of it yet, but its only been a couple of days. Sounds promising.

The other push marketing campaign I'm doing is for high end residential real estate. I've been going around shooting high end houses that are vacant, and sending the samples to the realtors listed on the sign out front. Believe it or not I've had a few contact me interested in what I do. I offered to shoot a couple sample shots for one high end realtor. She was impressed and has expressed interest in using me and recommending me to other agents. Again, no paying work yet but it has only been a couple days (this was late last week).

Pull marketing - I signed up for Google Adwords. This is a pay per click type system where you bid on how much you'll pay for a click on a banner ad to your site. Based on what you'll pay - that's how high up your ad will show. In 2 days I did receive a couple of calls from potential clients, but neither converted to a paying gig and I ran up a $65 bill on Google Adwords. I wasn't getting a warm feeling about the conversion rate, so I paused the campaign. This pay per click stuff is very complicated and very expensive if you don't know what you're doing. I might hire someone who knows how to make it more effective.

Anyway - sorry to ramble. Hope my business trials and tribulations might help someone else. Suffice it to say that shooting is almost an afterthought to a professional photography business. Sales and marketing is 80% of the job at least. That's something anyone who wants to 'go pro' would do well to consider.


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 Post subject: Re: marketing
PostPosted: Tue Apr 28, 2009 9:36 pm 
ravenmore wrote:
Suffice it to say that shooting is almost an afterthought to a professional photography business. Sales and marketing is 80% of the job at least. That's something anyone who wants to 'go pro' would do well to consider.


You're heading the right way.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Apr 28, 2009 10:22 pm 
Hey ravenmore are you located in a large city?

I to am using photography in a more professional sense. Such as food photography for restaurants as well as senior portraits. Such as this one i did just yesterday...

Image

and i have a family portrait scheduled in a few hours. I haven't yet looked at working with realtors. Do you do just exterior shots or both interior and exterior?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Apr 28, 2009 11:15 pm 
yes - I'm in a big city in Texas. I do exterior and interiors for real estate. With real estate agents be prepared to work up a business model where the seller pays for it. I also offer the agents a referral fee to sell my services to the sellers.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Apr 29, 2009 12:48 am 
ravenmore wrote:
yes - I'm in a big city in Texas. I do exterior and interiors for real estate. With real estate agents be prepared to work up a business model where the seller pays for it. I also offer the agents a referral fee to sell my services to the sellers.


When you shoot interiors what lens do you use? and do you ever stitch multiple images together?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Apr 29, 2009 1:09 am 
nope - haven't stitched photo's together. Actually IMO the less stuff you have to do after the initial shot the more profitable the shot is. I shoot a lot with a 20mm 2.8 but I want the nikkor 14-24 2.8 when I can afford it.


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