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 Post subject: Need a plan...
PostPosted: Thu Apr 03, 2008 5:43 am 
Let me explain my situation and why I'm asking for advice...

I'm a university student in Boise, Idaho, USA. I have hardly any money, and I'm in the process of saving the little money that i have because I'm getting married in about a year. I've never owned an SLR or a DSLR before but have messed around with enough at the store and researched enough on this site and DSLRTIPS.com to know my way around an XTI (which is what I want). And I'm artistic and have a good eye for great pictures. I don't have the money to go out and get an XTI right now but I do have a friend that might be willing to invest a couple thousand $s in a nice camera and some good lenses to get me going. I'd obviously be in debt to him and would need to pay him back. But obviously it would be more flexible that a business loan or credit card charge. I'm hesitant to take him up on the offer though because of my uncertainty with my ability to make money right away and justify the expense. So...what do I do? Sorry...broad question. I just want to know what are some sure-fire ways to make money and justify the expense. I like the idea of portraits and sports photography and landscape stuff...and just about anything...I just like takin pictures. And I know that much of this could be answered better if you knew my ability and my personality...I'm just lookin for some practical advice and for someone to clear things up for me.

Probably asking too much. Fire away.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Apr 03, 2008 9:23 am 
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Hi JB,

May I offer you a warm welcome to the CameraLabs forum.

I'll hold my hand up straight away and say that I'm not the one to offer advice about going Pro. Cheering on from the sidelines, however, I am sure that you are right that not only do you need talent to make money with your camera but you also need to know how to sell that talent and how to use that talent to produce saleable pictures. Can any of our "Pro" forum members shed some light on how to do this?

Bob.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Apr 03, 2008 9:35 am 
Well how is this "loan" of your with your freind going to work? is he going to get commisson on the work you sell, or is just here have some cash pay me back when ever?

I mean i would have waited around till i had the cash to spend it, i m not a big spender and specialy when it comes to things that arnt really a "secure" investment i will not loan money. For exampel i dont see it beeing very secure how you loan money to get buy a digital camera that the good itself will loose great valuse once its out of the box, understand what i m trying to say?

thats just my input on it, but maybe do you have some sampel shots that we can see? And its not really the camera that makes teh shots, i seen some really good compact pictures out there, but they do limit you....


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Apr 03, 2008 10:14 am 
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Location: Queenstown, New Zealand
Hi JB, welcome onboard!

There's two traditional ways to make money from photography:

1: Sell images to a library. I'll be blunt. It's difficult to make much from this. Think about all the people already doing it. Libraries are overun with images and many submitting them only make a few bucks from time to time. The trick is to avoid photos of places and instead try and capture an emotion or feeling - such as 'business success' or 'professional collaboration' or 'sealing the deal'. Magazines are always looking for these to illustrate articles.

2: Becoming a 'gun for hire'. For example, a wedding or a portrait photgrapher. Again thsoe who do this though tend to be fairly experienced - think about your own wedding for example. Would you hire you?

So that leaves the rest of us who may be able to make a few bucks from selling one-off photos to local cafes, galleries, friends etc. Or doing occassional commissioned work again for the above - once you're known amongst your friends and community as 'the camera guy', you may be asked to photograph someones pets or hobby.

So basically I'd say there's no sure-fire ways to make decent money in photography unless you've got regular commissions, or you're producing great and unique content and have a means by which you can get it seen - and sold. (again, local cafes are a great way to get your stuff seen - make some nice big prints of your work and ask if they'll hang it on their walls)

Sorry if that all sounds harsh, but I don't want you to take out a big loan, expecting to pay it back with your own photos. Very few folk manage that.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Apr 04, 2008 12:58 am 
thanks so much for the quick replies. I'm new to the forums here but can tell already that i'm gonna enjoy myself, learn lots of things and make some friends.

To answer your question alex... I haven't talked to my friend much about the "loan." I simply have an email in my inbox saying something like "i think you've got some great ideas and if anyone can succeed in something like that it's you!...So how much do you need to get started my friend." I don't believe he's looking at this as a lucrative investment that he's gonna benifit from very much. But I know I will pay him back...even if he didn't want me to...I wouldn't want to accept a gift like that. (unless of course it was a wedding gift :D)

I'd like to do portraits and weddings (more research would be needed in both areas) and sports photography. I love the idea of trying to market some more artistic stuff to local cafes and things like that. And luckily I've lived in this relatively smaller city for long enough to feel like i have PLENTY of contacts.

So here's a question... what kind of time do you think a beginner like me would need to put into photography in order to make a "decent" buck? ("Decent" means "enough to be considered more than just a hobbyist.") Considering the taking, photoshopping, printing, selling, selling, and selling of my pictures???

And also a portfolio...how might someone like me go about composing a portfolio???

PS-are people like me who write novels of questions annoying?? :) Sorry.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Apr 04, 2008 1:49 am 
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Location: Queenstown, New Zealand
Hi JB - how much time? How quick a learner are you?

Be realistic here - you want people to pay you for your skills and to buy your photos. Only you and they know when you're at that stage. It might take days, it might take years! Depends how good you are and how much they like your work.

Photography is like any other artistic endeavour - just like selling paintings, music, sculpture or anything else, few people start doing it commercially overnight.

PS - a portfolio is simply a book of photos which showcase your talent. If you're trying to get work as a portrait photographer, your portfolio should obviously have lots of photos of people in it!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Apr 04, 2008 2:05 am 
You are totally right Mr. Laing. I know i need to put things in perspective. I guess i'm pretty confident in my natural abilities...but seeing as how i don't have much actual, real-life, proven experience, that over-confidense might get me in trouble. To answer your question I think i've tended to be a VERY fast learner, and never settled for doing things the way it was taught to me but trying to learn more from others and also seeking better ways of doing things on my own. I think i have what it takes. "Put me in coach!!"

And maybe i should rephrase my question... how many hours per week would a beginner like me need to spend taking pictures and marketing them in order to give myself a fair shot and getting them seen and sold?? Does that make sense?

I can't tell you how much i appreciate your advise. I've been watching your video reviews and workshops for a while... it's cool to actually be getting personal advise from you. Thanks again.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Apr 04, 2008 2:08 am 
ps- i dont want to come across as someone in it totally to for the money. I love beautiful things and i want to capture them. It would probably be good self-inflicted advise just to tell me to "take the time to develop a passionate hobby before i even think about maybe makin a couple bucks." Thanks for listening :).


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Apr 04, 2008 7:24 am 
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Posts: 1898
Location: Southern California
Do what you love, and the money will follow. Learn all you can and the opportunities will present themselves. The only one who can tell you "know" is you. The only one who can tell you,"no" is you.
You wanna take portraits? Easy peasy...start out with a goal of taking 10 shots a day of people...go to the park, go to a parking lot...go go go...that is how you learn best...failure is the teacher, success is the reward for going to school...
Now. Get the camera, and start clicking.


patti

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Apr 25, 2008 8:42 pm 
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Location: Germany
Another interesting advice from a totally unexpected side, namly "Inside Lightroom". Read this article and don't let the headline distract you:
http://blogs.oreilly.com/lightroom/2008 ... -near.html

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Apr 26, 2008 10:04 am 
If you're still at university, might I suggest looking for a staff photographer role with one of the student publications? It won't usually pay you, but the experience might come in hand. It's not how fast you learn, it's how well you learn and adapt.

It's not easy to break photography from a hobby to a living, otherwise a lot of hobbyists would be doing the same.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Apr 26, 2008 12:31 pm 
yes, that what I do this semester,

first of all you need to get noticed, it will take a while for you to build
your works, you might able to work for office of communication,
student publication and so on, and when you're lucky you can get hired
to become staff photographer.

don't expect to break even on your equipments in a short period of time.
consider long term plan such as 1-2 years ahead. unless you're
very talented and lucky.


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