Go­ing it alone

NPhoto - - Special Feature -

With that ex­pe­ri­ence un­der your belt, you should have some work you can put to­gether in a port­fo­lio to show prospec­tive clients. The first ones are likely to be fam­ily and friends who’ve seen your cam­era and know that you can take a de­cent pic­ture. De­spite them be­ing close, don’t do it for free. Charge a fair price, based on your ex­pe­ri­ence and ca­pa­bil­ity, and make sure you cover the hire cost of any lenses or light­ing equip­ment you’ve had to ar­range.

How much should you charge? Put it this way: an ex­pe­ri­enced wed­ding shooter like Ed God­den (www. ed­god­den.co.uk) charges £1800, which in­cludes cov­er­age of the full day, at least 500 high-res images pro­vided on a USB stick, and an on­line gallery of the high-res shots for fam­ily and friends to down­load. If you’re just start­ing out, then you will want to think about charg­ing con­sid­er­ably less with­out be­ing seen as ‘cheap’. Once you start build­ing a rep­u­ta­tion, you can start of­fer­ing ex­tras, such as an en­gage­ment or pre-wed­ding shoot… and per­haps shots of the cou­ple’s first baby!

If the thought of pho­tograph­ing a wed­ding makes your blood run cold, then why not chal­lenge your­self to hawk your prints at craft fairs and sea­sonal art events through­out the year? Nat­u­rally, this re­quires an in­vest­ment of both time and money in or­der to build up a de­cent stock of prints, post­cards and cal­en­dars. One op­tion is to club to­gether with a pho­tog­ra­pher friend so that the out­lay (and the risk of be­ing left with un­sold items) is halved.

Know your niche

One fi­nal sug­ges­tion to give you some­thing to aim for over the next 12 months: find your pho­to­graphic niche. Stock li­braries are full of ‘nice’ land­scape shots show­ing the same views, and pho­to­graphic mag­a­zines have prob­a­bly – prob­a­bly – had their fill of slow-ex­po­sure seascapes. Shoot­ing the same sub­jects from the same view­point as ev­ery­one else will re­duce your chances of mak­ing a sale, so where are the gaps in the mar­ket that you can fill? Maybe you know a cer­tain sport inside out. Per­haps you have a love for vin­tage cars that’s equal to your pas­sion for pho­tog­ra­phy. Are you a great cook and a great pho­tog­ra­pher? Com­bine your in­ter­ests and there’s a chance that you can be­come the go-to guy or gal for com­mer­cial pic­tures…

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