Tuesday, September 6, 2011

New Photographer Problems

With any new business, you take risks. It usually costs more to start your business then what you get back, but the hope and goal is that that will even out and eventually you will be MAKING money. Thats the point of the business in the first place right??

Well i have a PASSION for photography. I dont know what it is. I just love it. And when you love something and can make a job out of it, that sounds like an ideal situation right?!
Well its tough being a new photographer! Of course you need to build a portfolio. You need to get yourself known. Sometimes you do pro-bono work to help with your portfolio. And as we all know, usually when you first start a business, all your clients are friends and family. And the problem with that is that they all expect "the hook up". Ya know, the inside deal, the connection. And that totally fine. Thats reasonable. Of course i want to help out my loved ones. But thats why i charge so cheap!

I just want to put this into perspective so that people can understand and so that other new photographers know what to expect lol.

When i first started out i shot with a Nikon 3000 and charged about $50 for an hour session, 40 pics. But i always gave my clients/friends over 100 pictures cuz i LOVED editing. Now ive upgraded to a Nikon D90 and upped my prices to $80. (If your interested see {{HERE}} for full pricing). If you arent aware... THAT IS REALLY CHEAP! MOST professional photographers charge $200 at the very LEAST. New photographers usually charge about $100. Newborns can run you from $200-$400.  Weddings are a joke, usually costing you in the thousands! If you dont believe me go google photography pricing.
It takes time to drive to a location, takes gas (which is not cheap now a days). A shoot takes about an hour, then i spend 8+ hours on one session. It costs to buy props, the discs to put your images on, costs to ship. I spend time educating myself about lighting, and iso's and apetures, and shutter speeds, and editing tricks ect.

But you want to see numbers?? Well here are some numbers. I put my all into my work. Im not going to give you crappy photos just so i can charge cheap. Im not like that. So here we go.

Camera/lenses/protection plan/bag: $1500
Speedlight flash for indoor photography: $350
Photoshop elements 9: $150


Thats not even counting the props ive bought and all the things i still NEED to get.

I started doing photography 5 months ago. Ive done 15 sessions and have made $600.
Yep. Im not even breaking even. Not even close!
So im sorry that i cant do all my friends and family's photos for free. If i could, i would. Im sorry that i cant charge you $20 like people are expecting. But there is so much more that goes into this photography thing and i just dont think people understand. Its how i make money. And now that i am a SAHM (YES GUYS, IM NOW A STAY AT HOME MOM! YAY!!!!) im going to really be relying on the money i make from photography.

Anyway, the reason i write this post is because i feel like people think im stingy. Maybe its guilt because i really dont feel right charging people. I mean, capturing such sweet moments in life for people to Cherish forever?? How can that be a job?! Seems too good to be true! But the thing is, there is alot more that goes into it. So i just wanted to make sure people understood.

I love all my friends and family and new clients. I really do appreciate you helping me to build my portfolio and i have to throw an extra special thank you out to one of my seriously amazing best friends, Bailie Anderson (as seen above in this adorable pic with her new son). She has supplied me with majority of my clients and helped get me known. Seriously Bailie, i know you laugh when i thank you cuz you feel like you didnt do anything but to put simple posts on FB and recommendations but something so simple, has helped me out TREMENDOUSLY, and i am forever in your dept :)
So anyway. I hope that gives a little bit of a new perspective and understanding :)


Lady Bren said...

we started shopping around for my son's sr portrait and I've learned that honestly the more people charge the better their products are. I don't think you should feel stingy. My daugher is starting to get th same thing. Peopl want her to sing at their weddings for FREE. She is studying to be an Opera performer. Her schooling is exensive. Practicing means paying someone to accompany her while she practice.
It is hard when they play the friends and family card but th more "professional"you r about it the more "professional" they will treat you

Taylor Christian said...

Hey beautiful! I know exactly what you're talking about. I deal with the same thing. I need to upgrade to a new camera. I've built my business on my editing and people don't realize that gas, time, and editing (really underestimated, but it's what I love to do) is expensive. You put the time in and they receive good photos. You at some point have to put your foot down. Just in a business sense. It sucks, but you do have gorgeous photos. Don't cheat yourself!! =)

Amber said...

I love your photos! Good luck! I am fairly new professional as well, eventhough I have had a camera with me ALWAYS since I was 9.

Kaitlyn said...

I use a d90 too! :D

I definitely hear you on everything you said!

In our sea of love

Jazmyn Alexandria said...

I know exactly where you're coming from. I'm just getting my Photography and Design business up and my mom went crazy telling all her friends that I'd do pictures for them for free to build my portfolio. When you throw in *free* you get A LOT of people and as a mom that can't afford daycare and who has a crappy car that can't drive far, it was just unrealistic. So I had to tell everyone that I have to put it on hold which I have done but I'm slowly working my way back up there. But it's really frustrating when you have family/friends who expect everything for FREE especially prints and things like that. It's not cheap at all!!

I still need to upgrade my camera body (hoping to by the end of the year) and invest in some new lenses and an actual site for my portfolio which won't be cheap. Gives me a headache just thinking about it haha.

Petit Monstree

jess ♥ said...

I didn't know those things, but its good to know!!!

You're an amazing photographer, btw!

Casey Martinez said...

I think you said what a lot of us fell and can relate to. I did free photography for about two years and everyone was happy to jump on board with that but, when I started charging business dropped off to nothing and people stopped asking. I think it is good that you are expressing this so that you can make $$ for your hard work and people will understand you better. These pictures are beautiful by the way!

melissa said...

girl.. you need to just charge more!! an inexpensive photog here in south fl charges $150 for a newborn session... up your prices! make some money :)

so great that you are officially a sahm!!! i am so jealous!

Sheri said...

The prices for photographers has really raised in the last few years as more and more people realize how precious memories are. I hope you start to see the upside soon (monetarily) because you are amazing!

Nikki Darlin' said...

I love your picture, really good work. I'm looking into getting into photography. I love it. I need a camera though. But I have big dreams.

Tara said...

oh goodness. i could go on this subject forever.
with everyone thinking they are photographer & using picnik is so hard to try to hold a living!
my camera body alone is over 2 grand & my 5 lenses, 2 flashes? dont even get me started.
my thing is you get what you pay for.
I did a year of free sessions to get my portfolio, & have raises my prices now twice, & i have lost alot of clients but aleast i have the one that realize quality!
that is super cheap, & dont let anyone make you feel bad about what you charging! i have been there too!

good luck with everything!
if you want to check out my photography: www.facebook.com/flashphotographyy

Heather said...

Your photo's are absolutely stunning. And as a lady with a few photographer friends I understand completely where you are coming from. I constantly tell my friends they should charge more, what they are worth. As you said, these photo's will be cherished forever. Keep doing what you are doing, you will take off. I know it! Your work is great!

Have you created a FB page for your photography?

Lisa [at] Vanilla and Coconut said...

Main reasons why I didn't take my photog skills to the next level. I love taking pics, but if I'm putting in the extra work to edit & create an amazing photo, I need to charge. Some people just dont get that.

LaBuervenich Photography said...

Oh tell me about it, ha I have spend over $20 on everything that includes my equipment, computer, software, props, shipping, disc, lables, supplys, I could go on forever. ha My camera body ALONE cost $2700. :(

Jennifer said...

Don't sell yourself short. Of course starting a new business it's smart to offer deals or special offers for friends but don't do anything for free! I've been a photographer for almost 10 years now and it's taken me a long time to learn all these things but you have to charge what you are worth and people will pay it and they will also believe that you are worth it which you are! You wouldn't expect to go the place of business where a friend of yours works and ask for something free. In the end it's a business not a hobby and you have to treat it like that. If you feel comfortable offer friends a "friend discount" or a few extra files if they refer you but nothing free. Good luck!


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