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DPChallenge Forums >> Photography Discussion >> Forging a photography business plan
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07/10/2010 01:37:00 PM · #1
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Message edited by author 2010-07-10 13:37:32.
07/10/2010 10:44:35 AM · #2
Originally posted by Simms:

nothing like digging up a thread from 2005 to promote your services.. :-)

Yeah, really!

Another thing I find amusing is the way that business planners ALWAYS have the answers, even if they know nothing about the business. Reading back through the thread was interesting, and it showed that there was a definite direction talking about the balance of the craft of photography, business procedures, and the cautionary advice about partnerships. You'd think this "Business Planner" would have taken all that into consideration and posted something more substantial than what sounded like a canned quote from a brochure.

I know I'm impressed! LOL!!!
07/10/2010 08:58:40 AM · #3
nothing like digging up a thread from 2005 to promote your services.. :-)
07/10/2010 08:26:18 AM · #4
Originally posted by MariamHassan:

For running a successful business all you need a business plan. A business plan helps in number of ways. You will be able to attract potential investors and lenders and also can make your important decisions effectively and efficiently.

Regards,
Mariam
BizPlanCorner.com

That's all very well and good in theory, but the best business plan in the world won't work in the photography field, ESPECIALLY with weddings if you don't have the right equipment, talent, and experience.

I'm always amused when people hawking business solutions seem to think that all you need is a plan.......when more often than not, especially in specialty fields, you need specialized knowledge, experience, and equipment. A business plan is a good thing, if for no other reason that to maintain a sense of organization and efficiency, but the statement, " For running a successful business all you need (is) a business plan." is patently absurd.
07/10/2010 03:57:19 AM · #5
For running a successful business all you need a business plan. A business plan helps in number of ways. You will be able to attract potential investors and lenders and also can make your important decisions effectively and efficiently.

Regards,
Mariam
BizPlanCorner.com
08/19/2005 03:30:34 AM · #6
I think the trick with RAW is to use it in difficult situations, but not rely on it.

The other trick is knowing what can and can't be achieved with RAW post-processing. It's all too easy to massacre an image, I find.
08/19/2005 01:38:17 AM · #7
Originally posted by deapee:

Originally posted by Prof_Fate:

[
Of course you will shoot RAW.


I disagree with that statement. I'm not trying to call you out Chris, because believe me, I see the benefits and the downfalls to be honest.

If you talk to some of the big-time digital wedding shooters, 90% of them are shooting JPG. They know their cameras, they know their lighting, and they just don't need to be bogged down by the processing of a RAW image. I guess being able to shoot twice as many shots with the same amount of memory is also a big thing.

I realize there are die-hard RAW folks here that will disagree, but in the wedding world, I think RAW guys are in the minority.


I am basically a JPG shooter. Having shot a difficult wedding (the environment/lighting) I have expereicned firsthand the benefits of RAW. It gives you a safety net - +/- 2 stops of exposure. Perhaps after I shoot 30 weddings I will feel different, but having the extra lattitude saved several shots. They say to 'expose right' - and I agree, but with RAW and flash you can do that in the end, but capture a full stop underexposed and KNOW you're safe with that white dress/black tux. Also consider that film gives you more range, RAW allows you to have that same range if you need it.

As to processing time - blah, it takes no more time. well, ok, DL time from the flash card maybe. I use canon's DPP - it loads the ALL quickly, i cull hte baddies, tweak any taht need it, adj any WB issues (and there WILL be WB issues in churches!!!!!!!!!!) and spew them out as JPGs in no time. That is good enough for printed proofs, if that is what you need. For 8x10s or montages more work in PS.

As for card capacities - I shot a whole wedding on 1.7Gb All 7 hours. No problems. Gave the happy couple 210 proofs. 3 to 4 gig is better to have - and it is cheap. Dirt cheap compared to lenses or flash, etc.

You are a paid professional (or want to be). There are no do-overs. You are expected to get the photo - everytime, all the time, perfectly composed and properly exposed. Uncle harry can take chances, uncle harry can screw up. You cannot. You can be sued. You want referrals. It is not worth the risk of missing even one shot do to exposure issues to save what, 30 to 60 minutes processing time and $200 on CF cards?

If you must save space or time for some reason, at least shoot the church and formals in RAW.
08/19/2005 12:10:53 AM · #8
I have had my eye on the Canon 20D. I would shutter (bwahahaha, mispelled pun intended) to think of doing any kind of pro work with less than an SLR. I actually owned a medium format Mamiya 645 Pro TL in the past. I had a Metz 50 to go with it. Great rig, but going digital is a no brainer.

I realize that the amount of money proposed as an "investment" by my friend is inadequate to get started on a high quality, fully equipped pro level. But I think with intelligent choices I can make do. I will likely try to do some general portraiture and other less intense work before I begin truly soliciting wedddings. I have some plans, or at least ideas, to integrate web developement skills into the business venture as well. I don't really want to get into that though, for reasons pixie and others will understand.

It is awesome to read all these different opinions and commentaries on this very relevant subject for me and others. Thanks guys.

I will keep participating in this thread as long as it lasts. (As I should obviously) I may in fact research some potential ways I might spend 5000 and open it up for critique this Sunday. I'll keep everyone posted.

08/18/2005 06:29:21 PM · #9
I agree...although I was never into RAW...jpg is so much easier for me. If you know your camera, know your settings, know your lighting, I just don't see the point. If I fill a gig up with JPG's, I'll get more keepers and it's easier to look through and process (for me). If something's not spot on ... I won't try to 'rescue' it -- that's also why RAW is worthless for me.
08/18/2005 06:18:35 PM · #10
Originally posted by deapee:

Originally posted by Prof_Fate:

[
Of course you will shoot RAW.


I disagree with that statement. I'm not trying to call you out Chris, because believe me, I see the benefits and the downfalls to be honest.

If you talk to some of the big-time digital wedding shooters, 90% of them are shooting JPG. They know their cameras, they know their lighting, and they just don't need to be bogged down by the processing of a RAW image. I guess being able to shoot twice as many shots with the same amount of memory is also a big thing.

I realize there are die-hard RAW folks here that will disagree, but in the wedding world, I think RAW guys are in the minority.


I'm a recent jpg convert. I use to shoot everything in raw. Now I shoot a very limited number of images in raw. Shooting jpg is like shooting slides, raw is like shooting negative...
08/18/2005 06:15:25 PM · #11
Originally posted by Prof_Fate:

[
Of course you will shoot RAW.


I disagree with that statement. I'm not trying to call you out Chris, because believe me, I see the benefits and the downfalls to be honest.

If you talk to some of the big-time digital wedding shooters, 90% of them are shooting JPG. They know their cameras, they know their lighting, and they just don't need to be bogged down by the processing of a RAW image. I guess being able to shoot twice as many shots with the same amount of memory is also a big thing.

I realize there are die-hard RAW folks here that will disagree, but in the wedding world, I think RAW guys are in the minority.
08/18/2005 02:10:10 PM · #12
Originally posted by mesmeraj:

Art doesnt pay the bills hahah.


No kidding. I've been there and it's a damn shame.

Message edited by author 2005-08-18 14:12:03.
08/18/2005 01:09:06 PM · #13
Originally posted by KevinRiggs:


...
As I started evaluating Return on Investment (ROI) for the dollars I've spent and the time I've put into this business I found that weddings were hands-down the most enjoyable and most profitable sector of my business. I've recently dedicated the lion's share of my marketing efforts towards that even though it wasn't what initally brought me to this.
...
Kev


I thought that too, and still want to focus on weddings. I was asked to do a senior portrait and began investigating that market - it is MORE profitable (per hour) than weddings. A 'top' local studio charges $400 for 2 lg prints, 6 5x7 and 60 wallets, of 2 poses.The sitting fee is additional! I caclulate that to be $20-40 in materials, an hour PP and the shoot time. The cheapest is $120 - 1 8x10, 2 5x7, 20 wallets for $120, no clothing changes, in-studio only, sitting fee included. What $5 in prints? An hour of your time? This area of photography has me intrigued.


08/18/2005 01:08:29 PM · #14
If you seriously want to make a go of it you'll need a lot more than 5k. Get at the very least a couple of 20d bodies and 4-5 memory cards. Not to mention the lighting that's required. I think in equipment alone I have around 20k invested. And don't have nearly what I need...of coarse i doubt i ever do. ;-)
08/18/2005 01:01:21 PM · #15
Originally posted by mesmeraj:



i shoot art so i'm not in it for clients. Good photos do not come from expensive cameras. If youre doing wedding photography you do need a slr, there is no gettig around it but it is mostly a "respect" thing. Still doesnt mean i should shoot for free because i don't use one.


It is not a 'respect' thing. It is a necesary thing. I had a nice Fuji prosumer, and moved up to a rebel, and then got a good flash and a good lens. There is NO comparison.
In a church you WILL be shooting with a 2.8 lens and ISO of 400 to 800, 1600+ is not uncommon. A 70-200 2.8 is almost a necessity as well.
Shutter lag - if you have it (and ALL prosumers do) you WILL miss shots.
TTL flash - some prosumers can do it, but all dSLRs can. You will need to use flash - on camera at least, bigger ones off camera probably as well.
You will want to be able to make all the pics in to 8x10s (or possbly larger), so if you are shooting at ISO800 it better be pretty clean.
Of course you will shoot RAW.

Once you have seen what a dSLR can do, you will understand that anything less is NOT going to work. A 300D is barely adequate in some ways.
08/18/2005 12:32:01 PM · #16
Originally posted by Spazmo99:


If an SLR is not needed for you work, cool. I've seen your work and it's quite good, I enjoyed browsing around your site.

A camera is a tool, the best tool will not necessarily produce the best end product when in the wrong hands and many can produce a top quality product with less expensive tools. Still the most talented tend to use the best tools.

And, you are quite right, you shouldn't shoot for free just because you don't have an SLR.


Oh if i could afford one, i would have one - but it took 3 years to be able t afford the one under my name. Art doesnt pay the bills hahah.
08/18/2005 12:27:25 PM · #17
Originally posted by mesmeraj:

Originally posted by Spazmo99:

Originally posted by mesmeraj:

i hate to say this because we that take the pictures know differently, but to the general public - no one takes you serious without a canon or nikon slr.
People expect me to do work for free because i dont use one. 3-5000 is going to be totally eaten up by getting a camera and a couple of lenses.


The image quality between a prosumer and a DSLR is very significant, especially when it comes to things like high ISO noise, shutter lag and so many other areas.

The idea of showing up to shoot a wedding with a prosumer cam is like showing up for a NASCAR race with a stock '72 Gremlin. You can certainly go around the track once or twice, but everyone else is going to blow by you. It's just not the right tool to get the job done and meet most client's wants.


i shoot art so i'm not in it for clients. Good photos do not come from expensive cameras. If youre doing wedding photography you do need a slr, there is no gettig around it but it is mostly a "respect" thing. Still doesnt mean i should shoot for free because i don't use one.


If an SLR is not needed for you work, cool. I've seen your work and it's quite good, I enjoyed browsing around your site.

A camera is a tool, the best tool will not necessarily produce the best end product when in the wrong hands and many can produce a top quality product with less expensive tools. Still the most talented tend to use the best tools.

And, you are quite right, you shouldn't shoot for free just because you don't have an SLR.
08/18/2005 12:26:58 PM · #18
Originally posted by mesmeraj:

Originally posted by Spazmo99:

Originally posted by mesmeraj:

i hate to say this because we that take the pictures know differently, but to the general public - no one takes you serious without a canon or nikon slr.
People expect me to do work for free because i dont use one. 3-5000 is going to be totally eaten up by getting a camera and a couple of lenses.


The image quality between a prosumer and a DSLR is very significant, especially when it comes to things like high ISO noise, shutter lag and so many other areas.

The idea of showing up to shoot a wedding with a prosumer cam is like showing up for a NASCAR race with a stock '72 Gremlin. You can certainly go around the track once or twice, but everyone else is going to blow by you. It's just not the right tool to get the job done and meet most client's wants.


i shoot art so i'm not in it for clients. Good photos do not come from expensive cameras. If youre doing wedding photography you do need a slr, there is no gettig around it but it is mostly a "respect" thing. Still doesnt mean i should shoot for free because i don't use one.


If an SLR is not needed for you work, cool. I've seen your work and it's quite good, I enjoyed browsing around your site.

A camera is a tool, the best tool will not necessarily produce the best end product when in the wrong hands and many can produce a top quality product with less expensive tools. Still the most talented tend to use the best tools.

And, you are quite right, you shouldn't shoot for free just because you don't have an SLR.
08/18/2005 12:09:32 PM · #19
Originally posted by Spazmo99:

Originally posted by mesmeraj:

i hate to say this because we that take the pictures know differently, but to the general public - no one takes you serious without a canon or nikon slr.
People expect me to do work for free because i dont use one. 3-5000 is going to be totally eaten up by getting a camera and a couple of lenses.


The image quality between a prosumer and a DSLR is very significant, especially when it comes to things like high ISO noise, shutter lag and so many other areas.

The idea of showing up to shoot a wedding with a prosumer cam is like showing up for a NASCAR race with a stock '72 Gremlin. You can certainly go around the track once or twice, but everyone else is going to blow by you. It's just not the right tool to get the job done and meet most client's wants.


i shoot art so i'm not in it for clients. Good photos do not come from expensive cameras. If youre doing wedding photography you do need a slr, there is no gettig around it but it is mostly a "respect" thing. Still doesnt mean i should shoot for free because i don't use one.
08/18/2005 11:53:10 AM · #20
Originally posted by mesmeraj:

i hate to say this because we that take the pictures know differently, but to the general public - no one takes you serious without a canon or nikon slr.
People expect me to do work for free because i dont use one. 3-5000 is going to be totally eaten up by getting a camera and a couple of lenses.


The image quality between a prosumer and a DSLR is very significant, especially when it comes to things like high ISO noise, shutter lag and so many other areas.

The idea of showing up to shoot a wedding with a prosumer cam is like showing up for a NASCAR race with a stock '72 Gremlin. You can certainly go around the track once or twice, but everyone else is going to blow by you. It's just not the right tool to get the job done and meet most client's wants.
08/18/2005 10:07:16 AM · #21
As deapee said - you need a couple of bodies, at the least for backup, but personally I would use two them both with lenses. In fact, I would want an assistant.
08/18/2005 10:03:18 AM · #22
i hate to say this because we that take the pictures know differently, but to the general public - no one takes you serious without a canon or nikon slr.
People expect me to do work for free because i dont use one. 3-5000 is going to be totally eaten up by getting a camera and a couple of lenses.
08/18/2005 09:41:32 AM · #23
Originally posted by KevinRiggs:

If you can't follow through on what you sell, you're sunk. Many people on this site take outstanding photographs. That doesn't mean they'd succeed in a photography business.
It's not hard, its focus and diligence.

Quite agree. Wedding photography seems like it would be very pressured to me because I wouldn't want to ruin the memories of someone's big day. I had the chance to shoot a wedding and turned it down.
08/18/2005 09:25:09 AM · #24
Yeah, I'd never say a photography business is hard work but its all about versatility and diligence. You have to be able to respond to customers much as deapee mentioned and you have to follow through. It doesn't matter if you are working 5 weddings a year or 40. If you can't follow through on what you sell, you're sunk. Many people on this site take outstanding photographs. That doesn't mean they'd succeed in a photography business.
It's not hard, its focus and diligence.

08/18/2005 08:20:27 AM · #25
Starting your business in wedding photography shouldn't be as hard as some people say...but I guess I'll find out next week as I have to shoot my first wedding (paid also -- about $1000 plus prints).

You definately need at least 4k in gear -- and a backup body is really a must as well.

Like someone mentioned above, as long as you are capable of properly documenting the wedding, being a good photographer is only probably 20% of the battle. You have to be a salesman, you have to market yourself, and just be an all-around persistant go-getter...it's not easy finding the business...and you have to relate well to people and be able to tell them what to do and how to do it. The moment they feel you don't know what you're doing, all your credibility is probably lost.

But either way, I'd definately recommend going for it...the investment sounds like a nice gesture, as long as he isn't looking to get paid back next month or anything. This is nearing the end of wedding season heh...and of course you're going to have to learn your new equipment before you just run out and start making money.

Good luck in whatever you decide...personally, I know for me that running my own business is the only true answer. I've known that since I was 12 -- but it's taken me this long to decide what I wanted to do with that business...and believe me, I've had some crazy ideas along the way -- photography is the first thing that actually looks like it has some potential, and thus I've invested a great deal of time and money into it.
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