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01/23/2006 02:33:38 PM · #76
Originally posted by Prof_Fate:

Have you had any trouble doubling your prices? This is one area that books and forum posters are VERY outspoken on start where you want to be at, and that raising prices creates all kinds of issues (like referrals that get quoted tons higher quote than last year's bride you shot). Just wondering if this has been an issue and how you handled it? I could 'afford' a cheap year at $400-500 weddings IF i knew doubling that for next year would work. I'm afraid that at $500 the quality of my work be called into question.


First of all, Gary Fong was doing $180,000 in business with a wedding rate of $270 just by his merchandising and after the fact sales. He got in the door and then went off the chain with his merchandise sales.

As far as raising rates - when you do your first 10 weddings, your first year, maybe two - the work is not really that great, really. You are also getting low end brides and low end bookings. Do you REALLY want referrals from that customer base?

Our first 4 weddings - late 2004 - resulted in not one referral. Not one reprint sale. Average wedding - $600.

Our next 14 weddings - 2005 - resulted in $1900 in reprint sales, 3 referrals booked for 2006, one referral booked for 2007 and happier customers. Average wedding - $1400.

Our 2006 season - so far resulted in two referrals, 4 portrait shoots on the side, and an average price of $2300 or so.

We have two 2007's booked - average price $3200.

So yeah - we're making the move from 600 to 3000 fairly easily. If someone gets an old rate, we simply explain that we're new, we've expanded the business and frankly - the new people's photos will be "even better!" Nobody questions it much though. I didn't get referrals from my $800 weddings. I get them from my $1400s and people will pay $2000 instead. My referrals from $1400 don't turn into $3200 but that's ok - my advertising gets me $3000's and my referrals fill out the schedule.

Most important thing to think about today - -A LOT LOT LOT of the conventional wisdom in this business is wrong. A LOT. People have gimmicks, tricks, things they've heard .. nobody TESTS it.
People do what worked before - they do it until it no longer works AT ALL and nobody shares the cutting edge tricks. Nobody shares anything even remotely different.

I am not kidding you when I tell you we have the same studio management software as Larry Peters and Kathleen & Jeff Hawkins - we are tracking things the same way they are now. We have input over 200 products into our catalog and all of our clients, clients families that we know of, and anyone who's ever contacted us. Right now, of anyone that I know of, we have the most comprehensive list of what has worked for us, what hasn't, etc. You seem to be the same kind of person Chris - you are going to want to collect this data.

How many visitors to your site?
Average length of time they stay? Are you losing them fast or are they reading a lot?
How many visitors to your photo galleries? How deep into the galleries are they searching?
How many hits from Google? MSN? Yahoo? Which engine are you marketing to? Why? What is your search ranking for your top 20 keywords? I can post a list of our search engine rankings separated into more than 12 dates for the last year. I know we're moving up - I know how to move us up. That's data - and data is what these guys are missing.

As far as doubling your packages or moving up - charge what you feel you are worth currently. When your worth goes up, charge that. If you feel you should be paid $8000 a wedding, ask for it and market it and someone will pay it.

What are the top 5 reasons someone books you?
01/23/2006 04:09:08 PM · #77
Good stuff there matt.
SO i need to know (or create) 5 reasons to the the photographer of choice in my area.

What 20 words are you using for web search ranking? How are you testing them? Are they meta'd on your site?

I know how I search on google etc. Not sure how others do it...My website does not show in the top 10, but sites i have links on do (wedj.com and marketingtool.com - both free). Marketingtool has been useless, wedj.com is pretty good- 3 referrals in 3 weeks. Odd that I come up as a #1 for WV and a bit lower in PA...

can you talk about studio management software - what it is, does and costs?
What about accounting software?
01/23/2006 08:53:40 PM · #78
Originally posted by Prof_Fate:

What 20 words are you using for web search ranking? How are you testing them? Are they meta'd on your site?

My website does not show in the top 10, but sites i have links on do (wedj.com and marketingtool.com - both free). Marketingtool has been useless, wedj.com is pretty good- 3 referrals in 3 weeks. Odd that I come up as a #1 for WV and a bit lower in PA...

can you talk about studio management software - what it is, does and costs? What about accounting software?


//www.pictureinfinity.com/searches.xml

This is my Excel file of what I search for and where we ranked on what day. As you can see, I search most in triplicate:

Syracuse wedding photographer
syracuse wedding photographers
syracuse wedding photography

If your page isn't showing up top 10, try top 20. Try top 200. See what happens. Where are you? What is free to add your site to that's above you? Do it. Marketing tool is helping you even if you don't realize it. By being linked to a great site, it's pushing your site further up.

As far as studio management software, we're using Photo One Software.
//www.photoonesoftware.com I believe is the site. It's HUGE. It tracks customers, prospects, vendors, marketing efforts, prices, products, emails sent, it makes it easy to market and track almost anything that happens in your studio. It's also EXPENSIVE. But, worth it for us to get a handle on 30+ weddings and all the real studio stuff we want to do. If you're a port/wed guy and you do this for a couple years, there's NO WAY not to have it. Speaking of accounting software, it interfaces with Quickbooks so you can avoid double entry (yay).


01/24/2006 11:47:03 AM · #79
Poor Planning on my part - Now i need yur help/advice/input please!

My ad is out in the Bridal Circular, and I have received a phone call requesting information....uh, oh, umm...I don't have anything to send, and not sure what to even send.

This is what my website is for!

SOOOO...I started working on a tri fold brochure yesterday, a general piece that covers HS seniors, weddings, portraits, etc. It's not done...

I could do one specific to weddings i suppose...ideas??
A biz card - yeah, at least one of them in there.
Cover letter?? Yeah, but what to say or not to say???
Price list..part of brochure or seperate??

I can print my own brochures, full color duplexes (see, I knew that new printer was a good buy ;). On what paper??white office stuff, parchemnt, thick stuff?? INPUT please!!

Regular #10 envelope??
How about include a nice 8x10 priint..a collage....ideas??

thanks!
chris
01/24/2006 12:38:36 PM · #80
Originally posted by Prof_Fate:

I have received a phone call requesting information....This is what my website is for!


We don't have anything either. We refer people to the website. If people want to see paper, tangible stuff, we setup an appointment. There's the website, there's us. That's what they have to choose from. :) If someone doesn't "like" computers - they aren't our type of "modern" bride anyways... (yes, I know I throw a lot of potential customers away these days...I have to! I am booking up - I don't want to book up with people I can't deal with.)

Fact - I email, I use the web. I LIKE using the web. If they don't wanna look at my website, they probably want papers to "compare" you. We don't have a printed pricelist anyways. We custom package everything, so there's absolutely nothing for us to send. If they called you, they have your phone number - why send a business card?

I dunno...every so often I get "requests for info" and I basically tell them - you can check out our website and if it looks good, contact me to setup an appointment.

M
01/24/2006 02:54:09 PM · #81
Do you do bridal shows? What do you hand out there?
Perhaps I should do a slideshow on DVD. I did one to see if i could (used some freebie MS software) and while I can do it, I am not that impressed by the results. Andd then you have that music issue, you know, copyrights. Even if i cheated and used music, if i tell the bride my photos are copyrighted (aka do not steal) and it appears i have stolen music...

Besides, i can make a CD box cover, but not a CD label - so it goes blank or sharpied. Not so sure how professional that looks, first impressions and all.

perhaps I think too much LOL

Message edited by author 2006-01-24 14:55:01.
01/24/2006 03:38:14 PM · #82
I use these:

//photos1.blogger.com/hello/239/9217/640/LS.jpg

What you can't see in the front of the dvd is the insert we put in. It is a one-sided photo that fits in the front cover - same photo as on the dvd but in full color. The logo, presentation, etc all match our marketing.

We have 8 different slideshows on there and we made it with Nero. You can also buy ProShow Gold, which is HIGHLY recommended and something we are buying later this year. ProShow lets you do amazing things!

//www.photodex.com/sharing/viewshow.html?fl=2485179&alb=0 This is the type of thing ProShow can do. This is why I'm getting it!

M
01/24/2006 03:39:45 PM · #83
Everyone else should feel free to jump in as well with questions, thoughts, different line of questions? S'up to you guys.
01/24/2006 04:04:26 PM · #84
ProShow gold is what everyone recomends. it seems powerful and somewhat easy to use, and at $70 is not to expensive.
Looking over the demos you linked to...i feel very inadequate to send a video if this is what i am being compared to - making a video (slidehow) brings up a whloe nother set of skills and things to be evaluated on.
Done right, the impact is WOW, but done poorly it coudl be a real bad idea.

Looks like it can make things for web presentation too?

What is ACDSee's slide show like?
01/24/2006 06:08:55 PM · #85
Hi guys. I've been a bit reluctant to chime in over the last week or so because I am currently rethinking my "plan" for 2006. First and foremost - I have and will keep a full-time career. Second - I have teen girls and a very tight budget so I NEED my photography business to help meet some of my financial goals.

That said, and like I said before, I don't want to do weddings, I swore no more than 2 this year and those 2 are already booked. We'll see if I can stick to that.

What I DO enjoy and can fit easily into my schedule and plan to focus on is high quality stock-related images and freelance assignment. I am currently affiliated with 2 macro-stock agencies and applied to a third - that's a start. What I need help with is making contacts for other freelance opportunities in my area. How do I meet the photo buyers in Corporate Jax? Where do I begin? Should I try postcards? What other earnings opportunites are around me that will fit into the time I have available?

btw: I get a fair number of portrait opportunites via referrals, I'm a bit reluctant to actively market to increase that number as I do have limited time.

My web is "fine", not great, not terrible, just fine. I have a photoreflect account to help me handle those occasional portrait/family sittings, would like to get more use out of that, but not sure how.

Any thoughts?

Message edited by author 2006-01-24 18:11:00.
01/25/2006 12:00:56 PM · #86
Responding randomly here...

For protraits - set up one evening or one saturday a month for portraits. get the kids out of the way and tyr to keep this booked enough to make some money, but no su much as to drive yourself crazy. Call it steady income. If the client can't come on the second wed or third sat, then tell them too bad, or charge extra.

If you get a third wedding opportunity, quote a high price. $8,000 or something. (maybe that is way too high, but you get the idea). If they go for it, great, the price offsets your resistance to the extra work.

As to meeting photo buyers - what do you mean? Locally i am always looking at things - the local 'towne planner' calendar has local phtos in it, the big hospital/medical unit here has a monthly publication with photos, there are two local glossy magazines...they all need photography in some form. Any large corporation has a media/publications department as well as ad folks (public relations?). I'd say spend a day or two making calls to find out who is the decision maker. They need images for corporate reports, company training, website, etc. They may farm that out or have a 'staff photographer'.

Just a thought.

PS Looks like I booked a paying wedding! Apparently my webiste impressed the bride! Contract goes out in the mail tomorrow!
I have till May 26 to panic LOL...and get a canon 50D(or whatever it's gonna be called) and practice with it!

Message edited by author 2006-01-25 17:27:51.
01/25/2006 06:38:50 PM · #87
OK, how do you think would be the best way to contact other wedding photogs for referrals?
My ad is working well - 5 prospects. Of course, even at this point I have competetion for the same date...so first one gets it. I'd like to refer teh other to somebody, and in return of course get referrals (i'll pay a referral fee).
Since the only two wedding photogs i know are either way more money than me (so different clientele) or a complete a@@hole that I't not refer to in any way shape or form, do I just cold call? i;'m sure they'd take referrals from me, how do i get referral from them??
01/25/2006 07:52:47 PM · #88
Hi all, I've been here and soaking it all in. Good info, and a lot of it. Thanks for contributing what you know, it's really been helpful watching the progression of these different thing in your businesses for people starting out like us...

Prof: Personally, if you really don't have a rapport with the other wedding photogs, then I don't see the point in referring people to others either. Not that I would want to be spiteful, but if you really don't like the other guys, then don't refer someone to a photog that you think is a complete jerk. That would be doing them a disservice.

As for the one who is way too expensive, you may or may not have luck getting referrals from them, but I wouldn't offer them a referral fee. If they are so well off, then they don't need it from you, and the only reason they're referring you business is because they're so dernd expensive right?

Another idea on that, you may offer your portfolio to them in a bid to be hired as a freelance wedding photog at your own rates when they are short a person/overbooked. If they will not refer to you that is. It's a nice way to build your experience and fill your schedule if nothing else... Like I said, just a thought.
01/26/2006 11:46:04 AM · #89
Originally posted by wavelength:

Prof: Personally, if you really don't have a rapport with the other wedding photogs, then I don't see the point in referring people to others either.
I charge $850-1500 or so. The expensive one is $4-8,000. There is only one that is an a@@hole so no, i'm not referring to him for several reasons. I have not met any of the other local photographers to know if they are nice or not.

Originally posted by wavelength:


Another idea on that, you may offer your portfolio to them in a bid to be hired as a freelance wedding photog at your own rates when they are short a person/overbooked. If they will not refer to you that is. It's a nice way to build your experience and fill your schedule if nothing else... Like I said, just a thought.

Interesting thought, but it concerns me in a few ways - I work for them, make money and get expereince, but don't really grow my biz. They make money, but train their competetion, and if my style is not their style they get the bad rep for it. I know I'd be leery of subleting a wedding.

I just hate to see a hot prospect go to waste, if mine i could get a referral fee and make some money for finding the prospect - it helps pay off my advertising if nothing else. In return, I get leads and might book a few weddings that i would not have had access to otherwise.
01/27/2006 11:29:08 AM · #90
I don't bother with referrals except to one or two of my friends who are photographers in this area. I learned that other photogs are mostly taketaketake and never give so ta hell with them.

I should say, however, that whenever I get the chance to meet and talk to those guys, I do. I try to make new friends who I WOULD send leads to, but doing it blind just doesn't work. I would rather educate the up and comers than waste my time enlisting the help of the established guys.

Message edited by author 2006-01-27 11:30:04.
01/28/2006 11:22:26 AM · #91
Anyone else ever invested marketing in magazine ads? We have a magazine that is published out of Atlanta that is distributed to most magazine outlets (the mag racks at bookstores, grocery stores, etc). Its called "I Do" but they publish 3 different versions of it each month. Once for Georgia, one for Tennessee & one for Alabama. I could advertise in TN & Georgia since I'm on the border but I'm just not sure what kind of return to look for.

My main goal right now is to get my name out in front of brides multiple times (when they go to David's, when they get their mailers, at the bridal show and hopefully in at least one more place). I think I can build a solid business & I know referrals will become a larger part of it but based on info we're finding out at my current job it looks like I may have the opportunity to be a full-time photographer much sooner than I expected. While I have the capital to "buy" my way into this market I figure I should do everything I can, hence the magazine marketing.

Anyone? Newspaper is too expensive ($800 for a 1/8th page for one weekend run - Sat + Sun) and its not targeted for who I want to reach.

Thanks all.

Kev
01/28/2006 03:26:48 PM · #92
I ran a 2 column 3 inch per column in my local paper, the bridal tab for their bridal show - $208 + 10 for the website. I have (verbally) booked 2 weddings since it came out tuesday.(see me jumping up and down? :) the bridal show is tomorrow (i could not get a booth but got a comp ticket to go check it out)...they will be handing htem out there. i have 3 other inquiries that have not gone beyond the first phone call.

There is a Pittsburgh magazine, they do a bridal issue...advertsiing there is much more costly, not totally in my market, more competetion from many other photogs...next year I will give it a go as my website etc will be much more impressive.

Next year I will have a larger ad! Probably an ACT NOW coupon or some other incentive.

EDIT: visited the bridal show today - PACKED. Busy - gotta get in there somehow. Anyway, scoped out the competition, saw some prints/albums/handouts in person. made a referral contact/deal with a photographer, and ran into an old coworker looking to be married may 07, so I have a prospect too!
back to working on my albums - here is a sample page:
//www.pbase.com/cpphotography/image/55440402

Message edited by author 2006-01-29 16:10:52.
02/03/2006 02:11:27 PM · #93
Bump...I guess everyone is busy? Well, an update on my week to keep the thread alive.

Still awaiting checks from 2 wedding bookings. I hate waiting!
I currently have no albums to show a prospective bride, so I am making progress in that direction, but slowly.

I need a low end (aka inexpensive) album to include as part of my basic wedding package. I have decided on this (Mypublisher 8x12 in leather). My cost is $50 or so, and their software is nice to work with, and they are fast. I have an album to use a sample due in my hands saturday or monday.
I need another - higher end type. I have looked at Illuma memory books and Asuka. Asuka seems to be a bit harder to deal with (file wise/design wise) but their printing specs are very much like MyPublisher. Illuma is different, and their software a bit harder to work with. I think I'm going this route - an 8x8 in leather with a full color jacket (About $70 cost). I hope it looks higher end, and suspect it will.

For layout I have used lumapix's fotofusion, the $90 version, and then use the saved files as full bleed one page images for the albums. This has been a lot of work - the MyPublisher specs give one size, my math another size and their layout software wants yet a third (for proper full bleed and proper margins.) I hope the book turns out with the proper margins!! (fingers crossed!) Anyway, each time i have to go into fotofusion and adjust the page size i have to readjust the layout on all the pages...third time i began to get smart and worked with one page till it loked OK on screen...

MyPublisher and Asuka want 180DPI files. Illuma want full 300dpi - so an 8x8 page (with 1/8" bleed) is a 2438x2438 DPI page. What fun this will be. I just don't want both my sample albums to be the same size/orientation. Neither company gives me the exact choices i want. Frustrating.

My seniors I shot back in November have (finally) decided on their prints. At least this means some revenue.

WeDJ.com is by far the best place i have 'advertised' yet for weddings. Free too. I may join as a paid member later this year, and they have a partnership for insurance too. I should check into that.

I have made no progress on advertsiing toward HS seniors.
02/06/2006 09:39:22 AM · #94
Had a huge weekend. We shot a banquet this weekend; it was the 2nd year we've photographed this company's banquet at one of the local venues. Last year was pretty meager. This year we scored several hundred in prints. I believe companies who sign with this venue are beginning to alert their employees or perhaps people are just remembering to bring a little extra money and fix up their hair in expectation of photos. Whatever the reason the last 2 events have gotten to the point where they are good cash flow prospects.

Topped off the banquet with some calendar promo work for Hooters girls. Not a ton of money but still pretty decent given that they often come over two at a time and we can shoot a set in pretty short order. All things considered the weekend was pretty good for the business; guess it was one of the "feast" times.

I'm finding out about becoming a PPA certified photographer, too. I was surprised at the technical aspect of it when I first looked into it. I expected much more of an evaluative/judging of composition & aesthetics approach but they include a written examination wherein the applicant has to perform exposure calculations, figure out the results of filters applied, etc.

Kevin
02/06/2006 09:55:21 AM · #95
Great news!
How do yo udo the prints - onsite? What workflow/printer?

I just assumed PPA and all the rest are just 'pay dues and you're in' types of associations. Maybe not.
02/06/2006 11:19:35 AM · #96
For most events we print up to 8x10's on the Canon i960 onsite. Larger prints or special orders are purchased onsite but printed through one of our suppliers and mailed.

We also offer the contracting company the option to provide package pricing up front and then shoot and mail back prints. This is for businesses that are mostly out-of-town and just having their banquet/convention here.

We shoot tethered, images go onto one computer; that folder is shared with another computer where images can be proofed in their unedited format. Customers choose from the proofed computer and we fill in the appropriate areas on their package order form or we create an order form if we're printing onsite.

As for the affiliations you can simply pay dues and receive the tacit benefits of being listed on their sites, having insurance (PPA has the equivilent of malpractice insurance for members), being able to display your membership credentials, etc. Or you can take more steps in PPA (don't know if WPPI has anything like this but they do sponsor a monthly meeting of wedding & portrait photographers here in a mid-sized city like Chattanooga so they're somewhat active). The steps with PPA include becoming a Certified photographer and I think this certification denotes your understanding of technical aspects of photography. To achieve higher levels like Master you have to compete in print competitions where your work is judged against the field of your peers. You also have to invest time in PPA sponsored events where you meet and work with other photographers (again, this is my fumbling understanding based on the materials I've seen but I'll be talking with our state liason this week to find out the concrete facts).

I honestly don't believe the titles matter much for anyone paying for services but the interaction I've already had with local photographers who are building businesses or maintaining decades-old photography businesses has been valuable and I expect that having them judge my knowledge & work would only serve my interest in growing my business & quality.

Kev
02/06/2006 11:23:45 AM · #97
Update:

Some of you may have seen that we were fortunate enough to have a family member insist hard enough that we take their wedding photo's, that they want to buy us an SLR to do it. The fiancee was thinking about $1000. Pretty meager budget for an SLR and all the gear needed to really do a wedding/event, but turns out good ole Uncle Sam was good enough to provide an extra $3000 in "venture capital" this year. In the light of this information, we gladly agreed to do the wedding for them.

Currently, we're thinking this for gear so far:

20d used (maybe new...)
Flash
Tamron SP 24-135 (can't find a 28-75 anywhere, and this provides a little more walk-around range)
Canon 50mm 1.8
find a Kit lens cheap somewhere(fredmiranda)
wide angle, probably Tamron SP 11-18 or Tokina 12-24

We're in debate on the 70-200/300 type lens, we want to save some of the money for studio equipment too...and Canon zooms don't do macro...

Questions for ya'll:

I've already gotten some personal reccomendations from Mav as to working with the bride/groom, and I've looked through the forums on suggestions for shooting weddings, and I've printed (but not read) the Al Jacobs little handbook. I'd like to see if I can get some form of distilled knowledge from you guys on some do/don't/tips and whatnot. I plan on scouting all the locations, and practicing with some models at the church, park, and ballroom/reception. They're doing a serious fancy wedding here, not the VFW, and I want to try to give them what they deserve. They're a great couple, and I'd hate to dissapoint them.

Thanks for any help you can give. I think it would be a benefit to this thread also to have this information for anyone who is reading. The tax stuff is great, but some down and dirty meat of the business stuff would be beneficial also I think. Even books to read or a list of websites to examine might be good.

Kevin - Where can I find info on the PPA application and testing process? What are some good books to read to study up do you think? Also, how did you advertise yourself or get into the banquet events?
02/06/2006 12:06:31 PM · #98
Kevin: Howe big are these banquet events, and is there any money in them? I ask becuase i did pet portraits last christmas and while it many benefits, making cash wasn't one of the stroing points (averaged maybe $7 an hour all things taken into consideration) I would think 2 puters and a helper on site would add into the cost category and hurt profitability even more.

Steve: Nothing wrong with buying used. practice is the most important aspect, so if you can shoot a wedding for free (give the b&g a CD of the images so your only cost is your time - see freecycle.org as a way to possibly get a free wedding). NOTHING counts like experience. After you shoot for the day and go over teh events and images, you have ideas for the next time. Feb 25th will be my 'real' test - I have shot 2 weddings and assisted at another, but this will be my first as the primary photographer.

As to equipment - the Sigma EF500DG super flash should be fine. Get a lightsphere for it, and probably a flash bracket of some type (and the off shoe cord).
Canon is expected to announce the 20D replacement this month - so the 20D's wiill flood the used market in march.

Lenses: 50 1.8 - yes.
tamron 24-135 yes - great lens. if you're useing flash the 2.8 speed is unimportant, and for outdoor weddings the extra reach is priceless.
12-24 tokina is a but faster than then the tamron. an alternative might be the sigma 18-60 2.8 EX lens - not quite as wide, but it is a constant 2.8 lens.
If you cannot use flash during the ceremony and it is indoors, then take a tripod or stay close with a wide lens to avoid shake.
Don't be afraid to crank up the ISO. Neatimage is great and can clean things up just fine.
Take some overall shots, but try and stay close in. show faces, emotions.

cresus is selling a tokina 70-200 2.8 - nice lens. A new one of this class is $800 or so, but you can find used ones (tokina or the tamron 70-210 2.8) for half that used if you watch. I have not used mine for a wedding yet. The min focus distance is liek 5 feet. may not be good for much as a single shooter. we'll see. for a second shooter i can see the benefits (balony of church, close ups during the ceremony, etc). Not sure there is time to swap lenses if you have only one body though.

You can do a wedding with a rebel, 300 or 350 if you have a really tight budget. get LOTS of memory cards and shoot everything in RAW. It can save images that you'd lose if you shoot only JPG.
02/10/2006 12:02:47 PM · #99
What do all do for workflow - and this time i don't mean editing!

As in general office policies, procedures, filing, bookeeping, time management, etc. When you work for someone these things are all set in stone, but as a startup one has to make these up as you go along, often with no other input or ideas as to what is good/bad or could be improved.

Biz update: Does an ad in the newspaper work? YES! Got $2100 in bookings off a $200 ad. I'll do that any day of the week.

WeDJ.com is the next best thing to sliced bread, as it looks as if i may be booking a wedding from there as well. It's free!

But then this 'success' brings up issues of record keeping, cover letters, and on and on. Flying the seat of one's pants is fun but stressful. At times it seems like i am trying to re-invent the wheel and everything is taking 2-3 times longer than it should.

02/11/2006 04:26:55 PM · #100
Originally posted by Prof_Fate:

I currently have no albums to show a prospective bride, so I am making progress in that direction, but slowly.

I need a low end album to include as part of my basic wedding package. I have decided on this (Mypublisher 8x12 in leather). I need another - higher end type. I have looked at Illuma memory books and Asuka.

For layout I have used lumapix's fotofusion, the $90 version, and then use the saved files as full bleed one page images for the albums. This has been a lot of work - the MyPublisher specs give one size, my math another size and their layout software wants yet a third (for proper full bleed and proper margins.) I hope the book turns out with the proper margins!! (fingers crossed!) Anyway, each time i have to go into fotofusion and adjust the page size i have to readjust the layout on all the pages...third time i began to get smart and worked with one page till it looked OK on screen...


You definitely need albums to show - but here's at least one issue: Illuma and Asuka are not of the same quality or even close. Illuma is a souped up MyPub and Asuka beats them both hands down. We chose Illuma because MyPub puts advertisements in their book. VERY bad. I will never use MyPub again for that reason. Their smallest albums have their name in or on it THREE times. The large ones have an entire page dedicated to MyPublisher I know that I don't want my clients to know where I get their albums! Sucks. I'd drop MyPub and keep Illuma. They are similar in cost and Illuma rocks. Their software is a beast, but Sarah is working closely with them to improve it - we must send them 5 new customers a month so they listen to us pretty closely. Hehe

Originally posted by wavelength:

Update:
Currently, we're thinking this for gear so far:

20d used (maybe new...)
Flash
Tamron SP 24-135 (can't find a 28-75 anywhere, and this provides a little more walk-around range)
Canon 50mm 1.8
find a Kit lens cheap somewhere(fredmiranda)
wide angle, probably Tamron SP 11-18 or Tokina 12-24

We're in debate on the 70-200/300 type lens, we want to save some of the money for studio equipment too...and Canon zooms don't do macro...

The tax stuff is great, but some down and dirty meat of the business stuff would be beneficial also I think. Even books to read or a list of websites to examine might be good.


Ok I don't give book recommendations often but here's the only one that's an absolute must: //www.amazon.com/gp/product/1880559668/103-4433390-5570240?v=glance&n=283155 It's Ed Lilley ¡V The Business of Photography. If you do not have this book, order it, go get it, do anything you can to get a copy today. Yesterday in fact. Ed has THE most comprehensive book on the market about how to actually RUN a studio. It's must-have. MUST have.

Also Steve - for the long lens debate, think 75-300 F4-5.6 IS I think it¡¦s around $400 and it¡¦s IS. That rocks! I would continue looking for the 28-75 2.8 over the 24-135 just because 2.8 at churches and receptions is the worst aperture you're going to want.


Originally posted by prof fate:

You can do a wedding with a rebel, 300 or 350 if you have a really tight budget. get LOTS of memory cards and shoot everything in RAW. It can save images that you'd lose if you shoot only JPG.


Disagree on the raw thing - although for formals I would definitely shoot Raw. The rest - to me - is just too much hassle. I don¡¦t shoot raw, never shot raw for a wedding and I doubt I will until my raw processing gets MUCH faster. You do NOT want to shoot 1500 raw photos and then figure out how to mass process raw. What a bit...pain.

Originally posted by Prof_Fate:

But then this 'success' brings up issues of record keeping, cover letters, and on and on. Flying the seat of one's pants is fun but stressful. At times it seems like i am trying to re-invent the wheel and everything is taking 2-3 times longer than it should.


Record keeping - think FileMaker Pro and make a database or look into that program I posted before (project manager?) I'll look it up again - very cool. Think about what you need to track, what you want to track and how to best keep it together. Reinventing the wheel does take extra time for sure. What specifically are you looking to track or do?

Message edited by author 2006-02-11 16:38:08.
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