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02/11/2006 11:35:40 PM · #101
I disagree on the RAW and time issue.
As to how many shots you take at a wedding, that's kind of a personal thing. Using a flash and LS you won't be using drive mode so I have found 40 an hour to be the high end of what i shoot. (300-400 for a wedding).

As for RAW processing - DPP - canon's free Digital Photo Pro. It rocks. Check out Canon's Tutorial Site and for the DPP tutorial (movies) go here. For weddings this and neat image and FotoFusion handle 95% of everything. You only need PS for special effects or fixing some serious issue(cloning out the black eye for example LOL). DPP and NI bacth process - you can work on something else or go to bed while it happens.

Album options: On the bigger MyPub albums I cut out the ad page. As to quality - i have yet to see an illuma or asuka, but if you read their sites and talk to them, it seems asuka is a soupled up MyPub - same paper, same process, smae DPI. Illuma is different. My next album will be an Illuma, 8x8 I think. 10x10 will wait for my new camera and the extra file size that'll provide as Illuma wants 300DPI files.

I second the Lilley book - get it yesterday! LOTS of good stuff in there and it'll take you a few days or longer to read it all.
02/11/2006 11:55:16 PM · #102
We have very different styles - I shoot a wedding like sports. There are two of us, sometimes 3, and we average 2300 shots per event. Our editing is almost never just simple curves levels and sharpening - though I do run a proofing action on all the 400-550 keepers after I've culled. We are building a much different studio right now tho - so that's cool.. for all my info and all anyone else's take what's useful, discard the rest.

Asuka EX pages are laminated. They come in a slip case. The image is printed directly onto the cover and then you get a dust jacket with it. Asukas are also bound nicer. MyPublisher is glued together. Illuma is perfect bound. Asuka looks book bound.


02/12/2006 12:02:36 AM · #103
So what is the difference in the bindings?
Perfect vs book vs glued?

From what I can gather or have seen, the MyPub books are (hardbound ones) stitched and then covered - i see bumps that look like stitches.
asuka makes you work in sets of 4 pages, so they are more traditional in the book making process and it is also a PITA if you want/need 22 pages - you gotta do 20 or 24. I assume they are stiched and covered, but am not sure (it is the traditional method).
The mypub soft books are just glued - like a pad of paper.
02/12/2006 09:51:04 PM · #104
Originally posted by Prof_Fate:

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.


Hey, Chris, sorry but I just got around to this thread again tonight.

Short answer: event photography is not a money-making venture for us; its break even in terms of capital. In terms of clients to market to, though, its been a better & better proposition. We originally got the contracts we landed because we didn't charge an "on site" setup fee. If a client of venue "A" wanted photography services at their banquet we'd setup and shoot for consumption (if couple 1 buys pics then we get some dollars; if not then we came down and sat there for 5 hours for nothing). Now with the level of service we've provided the venues have agreed to charge a modest fee that pays for our materials and some time and we get consumption of our products/services on top of that from each person who wants prints. As we've been doing this for over a year we're starting to see people that we've seen before and they're remembering us and buying more photos. We also are seeing outside business from this as people ask if we shoot weddings & family pics. I was blessed with a friend who went to several of these for free with me and in return he gets "dibs" on 2nd shooter for all weddings I land @ $250 per wedding and he just shoots with a camera I hand him and he walks away at the end of the day. Now that my wife is getting more into the business she's been gracious and interested enough to go with me and shoot or show photos to couples. It makes this something we can share and seriously helps out in the paying someone department. When we have nights like we recently did everyone takes some money home with them for their time. When we have those nights where we shoot a half-dozen pics and sell $15 packages we put it down to time investment and move on. Everyone through the gates fills out their name & contact info and no one has balked yet at that. We've had several episodes where a couple would come out, shoot a few pics, the lady would select the print she wanted, pay and go back in to dance; end of the night we're sitting there with their pics and they've just slumped past us at some point heading to a hotel room to sleep off the festivities and we just mail the prints to them. Our process works well for that but it also has helped us build up a portfolio of potential clients who (A) have already met us and (B) have used our services and may only need a gentle prodding to remember the fun people who shoot their refrigerator magnet or desk pic at work.

Kev
02/12/2006 10:02:42 PM · #105
Originally posted by mavrik:

We have very different styles - I shoot a wedding like sports. There are two of us, sometimes 3, and we average 2300 shots per event. Our editing is almost never just simple curves levels and sharpening - though I do run a proofing action on all the 400-550 keepers after I've culled. We are building a much different studio right now tho - so that's cool.. for all my info and all anyone else's take what's useful, discard the rest.


Yeah, I think we're more like Matt & Sarah in this regard. We have at least 2 different cameras at each wedding (1Ds and some 20D's and often we're shooting a 5D as well). At the end of the event we never have fewer than 1500 images that have to be culled down to 250-400 and then culled even further for the final set. If they were even 50-50 from 2 different cameras that would take 2 sets of actions if everyone had exactly the same setup but we have some 550EX's, some 580EX's and usually at least 1 20D shooting natural light. At times with 2-3 shooters everyone has time to set white balance but sometimes the action is moving quickly and people are hurrying to keep up so we switch the less experienced shooter to RAW and let 'em bang away while others switch white balance. In the end we have a real mix and workflow becomes a process of sorting images into progressive automated processes in CS2 and eventually building up the images from one group to a successively larger group of images until they all gain at least a similar color balance.

If I had my druthers and more money I wouldn't trade the 1Ds I'd buy two 5D's and another 20D (or its successor) and two of us would walk in with 5D's for wide angle shots and everyone would have a 20D for closeups. Might be overkill but its would SURE cut down on processing time. As it is I sometimes have to set the actions on the computer and leave 'em running all night and then during the day to get those images processed & looking close to each other.

Kev
02/12/2006 10:10:11 PM · #106
Hopefully this 3rd post'll be my last of the night. We setup our account through our bank to accept charge cards (Visa, MC & AMEX). In the 10 days since I've done that we've picked up over $400 in sales just because when someone said, "Do you take xxx" I could say sure we do. We've put our credit acceptance stands on the desk where clients sit with me to review their photos and its made a real difference.

We normally sell more traditional albums; leather-bound library editions where the pages are stitched into the spine and the images can be removed or changed because they're in 10x10 frames that slide into the page. We sell Renaissance books most often. I have a Renaissance self-mounting flush mount book that I show as 8x8 for when people want a more PJ style album but most often they just want more traditional presentation even when they pick the more PJ style shots. Our album sales start around $250 and go up from there. How are the Asuka & Illuma sales price-wise? Perhaps we need to offer those as additional styles. Would they be comparable price points or perhaps a lower-pricepoint addition?

Kev
02/12/2006 11:00:34 PM · #107
I have not done any traditional albums. From looking at what most of the competetion is doing, the marketing of the album companies, etc, 'storybook' style albums seem to be the way things are going.

Illuma runs $60 to $90 for 20 to 30 pages with a full color jacket, that includes everything (laterh cover, printing, bunding, shipping, etc)
Asuka is about twice that. Each has their look or take on things, and mypublisher is lower end, so that is my 'free' album - $40-60 range.

I had not considered the issue of multiple shooters and camera models (let alone lenses) in getting it all to look alike. I know diffrent lenses vary in color temp so it stands to reason about the rest.

My first wedding I did 4x6 proofs - yuk. It taught me alot. It also taught me I don't want to do that anymore! Perhaps online proofing or CD, but talking to brides around here they want printed material. My approach seems to make sense to me, and so far to them. if they want the proofs, fine, I want more money ;). Many photogs later sell or destroy the proofs - again, inefficient and wasteful to me. I know I have a rather unique business model, but I am not wedded (no pun intended) to any old way of doing things.

The event thing I find interesting, and agree with your methodology. I did my christmas pet shots like that last year, and am doing valentine shots monday and tuesday evenings at a restaurant. I fear I'll spend most of my night cruising tables BSing with folks. I call it advertising. My biggest hope is Valentines day...engagements...perhaps get a wedding out of it.

I'll be bback to edit this - I did an engagement shoot today - 126 raw captures (in 65 minutes, on location outdoors - in the snow!) I'll time my PP work and report back.
35 mintes to DL, check in RAW and convert to JPG, and cull the herd to 22 keepers to show the clients.

Shot valentines pics yesterday at a restaurant. all RAW. I hate eTTL btw. I may put the LS on and run the metz in auto mode tonite. ANYway, 122 raw captures, turned into 37 4x6s - this is DL to the puter, RAW adj (most are 1 stop under exposed), crop in DPP, convert to JPG, name each converted file to the customers name for later delivery, make a few into 5x7 and wallets (crop ratio) and 1 8x10 crop in PS, and move 2 heads in PS - 2 hours.

I don't think RAW slows me down. Not sure why I havve 115 underexpsoed pics out of 122 shots - i tried P, Av and M (M worked best) I tried a few in Auto mode on the flash. I tried FEC and plain old EC...i tried 1/60 at f4 to 1/160 at f7 - can I say i don't like eTTL? Thank god for RAW!

Message edited by author 2006-02-14 12:01:38.
02/14/2006 01:53:18 PM · #108
Update: I will be culling the group of non-participants at the end of the day tomorrow.
02/14/2006 02:47:11 PM · #109
I'm going to our local Pro photographers' meeting tomorrow night & will ask them how they handle this but how do you all handle collecting sales taxes? Do you post a "round number" price for packages (like $500 for some service/product) and then extract your tax out of that amount (what we've been doing for smaller sales) or do you add taxes to the price you quote? Do you report/pay your sales taxes quarterly?

Kev
02/15/2006 09:54:10 AM · #110
Originally posted by KevinRiggs:

how do you all handle collecting sales taxes? Do you post a "round number" price for packages (like $500 for some service/product) and then extract your tax out of that amount (what we've been doing for smaller sales) or do you add taxes to the price you quote? Do you report/pay your sales taxes quarterly?


As far as I know you HAVE to report sales tax quarterly. I know we do. They get really mad if you don't! And charge you fees and stuff.

We add it on - at the bottom of our price list it says "Sales tax will be added to your package total." Nobody has questioned it yet except one Native American guy who has a tax exempt card - so I wrote his exempt number down and didn't charge tax. Dunno if that's how it work but dammit that's how it SHOULD work if he's exempt! :)

~M
02/15/2006 11:44:14 AM · #111
Here in PA you ahve to chage tax unless the item is for resale. Non profit organizations are exempt from some sales tax, but I don't think all of it (products mostly yes, services i think not).

For wedding and seniors i add the tax on to the package price. No one complains, it's part of everyday business for most everything you buy. For the small events it's included in the price - i kind of back into a number as it's easier than making change in pennies.

As for paying it...I haven't yet. I meet with my acc't next week, and he'll tell me the procedures and forms. But then I only starting collecting money lat november, so this is only quarter #2. I owe about $60 from last year. I think he'll tell me to just include it in this quarter's payment...we'll see.

Last night's valentines pics went well - 69 customers - including a soon to be married couple, 3 or 4 HS seniors including twin girls - what kind of deal can i offer them? I won't be able to tell whos who in the pics LOL. A few people were interested in coming to my 'studio' - hmm, a work in progress that is at this point. Late april is my planned finish date.

I got $220 plus my boss paid me for 10 hours at $7 and 2 free meals. Not high end money, but money is, well, money! Now i get to play with 1.7Gb of files...fun fun. I got the camera on AP mode, the flash on Auto +1/3 and that seemed work pretty well. I think part of my problem is canon's fault - at some EV point their flash system kicks over from fill to main light and the restaurant is right on the edge of that limit. I'll post pics later in the week. Nuthin fancy.

My first engagement shoot was this past sunday - Pics Here. Feedback welcome. This is in downtown beaver - the courthouse and nearby park square. It's an interesting challenge (to me) to get interesting BGs and angles working with whatever the environment has to offer.

EDIT to add:----------------------------------------------------------
workflow - always trying to speed this up...open to ideas
DL 214 raw files off 3 cards
pick the best 79 images(75 customers, some got 2 poses)
rename each file with cust name, R for release, P for pickup and print size if other than 4x6
-hour and 20 minutes
-still have to adj in RAW and convert, crop 79 images
edit 2------
adj exposure and crop all 79 images - 45 minutes. COnverting to JPG as I type this.

Message edited by author 2006-02-15 19:10:09.
02/15/2006 08:27:43 PM · #112
I no longer care to participate on this site due to the SC.

My account has been recommended (by me) for deletion.

Ciao and good luck!
02/15/2006 09:25:37 PM · #113
WTF?!?!?!?!
02/15/2006 09:29:50 PM · #114
Originally posted by idnic:

WTF?!?!?!?!


Don't know - but this thread was revived with a comment about forum behavior. I assume there is some relationship.

Sorry to see Matt leave though.
02/15/2006 09:32:17 PM · #115
Originally posted by Prof_Fate:

Originally posted by idnic:

WTF?!?!?!?!


Don't know - but this thread was revived with a comment about forum behavior. I assume there is some relationship.

Sorry to see Matt leave though.


Nope, I found it. Look at Mav's recent threads - he explains. I'm sorry Mav, but I get it. Sounds like you need a change. Good Luck.
02/15/2006 09:32:39 PM · #116
Originally posted by Prof_Fate:

Originally posted by idnic:

WTF?!?!?!?!


Don't know - but this thread was revived with a comment about forum behavior. I assume there is some relationship.

Sorry to see Matt leave though.


Nope. That was deapee and Brent going at it I think.

Matt left for different reason.

I think we might be able to continue on. Do you think you could help out the group one people anyone? I don't think I really have enough know-how to help anyone there.
02/15/2006 09:42:47 PM · #117
I don't think I'm more than 1/2 a step ahead of the group one folks, but I'd be happy to keep an eye on posts and help where I can.
02/15/2006 09:45:11 PM · #118
I'll give it a shot too.
have a bit of reading to catch up on.
02/15/2006 09:55:33 PM · #119
Thank you...
02/16/2006 09:47:17 AM · #120
Carry over from group 1, but I saw the discussion about RAW and wanted to comment. I attended a photojournalistic wedding photography workshop in Chicago that was lead by Nuy Nguyen and Joseph Victor Stefanchik and would be willing to share some of their workflow if you are interested. JVS, in particular, shoots some very large weddings with outputs up to 4000 images. After understanding his workflow I don't see why a photographer would put a wedding at risk by not using RAW.
02/16/2006 10:22:00 AM · #121
Went to the local PPA affiliate meeting last night. It was the affiliate print competition. PPA members use this opportunity to have their work judged by PPA certified master craftsmen photographers before retouching, recropping, editing their work for the state and national competitions. It was impressive to go to a large studio here in town and sit with 30 other professional photographers (everything from people who shoot 5-10 weddings a year up to people with 5000 sq ft studios). The judging was a good lesson as some prints I would have been proud to hang in a salon didn't make the cut for the judges and they discussed the problems and strengths of the imaages that they didn't agree upon (if all 5 judges voted it a 78 then it was a 78 with little or no discussion but if they had a large variance in scores between them then they would take time to try and argue the merits or weakenesses of the work and bring the votes in line . . . often there were simply differences of opinion on scores but seldom by more than a point or two). The judging system is a predefined one created by PPA and earning 80 points or more on a print afford the print maker some points towards Craftsman or Master Craftsman status (certification). Each judge last night had over a decade of professional work and their specialties ranged from portraiture to landscape to weddings to commercial, etc. This was well worth the time (and I paid dues to join). Its a totally different step from feedback by people who just want to enjoy their photography; this was interaction with and evaluation from people who have made perfecting their craft a point of their business (not to diminish the validity or veracity of an amatuer or hobbyist but until you sit with people who have made a career out of photography and seen that they, too, can be moved by truly great photos it can be difficult to believe that this is anything other than hero worship. Having them explain to the audience why photo A is a 94, photo B was 84 and the average of the other 45 prints was around 80 can be enlightening both in terms of their admittance of what does sell and their adherence to high standards for their approval valuation of "superior". It was never personal and any comments directed to the guild members were anonymous as no one but the photographer and the people who put the photos up for voting knew who made what.

This kind of interaction would be well worth your time. I suggest that anyone interested in building a business might find their local community of photographers to be both helpful in a friendly referral sense (which surprised me some) and also beneficial in terms of raising the bar for service and quality of work.

In a related note I just ordered my copy of Photography by Barbara London, et al. Its the definitive work that PPA suggests if you even want to start down the path of being a PPA Certified photographer. Studying this book is a first suggested step before taking the test to be Certified.

Our business has really been picking up (senior portraits, weddings, even commercial work lately) but I feel like I've stepped up to the plate and moved into another level of professionalism by getting myself around those who have practiced their photography and business and still been able to pay the bills. I respect tons of photographers on DPC and some similar websites when it comes to creativity and mastery of photography but when it comes to building and maintaining a photography business that is a whole other experience and I understand Mav's statement that he has other things to spend his time on; between my day job, my family, trying to learn more about both business & photography and still find time to shoot either for my own expression or for business reasons is a challenge at this point but I'm enjoying this approach to my photography. I hope you all are, too.

Kev
02/19/2006 07:14:28 PM · #122
I will try to post more too. Sorry to see Matt leave. I may let my membership run out for a while but plan on still posting. I just don't have the funds to go this way at this time. I guess two snowboarding trips in a month will do that.
I paid 20 and 40 to two of the local schools and ran small ads. I plan on running the next run and the one when the juniors return to school after the summer. Strickly marketed seniors but who knows if one will call for prom. I am working on the referral plan, get one junior and take their pics. They hand out my card and for every gig they refer to me (paying of course) get one 8x10 or 2 5x7s. I will catch up when i get a second.
02/20/2006 10:06:22 PM · #123
ROFL (hope you enjoy it too)

So I believe I've mentioned how our orders run (six to nine months to select photos for bridal albums is pretty standard in our experience). In the last 2 weeks I've had 4, yep FOUR, brides contact me ready to build their albums. Only one of these was included in the price already paid and that couple even ordered extra prints. A father at another wedding e-mailed me to order prints just today, too. Its just funny how certain times of the year seem to be "slow" times and suddenly everyone decides to order albums, reprints & enlargements. Don't get me wrong; I love making money for work I've already done and it reassures me that they're out there telling people that they value the service we've provided. I've also had 2 calls this last week from people who ordered reprints of event pics.

Hope everyone else either already sold extra work or is reaping the benefit of good work with previous clients at this "slow" time of the year.

Kev
02/21/2006 10:19:09 AM · #124
Since I decided to enter this as a business last year, things have always come in bunches. Nothing for a few weeks and then BANG, 4 people want stuff and I feel obligated to give it to them NOW.

Last week I did an engagement shoot and then 2 days of valentine stuff, a day out GTG (eventual stock or fine art prints there) and then this weeka wedding and ship out the prints from last week. A bride from last year has expressed interesting in ordering album. At this point i have nothing else till may 26. I doubt that will stay that way.

Updates and such
Canon has announced their 30D - and I will be getting one.
My studio build is moving slowly. For that I'll need a backdrop setup and 2 AB400s (to start). i have considered other lights and think ABs are the best choice.
Need to design and print a marketing insert today for the prints i'm mailing out...still thinking it over and will post it here when it's done..may be too late for feedback though.
02/21/2006 12:30:46 PM · #125
Last week I shot 120 couples at a restaurant for a valentines day promotion. Many opted for the free 4x6 and picked up prints the next day, but about 70 or 80 paid to have enlargements or extra copied mailed to them.
SO i of course want to maximize this opportunity, marketing wise...and so in each envelope I will be stuffing one of the following 3 flyers - any suggestions or input welcome!!

' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/16648/thumb/298508.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/16648/thumb/298508.jpg', '/') + 1) . '

I obviously want to do weddings and seniors. the family reunion idea is kind of new..not sure if it will fly or not, the chance to sell prints and such is intgriguing, and there is a county park 2 miles from me that has literally 3 or 4 reunions every weekend all summer long. And in there you have HS seniors, maternity, weddings...networking baby!
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