Hello all. So i have decided to pursue photography as a career and start my own business. My basic set up is just an eos r10 with a 35mm rf Macro lens which is great for portraits, a 100-400mm rf lens, and a 18-45 mm kit lens. I plan to shoot outdoors for now but my question is
how would you go about pricing if you were me? And any advice? Im pretty confident i can deliver good results for starting out and i know i obviously don’t want to charge the level pf professionals do but i need to make profit? Any advice helps thanks
Best to find related businesses in your area that would cater to the same genres to get an idea of pricing.
Do note that you should also look into a license and insurance. Note that transporting your equipment via your personal vehicle is often not covered by a standard homeowners insurance should equipment get damaged.
Perhaps see if there is a local photography club where you can speak directly to others in your area. Perhaps even find a mentor.
Definitely think that getting specific help on business planning and setup is a good idea. It may not be as simple as you think. I strongly recommend some study in marketing and customer satisfaction skills.
A couple of notes on photography-specific issues. Whe you charge a fee as a professional it implies that you take responsibility for a guaranteed outcome, so you have to be prepared for any gear failure and your skill level must be such that you will always fulfil or exceed expectation. Paying clients expect results, not excuses. Gear-wise, that suggests to me having a camera with dual card slots and/or a second unit. You must know your camera so well you don't have to think about where to find a control.
Make sure you use genuine brand cards from a reputable dealer and avoid micro- SD cards - they are highly unreliable in cameras.
I must admit that I am curious why you think a 35mm lens is a great portrait unit.
"Hey, everybody has their own preference in their art. If he can make an amazing 35mm portrait (which I have seen) good for him!"
Yes, you are right Addison, if one can do so then it works, however from a commercial point of view, getting a tool that is most suitable for the majority of potential work becomes more significant, especially when one is starting out.. Which is why I ask the question as to the logic for our OP.
I totally agree with your comment about the OP's lack of clarity on what genre or market space they intend to work within. Now that could be a simple lack of clarity of expression or, more worringly, a lack of clarity of purpose and strategy and that can be very harmful to a budding career.
I am not here to criticize, but to help the OP by questioning the context and logic so they make the best start to their career.
Conventional wisdom and physics says that if one wants a portrait lens for the majority of situations, then a moderate, fast telephoto lens (85mm up to, say 200mm) is best because:
1. A smaller aperture and longer focal length will contribute to a shallower depth of field, to isolate a person from the potential for a distracting environment. A shorter FL will keep much more of the background in focus, thus undermining any benefit of a smaller f/stop.
2. Distance from the subject is usually more comfortable for the subject, so if one wants to dominate the frame with the person's face then a longer FL is desirable. Now, there are instances of photographers getting up close and personal with a wide-angle or normal lens, but as Kevin alluded to, that can lead to somewhat unflattering distortion of features which is not usually welcomed by the subject, thus especially for a starter professional kit, the viability of that choice deserves examination for the benefit of the OP.
Alternatively, one could stand off and have a viable portrait within which the subject is a component of their particular environment - which can be very effective, but again, that is not a common perspective and to start off one wants to cover the most bases possible for the most likely scenarios.
3. I am aware of the impact of equivalence (I have written technical articles on the subject), but the resultant FoV of combining a 35mm lens with a Canon APS-C sensor is going to be about 55mm, which is essentially a normal field of view. Furthermore, the equivalent aperture of the 35mm f/1.8 macro will be about f/2.8.
I started working in the business over 40 years ago, when the world was very different and the competition was much less. Today, the world is awash with people offering excellent images, so more than ever one must have a niche, or something to say that is distinctive and helps to differentiate a professional from the rest. I chose wildlife and scenic and stuck with that the majority of my career. These days there are multiple platforms on which to engage commercially, but that also means there is much more competition - and a lot of people at the lower end of the market a lot of people think they can take their own images for events. It's a challenging market out there.
What genre of photography are you trying to start a career in? Are you trying to do families? Architecture? Wedding? Or are you just open for anything? My first suggestion would be figuring out what genre so you CAN figure out local pricing from there.
Your set up seems like it would pair well with corporate architecture.
Congratulations on taking the leap into photography! Your gear setup sounds solid, and shooting outdoors can offer amazing opportunities for creativity. When it comes to pricing, finding the right balance is key. You might consider researching what other photographers charge in your area to get a sense of the market. Since you're starting out, it's reasonable to start with competitive but realistic rates that reflect your skill and equipment.
Remember, building a client base and reputation takes time. As you gain experience and build your portfolio, you can gradually adjust your pricing. And speaking of navigating business challenges, exploring insights from experts like insolvency professionals might come in handy down the road. Best of luck on your photography journey!
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