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Photography Question 
Jake Stanton
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/15/2005
 

It's Not Like I Want to Be Famous, But ...


I need to know how to get started as a professional photographer! I've got a great portfolio, a great camera, but no customers. Help! It's not like I want to be famous. I just want and need to start selling my stuff.


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2/17/2005 7:07:24 PM

 

BetterPhoto Member
  Jake,
This is a business where longevity is the key. The longer you can hang in there the better. You need to figure out who you should be marketing to: What do you shoot? Who buys your type of work? What's the best way to get their attention? Then dive in and market with a vengeance.
One other thing to consider if you are new to the market: It may not necessarily be you and your work. The photo business has been slow since 9/11, and the last six months have been the worst so far. So hang in there, and be sure and target your market.


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2/17/2005 7:42:16 PM

 
Jake Stanton
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/15/2005
  Wow, I didnt know that business had been slow since 911. Thank you charlie!



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2/18/2005 9:34:51 AM

 
Jennifer S
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/9/2004
  Charlie,
If you dont mind me asking, what is it about 9/11 that slowed things down?


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2/18/2005 3:39:36 PM

 
Jake Stanton
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/15/2005
  Good question! Maybe it's because people only want photo's of disaster's like the twin towers or the tsunami!
Poor people! Pray for them!


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2/19/2005 1:48:09 PM

 
Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/11/2003
gregorylagrange.org
  The whole economy slowed down. Hardest hit was transportation. Which affects so many other areas of business. Ripple effect. Nothing is directly because of 9-11. You have a slow economy, coupled with a blow to a major part of it, you get trouble all around.


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2/19/2005 6:10:29 PM

 
Judy    Hi Jake,

I read your post about becoming a professional photographer. I was in the same situation five years ago. I had a "day" job, but my passion was photography. I found that the key is to find the niche for your area. Not sure where you live, but on the coastal areas I 've noticed that fine art photography sells. Where I am, in the Midwest, it is mostly portraits and weddings (so that's what I do). I actually started out freelancing for local magazines and newspapers--try going to visit these people and showing them your portfolio. If you are good, it is quite easy to get on with these places. They are looking for good work. Make sure you get a photo credit; this way you get your name out there. That is very important; also I have found advertising and marketing is huge.

Finally, as someone stated in the replies, the economy IS down and all the photographers I know have told me that the past four or five months have been slow. But it will pick up soon, I believe, these things go in cycles.

Good luck!

Judy


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2/22/2005 8:56:34 AM

 
Jake Stanton
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/15/2005
  WOW! Thanx Judy! I live in the desert! Im not sure what you meant by Photo Credit! but I definantly want to get my name out there! And I have always wanted to photograph horses! Is there anyway that I could become a professional horse photographer? Jake is not my real name though. my real name is Tanya! But I can still use Jake as my photographer name right?
Love Jake


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2/22/2005 11:09:28 AM

 
Maverick Creatives
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/1/2004
  Hi ya Jake/Tanya. I just walked by that nice gallery you have on main street and peeked in the window to see what you have to offer. Ummmm,,you won't get your name out there with an empty gallery?
Regards
Gary.


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2/22/2005 2:37:36 PM

 
anonymous 
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/7/2005
  Why are you pretending to be a man?


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2/22/2005 4:18:35 PM

 
Judy    Tanya, a photo credit is where they put your name beside/under the photo that is published. You definitely want that! Actually one of the publications for which I photographed was a pet magazine and one of the assignments was horses (I learned I was better with people). But you may want to contact area publications to get started. Also, if you live near horse ranches, contact the owners--I am sure they would love photos of their horses! There is a lot of opportunity out there, but you have to get out and sell yourself.


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2/22/2005 4:27:56 PM

 
Chuck Almarez   Tanya, what a great question and it pertains to every profession. Most people have something they are good at (fill in the skill/hobby here) and they want to do that more than their real job. The only problem is they want to get paid to do it!
It would be a mistake to think that most "professional" photographers only do what they want, ie, sell landscapes, do creative portraiture, have clients clamoring for their creative ad layouts, etc. Substitute "commercial" for "professional" and it will give you a better dose of reality. Until you make a name and reputation based upon experience and results -- and satisfied clients -- you need to pay the bills, and get the experience and results.
I shared a commercial studio in San Francisco in the mid-80's with a good friend also in the biz. We shot everything that we could get to walk or crawl thru the door (everything legal, that is). We shot people, places, and thing: toys, microchips, sand-blasting equipment, heavy machinery -- you name it and it was fair game. The secret in this mix is that we shot what our clients wanted to buy, not what we wanted to sell. That's the FIRST REALITY to accept. Just be sure you don't lose sight of your ultimate objective and use what you learn to make better images of (you fill in this blank).
We shot so many images for catalogs that I eventually went back to school. I got a degree in Communications and began working in Marketing in the computer industry. What I not-so-quickly learned was that many high-tech businesses were started by engineers who had a better way of doing (you fill in the blank). So they started a business to sell their product or service -- because what they had was better, faster, etc. than the competition. My job, the job of marketing, was to determine what the customers/market wanted or needed and then coax/cajole/demand that engineering create a product to fit the need -- rather than creating the product and finding a market for it.
Back to the point: find a market for photography in your area and learn as you grow in that business. At some point Tanya's Baby Pix becomes Tanya's Fine Art Images.
I'm still in a full-time business other than photography, but for the last 12 years have had a lucrative part-time business shooting sports teams, small schools, day care centers, senior pictures, etc. I get calls for portraiture and pet pix as well, but teams (AKA Event Photography) is so lucarative that I don't pursue many single-client assignments.
I've not experienced a significant downturn in business since 9/11 -- it may have been more widely felt in larger areas. My business has grown each year and with digital so have the profits, quality, and control because I do all my own printing and packaging - including custom printing my own order envelopes. This also offsets the cost of the fun shooting that I do.
A lot of the motivational speakers end with this note and I'll pass it on to you: do something to fill the needs of others and that in turn will fill your needs as a photographer and as a person.

Chuck


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2/22/2005 7:37:42 PM

 
Jake Stanton
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/15/2005
  To answer Natalie's question! Im not pretending to be a man. It's just that I like that name and everyone has called me jake for a long time! Even my Fiance' Brett calls me Jake! I havent had the time or money to have it legally changed yet. I havent been refered to as Tanya in a long time so it's wierd when people do. But I understand your concern though.....there are a lot of wierd people out there!

Jake


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2/22/2005 7:51:45 PM

 
anonymous 
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/7/2005
  Ok understand, but ummmm its a boys name! LOL

I'll try and remember your a chick! he he.


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2/22/2005 8:39:20 PM

 
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