Photographer

First Commercial Project: A Retrospective

Added on by Ridzki.

Finally I decided it would be nice for me to take a second jobs, and because of photography remain to be the area that I am most aware or as I put it as more knowledgable I decided to market myself in the ever expanding world of photography. However, while photojournalism remains as my biggest dream (who isn't?), I started to become a wedding  photographer first, while finding work in media. And today I have my first job, my first commercial shooting for a friend pre wedding and this writing  will be my concern over the project, how to become a freelancer and what to do and what not to do.

PW-001 Having a friend as a client is a privilege, you know them well, you can easily connect with them, you can tell jokes etc, however it sometimes hard to maintain your professionalism, this is why a standard working procedure should come in handy (although I didn’t have a written one).

I start of the project by having a meeting with my clients, I asked what are their vision of the picture, what kind of picture they wanted, where should the picture be taken and is a theme involved? would be very great if they can show me the example of the picture and actively discuss into the details of the work and being on the other end, we should always give a nod to what client say and when it will be utter impossible don't afraid to say no. Next I will be discussing the fees, in which you should put a baseline for every project that you took ( i.e. 500K for a pre-wed, 200K for portraiture, etc) this will be very crucial, you have to know how many pictures that you could took, edit and give to your clients, you're also describe to your client whether your travel expenses, accommodations, meals are being covered with the fees or it is in a separate bill.

a note: please make again a SOP regarding this meals and accommodations, how much can you spend on a meal? how much is it for your accommodations? ask whether you should arrange it yourself or it is pre-arrange by the clients? Please discuss this with your clients or alternatively put it down on your project proposal (which is better because it is on a written documents) regarding all information concerning the fees

The Shooting Period

Next is the shooting, I can only say be prepared. On the weather, the client last minutes changes or any other particular things. For sure you can't always depend on your luck if you're shooting and always have a plan how a shot would be conducted and several backup plans.

Your plans will of course depend largely on your negation with the client and what are they request, and this, will largely determine what kind of kit you're bringing to the shootings.

Assuming you have a DSLR, you're going to bring a few lenses and flash and probably tripod for the, being a newcomer in this business, I only bring my 18-135 mm f3.5-5.6, 50mm f1.8, a tripod and a flashgun (in which I did not use the flash and the tripod at all) while that's probably cover your portraiture and landscape there are no specialized lens yet, I might suggest to bring a macro to shoot out some details of the shots or swap it with the 50mm.

The Editing

Your editing skills with your technique will become your personal touch, your style even. People will either love it or loathe it, so please consider a lot when you decide to move that exposure to the left.

At first, the client might ask you to have this kind of tone or that kind, however as time progresses you will notices trend among photographers' portfolio about "what kind of tone is in trend now", even  more  than just that.  Therefore the best thing you should do is of course look for trends, see other's portfolio and try it for your self.

What if your creative vision is being torn apart by your clients' need? should you follow them? for this my suggestion is that, you can create some sample prints first to show your client about their tone you create and according to their taste, sure it's double work but then if you had your creative juice out from your head, isn't that a liberating feeling?

The Prints and Frames

I've been lucky to know some affordable book printing and framing services, had our mutual agreement and generally work hand in hand to deliver something for the client.

Having this kind of support will of course be a plus point, because you can offer more services to your client, and helping a fellow photo business as well.

Management

Know how to manage your documents, workspace, proposal, branding , gears and most importantly, your photographs! and always remember backup them.

Secondly always update your portfolio, I don't know about the usage of digital media (tablet in this case) such as iPad, Galaxy Tab or Motorola Xoom for displaying your portfolio but sometimes the vintage and the rares (like books) is showing more of a personal touch rather than cold piece of beautiful technology.

Market your work in a suitable place and time, especially if photography is not your first job, make suitable and sensible travel schedule.