Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Heeding the call

For years, my family and friends have been encouraging me to pursue my photography hobby professionally. It hasn't been that I have been resistant, it's just that I really haven't had time. Well, the world changes -- quickly -- and I find myself with no where to go but up. It seems like a great opportunity to chase a dream. Now before you think I've abandoned all reservation to the wind, I don't see this (especially in the short run) as a full time gig, but as a way to bring in some extra money, doing something that actually lies within my skill set -- unlike most other jobs that some unsuspecting employer might offer.

This is one of those "I'll never know if I don't try" moments.

Which brings me to you, my friends.

I know several of you have walked this path ahead of me, and I'm looking for information. I want to hear about your successes and your problems. I want advice and warning. I want to know what you have learned. I want to hear your ideas. What do you charge? How do you market yourself? How do you find clients? What do you offer? etc. etc....

What follows is a small collection of portraits I have taken over the last several years, including a portrait I shot yesterday of my wife and I. Normally I wouldn't subject you to such a thing, but my beautiful bride was so stunning, that I had to share.

At the very bottom is a slideshow that I put together for my brother-in-law's unofficially official engagement (I'm considering offering that as a service as well). If you've got ten minutes or so, and aren't bored to tears yet, have a look. They're just so CUTE!

(HOWEVER, it has just come to my attention that even though the video embeded properly,now that it is published on the blog, it is sitting cock-eyed -- so you're only seeing the left side. If you click in the center of the video screen twice (not the play button) it will take you right to Youtube and you can see the whole thing. Assuming anyone is still reading at this point!)



Terri said...

Well it's wonderful that you are questioning, pursuing, heeding the call. I have no advice since I'm a rank amateur. I take that back - one bit of advice, get yourself a really good website that really shows off your photos.

You certainly have the talent and the eye. I think I've mentioned a time or two that you ought to be doing this full time! Good on ya.

Terri said...

Oh and the slide show? I get a message that it's private and I don't have permission to view it. Both on your blog and at YouTube.

Mom24 said...

Best of luck with it. I agree that you have the talent and the eye. I wish that's all it took, but you're smart enough to know there's more to it and you're educating yourself. I hope it really takes off for you, I think you'd be really good at it.

I love the picture of you and your wife.

Pam Emmons said...

FOr some reason I can't watch the video... it says its private. Will you send me the youtube link?

Anonymous said...

Chris those are some beautiful photographs. But then, I've always enjoyed your photographs. I wish you luck on your new adventure.

- Alex
(formally of Im the Mom)

Emily said...

How exciting! Sorry, I have no advice and while I do have a few friends who are prof. photogs., I'm guessing the market in Atlanta is a little different from where you are. I love all the pictures. And your wife is beautiful. Do you kiss your wife as often as you take pictures of people kissing? :P

Heidi said...

I have two relatives that take pictures professionally. And I have gone to both of them for advice about starting a small business. They helped me quite a bit, so my advice to you is:
1. starting a business, is hard and its scary. And you won't always have money in your pocket. And it takes A LOT of time.
2. NEVER EVER give anything away for free. The moment you do, no one will want to pay you for your time and talent.
3. What to charge has been one of the hardest things for me to tackle as a small business. What I have finally decided may work for you, but it would take quite a bit of space to tell you, if you want to know e-mail me and I can send it to you. But my advice for you is go low on your sitting fee and high on your prints. NEVER EVER send a disk with your pictures out of your house. Always have them preview the pictures at your house and have them pick their prints then and there. If you let them take a disk to preview you will never sell any of your prints.
I could talk for hours, if you aren't asleep or bored to death let me know and I'll give you more advice.
You will be great at this! You are a wonderful photographer. Maybe God is just forcing you to use the talent he's given you. There is a lot of money to be made in photography. You could certainly support your family with it.

Kat said...

I am so glad that you are looking into this. I LOVE your photography and I think you have such a beautiful perspective. Such a good eye.
I wish I had some advice, but of course, I do not.
Wishing you the best!

imbeingheldhostage said...

It's about stinking time. Oh, and you should write too. Just sayin'.

You CAN do this Chris, you have a gift, and maybe God's gift to you was the time to contemplate it.

Lisa @ Boondock Ramblings said...

Oh my gosh that one of them looking through the leaves is absolutely amazing! I'm getting ready to start a photo business myself and I'm worried. We're on opposite ends of the country, so don't worry, I won't compete for your clients. I want mine to be small, informal and a side job for now. I hope it works out that way.

Kristen said...

How much would you charge for a family photo session? Do you have an editing program that you

Anonymous said...

Hi Chris. I'm proud of you for stepping out on faith. You do such good work!

Here in TX, a typical sitting fee is no less than $150/hr.
I'm not sure what prints are.
My instructor suggests previewing no more than 200 images per client after the shoot, as more than that will overwhelm them.
Or, send a disc with low res. thumbnails home with the client.

Of course, Adobe Lightroom and/or Photoshop Elements is a must if you're going pro.

You might want to invest in some marketing for photogs books. I found several good ones at my lcoal Half Price Books. They help you know what the market is demanding, price wise, how to market yourself (advertise), etc.

I'm an amateur, myself.
Best of luck to you!!