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Old Jul 8, 2003, 7:27 PM   #1
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I'm at a cross road right now and need some advice. I started my photography business 8 months ago and I still work full time in the IT field. The idea was to make a few extra dollars on the side to help out the debt load, I gambled and raise my debt load even more by getting the basic equipment needed, etc. and spent a fair amount on advertising as well. I was hoping to have enough income by now to cover the advertising and possibly the camera equipment too. Needless to say, once the advertising (which is not working at all) bills start to come in in the Fall we are in trouble.

Option 1: get out while the camera equipment is still fairly new and pay off the advertising and take a loss.

Option 2: wait a few more months to see what happens and then pick option 1.

Never thought it would come to this so soon however the financial state will be so tight I'll have no choice...

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Old Jul 8, 2003, 7:35 PM   #2
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Hi koruvs

Here is my take...

Sell the equipment now on Ebay with reserves.

Take care of your family. That is first.

When the olydaks come out, the price you will get
for your equipment may plummet.

Strike while iron is hot.

If possible, keep one dig cam for family pics .

Also, show your advertisements to someone in newspapers
or advertising. Maybe something simple did not "click" with
those who viewed your ads.

Your posts have always been kind, well thought
and your pics delightful.

Keep the faith.

The important thing is to stay true to the man in the mirror
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Old Jul 8, 2003, 9:31 PM   #3
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Thank you Digicamfan,

You are right, family is first.

What I get (hopefully) for the camera and accessories will cover the advertising no problem. It may also allow for a Canon A70 or something similar. If not, I still have a Oly D-510 2.1MP to fall back on

I'll still be here at Steve's Forum, photography is and has always been a joy. What I have learned from posts and comments here has been extremely helpful.

-=-
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Old Jul 9, 2003, 12:44 AM   #4
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Just to be up front, I basically agree with digcamfan. But let me digress.

From reading in other forums (links below), I have learned that when you are starting a business what matters more than skill at photography is communication skills. It isn’t everything, but it helps in ways you might not imagine.

You need to convince the people that they want to choose you. Then you have to get along with them well enough, and act and communicate professionally so that they find working with you a "joy" or a "pleasure". You want them to think of you the next time. You want them to tell their friends about you. You want them to suggest you when someone else needs a photographer. There are always extenuating circumstances (price too high, pictures not good enough, look like their father-in-law…) but if you are “good enough” in the other areas, but you communicate well and come of as “likeable” and “easy to work with” you will more than likely be picked.

You haven’t said what type of photography business you chose. Some are seasonal. What is/was it?

If you don’t believe you have a good, solid, realistic chance to cover your debts and have a comfortable cushion to protect your family… get out now. Personally, I fear for the future economy. Unless something really helps to pick up tax revenue, the amount of debt the US is racking up is really scary. That will mean fewer services to the people, which means more of your money spent paying for things or higher taxes/fees to keep what they can/must. That can’t help but effect the economy. (Of course, I just assumed you are in the US. If not, you can ignore most of this paragraph!)

Did you take course in making and running a small business? Do you have experience with getting a business off the ground? It’s a little too late to answer “no” to these questions. But realize that if you do sell your stuff and close up shop, there is nothing from opening it up again in a year or two. Learn from this, educate yourself and do better the next time. But most of all, don’t stop taking pictures. Don’t let this sour you on doing it for fun!

Read some of these forums, which are more “pro” oriented. You might learn something. I usually do. I don’t believe I’ve ever seen a forum dedicated to running a photography business. But I have seen that as the topic of conversation in places (I just don’t remember where.):

http://www.robgalbraith.com/ubbthreads/ubbthreads.php
http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/index.php
http://www.dpreview.com/forums/
(They can be gear heads at that last one, though. So it might not be as useful.)

Hope that helps. Good luck. There are days that I’m happy I live very frugally and only do photography for fun (although I’ve been accused of being a “pro” because of my gear! The gear does not make the man!)

Eric
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Old Jul 9, 2003, 7:44 AM   #5
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Hi again. koruvs

I sense that you take photos for the joy of capturing "moments"
in nature, events and with your family members.

"Moments" with family permanently "etched" with the grace
of a photo are especially powerful, especially those viewed
decades after they were taken.

As an example, just recently, my mother gave some "old negatives
and slides". She said, "I thought you might like them."

My father has been gone almost 40 years. Recently, I viewed
negatives (and made reprints) of two young boys (my brother and myself) being given a haircut by our "pops". Call me sentimental
if you wish, but I feel the love all over again. I hear his laughter,
see his smile and my father shines once again in my life.

So, koruvs, think of this wonderful, possible moment...in 60 years, a grandparent, your child, will hold photos take half a century before. With him, will be his grandchildren. He will smile and
say, "My daddy took these pictures." And these grandchildren innately curious will point at pictures..."engage" in the moment
and pepper their grandpa with questions.

Though I strive to take "great photos", I am much more motivated to capture "moments" especially those with family and friends.

Hang tough, koruvs... (An image comes to mind...of a young
kitten hanging on a horizontal bar...the caption with the photo
said..."Hang in there").

See you on the forum!
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Old Jul 9, 2003, 8:34 AM   #6
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Old Jul 9, 2003, 9:56 AM   #7
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Digicamfan,

This is only a temporary set back, it certainly will not make me lose my interest in photography :!:
I forgot how good the D-510 is at low light shots, I'll have to post some


Elrascal,

I offer a bit of everything: portraits, weddings, commercial and archival. I submitted my advertising to the local 'yellow pages' (internet database and books) and it hasn't helped a bit, I had ALL my business through word of mouth - very important lesson learned there.

-=-
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Old Jul 10, 2003, 2:09 AM   #8
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Suggest you read the following messages:

http://www.stevesforums.com/phpBB2/v...ic.php?t=11747

http://www.stevesforums.com/phpBB2/v...hlight=wedding Pay attention to the comments by Eric S.

You got to put the time into it...it can't be a part time thing. You have to have a proper studio, and be able to do darkroom stuff as well...it's not something where you send the negatives to Walmart. (sorry if I sound sarcastic, but you wanted the truth)

You left a lot of info out of your original post like the type of equipment you use (in Eric's messages in the above link, pay attention to that part, especially having duplicate equipment on hand in case anything breaks down...a wedding is a once in a lifetime event).

I like to judge professionals by what they use in their personal life, a home builder by their own home, a mechanic by the car they drive, and a photographer by the camera they use in their personal life...the D-Series Olympus cameras (according to Olympus) are, "Point-and-shoot ability." and "A perfect introduction to digital photography." Not something you'd expect a professional to use (even in their personal life). I'd expect the person to use an E-Series dSLR, or at least a high-end C-Series (if limited to Olympus), but more than likely something like the Canon EOS 1ds SLR.

If I hire someone for photographic work (that I can't do myself), I'd go down to their studio and check them out, see past work, what equipment they will be using for the job, etc.
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Old Jul 10, 2003, 3:27 PM   #9
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Hi Mike_PEAT

I'm the sole proprietor of the company I started about 8 months ago. Unfortunately, I don't have a studio and according to the by-law in my city I can't have a studio in my house...I do everything onsite for now.

The equipment I have is a Nikon 5700, SB80DX, and a few other standard items to get me by. The portrait clients I have had are very happy with the results. I also do my own prints so I know they are cropped right etc., everything from 2x3 to 13x19. I have had 2 weddings through friends (just to get a small portfolio going) to show the quality clients can expect.

Since I am just starting out I don't have backup equipement nor can I afford it at this time. I work in the IT industry full time and I just wanted this to suppliment my income. If it turned into consistant work then I'd glady get a high-end camera and drop IT altogether :!:

Over the past day and a bit I have thought about keeping the company running. After disscussing it with the family I have decided to keep it alive. In terms of the debt incured from the advertising I'll sell my laptop to cover the majority of that debt. I used the laptop onsite to show the photos immediately to the client and let them decide which ones to print, sizing, etc...a benefit but, in the state i'm in right now its the only way to keep the business running.
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Old Jul 10, 2003, 11:01 PM   #10
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Then seriously consider how you get the word out. You mention getting yourself listed in the yellow pages. That is a good base line, but you need to do a lot more. If I knew what (or how) I might start my own business... but it's not me. This is why I suggested looking into small business classes at a local college or vocational/technical school. Starting a small business is not easy (as you know.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by koruvs
I submitted my advertising to the local 'yellow pages' (internet database and books) and it hasn't helped a bit, I had ALL my business through word of mouth - very important lesson learned there.
Marketing studies have shown that word of mouth is the most successful way gain customers. This is some companies are hiring people to talk about their product or use it in public and try to get others to use it with them. The classic case has to do with a cell phone maker who hired female two models to talk up their product in a bar. It had a camera in it, and they sent pictures back and forth, drawing people at the bar into a conversation and getting them to use the phone. The catch is that they didn't say they were paid to do it... they only admitted it if you directly asked them. Sex sells, and they used it in a rather new an innovative way to push their product.

You have to come up with innovate (and cheap!) ways to get the word out and demonstrate what you can do. It won't be easy, and it will require very creative thinking. You might even have to give away pictures (your time is cheap, right now.) Chalk it up to advertising and don't over extend. It won't be easy.

It's good that you talked to the entire family and they understand and support you... because there will be times when you'll need it. Instead of spending time with them, you might be at a local sporting event, taking and giving away pictures to parents of players. Something creative to show your skills and get them to think of you instead of someone else.

If you are going to do weddings, please read the links that Mike_PEAT listed. I'm flattered he remembered them, I took some time writing them (my with dyslexia, writing doesn't come easy.) Here is another link (it's mentioned in those two which Mike_PEAT listed):
http://www.stevesforums.com/phpBB2/v...friend+wedding

I realize that you can't afford better or backup equipment. If you are willing to do wedding photography that way... I can't stop you. But realize the potential trouble you are setting yourself and the couple up for. If you come away with anything from these links, understand why I ask you again to reconsider wedding photography without backup equipment.

Good luck. Starting a business is something I've never had the nerve do to, so I great respect for you. I hope it works out!

Eric
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