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Old Oct 30, 2003, 9:20 PM   #11
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If you can stomach it, wedding photography in a city (i.e. large population) can make good money. You have to be good at it, and you have to be willing to do it... a lot. The same types of photos over and over. Different people, different expressions but often the same concepts. But if you are good and can put up with it... you can make upwards of 100K a year. Of course, this is with no benefits what-so-ever, and that is with shooting every weekend of the year.

Of course, I have no idea if this is at all common... But I know it can be done. The ex-wife of a photography friend does it (yes, they get alone.)

People ask me almost every time I go out if I'm a Pro or if I sell my work. Or say things like “I’d buy that picture” when I point out the Egret I’m shooting and how its reflection is beautiful. They haven’t even seen the shot! It happens so often that it’s become a joke between my girlfriend and me. All they see is a person with a big camera bag, a tripod and a big lens (or maybe it’s the bandana?) It doesn't mean anything. If they say that about your work (like someone has done) then it starts to matter.

Let me tell you a story, and it fits with what Kalypso said very well. I went to a well-known birding National Wildlife Refuge. I love to shoot there. I bumped into a person with serious equipment (500mm lens, off camera flash with extender, serious tripod….) We start talking and its clear he takes is seriously. He still works in a garage repairing cars, but he goes to fairs (to sell his work) and all that. We get talking, he is a friendly enough guy. As we reach the parking lot, he asks if we’d like to see some of his work. I say sure, and he takes out a 3-ring binder of 81/2 by 11 pictures in plastic sheaths. Beautiful pictures. I truly wish I had been there to see those birds just as much as I wish I’d taken the pictures. I never really thought about it until now, but I bet he hoped I would buy some from him. (I’d rather have taken them… I only have 2 photographs in my house, the rest are oil paintings and prints.)

Do as Kalypso says. Print out copies of the best work and store them in your car like that guy did. 8x10 are good. And practice talking about them and showing them off. Have a little story about each. Maybe even have one or two sets geared towards where you go (bird pictures in a national park or bird sanctuary, landscapes for other times?)

Another option is to see if AP or UPI will hire you. I bet you don’t have the experience or qualifications yet, but you could try to find out what they look for and develop it. A friend of mine has a friend who did it. He seemed to live off it, but he didn’t have kids or a wife. No idea how well he did. It wasn’t always interesting (following politicians around to make sure they have the “most recent” photo to show if he ever comes up in the news i.e. die.)

I’d also like to suggest reading this joke/story and think about it. It’s good for a laugh, but it’s also something you might want to think about:
http://www.netfunny.com/rhf/jokes/03/Oct/life.html

And last but not least…. I dislike my job quite a lot too. The company was purchased and this one rules by fear instead of my growth and interest. I’ve done crap work for 2 years, none of which I want to put on my resume… making it harder to leave. But I stay mostly because I like my boss. A lot. The Gallup Organization (as in the Gallup poll) does studies for companies and they found that the number one reason people stay at their job is because they like their boss. If you don’t like your boss, try moving within the company (if possible.) It’s much easier than leaving and you should be able to retain your salary. The Gallup Organization wrote a good book about management that I highly recommend. It constantly shows me how the company I work for is incompetent… and how right the authors are:
“First, Break All the Rules: What the World's Greatest Managers Do Differently”
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/AS...717688-2440017
It has been out for years, so you can probably find it in a local library. Then I suggest leaving it on your boss’s desk.

Eric
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Old Oct 31, 2003, 6:23 AM   #12
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Eric, Kalypso, and others, thank you very much for sharing your words of advice. It is very much appreciated.

Last night I mentioned the portfolio idea to my wife. I also mentioned possibly getting some postcards made and see if I can display them in local stores (as I mentioned before, I live in a historic town). My wife responded positively to both ideas, so now I just need to get off my butt and do something about it!

Eric, thank you for the "glass jar and a beer" story, I have heard that story many times.

As for wedding photography, if I decided to go down that road, I would apprentice with someone first. After all, if the shoot turns out bad, the Bride & Groom (and the family) would probably hang you!

Quick wedding story... Some friends wanted to save some money on their wedding, so they had the sister of the Bride do the photography. She did the entire wedding on slide film "because I heard that the colors are more brilliant on slide film." So, now they have a box of slides instead of a wedding album.

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And last but not least…. I dislike my job quite a lot too. The company was purchased and this one rules by fear instead of my growth and interest.
Well, I won't say much about my company, except that it's in the news a lot and I won't mention the name, but it's initials are MCI (aka WorldCom), so make your own conclusions.
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Old Oct 31, 2003, 8:09 AM   #13
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No one should forget there's an entire book dedicated to marketing one's photography, a book updated and published yearly. It's put out by "Writer's Digest." (Photographer's Market)
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Old Oct 31, 2003, 8:38 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bcoultry
No one should forget there's an entire book dedicated to marketing one's photography, a book updated and published yearly. It's put out by "Writer's Digest." (Photographer's Market)
KEWL! Thank you.

http://snurl.com/2sj4

Also I found this: http://sellphotos.com
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Old Oct 31, 2003, 10:19 AM   #15
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Or the great weding story I heard where it seems the photographer got enamered with one of the brides maids. After a certain point, 75% of the pictures were of her and not of, say... the bride and groom!

Eric
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Old Oct 31, 2003, 1:43 PM   #16
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Default Get some cards printed up too...

Carrying cards & a portfolio with your work is a great way to both, get more work &/or sell your work. Take your cards (& some card stands) to local merchants, show them your work & ask if you can place some cards by the register. Hair salons are great (plus the people working there are excellent word-of-mouth advertizers). Restaurants, gift shops...you get the idea. Sports Bars & deli-type places often have boards where you can pin up your cards.

You can also contact the local High School papers and ask them to run a blurb on your service of offering an alternative to the standard Olan Mills senior portraits...shoot them outdoors, etc. I posted the comp shot below on a regional forum & the girls Mom emailed me & asked me to have them printed up for Christmas Cards...

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Old Oct 31, 2003, 2:24 PM   #17
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Default Re: Get some cards printed up too...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kalypso
Carrying cards & a portfolio with your work is a great way to both, get more work &/or sell your work. Take your cards (& some card stands) to local merchants, show them your work & ask if you can place some cards by the register.
Thanks Kalyspso. Now that I got some great suggestions from my "photo family" I just need to put my plan into action.
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You can also contact the local High School papers and ask them to run a blurb on your service of offering an alternative to the standard Olan Mills senior portraits
When I make my first $500 I can get a FZ10 and then I can do those Olan Mills shots
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Old Oct 31, 2003, 2:44 PM   #18
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My neice was married about a year past and I took my c4040 to take pictures. My sister, her mother, wanted me to take as many as the photographer. My pics came turned out really well. The photographer had a bad batch of film, according to him, and the pictures were not very good. I copied the pic to a cd and my neice had them printed at the local Walmart. The advantage of the digital I could look at the photos while I was shooting. Take the pictures and let Walmart do the printing and it keeps your cost down.
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Old Nov 1, 2003, 3:00 AM   #19
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My gf has a friend who does "freelance" work.

He gets roughly 20hrs a week at $35/40 hr. Which is ok if you can get steady work but he doesnt.

As for people saying how they always want you taking pictures when another photographer is doing their thing. I've had that happen to me lots.

Most people who see my images (small collection of decents ones (that are not online)) they always want me to come back and take more. I only have a 2MP camera so my prints cant be 8x10s

Anyway....as photography as a career? I think it would be fun. I meet a lovely girl one day on one of my many hikes who works as a location scout for the film industry. She gets paid decently for going around various locations and taking photos of them.

Perhaps that could be a venue to look at??

Think of the person who got to do the location scoutting for like Lord of the Rings or something

***EDIT: Kalypso, are those two shots really what her mother made up for their christmas cards?
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Old Nov 1, 2003, 1:29 PM   #20
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The only photo's of mine I have recently sold (well very soon to be delivered) was actually to one of the managers where I work which I guess is kinda ironic (only because I too would love to take photo's as a living....instead of working where I work.... but know that landscapes/nature shots won't really make me any money...guess thats where this school stuff might come in :P ). I had shown a few of the people I work with some of my shots and he had heard about them. So I showed him and he asked if I would be willing to sell some prints so he would have something to put on his very bare and white walls in his office. One thing he mentioned that I thought was cool was to give him some sort of cards since he has reps coming into his office all the time....if anyone were to ask about them he said he would send them my way! Very cool I thought, and I trust him as well.... as I have known him for about 4 years now. Now I just need to come up with some sort of card....lol :P
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