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Old May 13, 2007, 3:13 PM   #11
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Glad you two found that post useful.

It's a question of how you carry yourself and how you look. What clothing you wear, how you hold yourself and how you communicate.
Do you always go to meet the artist events wearting a button down shirt (maybe even a tie) or are you always in a t-shirt? Do you shave or go with stubble?

Are you strait and too the point when you talk? Are you all business when you meet people who might show your work?

That kinda stuff.

I, personally, go for the more formal but easy to work with look. I try to look nice. I accommodate their needs as long as it doesn't put me out. They are the ones with power (usually) so I try to work with them.

Something that I've found to be true is that people buy pictures of things that they connect too. So if you're going to photograph old local building, that can do well. But pick your buildings carefully. Have a mix of creative views and "classic" ones. Some times they buy the picture because its "art" and other times it's because they know the location and want that memory of the picture showing the building/site.

But often local shots do very well. They can, in fact, do better than class shots of famous place - like the Grand Canyon and such.

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Old May 14, 2007, 7:00 AM   #12
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Ok cool. Would you all suggest I set up a portfolio? and take all my best local shots print them out on a 9x10?

Also I took your all advice and I'm joining a locol camera club here in town.
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Old May 14, 2007, 11:22 AM   #13
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Derek034 wrote:
Ok cool. Would you all suggest I set up a portfolio? and take all my best local shots print them out on a 9x10?

Also I took your all advice and I'm joining a locol camera club here in town.
You absolutely *MUST* have a portfolio. You don't necessarily need to have one now, but you will need to have one at some point. When you want to go somewhere and say "this is my work, I would like to show it at your location. How can we make that work?" You *MUST* have something to show them. Don't say "here is my card, check out my web site." That isn't nearly good enough. You don't know if they'll actually do that... they might get busy later. Lots of images look good on the web and look bad in print. Making good prints is MUCH harder. (It takes way more pixels, and they must be good pixels.)

If they are at all knowledgeable, they will know this.

If you can walk in with your portfolio under your shoulder and show them your work on the spot... that will make a big difference. And if they have the time, and seem willing to talk, ask them what they think. Not everyone is comfortable doing this, but if they are this is invaluable. They are not a photographer, they are a gallery or shop owner - they are more like your customers and what they like will be different than what you like. You need to learn that difference.

You don't want your portfolio to be too large, 'cause they probably don't have lots of time to look through 50 pictures. Pick your 10 best, with a diverse subject matter and make them as large as you can. 8x10 isn't bad, if that is what you'll show. But you'll WOW them much more with high quality 11x14 or 16x20. Partially because those are harder to do and because those will catch people's eye from further away.

It's good to hear you joined the club. If its a good group that is aimed at helping people you should be able to learn a lot from them. That is a very good first step.

I've found out a few things about clubs over the years.
- Some are about showing only. I call them "appreciation societies". They can be fun, but you don't learn as much as with other kinds of club.
- Some are about competition. They can even give away things at the end. This usually means the quality is high, but you still won't get the feedback you need. I also find that people can be less friendly (and less helpful) at these because they want to win.
- Some are about showing images, talking about them and learning. This is the best kind for what you want. The assumption is that the people know what their doing and give good advice... and you'll only find that out by going to a few meetings.

I'm in 2 clubs (plus one that I run for the local library.) One is an appreciation society. I go to that one because they are my friends and it's a fun time. I get to see amazing pictures and catch up with what people are doing. I rarely learn much from them (although a lot of shop is talked during the dinner break.) The other is about learning. We put up prints, the photographer talks about them and then people comment. You can ask specific questions, or just let people talk. Only one other person there shoots wildlife, the others are a diverse bunch of street, landscape and art shots. But they are all really good (I bet all have shoot for 20 years or more) and I always learn something about composition or lighting when I'm there.

Good luck with this. Its a lot of fun... and never let it stop being fun. Your enjoyment will show in your pictures.

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Old May 16, 2007, 11:21 PM   #14
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One thing you need to do is get your name out there. If you have the ability to take pictures for a local newspaper on the side wheather it be for one event or part time do that.

Start shoot as many local events as possible and shoot many more pictures than normal to build up an archive. When I was with the newspaper it was not unusual for me to shoot 5,000 pictures a year working part time. They used about 200 of them...... but it gave me a big archive to pull from when I wanted to move on. Some people look at the whole batch for an event to see how you shoot vs just the best image. Be sure to ask what people want to see when oyou show them images. Some want the full batch of wedding images and others want to see you best 20 or 30 images.

Also as said above you need good equipment including a good hot shoe flash (very very important), enough memory cards to shoot a full wedding gig without having to pulout the laptop and wait for the cards to upload and erase. Any dpwntime you have by not having enough battery power or memory card space with haunt you in the long run.

Also volunteer to shoot some events such as weddings for friends at a low cost or stuff for the local school system such a school carnaval and then make CDs of your best shots to pass around as promo material.

I started out several years ago doing part time photo work for our local weekly paper (doing photo essays of local events on the weekends) that lead to my current full time job. I now use the Fuji S9100 (need a camera with the lens built in as I deal with smoke, fire, blood and the like on a daily basis and am afraid that the CCD might gert damaged if exposed), have 5GB of memory for it, sunpack hotshoe flash and a laptop with 2GB Ram, storage server with 2x 750GB hard drives to store all my images (plus complete backups on DVD or CD) Adobe Photoshop Elements 5.0 and MS Pictureviewer.

Hope you find something in this post useful.

So what gear do you own now?
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