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Starting a Photography Business with little or no startup capital/equipment


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#1 Guest_photogbuff_1970_*

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Posted 04 October 2009 - 06:09 PM

Until now, I've refrained from mentioning my financial situation, however I'm in a tight position with regards to a business-start.

I know that people will probably ask me "why" I'm trying to start a photography business when I have no capital or professional grade equipment, but after suffering a back injury from which I haven't recovered back in 2006, I haven't been able to go back to work in a full-capacity. What jobs I've held since was injured in 2006, I've had to resign from because of the pain. I cannot lift 50 lbs on a regular basis (something that is required of me quite often in retail) nor can I stand for long periods of time. So portrait/wedding photography is all that I have left in terms of self-sufficiency. I do not want to go on welfare under disability as I have a personal loathing of people who take the easy way out (one of my ex-friends has gone on welfare and is camping out on it for the rest of his life – now you can see why he's an ex-friend).

My wife is currently working at London Drugs (the same job I had to resign from due to back pain) and is not making much in the way of hours. The rest of our income to survive comes from Canada Child Tax Benefit, Universal Child Care Benefit and Rental Assistance Program (from BC Housing). We clear about $200.00 a month after food and expenses. This is why I need to get this business going. I do not want to borrow against the business nor am I in a position to get a personal loan with no income (from my end) as most lenders would like both parties working.

The equipment we currently have is:

2 Nikon D50s
1 SB-600
1 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6
1 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5
2 70-300mm f/4-5.6
1 50mm f/1.8
Manfrotto 190XB tripod
Manfrotto 680B monopod
various bags
Tiffen 67 polarizer filter (for the 18-70mm)
Gateway 831 GM desktop PIV computer
Acer laptop P4.
various imaging software/ freeware noise reduction.

The fact of the matter is that we have little capital to work with, so we acquire equipment as necessary and make do with what little that we currently have. What I need to know is what sort of hurdles I'm facing (I already know that my competition is using pro-grade DSLRs or medium format film cameras and I'm stuck with using a consumer grade camera and lenses; my only plus is I know my camera inside and out) and what are the pros and cons, so that I can overcome the hurdles. What sort of photography am I limiting myself to with this sort of equipment? What sort of equipment should I work on getting (add-ons to the current equipment – a reflector, software, another flash, a lens that I can somehow work into the equation that would get me a better shooting situation like a 35mm f/1.8? A Gary Fong LightSphere…etc a second flash for my secondary shooter (my wife) or anything else that I can afford at $200.00 a month)?

I'm not going to accept an answer of "it's impossible". That's not going to work here and that's too easy of a cop-out answer. People have done it with less capable equipment in the past (when the highest MP rate was 6.1-8MP). I've never been known to take the easy way out and quit, but I also need to know the disadvantages of my situation so that I can overcome them and succeed.

Forgive me, Darrell, if this is an inappropriate post, but I tried to put it in the forum that seemed the most appropriate.

#2 photojazz

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Posted 05 October 2009 - 01:44 AM

Hmm interesting post. We have some folks here with a lot of knowledge in this area and hopefully some will be responding soon. I wish you great success in your photo business. PJ

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#3 Dave Whiteley

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Posted 05 October 2009 - 06:03 AM

You could try submitting to the picture agencies at first. You will make very little but soon find out if you have what it takes to be a commercial photographer.

Are there no government schemes in Canada to help small start up businesses? I just did a quick Web search from here in the UK and came up with these:-

http://www.entrepris...=GuideInfoGuide

http://ezinearticles...P...me&id=67905

Do your own Web searches for starting small businesses in Canada, or starting photography businesses.

Dave Whiteley
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#4 tlsmith1000

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Posted 05 October 2009 - 07:08 AM

Wedding photography might be harder on your back than you think, especially starting out where you want to get your name out and tend to do more than the average photog. The last wedding I shot back in July was a 10 hour grind with nearly 800 photos. My back was killing me and my feet hurt. Now with that being said, you actually have more equipment already than I used at that wedding. The entire thing was shot with a D60 (no backup, the D300 I had lined up fell through, talk about stress) and a 55-200 kit lens for 90% of the shots. The flash was my trusty SB-600 with a LumiQuest 80-20 system. I did use a 50mm f1.8 for the formals and my ancient Focal (K-Mart) tripod. The things I would have liked to have had most were some monolights for the formals. The SB-600 was at the limits of it's usefulness and the on-camera flash was less than optimal when taking vertical shots. Even with the LumiQuest diffuser I was getting a little bit of shadow that the client didn't mind but bothered me to no end. If your back can handle being on your feet for several hours, I think you've met the basic equipment needs. Mostly you need clients. Try to start with people you know and hope for some good word-of-mouth advertising. And when deciding on the price you will charge don't undercut the competition by a huge margin. First it will give people the impression that you are an amateur and second you won't make as much money which is your ultimate goal. Check out the local market and adjust accordingly. One other thing. Have fun. I know weddings are some of the most stressful photo jobs but if you are really well prepared it will be easier. The better prepared you are the less stress, the less stress the more fun. I always keep a cheat sheet of all the shots the bride and groom request, the traditional shots that you always see, and the shots I think I would like to get. I keep spare batteries and battery chargers for everything. Some notes: 1. Gaffer's tape is your friend. 2. The best man can be a secret weapon for corralling the wedding party. Make him your friend. Unless he's already drunk. 3. If possible, get there early to get shots of the table arrangements and decorations before they get all snotted up. 4. Remember, if it cost the bride money, take a picture of it.
Terry

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#5 chaswes5

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Posted 05 October 2009 - 07:48 AM

I like this hint. "4. Remember, if it cost the bride money, take a picture of it."
Charles Wesley

Nikon D800 and D700 and some lenses. Sony NEX 7 with 18-55 Kit Lens.


“When you photograph people in color, you photograph their clothes. But when you photograph people in Black and white, you photograph their souls!” ― Ted Grant I try never to fool myself that just pointing a camera at something makes it art. Or that snapping the shutter makes me an artist."


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Gallery:http://wesleyphotography.zenfolio.com/

#6 Old Dog New Tricks

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Posted 05 October 2009 - 08:05 AM

I am about to become unemployed myself. Although I don't have the same physical restrictions that you do. Have been looking at options here. Doing some journalism for local weekly feature papers, and web sites is one idea. I did some before and was paid per article. Not a lot of $$ but it got me out there. I may try teaching some classes, "for Dummies" kind of stuff. Maybe offer some post processing services for returning travelers. I have done some team pictures for local basketball teams. Hooking up with a local stable to shoot some horse shows. Think about activities that people are involved in and take pride in what they are doing. Photo opportunities. I use Zenfolio to post my pictures and they can order from there. Saves the hassle of fulfillment. I love taking and post processing, but putting the orders together and getting them out is my Achilles heel. Weddings are a lot of work. Maybe you can find a pro that needs a second shooter. Good luck, especially these days. OD
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#7 D50Michael

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Posted 05 October 2009 - 09:29 AM

Hello, Congratulations on your new venture. I would like to offer some insight for you to consider. During my business career in banking and economics I have seen and been involved with many new business start ups some sucessful some not. The owners of the successful ones all had one thing in common, a burning desire and passion to succeed. No obstacle was to big to overcome and failure was not an option. You are in an unique position and rather than think of disadvantages, think advantages, think what do I bring to the market which has value. Forget the word"undercapitalized", unless you do not have enough gas in the car to your next appointment, you are not undercapitalized. Your biggest advantage is you have no overhead and have plenty of time on your hands. The key to your success can be summed up in three words, marketing, marketing and marketing. Get some biz cards made up and press the flesh, lucky for you is that everyone is a potential customer. Good luck
Michael

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Nikon Lenses: 35mm 1.8, 50mm 1.8, 60mm Macro,
16-85 mm vr zoom, 70-300mm vr zoom
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#8 chaswes5

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Posted 05 October 2009 - 09:43 AM

Good advice from D50. I would add, don't forget your business license and sales tax number. Professional photography is or can be a cut throat business. You will be turned in if you are seen as a threat and you do want to be seen as a threat. Good luck and remember, the customer is alway right.
Charles Wesley

Nikon D800 and D700 and some lenses. Sony NEX 7 with 18-55 Kit Lens.


“When you photograph people in color, you photograph their clothes. But when you photograph people in Black and white, you photograph their souls!” ― Ted Grant I try never to fool myself that just pointing a camera at something makes it art. Or that snapping the shutter makes me an artist."


Don Giannatti






Gallery:http://wesleyphotography.zenfolio.com/

#9 José

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Posted 05 October 2009 - 09:43 AM

All excellent advice. I would also add that the greatest limiting factor a business can have is the doubt that is present in the owner. Doubt kills much, prevents a lot of exploration and also limits fulfillment. Don't think of what you have, consider what you offer, services, packages, products, differences in delivery and fulfillment etc. What separates you from another photographer is your uniqueness and individual services. Concentrate on your skills and services. The rest will come. Equipment can be a limiting factor, however, that usually is something that is identified after much usage and experience. You are growing, allow it. All the best of luck to you. We are here for you, so do not hesitate to ask as you move forward in your new business.
José

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#10 Rebel

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Posted 05 October 2009 - 10:07 AM

Good advice from all so far. Seems to me like you've got enough gear for now unless you want to do some kind of specialist shoots. If you did get a specialist shoot lined up you could always hire the bits you need once you've got the contract. Printing business cards is always a good idea and something you should do right away IMO. If you can afford it make them your own design rather than off the shelf because they look more impressive. If not just get what you can afford and give them out liberally. There are lots of good deals on printing cards available online. I'm not much of a one to give advice when I hardly have any work myself but I'll give some anyway. :P When you're doing a shoot at an event make friends with everybody and give them your card. You never know when they might call you up. Network wherever you can and be nice to everybody even if you think they are a nobody. You never know what will come back to you. Don't be hung up on your gear, what you've got will do the job. Only other photographers know that it's not pro equipment. Look confident and act professional and people will believe that that's what you are - and you will start to believe it too.
Who we are, shapes what we see ~ Chris Orwig

Ask yourself what makes you come alive and go and do that. For what the world needs, is people who have come fully alive ~ Gil Bailie

#11 Guest_photogbuff_1970_*

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Posted 05 October 2009 - 02:04 PM

I actually have a friend who owns a professional print-shop (the actual pro-goods). He's promised me printing needs for life if I take photos of his family for life. :D Hey, that works for me. So as soon as I can get the business card concept agreed upon with my business partner (my wife), I can get them printed up. Thanks all for some enlightening replies. I've gotten a position as a second to a photographer friend (who sells cameras at London Drugs) and I plan to do that for a little while to build up my wedding portfolio before I jump into that, but I have done two outdoor portraiture shoots of friends on my own as TFP. I did a event photography shoot two years ago to see if I could handle the pacing of "event photography" and I managed to nail every shot the client was asking for. But weddings are a whole different animal and as some have said, it might behoove me to work as a second so that I can gain some familiarity with the pacing of a wedding. The main reason that I couldn't handle the LD job was the fact that there they expected a combination of lifting heavy objects (microwaves and stereo boxes) as well as standing for 8 hours and this combination if done every day wears on my back. If I'm moving around I don't feel it as much and if I'm doing something enjoyable (I try to make the shoots as enjoyable for the model as well as for myself) I find that the pain is tolerable and I get to the point where I'm in a "zone" and focused on the shoot and I can manage to put the pain entirely out of my mind. Plus I tend to find that if I'm sitting on a nice padded chair, the PP (post-processing) goes a lot smoother. I'm still trying to streamline my PP, but I don't think I'm at the point where I'm going to be doing weddings and portraiture every single day of the year. When I get to that point, I've actually got people who are chomping at the bit to "work" under my FalconRose Photography banner (actually one of my wife's co-workers wants to work 2nd or 3rd photographer position). :lol: Oh, D50Michael, I don't have to worry about the car-expenses. I'm on the BUS. :lol: Again, thanks, my friends, for the encouragement.

Edited by photogbuff_1970, 05 October 2009 - 02:56 PM.


#12 james23p

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Posted 05 October 2009 - 02:50 PM

OK I have done several weddings over the last few years and a ton of parties etc. My very first wedding with a digital camera was with my D50 and the same lens and SB-600. One the 50 f1.8 is a great portrait lens on your D50 use it for head shots of the bride and groom and wedding party. Two scout your site some places are extremely dark and you need to be prepared. I once had to do a wedding inside a very dark night club with almost no lights. So I did the staged shots outside in a nice deck area and really relied on my SB-600 set on iTTL not iTTL-BL as I needed all the power I could get and had to use ISO 400. This would have been a nightmare if I did not scout my location out so I knew what I was getting into. Plus if you can and it is in a church always ask the Pastor/Priest where you can stand for example in a Greek Orthodox church you can not go behind the alter in most cases. Plus get either Gary Fong lightsphere for diffusing light for less harsh shots or at a minimum a Sto Fen Diffuser these are really cheap. They work and the only time I did not use one was in the super dark club as I lost to much power. Three get a book on the standard shots this is a must as most brides look at other peoples weddings so they know what they want and what others got. There are some shots that are a must. If possible try to do a few weddings as a second photog with another pro this will really be the best way to see how to move around and work. Four weddings are stressful for all so be prepared to be bombarded with demands from not only the bride but family. Remember you usually work for the bride keeping her happy will make your day alot easier and stress free. One wedding the brides Mom kept adding shots it took me an extra hour to finish but I kept a smile on and just plodded along, then drank a beer later. Five post processing is a god send in wedding photography you can convert to BW, fix small things and help with color cast etc. I shoot RAW to help in case I have white balance problems and the D50 usually does a good job. Plus as mentioned you need a good lab, a bad lab can really break you. Six weddings are hard so be careful you only get one chance to get it right and brides can be very very picky so you might want to start with parties like 50th birthday parties etc. These are similar in style but the stress is less and the demands are less and yet you get to practice. Last for now get a signed contract and list their expectations!!! This protects you and them. If they ask for more you can always do it and negotiate the extra cost but get the basics in writing. As far as deposits and such thats up to you and never under sell yourself too much. Its OK to be lower priced at first as you start out but try to stay close to the going rate this will help you stay competitive yet still learn as you go and give the client a good deal. Plus develop a protfolio, since you are starting out use family members for dress up portraits and togther shots. It doesn't hurt to throw in great wildlife pics and scenes in nature but keep them minimal. If you have any specific questions please ask I am not good at these open end type questions. Jim OH before you upgrade your body a good standard 2.8 zoom should be your next purchase. My Tamron SP 17-50 f2.8 DiII LD has been a god send for my wedding photography nothing beats the speed of a constant 2.8 lens over a variable zoom.

God bless all those in harms way and Go Navy!




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#13 kickstan

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Posted 05 October 2009 - 08:00 PM

Good advice from all above, I did weddings for a chapel in Niagara Falls for a summer, about 15 weddings that was hectic as well, I had to shoot (using film) and get the prints developed and back to the clients before they left the city. I used 1 hour processing and had very few if any that did not turn out. Point to take - be assertive in co-ordinating people for your shoots, organizing the shots at a wedding is difficult and it helps to be in charge. A tool I found handy was a little plastic foot stool about 14 inches high - gets you up above the crowd and gives a nice perspective for shots ( I'm 5'10" and found it helped me get shots that others didn't.)
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Taking pictures is a craft...Photography is an art
I strive to be an artist

#14 Old Dog New Tricks

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Posted 06 October 2009 - 06:42 AM

Stan I have a 4 foot step ladder that has an extension that his about waist high above the top step. It's great to get the angle, but also gives you something to lean on and balance against. I toyed with mounting arms for lights on it. I could get above everybody else that wanted to take pictures. I just had to keep them back and out of the view. OD
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#15 Guest_photogbuff_1970_*

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Posted 06 October 2009 - 10:27 AM

Somewhere I saw an ad for an "stepladder on wheels" that converts to a "trolley"...to carry camera gear. I find that would be quite useful. I can't remember seeing where I saw it, but let me take a look through my back issues of Shutterbug/Outdoor Photography/Digital Photo Pro. I think I saw it in there somewhere.

#16 Guest_photogbuff_1970_*

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Posted 24 November 2009 - 01:46 PM

Looks like renting is out. Beau Photo has a policy of: All rentals require a deposit equivalent to the new replacement cost of the equipment unless an account has been established with Beau Photo. I emailed the person in charge of setting up and administrating accounts for Beau Photo,however I'm not predicting a favorable outcome. If I have to pay a deposit equivalent to the new replacement cost of the equipment, I might as well buy myself the lens after saving up for a number of years. And right now the financial prognosis don't look good at all. ~sigh~ I'm sure most of the other places (mail order and otherwise) have deposit requirements that are similar and those will probably require credit cards which I don't have.

#17 chaswes5

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Posted 24 November 2009 - 01:57 PM

Check sales on the forums. I have a Tamron (great for portraits), in like new condition listed there. It will be on eBay this afternoon unless I takers.
Charles Wesley

Nikon D800 and D700 and some lenses. Sony NEX 7 with 18-55 Kit Lens.


“When you photograph people in color, you photograph their clothes. But when you photograph people in Black and white, you photograph their souls!” ― Ted Grant I try never to fool myself that just pointing a camera at something makes it art. Or that snapping the shutter makes me an artist."


Don Giannatti






Gallery:http://wesleyphotography.zenfolio.com/

#18 Dave Whiteley

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Posted 24 November 2009 - 02:28 PM

The problem is unless you have an established track record in business you will always have to put some security up front until you have. For established Pro's I think they will hire out equipment without the full deposit, but you need to have traded reliably with them for a while, or be known and have a good reputation within the trade for another firm you have not traded with before to trust you. It's the same with banks, they will only lend money to businesses who are rich enough not to need it, or can fool them into thinking so. :D Establishing an account usually means you will be checked out with other firms you traded with who you have given as a reference, with or a credit reference agency. If you clear those hurdles you will be OK. Check if you can get any start up funds from the government agencies. In the UK Citizens Advice could probably put people in touch with these. Dave Whiteley
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Nikon PB6 belows, Nikon Tubes.
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#19 José

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Posted 24 November 2009 - 02:49 PM

Looks like renting is out.

Beau Photo has a policy of: All rentals require a deposit equivalent to the new replacement cost of the equipment unless an account has been established with Beau Photo...


Renting is still in the game plan. I have rented glass from, Rentglass

They are reputable, require no deposit and ship fast. You can also add a few bucks to the rental costs for insurance and cover yourself against liability. All in all they are a great group of guys. Check them out yourselves.

I wish you all the best.
José

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- Ansel Adams

#20 Dave Whiteley

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Posted 24 November 2009 - 03:30 PM

Afraid he is in Canada though Jose, unless they have a branch there?

Found these:-

http://www.vistek.ca/rentals/

http://www.kftv.com/...y-KG04-CAN.html

http://www.joesutherland.com/

http://www.chb.com/listings/5/512

Some rental firms among these equipment stores:-

http://www.acecam.com/canada1.html

http://www.canphoto....ipment-Rentals/

Just Google "Photo Equipment Rentals" and you will probably find more doing it from Canada yourself than I can from the UK.

Dave Whiteley
Nikon D200
AF-S DX Nikkor 18-70 mm f/3.5-4.5G IF-ED
60mm f/2.8D AF Micro-Nikkor
70mm-180mm AF ED f4.5-f5.6 D Micro-Nikkor
Tamron SP AF200-500MM F/5-6.3 Di LD (IF)
Nikon PB6 belows, Nikon Tubes.
2X Nikon SB600 flash guns
Manfrotto dual flash bracket

#21 Arkayem

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Posted 28 November 2009 - 11:22 AM

The equipment we currently have is:

2 Nikon D50s
1 SB-600
1 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6
1 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5
2 70-300mm f/4-5.6
1 50mm f/1.8
Manfrotto 190XB tripod
Manfrotto 680B monopod
various bags
Tiffen 67 polarizer filter (for the 18-70mm)
Gateway 831 GM desktop PIV computer
Acer laptop P4.
various imaging software/ freeware noise reduction.


You have plenty of gear. The D50's will make excellent images!

When I was in the process of switching from film to digital I bought a D70 with an 18-70mm lens and an SB600 flash with a Gary Fong LS II. I got some great results with that combination, so good in fact, that I quit using film entirely and shot probably a dozen more weddings with the D70. I also bought a 17-55mm lens to go on the D70, and that improved my keeper rate (faster and better focus).

You'll rarely (if ever) need the polarizer for weddings. There's no time to install it anyway.

The 70-300mm is probably too slow for available light, so you'll rarely use it.

The only time I use my tripod is from the back of the church shooting available light during the ceremony. I shoot all the formals handheld with the Gary Fong. Guests get impatient quickly, and if you make them wait while you set up equipment, you get terrible expressions.

Don't worry about 6MP. It's plenty! I made several 16x20s from D70 images (same sensor as the D50) and they were stunning! Just make sure to frame carefully to minimize cropping requirements. 6MP doesn't leave much room for cropping.

Edited by Arkayem, 28 November 2009 - 11:24 AM.


#22 DigitalDarrell

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Posted 28 November 2009 - 03:45 PM

Forgive me, Darrell, if this is an inappropriate post, but I tried to put it in the forum that seemed the most appropriate.


No problem on the post topic. I did move the thread to our new "The Business of Photography" forum.

I'd like to see this thread prosper. Great topic!
Best regards,
Darrell Young (Digital Darrell)
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
"Better too many words than not enough understanding." - Darrell Young
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Bodies
: Nikon D810, D800, D750, D600, D2X, COOLPIX A, D100, F80, FM, EM, Olympus OM-D E-M1, Olympus OM-D E-M10
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Lenses
: AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED, AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G, AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G Special Edition (for Df), AF-S Nikkor 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G VR (x2), AF-S Nikkor DX 16-85mm f/3.5-4.5G VR, AF Nikkor 80-400 f/4.5-5.6D ED VR, AF Micro Nikkor 60mm f/2.8, AF-S Nikkor 24-120mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR, AF-S Nikkor 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR, AF Nikkor 24mm f/2.8D, AI Nikkor 35mm f/2, AI Nikkor 50mm 5/1.8, AI Nikkor 50mm 5/1.8 Series E, AI Nikkor 105mm f/2.5, AI Nikkor 200mm f/4, Non-AI Nikkor-S 50mm f/1.4, Sigma 10-20mm EX f/3.5-5.6, M.Zuiko 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 lens, M.Zuiko PRO 12-40mm f/2.8 ED
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Accessories:
Nikon SB-910 Speedlight, Nikon SB-900 Speedlight, Nikon GP-1 GPS, Nikon ME-1 Microphone, Eye-Fi Wireless Cards, Atomos Ninja Blade External HDMI Video Recorder, Atomos Ninja-2 External HDMI Video Recorder, Atomos Samurai Blade External Video Recorder, Manfrotto Tripods, Markins M-10 Ballhead, Lots of camera bags, Metz 24 AF-1 Flash, Olympus FL-600R Flash, Olympus HLD-7 Battery Grip
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Member of:

Nikon Professional Services (NPS), Professional Photographers of America (PPA), North American Nature Photography Association (NANPA), Founding Member of Nikonians Writers' Guild (www.Nikonians.org), Charter Member (year 2000) of Nikonians.org
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#23 DigitalDarrell

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Posted 28 November 2009 - 04:11 PM

I am about to shoot my 112th wedding since 1980 on December 5th. May I offer this: Never ( and I mean NEVER) attempt to shoot a wedding with equipment you do not know inside and out. No new lenses, bodies, flashes, or anything else. Test each piece of equipment well, and know it well BEFORE the wedding. There is no time during a wedding, especially during the ceremony, to be fiddling with equipment. Also, expect every piece of equipment you own to fail at any second. Have at least two loaded cameras with full flash power around your neck at all times. One should have a good wide angle zoom, and the other should have a short telephoto zoom (not too long). Have the cameras set to exactly the same apertures, shutter speeds, and ISO sensitivities. My biggest piece of advice is that there is no time for looking at your camera's settings in the thick of things. Weddings simply happen too fast. You can't miss a shot of a single person coming down the isle. 1. ALWAYS be there for the "practice session" before each wedding, to learn the layout of the building, and what each member of the party will do. 2. Have someone with you to help arrange the groups shots. 3. Know, in advance, what group shots the families want, and get it in writing in a list. 4. In many cases the photographer ends up "in control" of the wedding. Sounds strange, but unless there is a wedding planner, things tend to revolve around the pictures. 5. Expect failure and be prepared for it. A perfectly working camera or flash may simply stop working, and you have no time to run and get a replacement. It must be on your body already. 6. You CANNOT miss a shot. You cannot miss a shot. You cannot miss a shot. You are dead meat if you miss a shot. 7. Have an agreement, in writing, for the number of images and types, that you will provide. If you agree on giving them 200 images, shoot 2000. You can sell more images later (or give them a surprise gift on their first anniversary.) 8. Make an agreement with the bride and groom that YOU are the photographer, and uncle Joe can't jump up in front of you to get his shots. You come first, family and friends second. 9. Have an accomplished FEMALE photographer with you at all times. She must go into the room where the bride and bridesmaids are dressing and get the mom pinning the veil, flowers, zipping up, hair, etc (You'll shoot the groom). 10. Don't eat anything at the reception. As soon as you consume food, you are considered a member of the family and you will not be paid for your work. A professional does not eat at the reception, they take pictures! (Bring some energy bars for in-wedding use. You'll lose several pounds over the grueling 10 hour job.) Also, realize that everybody in a wedding is stressed out of their minds, and tempers can flare easily. Brides can be downright dangerous (ever heard of Bridezilla?) Finally, make sure your life insurance is paid up before you shoot the wedding. If you miss a shot, you will die not long after. Other than that. Have fun!
Best regards,
Darrell Young (Digital Darrell)
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
"Better too many words than not enough understanding." - Darrell Young
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Bodies
: Nikon D810, D800, D750, D600, D2X, COOLPIX A, D100, F80, FM, EM, Olympus OM-D E-M1, Olympus OM-D E-M10
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Lenses
: AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED, AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G, AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G Special Edition (for Df), AF-S Nikkor 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G VR (x2), AF-S Nikkor DX 16-85mm f/3.5-4.5G VR, AF Nikkor 80-400 f/4.5-5.6D ED VR, AF Micro Nikkor 60mm f/2.8, AF-S Nikkor 24-120mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR, AF-S Nikkor 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR, AF Nikkor 24mm f/2.8D, AI Nikkor 35mm f/2, AI Nikkor 50mm 5/1.8, AI Nikkor 50mm 5/1.8 Series E, AI Nikkor 105mm f/2.5, AI Nikkor 200mm f/4, Non-AI Nikkor-S 50mm f/1.4, Sigma 10-20mm EX f/3.5-5.6, M.Zuiko 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 lens, M.Zuiko PRO 12-40mm f/2.8 ED
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Accessories:
Nikon SB-910 Speedlight, Nikon SB-900 Speedlight, Nikon GP-1 GPS, Nikon ME-1 Microphone, Eye-Fi Wireless Cards, Atomos Ninja Blade External HDMI Video Recorder, Atomos Ninja-2 External HDMI Video Recorder, Atomos Samurai Blade External Video Recorder, Manfrotto Tripods, Markins M-10 Ballhead, Lots of camera bags, Metz 24 AF-1 Flash, Olympus FL-600R Flash, Olympus HLD-7 Battery Grip
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Member of:

Nikon Professional Services (NPS), Professional Photographers of America (PPA), North American Nature Photography Association (NANPA), Founding Member of Nikonians Writers' Guild (www.Nikonians.org), Charter Member (year 2000) of Nikonians.org
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

#24 ldsharp

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Posted 02 July 2010 - 08:15 PM

Man, DigitalDarrel you make wedding photography sound like so much FUN! Talk about PRESSURE!!! I've done a few weddings in my day and never want to do another. Your list of 10 things to remember all qualify as reasons to either not shoot weddings or charge what it's worth to deal with it. For my daughter's small wedding (we urged them to take the money and elope) we paid the photographer $2500 I think and it was well worth it.
Larry

Nikon D200, D5000, Nikon 28, 50, Micro-Nikkor 55, Nikon 18-200VR, Sigma 10-20, Samyang 7.5 fisheye, SB600, SB24's, SB25's, SB-20

#25 KJs_Dad

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Posted 04 July 2010 - 07:54 AM

Great topic, sorry if I'm a little late to it... The OP has more than enough camera equipment to get started, but I see the biggest shortcoming is the lack of lighting gear. A second flash is necessary. Ideally, this should be an SB800/SB900 unit, so that in addition to being used on the second camera, it can also be used as a master flash, with the SB600 set as the slave, for more elaborate two light setups. As an alternative, you could go with another SB600, since I believe the D50 can act as a master to fire both SB600s remotely. There is also a need for light modifiers. Top of the list should be a flash bracket with an SC17/SC28/SC29 (or generic equivalent) cord to connect the flash to the camera. The bracket will allow the flash to always be above the lens axis, so the shadow falls behind the subject. A lot of people use the Fong Lightsphere (and a lot of people hate it) but keep in mind that you can make a bounce diffuser with an index card and a rubberband. There are plans on the internet for various inexpensive bouncecards and other light modifiers. Definitely check out the strobist.com website for other low-cost lighting tricks. Then it all comes down to marketing for little or no money. Business cards are a must. An online presence is also a must. Fortunately there are enough free ways to do this (blogger, facebook, twitter, etc.) to get you started. You should also think about setting up an online ordering system. Someone earlier mentioned Zenfolio. I happen to use ExposureManager (Disclaimer: I used to work for EM). These allow you to accept credit card orders, and make it easier for your customers to order from you. They also allow you to take on assignments that in the past may have been beyond a one-person operation (in my case, youth sports and school photos). You can also use these services as your online portfolio. Don't be afraid to volunteer your photographic time for charities, non-profits, and your church. This doesn't cost you anything, gives you experience, and gets your name out. I once booked a large preschool shooting because the head of the preschool was a volunteer at a charity event I was photographing. Paul
Film: FM2, FE2, EM, N90s
Digital: D70 (x2), Coolpix 5700

Lenses: 50/1.8 AI-S, 85/2.0 AI-S, Sima 100/F2 Soft Focus
Lenses: 18-70/3.5-4.5 AF-S, 35-70/2.8 AF, 85/1.8 AF, 70-210/4-5.6 AF

Flash: SB800, SB600, Vivitar 285

Articles: blog.paulrichardwossidlo.com
Galleries: www.paulrichardwossidlo.com

#26 kennethlightstudios

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Posted 04 April 2011 - 10:41 AM

Until now, I've refrained from mentioning my financial situation, however I'm in a tight position with regards to a business-start.

I know that people will probably ask me "why" I'm trying to start a photography business when I have no capital or professional grade equipment, but after suffering a back injury from which I haven't recovered back in 2006, I haven't been able to go back to work in a full-capacity. What jobs I've held since was injured in 2006, I've had to resign from because of the pain. I cannot lift 50 lbs on a regular basis (something that is required of me quite often in retail) nor can I stand for long periods of time. So portrait/wedding photography is all that I have left in terms of self-sufficiency. I do not want to go on welfare under disability as I have a personal loathing of people who take the easy way out (one of my ex-friends has gone on welfare and is camping out on it for the rest of his life – now you can see why he's an ex-friend).

My wife is currently working at London Drugs (the same job I had to resign from due to back pain) and is not making much in the way of hours. The rest of our income to survive comes from Canada Child Tax Benefit, Universal Child Care Benefit and Rental Assistance Program (from BC Housing). We clear about $200.00 a month after food and expenses. This is why I need to get this business going. I do not want to borrow against the business nor am I in a position to get a personal loan with no income (from my end) as most lenders would like both parties working.

The equipment we currently have is:

2 Nikon D50s
1 SB-600
1 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6
1 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5
2 70-300mm f/4-5.6
1 50mm f/1.8
Manfrotto 190XB tripod
Manfrotto 680B monopod
various bags
Tiffen 67 polarizer filter (for the 18-70mm)
Gateway 831 GM desktop PIV computer
Acer laptop P4.
various imaging software/ freeware noise reduction.

The fact of the matter is that we have little capital to work with, so we acquire equipment as necessary and make do with what little that we currently have. What I need to know is what sort of hurdles I'm facing (I already know that my competition is using pro-grade DSLRs or medium format film cameras and I'm stuck with using a consumer grade camera and lenses; my only plus is I know my camera inside and out) and what are the pros and cons, so that I can overcome the hurdles. What sort of photography am I limiting myself to with this sort of equipment? What sort of equipment should I work on getting (add-ons to the current equipment – a reflector, software, another flash, a lens that I can somehow work into the equation that would get me a better shooting situation like a 35mm f/1.8? A Gary Fong LightSphere…etc a second flash for my secondary shooter (my wife) or anything else that I can afford at $200.00 a month)?

I'm not going to accept an answer of "it's impossible". That's not going to work here and that's too easy of a cop-out answer. People have done it with less capable equipment in the past (when the highest MP rate was 6.1-8MP). I've never been known to take the easy way out and quit, but I also need to know the disadvantages of my situation so that I can overcome them and succeed.

Forgive me, Darrell, if this is an inappropriate post, but I tried to put it in the forum that seemed the most appropriate.




I have started twobusinesses like this, one a computer business back in England that went verywell and the second is my business now.



Shoot as much as youcan, shoot models, build your port, learn about light, leanabout difficult lighting and shooting, after about a year of this ifyour good and you have a good business mind you can start getting some work,but it will take longer if you’re not doing the absolute best you can do, itsgoing to be like working several jobs.



Network Network andNetwork and always keep everyone happy, as now your name is your word.



Also do a lot ofcharity, it will get your name out, talking of names, get one and stick withit, if you change your only put yourself back again.



Hope that helps.
Peter Kenneth Farrar

Kenneth Light Studios
http://www.kennethlightstudios.com

Charlotte Wedding Photographers
http://www.charlottt...otographers.com

Charlotte Baby Photographers
http://www.charlotte...otographers.com

Charlotte Photography Training and Tours Meetup Group
http://www.meetup.co...ning-and-Tours/

--------------------------------------------------------------
Gear
Nikon FG, Nikon F5, Nikon D700, Nikon D300, Nikon D200
two 2.8 zooms
all 1.4 and 1.8 Primes, all Nikon
SB900s, SB800s SU800, Studio gear and then rest is too much to put here.

#27 Herman

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Posted 30 September 2011 - 09:10 AM

This is a very interesting topic with some excellent pointers... After absorbing everything, I'm left wondering two years on whether it has been a success. Would be nice to know! Cheers - Herman :)

Equipment: D810 | D300 | D50 and some lenses.

Software: Adobe Photoshop Elements 15 + NIK Software Suite
 
My motto: To learn more today, than I knew yesterday!

 

 

 

 


#28 zapfrog

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Posted 23 July 2012 - 03:13 PM

I too would like to know how things are going.

#29 mrpenguin

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Posted 31 August 2012 - 11:36 AM

I am sure it is possible to start a new wedding photography business with little capital and only a few pieces of non pro equipment but I can tell you that from experience that starting a business is not cheap. I ended up spending over $25000 in my first year. I soon realized that taking photos in a dimly lit church when no flash is allowed will get you in big trouble if you dont have the right camera. I realized I need back up equipment because there is no do overs when it comes to weddings. I needed a proper computer, screen and software to edit the photos to the best of their potential. I soon realized that clients are not going to just come knock on your door, you need to advertise !! and that is not cheap. You need to attend wedding shows and get a table that usually runs between $400 and $800. Its easy to spend $5000 a year on just advertizing. Every second person with a DSLR thinks he can be a wedding photographer ( I was one of those) but you need to stand out from the rest of them if you are going to make a name for yourself and have clients call you! That is done by being good at what you do and having the right equipment for the job.... I dont care what anybody say about a camera, a camera might just be a tool but you are not going to go work as a lumberjack with a pocket knife are you ?? sure the pocket knife will eventually be able to cut down a tree but it would be done faster and more efficiently with a chain saw. It can be done but be prepared to spend a lot of money in your first few years if you want to make a success of your business and not do it just as a hobby.




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