April 8, 2014 at 11:22 pm #18173April 9, 2014 at 1:19 am #18178
had a quick look, and it seems you are a competent photographer to me. On my iPad and your site navigates nicely and presents really well. FB There is quite a progression from your earlier shots. This is good, but not necessarily what you want to show. You might want to consider a clean up.
My only real “criticism” would be in the form of a question. How are you profitable enough to stay afloat with your current prices? I think you might want to rethink your numbers. Your photography is worth more than a Big Mac 🙂 and what you do is worth more than minimum wage.
Some links that may help you
http://www.themoderntog.com/affordable-profitable-photographerApril 9, 2014 at 2:44 am #18182nesgranMember
There’s always nitpicks but you need a critique and you should get someone to sit down with you with the pictures printed in a reasonably large size. They look clean and modern on the whole though I wonder how the hazy look will stand the test of time. The one thing with the photos themselves is that the low contrast look isn’t consistent between the images. You should probably look at your shots again, scroll through them and have a relook at the ones that stand out either side of the spectrum. Look at this shoot for example, http://www.bunsphotography.com/lisa-grant . Look at the shot where he is piggybacking her, it has a completely different look and stands out quite a lot. The bokeh in some of your shots is pretty jittery as well though that is likely down to your lens. If there is a possibility to change that lens it would make things look a little nicer. I would also aim to have a little less space above their heads as in that same shot you have plenty of room above but you’ve chopped his foot off. Ditch the black and white is it is only one off shot and it doesn’t add anything to the portfolio.
Oh, and you need to charge more. Your normal $200 session doesn’t mention if those photos are printed as well and your $50 session is undercutting yourself. $800 for a wedding is cheap but I wonder what you get in that package. What does a “typical” wedding cost? I.e. 8 hours of shooting, one tog, an album for couple and 200 5×7 for family. If it is much more than $800 I would adjust that up on the website as calling a tog which seems to be cheap but produces good work actually charge much more than they suggest then it might be off putting. Four back to back $200 sessions would be what I suggested above, minus the albumApril 9, 2014 at 5:49 am #18197Worst Case ScenarioMember
Plus.. I’m not a fan of the low contrast cross process look. If I just found your FB page, I would immediately think that was all you could do, and if I didn’t know it was an effect, I might well think you didn’t know how to make a good image.April 9, 2014 at 8:00 am #18199cameraclickerMember
I too, am not a fan of the low contrast cross process look.April 9, 2014 at 11:28 am #18200
Thanks for the input. I’m not sure if the hazy, crossed process and heavily edited will stand the test of time either but my clients so far like it and request it.
My pricing is low but since all of my advertising is done on Craigslist, it isn’t too low compared to many of the other posters on there. Even with such low pricing I am only doing like may 12-15 weddings a year. My goal is to just pay for my tuition each semester and completely shut this down when I finish up graduate school.
Basically, my $800 wedding package just includes 6 hours of coverage, all edited images (usually client receives 400-600), and downloadable images with rights to print. As for albums, I usually give clients a free table coffee book with 50 pages.
The $50 mini and $200 engagement session I have yet to actually book someone solely for those, I usually include a free engagement session when a client opts for a 2nd photographer add-on.
With all that being said, I do agree that consolidating my portfolio should be the next step in making it more consistent. Might not go the printing route with me being a penny pincher but I’ll have someone go through it with me online.
Again, thanks for the comments! Much appreciatedApril 9, 2014 at 12:15 pm #18202
ah, I see so…
You’re profitable because you keep your cost of doing business down by not having contracts, insurance, not paying taxes, spending minimal on advertising, not printing/finishing, etc? Not really going all in, so to speak? and since you don’t plan on making a living from this anytime in the future you can afford to compete on price. I get it.
What I don’t get, given what you just told us, is why you are here getting a critique.
You already are booking 12 to 15 weddings a year, making quick change to get you through school. You already are achieving your wanted goals, and don’t plan on growing a business. Maybe just for your own personal interest in photography? If that’s the case then why didn’t we get lead to your personal photography projects?
I’m not completely convinced that you don’t have much invested in this. I just think YOU don’t think you do. I bet if you were to actually figure out your numbers, and honestly take note of ALL your expenses, you’d see that this isn’t working as well as you thought. Example: They get free coffee table book? Why? They already are hiring you at a very low discounted rate. Have you figured out how much that costs you to put together for them? Are you sure you aren’t better off working at McDonalds to help you through school? Seriously sit with an open mind and read the links I gave you with your head, not your heart.
As far as the hazy look. I don’t think following a possibly short lived fad or trend really matters in your case, because your endeavor is also short lived.
I think a lot of photographers have success in following fads and trends and successfully evolve out of them and into the next and can do really really well with it. I think the OP could accomplish this as well if that were his intentions. Nothing about his photography tells me otherwise, but I did only have a quick look. Yes, nothing stands the test of time better than a good clean well taken photo, but you have to remember it’s a business and fads sell.April 9, 2014 at 1:18 pm #18203
While I understand that it is easy to assume that I don’t use contracts, have insurance, or pay taxes because I am new to the wedding photography world, that isn’t the case. I will admit initially I didn’t have insurance, but I’ve always used contracts. As for taxes, I pay both federal and state. I do avoid paying sales tax by not selling tangible/physical items.
I guess the reason for my critique is to get some feedback. Although wedding photography isn’t meant to be my future source of income, we can’t always predict what will happen. I will be doing wedding photography for the next couple of years and I would like to improve in the years to come, and hopefully charge more for my services.
Let see, if I work at McDonalds I’ll make $8.50/hr at 24hrs a week.. equalling about $650-$700 after taxes. Now if I do one wedding month at $800, given that I would shoot for 6hrs and edit 16 hrs I’ll make the same amount but with less time actually working. McDonalds I would be investing 96 hrs a month, whereas photography I would be investing maybe 40-50 hrs. Before I made the switch to wedding photography I was working retail to pay through school, but when I realized I could make the same amount in less time so I made the switch and used all this ample time to take classes during the day and not at night. It also gave me a significantly more time to study. As for the coffee table book, it is only $50 and makes for a nice gift, sure I could save that $50 which adds up to to like $600 for the year but hey I’m not that great of a business person lolApril 9, 2014 at 1:50 pm #18204nesgranMember
but hey I’m not that great of a business person lol
I think you hit the nail on the head here. I really think you should be charging more and giving less. 4-600 images on a disc are far too many, I would limit this to 150 at the most unless it was an absolutely massive wedding and you managed to get a head shot of everyone there. Decreasing the number you will also be able to edit the shots more consistently as you have 3-4 times the amount of time to spend on each photo (if needed)
Printing will be an easy way to give the couple a quality product to remember the day by. Most I’m guessing will be using what ever drug store they have close which will bite them in the arse years down the line. Even if you make a couple of cents on each printed photo it adds up for you but it will also mean that the client will get a better end result. Having a good working relationship with a pro lab will stand you in good stead and will mean that you can offer a higher quality product. Printing isn’t hard once you know what comes out the other end. Having a calibrated monitor and working with the same lab you know what the result will look like.
If you want to give them added value send along a dvd of the photos but in low res with a watermark and you will get free advertising on facebook. I think your photography is too good to be this lazy about it. At the moment you are competing with the fauxes which isn’t a battle you will ever win. I wouldn’t be surprised if you didn’t get more clients by upping your prices as it is then perceived as a higher quality product. In fact if I was shopping around for a wedding tog and found you I’d almost be a little suspicious it was a scam
Printing will not mean much extra work for you, especially if you decrease the number of photos you give them. Cropping to 5×7 takes seconds in lightroom and sending to the printers will be whatever time it takes for you to upload them. If you want to miss that step there are various services where the couple+family can select what shots they want printed and the printer will send them out dealing with the hassle of it.
My suggestions would be to up your wedding package cost a little to cover insurance, heck why not up it by $300 and that includes a 90 minute engagement shoot?. Aim to make 10 cents on each printed photo if you aren’t comfortable making money off prints. By all means continue giving them a coffee table book and a dvd with the photos if you want but make them low res and with a watermark, this will act as proofs for which shots they want. Most important will be to be more selective about which shots you include to the couple as too many photos isn’t helpful. The end result of this will be less time for you editing, more money from the fees, more work getting the stuff printed but also you will earn more from it. I think you are selling yourself a little short competing with the fauxes.
*Disclaimer* I don’t know what the wedding tog business is like where you work but on the whole this is what I thinkApril 9, 2014 at 1:50 pm #18205
Also, thanks very much for the resources! I’ve been taking notes while reading them.
When I first stated I actually charged $500 for all day coverage and 1000 images given to the client. I soon realized that I wasn’t making much at all.. I had all these ideas of grandeur and thought I was going to make a killing.. then reality hit me like a train. Although I still may be delusional for the low price I charge I guess its better than when I first started.April 9, 2014 at 6:33 pm #18212
“While I understand that it is easy to assume that I don’t use contracts, have insurance, or pay taxes because I am new to the wedding photography world, that isn’t the case. I will admit initially I didn’t have insurance, but I’ve always used contracts. As for taxes, I pay both federal and state.”
I knew by me saying that and saying “you weren’t all in” it’d get you going, and thinking about what you actually have invested in this 😉
Honest, not trying to piss you off or put you down. Just saying… what you do is worth more, and you have the potential to make much more money than what you currently are.April 9, 2014 at 7:07 pm #18213
Thanks for the jumpstart! 😉
One of the reasons I like forum critiques vs. in-person is the bluntness and straight-talk, typically lol I believe that you and Nesgran offered some great advice that was straight to the point.
Here is a link to my personal stuff.. https://www.flickr.com/photos/floatingabout/ — No critiques needed.. but hopefully I’ll be able to start shooting random shit again once school is finished I can afford some more fun lenses like macro’s, fisheyes, etc.
I someone mentioned earlier about the Bokeh.. I use primes either Nikkor’s 24mm f/1.4G or 50mm f/1.4G or 50mm f/1.8G.. I pretty sure the jittery bokeh has something to do with the processing.. I usually add sharpness to it when I export out of LR5April 9, 2014 at 8:33 pm #18216
Couple of minor things:
1) on your pricing/contact page, under the Engagements and Portraits section, there’s a minor flub: “Upto 2 hours of Coverage” “Up to” is run together as one word.
2) for the wedding party shots, where are the formal shots of the bridesmaids and groomsmen parties? The freestyle, too-cool-to-take-this-seriously poses (Elvin and Stephanie) are fun now, but they are not going to stand the test of time. You should absolutely give the bride and groom what they want, but try to remind them that they should also do some shots their parents/family would be proud to put on the mantle.
That being said, you have some really nice reception candids. The shots of the Sufyan and Gracie reception where she’s dancing with the little boy are really sweet.April 10, 2014 at 2:05 am #18222
1) Thanks for noticing. Fixed!
2) I always do traditional poses as well. I just post the “fun” ones on my website.
Thanks for the compliments. That little guy was a charmer!April 10, 2014 at 6:27 am #18228cameraclickerMember
I like your personal stuff
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