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Advice on setting up visiting portraiture business

Alan8657 11 13 United Kingdom
2 Jul 2007 10:51AM
am planning to offer a home visiting portraiture service in the UK. I have a canon 350d + 30d & 17-85 + 28-135 canon lenses + elinchrom flash units + a lastolite type collapsible background. I plan to take pics in the clients house, charge say 50 for the service, including one free 5x7 print of their choice. I would post the pics on photobox a couple of days later, in a professional gallery, so they can tell me which one they want free and so they can buy any others. I have no laptop so can't download the pics for people to choose at the time in their house.

Can you please give me advice, comments, criticism on my plan?

Also, it's a cheek I know, but as I lack experience, if anyone could offer me the chance to shaddow or work with them briefly on a few shoots it would be great.

thanks for your comments, Alan

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davidentrican 15 258
2 Jul 2007 11:09AM
I would suggest photographing friends and friends of friends if you can't get any work shadowing a pro.

Then when you are confident, and have a portfolio, set up your own website (Clikpic or Photium are good and not expensive), put a free ad in Yell.com and others, advertise locally and maybe print off a few thousand special offer flyers and deliver to your local area.

Also try to get a bit of a story about your business startup in the local press - free advertising.

Good luck.
ruralscotland 13 1.3k
2 Jul 2007 11:15AM
Hi Alan

If going this route with your work as I am considering the same.....swap your 17-85m and 28-135mm for something else.

They are a good enough lens, don't get me wrong, but try and invest in some L Lenses, especially a 24-70mm F2.8 or 24-105mm F4 IS L for this kind of work.

You could always work towards these in the mean time.

As above, practice on friends and family.

lobsterboy Plus
14 14.9k 13 United Kingdom
2 Jul 2007 11:26AM

Quote: charge say 50 for the service, including one free 5x7 print of their choice.

Is this to be your full-time job? 50 seems quite low to me as you will need to factor in Petrol & depreciation on your car and purchasing/replacing equipment. Generally you will need a backup of everything as no pics = no money coming in.

You will need insurance of some sort too.
agoreira 14 6.0k Wales
2 Jul 2007 11:36AM

Quote:50 seems quite low to me

What, for someone that "lacks experience"? Sounds expensive to me. As he says," it's a cheek I know"
I tend to agree with him!
Alan8657 11 13 United Kingdom
2 Jul 2007 11:37AM
As I was recently made redundant this is something I hope to build up. I agree 50 is low. I think to make real money I would need to do a return visit and sell enlargements, framed or canvas prints to upsell and make money, but that's something I am not confident on at the moment.
samfurlong 12 2.5k United Kingdom
2 Jul 2007 11:42AM
One word of warning, make sure you are ready. You say that you're inexperienced so that's all I have to go on but make sure you are up to task. It is very, very hard to rebuild a bad reputation. Make sure you don;t get one.
Also, starting at a low price is okay but be careful as it is very hard to then turn round and put prices up dramatically, people won't pay it if they have paid less (or know someone who has paid less) in the past. You may get a reputation as a bit of a mr cut price and then will find it hard to get work that pays.
Remember that although you may be busy if you charge less, you'll still not make much off it. I'd rather do less jobs and charge more personally.
Geoffphoto 12 13.5k United Kingdom
2 Jul 2007 11:47AM

Quote:I'd rather do less jobs and charge more personally.

True words as ever from Sam !!

50 is very cheap, most people spend more than that on a meal out, don't sell yourself too cheap Alan......many pros who do portaits charge about 4 or five times that amount. Also on the subject of lenses - I would be temped to invest in a decent 85mm portait lens - remember that most people own cheap zooms on their compacts - so a decent portait taken on a decent lens will always be worth buying .
Goatsmilkuk 13 783
2 Jul 2007 11:48AM
I would think it would be well worth taking shots of family and friends just charge them for reprints as no doubt the rest of the family will want a pic of Niece Nephew etc on the mantle, that way you will build up experience and confidence along with a portfolio to show prospective clients. Also if friends and family like what they see, their friends and family will like what they see and may book you for there photographs, and so on.
The 50 will no doubt go up then.

Get ringing family and friends, get them booked in, no time like the present....

Good Luck

lobsterboy Plus
14 14.9k 13 United Kingdom
2 Jul 2007 11:54AM

Quote:I'd rather do less jobs and charge more personally.

And of course more jobs might not even be an option as I would think that most work of this kind takes place at evenings and weekends when the clients are about.

I would say invest in equipment and experience before you attempt to do it for real.
Alan8657 11 13 United Kingdom
2 Jul 2007 12:08PM
As a working method is it better to charge a higher price, together with one or more prints included, or is it better to aim to sell enlargements on a return visit?

thanks, Alan
peter shilton 14 1.1k England
2 Jul 2007 12:19PM
Personally I think you should be charging at least double that to give a value to your service.

You could give say 5 prints.

But of course it depends on where you are and your target market.

If you are going door to door in a council estate you have to pitch differently.

What market are you aiming at? How are you canvassing them?
ZenTog 16 7.9k 1 England
2 Jul 2007 12:30PM
I am following this thread with interest, i am going to set up something similour .
\the lower end get them in price is used by venture, then hard selling makes venture tentimes more money or should that be 20 times more income. Can you get the hard sell in to make more money? or will you get a lukewarm sales from the net, as people enthusiasm wears off?
be interesting to see what other people who have set up come up with
Alan8657 11 13 United Kingdom
2 Jul 2007 12:31PM
Good questions Peter.

I live on a council estate in Slough, Berks, but lots of private owned houses and I guess that's the easiest area to start in, but nearby is a very large private estate with young couples and small families - starter homes really.

I would plan to canvass by creating a leaflet and do a door to door drop initially. thanks for your input!
Geoffphoto 12 13.5k United Kingdom
2 Jul 2007 12:34PM

Quote:I am following this thread with interest, i am going to set up something similour .

Well it'll be a lot drier than photographing horses, Paul Smile

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