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Help ! My first portrait comission.

Mayfly 11 485 2 United Kingdom
9 Nov 2006 10:31AM
Hello !
I have just been asked by a colleague if I will take some portraits of her family.

I have never taken photos of anyone elses family before and have only taken on one sporting event as paid photographic work.

I have talked to the client and she would like a portrait of each of the 3 kids, and a shot of the whole family.

She has 3 girls, 6,13 and 16 - any suggestions on the best way to get a good reaction from them would be most helpful !

Also I'm stuck as to what I should charge for the work ? It's probably going to take up the best part of an afternoon or morning
plus post processing, I'm concerned as I am not a "pro tog" and just a colleague taking some photos of her family (I want to make it worth my while) but not be unreasonable.

Any help with the above would be much apreciated.



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princezippy 11 58 United Kingdom
9 Nov 2006 11:02AM
I have no idea Andy but I will watch this with interest as i'm in a similar situation
I personally thought of 45 for the time taken shooting and from 15 for the prints depending on the size of course
Very interested though

irishman 13 1.1k 2 Ireland
9 Nov 2006 11:08AM
Firstly get your hands on a book or magazine about portraiure ( there is two photo mags out at the moment with portrait ideas in them, Digital camaera is one of them) to get an idea of what to do and the different lighting involved, backdrops etc.
Secondly, in regards to pricing, make enqueries with the loacl portrait studios to see what they are charging, either work out an avaerge or come up with your own pricing plan.
Hope this is of some help and good luck.

BTW, to have everybody relaxed, have a bit of fun.
afunkyname 10 354
9 Nov 2006 11:11AM
i'll do it for you if the price is rightWink
SimPick 11 545 2 Azerbaijan
9 Nov 2006 11:23AM
Personally I think that if you are not a pro portrait photographer, or not 110% confident in your capability and know what you can deliver with absolute certainty, then you should not charge them a penny. That goes for anyone doing this, and I am not aiming this at you personally MayFly.

If it was me I would use it as a learning exercise, on the agreement that I could use the photos to show potential future clients who may be interested in using you. I would obviously charge for the prints, and tell them that they can buy you a few beers sometime for your troubles. But that is just me. I guess many here will disagree.

Maybe it is just me, but I do get annoyed when I see so many people these days advertising themselves as wedding photographers, or advertising their photographic services in some way, when it is clear that they are only bad or average amateurs trying to make a buck, and offering a an amateur level service. Some of the wedding photographs I have seen posted here and on other sites from "Professional Wedding Photographers" would make me weep if I was presented with them after my wedding.

So, please do not take this personally MayFly. It is by no means aimed at you, and I hope you do not take any offence. If you do, I appologise right now. I haven't even looked at your PF, so it is not an attack on your work.
irishman 13 1.1k 2 Ireland
9 Nov 2006 11:33AM
Interesting angle there Simon and I totally agree that everyone has to start at the bottom and work their way up, but I wouldn't do it for free, say he does a great job and gets referrells out it but did it for next to nothing the next person may expect the same for little or nothing. Charge the client something, even for you time but don't over do it and then charge them for the prints with a 100%
mark up or more if you wish.
FatHandedChap 11 1.3k England
9 Nov 2006 11:40AM
I agree with Simon about not charging for the session. I still do the odd free session for people, especially if it's a new situation, something I'm unsure about, something that's needed to fill a gap in my portfolio, or somebody with something to offer such as a shop where I can advertise.

As for getting the best out of the girls - it depends on what the client is after, the equipment and space you have. Get them interacting - tickling each other, squashing each other etc. If you're outside try having short running races, or the older girls swinging the younger one. Get them to carry out something on the count of three - scream, shout or pull a funny face. Look for the reactions just as they finish - this is normally when they'll be giggling and relaxed. Don't forget individual shots as well as the group ones - you can always have three individual shots in a frame if the group ones don't work.

Have a few scenarios in your head and see how they develop - stay relaxed and if something isn't working then move on to the next one.

Just a few pointers for you, hope it helps. Good Luck!

stix 12 924 87 United Kingdom
9 Nov 2006 11:41AM
I have to agree with simpick, if you have never done this type of work before, why not treat this as a learning experience and only charge expenses for paper/ink ( you dont want to be out of pocket).
This will take the pressure off you, you get the experience they get some nice prints.
When you know with confidence that you can deliver, thats the time to start talking money.IMHO.
steveredpath 10 22
9 Nov 2006 11:49AM
Have to agree about not charging, say you charge them, get back and then realise the shots didnt work, this wouldnt do you any favours.

As to other people afterwards expecting to get a freebie, tell the friend your doing them a favour and you want to use the photos in you portfolio, then if anyone else comes and says they want shots, just tell them what you will charge, even if its only a small amount, if they moan and say oh so and so got it for free, just say that look at the results and your fees are x
sugar jones 12 185
9 Nov 2006 11:50AM
Agree with Irishman and having had a look around your portfolio you've done some lovely work. I'm sure if your colleague has asked, then they believe in you already. It's always worse when its someone you know - colleagues, friends and family some how make it the most important job you've ever done.

Ideas wise, I've taken most of mine out on location recently with families and kids, why not try local parks, favourite places, the dry and colourful leaves are a great source of creativity when out and about - not to mention fun! Rough walls, trees, benches anything goes it all just comes to you when your out and about. Also had touble with a young child who hated the camera and wouldn't do anything but hide, Pete Barghs idea of asking said child to look into the lens for the lens fairy, pixie whatever ...it works a treat!
You've got quite an age range of kids there so theres plenty to work with and as its three kids its a nice odd number to work with.

Mayfly 11 485 2 United Kingdom
9 Nov 2006 11:55AM
Simon, Don't worry I don't get offended easily. I value your input and of all who have commented so far and thanks for taking the time to comment.

I am under no illusion that I could offer the same standard as a tog who has a proper studio/lighting setup and in this instance I didn't advertise my services (or never have done)She saw my Profile on epz while I was looking at it at work and asked if I would comission some shots for her.

I do see alot of posts on here with people stating that they want to give up the day job and make photography thier main income.

IMO this would be a dream, I would like to do this, but I am aware that I do not yet have the skills or experience to do so. I enjoy photography as a keen hobby but if the opportunity arises to make a few quid along the way who am I to turn it down ?

I am looking at this as an opportunity to gain some extra experience and build my confidence further. Unfortunatly I am not in the financial position to do this for free and would at least need to cover my costs and time (thats what I was meaning earlier when I stated that I didn't want to be unreasonable with the price)



P.s Thanks to everyone for advise given so far some good ideas there, I think I'll have to remember the lens fairy Smile
ZenTog 15 7.9k 1 England
9 Nov 2006 12:02PM
give it your best shot , take plenty of variations . then let the mum choose
the person will not be looking for for hypercritcal focus and exposure, but the spirit of her children at the age you are capturing them.

at my event photography dos, I some times wince when I have to show a print thats not too good, 99% of the time the person buying says wonderull you have captured my horse perfectly.

try a few tricks like capturing the 6 year old with her favorite teddy or doll,
the older ones get laughing by telling a joke or throwing something at them unexpected
ZenTog 15 7.9k 1 England
9 Nov 2006 12:03PM
price wise keep it reasonable and you may get more work that way
Sus 12 3.2k 9 England
9 Nov 2006 12:04PM

Quote:I am looking at this as an opportunity to gain some extra experience and build my confidence further. Unfortunatly I am not in the financial position to do this for free

The portrait session itself is as you say extra experience. After all, she could go to a camera club and get a session for free, and TFP as well.

Depending on how you value the experience and addition to your pf over the additional effort taken, I would concur with those who say, do not charge for the studio session, but make a reasonable charge for prints to cover costs, time taken to process these, and any additional photoshop work.

If you don't want to do it for experience's sake itself, then make a low charge for studio time.
SimPick 11 545 2 Azerbaijan
9 Nov 2006 12:08PM

Fair enough. Ultimately you will do what you feel is best. I wish you luck with it, and hope it goes very well for you. Please post some results, and even better, post a thread with your experiences on what you did right, and what you felt you could have done better, and how it went in general. It would be very interesting for us to read.

Quote:I do see alot of posts on here with people stating that they want to give up the day job and make photography thier main income.

Ohhhhhhhhh yeah. You could count the number of ePZ-ers who wouldn't want that, on the fingers of one hand !!

All the best with the shoot, and please let us know how it went.


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