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Why cant I seem to get paid work

Sooty_1 12 1.5k 221 United Kingdom
21 Aug 2012 3:05PM
And yet on your profile, you describe yourself as a 'beginner?'

Business is business, whatever the business happens to be. If you can't market yourself and run the business efficiently (especially in the current climate), however good at your chosen field you are, the business will fail.

Establishing your position in the market is day one, basics. If you don't know where you see yourself, and where you are pitching your services and at what level, then how do you expect potential clients to take you seriously?

You need to decide exactly what market you are aiming at. This will determine your advertising and publicity strategy.
This will then determine your pricing policy and what you offer to clients.
Put together a portfolio that demonstrates what you are selling - no filler, no pics that aren't perfect, no waffle.
Build up rappoprt with others that might be able to refer you to potential clients, never mess people around, and never promise something you fail to deliver. Even ask your satisfied customers to pass your details on if they are happy with you.

For you, maybe consider local hair/beauty/make up etc establishments. Local theatre groups. Local businesses that require staff/trade pictures. A good website with optimisation for search engines - keeps your site near the top of searches. It all takes a lot of work to make it work but even once you become established, you have to maintain it, so the work never stops!

Sorry if this sounds hard, but the market is a hard place to be right now.

olaa 12 6 United Kingdom
21 Aug 2012 3:24PM
Sooty_1 my mistake i havent changed my profile from beginner.
I dont know if Im sounding like a jack of all trades to you guys because i wanted you to get a clear picture. But when Marketing myself to Clients I state that I can provide Everything needed to do a photoshoot . People have asked me who worked on a image that they have liked in my portfolio and I have then told them that it was all my own work. I dont only work by myself and many times I have coloborated with others. Im a hard worker and wont give up as its my passion. So thanks for all the advice and I will try and keep you updated even if its in another Disccusion xx
thewilliam 14 6.1k
21 Aug 2012 3:31PM
Even established photographers are having a tough time at the moment. Why do you think so many have turned to training?

Each year, the UK produces more graduates in photography than there are registered professional photographers in the whole of the EU. If you're listed as a beginner", how do your skills compare with the new graduates who have worked so hard for the 3 years of their course? These graduates have a 3% chance of working in the industry.

You need to be aware of what you're up against and find a way of offering something better than the opposition.

Follow the very sensible advice in Nick's post.
lemmy 15 2.9k United Kingdom
21 Aug 2012 3:50PM

Quote: Im a hard worker and wont give up as its my passion. So thanks for all the advice and I will try and keep you updated

Good luck!
User_Removed 18 3.3k 4 United Kingdom
21 Aug 2012 5:09PM
Some of your work simply isn't good enough IMO. If I looked at this I wouldn't book you for a commercial job as I'd be disappointed if you produced something like that.

I think it's badly posed and badly lit. Looks to me that you shoot everything with a cheap SLR and kit lens and the lack of quality might be letting you down.

I also wonder, looking at your choice of aperture and shutter speeds, if you're really competent with your equipment or maybe just entrusting shots to auto mode?
olaa 12 6 United Kingdom
21 Aug 2012 6:01PM
Yeah thanks for that Chris_L .Your not giving advice your speculating and criticizing . I didnt ask if you would hire me. and My camera isnt cheap (well not to me) . So are you saying the more money you spend the better your pictures will be? Im not on here to argue with people, Thought I could get advice from like minded people. The image you are talking about was actually one of my paid projects. But even if it wasnt the clients was happy and I have been booked by them again.Tongue. I understand Im not going to be working for Vouge anytime soon. But to rubbish my work is just cruel.
JackAllTog Plus
13 6.4k 58 United Kingdom
21 Aug 2012 6:16PM
There is one photographer I know on here who produces truly excellent work yet has not yet been able to break into paid engagements.
I personally think that the required standard of results is really quite high now and until we achieve equivalently high standards we will be lucky to get regular well paid jobs.
Back to the original advice areas - i agree we each either need a specialism that sets us apart or we need to produce consistently amazing shots to get into regular well paid roles.
I reckon I could blag the odd job here and there, but i don't think I can yet nail the shot anywhere often enough to assume I can give up the day job.
One of those great photographers i saw recently used an agent to represent him and find bookings etc.
Maybe getting an agent to say they want to represent you is a first stage?
adrian_w 15 3.8k 4 England
21 Aug 2012 6:58PM

Quote:Yeah thanks for that Chris_L .Your not giving advice your speculating and criticizing

But you specifically ask why you're not getting paid work. Chris has given you one possible reason; in his opinion, as a professional photographer, your work is not up to scratch, and you need to look closely at your technique & equipment.
Admittedly, he can be a bit brusque in some of his comments occasionally, but he does give sound advice and taking umbrage at it is not going to help you improve.
21 Aug 2012 7:12PM
I think its a number of things that are contributing to your situation.

Firstly, the industry is saturated to bursting point with photographers all trying to do the same as you. Quite simply, there isn't enough work to go around.

To succeed in this industry, your work has to be unique and stand out. Photographers are a lazy breed of people. They will simply copy someone elses style rather than come up with their own style. I'm not saying you do that, but looking at your work, I can't see anything different about it that makes you stand out in the crowd. To be honest, there are areas where you could brush your skills up a bit more. As mentioned before, you should keep your fashion/beauty work seperate from the social photography work.

Secondly, getting paid work in commercial photography is hard. Unfortunately, the consequences of people starting out in the industry who have been prepared to work for free is now coming home to roost - and business have taken advantage of this, by coming up with the yarn that it will be 'good for your portfolio' and they will pay on the next job... but the next job never materialises. They simply move on to another sucker who will do the job for free whilst they capitalise on your skills.

The other thing to bear in mind is that a lot of photographers (including myself) are rubbish at selling themselves. If you were to take on someone with sales experience on a low hourly rate - but with generous commission, that could help. That's what I do.
lemmy 15 2.9k United Kingdom
21 Aug 2012 7:24PM

Quote: But to rubbish my work is just cruel.

If you think that was cruel, you should try working for some of the picture editors I have.
Sooty_1 12 1.5k 221 United Kingdom
21 Aug 2012 7:41PM
Unfortunately, it's a cruel world out there. I think those comments are mild compared to some you might get - I must admit, some of your EPZ PF does not do justice to you if you use any of them in your portfolio when negotiating with clients.

There is no more damning insult than a flat refusal to hire you, but you have to learn from what went wrong and do it better next time.

Any picture not perfectly exposed and perfectly focussed and perfectly composed and perfectly processed then perfectly one that can lose you a job. Unless the client wants a specific 'look' for his/her pictures that you can deliver.
ianrobinson 13 1.2k 8 United Kingdom
21 Aug 2012 9:14PM
i totally agree with comments of marketing your self like a business.
I personally run a business manufacturing and installing high end Kitchens and have a nice healthy order book and have had for 10 years, i started 15 years ago and the first 5 years was hard work and the business was in debt throughout the 5 years, this was because i worked hard at getting the workshops up and running efficiently, buying expensive machinery to produce Kitchens and furniture to a high standard, this took a massive bulk of money to achieve and effort on my part hence the debt, the last five years i have seen a healthy profit margin but it has taken 10 years to start to make good money back from my investments.
Mistakes were made along the way but now i have learnt to control business more and money manage more too.
I am also a keen photographer and have made good money in this too, i have just finished doing the editing from my last wedding i did and i thoroughly enjoyed it although as usual it was hard work, i pulled out all the stops with shoot through umbrellas and lowel lights i had help also so i could be more creative and it all paid off in my opinion 1400 images later an evening of viewing on a big screen and 300 edited images plus a 30" x 18" canvas of the happy couple plus a disc of all the 1400 images and 300edited images and an album of 100 images.
The newly weds were very happy and took some lovely images away for memories, this wedding took a full week of hard work to produce what they had and i got a cheque for £1200.00.
This work came from word of mouth as do my kitchens and a little work from me to finalise the sales.

I would be so bold as to say, if your good at what you do have the experience the knowledge the confidence and the drive to want to succeed you will.
It is not easy at all being in business and i have paid the price for 10 years earning little or nothing only now do i earn a decent wage and i can only hope and carry on working hard to maintain the earnings, i do cut back if i feel i can't have the wage which is some what of a downfall of others in business when they cannot realise when things are going wrong .
Sooty_1 12 1.5k 221 United Kingdom
21 Aug 2012 11:22PM
And just to add to that....if you do 1 bad wedding, or 1 bad kitchen, reputation will suffer and it might take a while to recover from. You can never relax and rest on your laurels.
User_Removed 18 3.3k 4 United Kingdom
21 Aug 2012 11:48PM

Quote:My camera isnt cheap (well not to me) . So are you saying the more money you spend the better your pictures will be

You seem to think that because you're quick to say your camera isn't cheap?

I think your pictures suffer because you use a budget lens and a budget body and you seem to shoot in auto mode. If you're saying that your pictures wouldn't be any better with better equipment then it's hard to argue as you know how good you are or aren't.
pulsar69 18 1.6k 6 United Kingdom
22 Aug 2012 12:27AM
Olaa , hello and welcome to EPZ , it seems you have walked straight into the fire as it were inviting both criticism of your work and your business model.

As it stands your work is really nothing to write home about yet though it does show potential and your equipment and use of it shows a lack of knowledge of photography which if you spend the time and effort on here with people you will pick up over time.

Rome wasnt built in a day and your best bet for real success is to take a big step back and look at your weaknesses and where you can improve, give yourself a realistic timescale to work on and then go for it .... thats what i did and it worked for me , to begin with my work wasnt great either, but i worked my ass off and took it on the chin, thats one of the great things about EPZ , you can go away brush the virtual dust off and start again Smile

and dont forget photography , modelling , makeup etc etc , are all 80% business sense and 20% skill !

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