Getting the Experience to be a Pro !!!!
G'Day Fellas and Gals from Australia.
I need your guidance please, thank you for your comments in advance.
After growing up in sales and playing football for 10 years in England i moved to Sydney where Im a 43 successful business owner now ( I have a private college full of oversea's students) , with a Divorce coming up in the next year and the wife wants half. Fair enough, she deserves it.
So at this stage of my life I'm facing finding a new direction, career and future.
It's been a bit scary TBH. But im confident in my abilities.
I've struggled in the last few months demanding from myself i figure out a new profession, and quick.
Photography has been a hobby up till now, mostly in the area of sports, cars, but love caputring emotions from people, stirring feelings, just love that stuff.
My passion and obsession in this area is leading towards to the start of a business, suddenly in the last 3 month without trying, Ive had a pic published In Australian Mens fitness, got and completed a 3 day Contract for Reebok, where my pics are now on their world website for this sport and soon some pics i took on the street published in a national newspaper.
Capturing peoples love, pain, despair and joy to create emotions in the people that view them is what i want to do and create.
Weddings is also something I'm very interested in. But of course have no experience in.
I see the value of becoming a Photographers assistant. A pal who is red Bulls Preferred Photo Jock in oz suggested my biggest obstacle in becoming an assistant would be the Photography business owner may well feel in some way threatened by me, and my business experience. I am a bit larger than life, full of beans, and you can hear MY RS4 coming a mile away.
I was thinking of writting to a few local wedding photographers offering to be an assistant on weekends for free, a second camera at weddings ( i here is common now).
He gets twice the coverage, better chance at good images and my biz/marketing/sales brain ( if he needs it) for no charge, i get to be his goffer and learn the ropes.
What do you think ?, i have my own ideas, but any thoughts on how best to approach them being that some of you already ARE THEM, would be greatly appreciated.
Where do you pro's out there see my value and how would i best market myself to you?
This website is amazing.
Don`t know if my UK experience reflects what goes on downunder but I`ll share it. I was in a similar boat in that I took early retirement from work and , having had similar experiences to you with some good competition results, requests to cover some events (paid) and finding that it might be possible to turn a hobby into something that paid for gear and the odd holiday I decided to give it a try. Mainly done events / couple of hotel shoots etc so far and tried to get more into weddings last year. I too offered myself to various local photographers whose style I liked and even got offered a paid assistant post at one time (he re-thought when he realised a studio he bought came with expectation to keep another 2nd shooter on). From most I did not even get a reply, same when appying for paid posts through local sites advertising photography jobs. I found that the only way I got initial experience was by joining dedicated Flickr wedding groups and getting on there , posting a bit and asking for assistant work through that. Still early days for me - just formally registered in last month but managed to get some second shooting experience and a handful of paid joint shooting jobs that at least give me a portfolio , along with a portfolio shoot I took part in which was amazing.
Here it is a heavily saturated market for weddings with prices driven down in my locality which makes me glad I am not dependent on it for a living. You need an excellent website with good google performance ( which I have not got yet) and networking is the key. You will find some local pros hesitant to use you for fear of competition but you`ll find others OK. You`ll need to sort out with photographers what you can / cant do with shots when shooting - some will give you cards to shoot with that you don`t get to edit / use yourself, others might let you have them, others will use you as hands / body for carrying and soe will let you use them with agreement of bride and groom. Some will have 2nd shooter contracts that state terms and exclude use of shots for portfolio so before giving your time for free decide what you want out of it and make sure you agree it with them. I was very disappointed with response levels to my offers of free help but told latere they are buried in such requests. You should turn up at the studios of bigger ones and ask to see them / make an appointment rather than just write and get a portfolio of portraits / reportage type stuff and posed. I remember my worst response was from a guy who said he was sick of being used as a job creation/ training scheme and asked me not to bother him again - only contacted him once! Funny thing was, registered with a national wedding photography organisation as he was, I next saw him named in a local press article that went viral throughout the world when his company were sued for some of the worst wedding shots I had ever seen. Think he could have done with a good 2nd shooter after all :D
Hi and welcome. After spending thirty years running my own catering business I got caught up in the economic mess of the 1990's, when interest rates soared to 15% and banks were more interested in foreclosure than helping small businessmen like me. So I know what struggling is, believe me. I survived for the next ten years, but only just. Eventually I sold out and did not want to retire at that stage. I went back to college and did several City and Guilds computer courses based around MS Office and also a two stage Adult teaching course and worked for a training company until they went bust two years later (just my luck). Oddly enough I had been taking pictures for a good few decades and it never even occurred to me to do it professionally.
I live on a beautiful holiday Island and you would think there was an opening for a photographic business, but the reality is that several have opened their doors to the public and many of them have closed up within a year. My conclusion is that photography isn't an easy road to riches. It sounds very nice, and even romantic, but the truth is it is a dog-eat-dog industry (just like the catering trade). So where does that leave you at the age of 43? Well I guess you will still have responsibilities to your ex and any children you may have had together, so you will need a regular income. My take would be to ensure that I had a regular income above all else and then try to build a photography career around that and see where it leads. It will be hard, no doubt, but good luck. ;)
It's a great story you have, and my hat is doffed to you for your attitude and outlook on life. I've recently toyed with similar ideas, but literally can't afford to leave a well paid position to try going pro, partly due to the competition, and partly because I still have so much to learn!
Keith makes a good point, and it got me thinking. If you could combine some aspect of photography with another service, you might get the best of both worlds (and increase the viability of your business case). So I'm talking doing websites for local businesses, but specialising in providing great product shots and custom imagery. Or brochures. Or estate agent house advertising. You get the idea. Something that compliments photography, but doesn't completely depend on it?
You could then look to branch out from there, knowing that you have a fairly steady income from the more basic side of photography work.
My god i'm depressed now...lol, no seriously you've written some good info, Thank you so much. There are a lot of things there i hadn't even thought of. ****ers give you their own CF cards lol. I guess you could switch them for a while :o). What a crock.
@ KiethT + MattUK, You've both touched on a good point that is hard but true, in this world you need to be multi skilled to get the work. IE: a make up artist trying to get work on the set of s show, the company hiring will much prefer to hire a makeup artist/ hairdresser as one person than hire one of both, i understand where your at.
Hey until my wife sells her share in our education Biz/ forces sale/ the idea is just learn and try to create a supplmemtary income stream on the side. And only when im too busy sell or jump ship. I understand.
Of course things don't always go the way we want. I guess all i can do right now is learn, practice and do what jobs come my way/network one day at a time.
I imagine the wedding market is crazy here too, my pal tells me all the wedding photographers are the ones driving around Sydney in Porches. Being a recovering addict, i still have a German car Addiction, 4 stays in rehab could not fix that, but it keeps me clean :O).
So grow/learn/get what jobs on the side as i can as a supplementary income and network/word of mouth.
Just for today thats the plan, thx guys...good luck.
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