The Business of Photography

Every 6 months or so I comtemplate going into business, then I think about it far too much and get scared and don’t do it.  I go online and google photographers in my area and there are so many, I think how will I compete?

I do have people telling me my photos are beautiful and I should do it as a job but sometimes I don’t think I really believe it.

Then there is pricing, and equipment, my dear old 350D is so “old” in camera years now and the image quality is less than what I am happy with at times (low light conditions it fails dismally).  So a definate upgrade is needed.

One thing I do know is I would market myself in the baby/family portrait category, because I have had the most experience there!!

Then another thing I think about is time, I am so busy now, how would I fit it all in?  I suppose I don’t have to jump in head first, if it means a shoot here and a shoot there, I would be happy with that.

So to all you photographers out there who do it as a job whether it be part time or full time, how did you start out?  Did you have all the gear first or did you start with not a lot?

How did you market yourself? Get noticed? Any replies would be a great help!

5 Comments The Business of Photography

  1. Tia May 29, 2011 at 3:16 AM

    Clearly I’m no expert, but I can still give my opinion, right? (well, since you kinda asked for it and all)

    You know that I think your photography is stunning. Sometimes I stare at your images for several minutes, just taking it all in. Because my dear, you are so so talented. I’ve never seen you take a bad pictures. Granted, I haven’t seen your outtakes, but I bet even *those* are beautiful.

    Heres what I think: Do what you feel comfortable with. If all you want to do is 1 photo session a month, then do it. You don’t *have* to market yourself, you don’t *have* to upgrade (because your camera seems to have been working just fine, I would have never known you were using an older camera had you not just mentioned it). Do things how you want to do them.

    There was a time when I thought I REALLY wanted to be a photographer for other people. I set up a website, I made a facebook page (which I’ve since deleted), I put the word out. And then I felt overwhelmed with it. Like I was going to meet expectations. And then it wasn’t fun anymore. And so I quit altogether. I took a step back, looked around, stopped wondering “how will my photos compare to others? why would anybody come to me? how will I make the time?”. So a shoot here, a shoot there, with people who are fully aware of my style and what a photo session with me will be like. I do like 1 session a month. I don’t market myself, just word of mouth. If somebody contacts me, then they must want me to photograph them, or they would have gone to somebody else.

    No more stress. Its just fun 🙂 And thats what I wanted.

    Businesses take a lot of time to build. But if you’re just enhancing your hobby at first, and maybe making a little bit of money to work towards that upgrade that you want… well then thats perfect 🙂


    1. Nicole Hastings May 30, 2011 at 11:59 AM

      Thanks for leaving a comment Tia, it sounds the way to go at the moment, I don’t have much “me” time at the moment let alone time for anyone else. I still would like to do it but building it slowly sounds like a great idea. I don’t want to stop loving it.

  2. Bret Salinger September 19, 2011 at 9:42 AM

    Hey Nicole,

    Thanks for checking out my blog.

    Here’s how I got started.

    It was luck and hard work, but mostly luck.

    Like you I was given (or acquired, I honestly can’t remember which) a camera in the good old days. Took a ton of photos with it and then grew out of it, put it in the drawer and promptly forgot about the whole exercise after a couple of years. (That camera sits in my display case in the studio to this day.)

    Then, after uni I got offered a role at a national conservation society where I lived in Melbourne, and part of that role was helping out with the marketing in the shop that helped fund the group. The shop sold photographic gear and optical equipment like binoculars and spotting scopes. At the job interview, the guy who ran the shop – Charles – handed me a Leica R8 and told me to ‘sell’ it to him. Now I didn’t know a Leica from the arse end of a bus but I had years of experience in service sectors such as retail and hospitality and the damn thing just oozed quality so I managed to get him to ‘buy’ the beast, and believe me, the R8 was a beast of a camera.

    I turned up on day one to my new job and Charles took me aside, handed me a Leica M6 – honest to goodness, this is the camera god himself shoots with – and told me to learn how to use it. A rangefinder camera? You want me to use a fully-manual-everything rangefinder? You’re giving me a camera to use that costs how much? Long story short, I didn’t put the thing down and learnt so much about imaging, composition, exposure and the like over my time with Charles and Sarah – who worked in the shop too and had more talent in her little finger than Charles and I could muster with a whole bottle of Scotch.

    Eventually, I got sent off to the Leica Academy in Germany for a training course and shot a bit on an extended holiday in Europe. All of this happened around the time that digital kicked off, and although this was a strange new animal I was able to transition across, whereas Charles and for the most part Sarah stuck with film. I started shooting products for our catalogue in digital, as well as continuing to shoot personal stuff.

    A few years passed, I moved jobs and industries and wound up in Tasmania at The Examiner as a reporter/sub-editor. I got put in the features department where you have to multi-task and because I knew a bit about photography and the newspaper’s photographers hated working on features I wound up taking the photos for the stories I wrote and laid out in the paper. Eventually, one of the real estate agents wanted to know if I could write ad copy and take photos for them on a freelance basis – proving that in Tasmania at least it’s not what you know but who you know – and voila here I am with a full-time professional photography and communications business.

    And if you want to hear my take on “The Business of Professional Photography” I’m guest speaker at this month’s Launceston Photographic Society meeting, Tuesday September 27, 2011 @ 7.30pm, Scotch Oakburn College’s Briggs House Dining Room.

    1. Nicole Hastings September 20, 2011 at 11:10 AM

      Wow great story! Germany for a training course, how awesome!! I hear Leica is an awesome brand and camera but have never used one. I can understand wanting to stick with film, there is something pretty special about it, and when digital first came out the quality was not good, I know looking back at images we took on our little digital camera, they are terrible! I think all real estate agents should use professional photographers, there is some really bad shots out there hehe. Well done on your achievements so far.

  3. Pingback: Nicole Hastings Photography – Launceston Wedding, Family, Portrait photographer @ Nicole Hastings Photography

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