I am a photographer, this is my career..

This is a discussion on I am a photographer, this is my career.. within the Casual Chat forums, part of the OTHER FORUMS category; Yes photography is fun to me, but it is my career. I hate it when people don't take me seriously when I say it is ...


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  1. #1
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    Yes photography is fun to me, but it is my career. I hate it when people don't take me seriously when I say it is my career and I am going to be paid to take photos of them and not do them for free.
    I will do some free shoots for certain people. Don't want that to sound bitchy but I won't do a free shoot for someone if I will not benefit from the photos for my portfolio use. So I only ask certain models, or people who can model but don't actually model, to do free shoots for me. At first I didn't want to do ANY free shoots cause it's not fair. But I end up doing some anyways. So at least now I've narrowed it down to people who'd help make art with me.

    So a bit more into my point now. Stacy, who I just posted some photos of, gets free shoots from me. I want her to sign a model release form stating I can basically do whatever I want with the photos I take of her. I'm trying to get her to sign a contract that will be good for a year's work of shoots. She told me she would. But then went on about how she says I can't post any pics of her if she doesn't like them. You know how people pick at themselves most and don't end up liking pics of themselves that others find amazingly gorgeous?? Well that's why I have a waiver, so I can post the gorgeous pics they don't like of themselves because to me it may be the best pic from the shoot and it's not going to waste.

    Another thing in my waivers, for models who get free shoots, is that if I can sell the photo to a 3rd party, I will and I get all the cash for it. She said to me the other day when I gave her a web size image from the shoot that if someone wanted to buy it that she'd split the money with me. I told her I don't think so as it's my work and my rights to the photos (even though she hasn't signed the waiver yet)! Her copy is 500 kb with a copywrite so nobody can buy that anyways.

    And to add to that, she isn't really my style to photograph anyways. I'm trying to find people that are more punkish/gothic/dark etc for my artistic photoshoots. I havn't had much of that yet and Stacy truly is far from it. Golden hair, coloured clothes that to me don't seem funky.. it's just not what I want to spend my time on for free you know. Taking pics for hours, editing them, giving the person free photos and having to keep a bunch of pics I don't really like... But yet I do it anyways for her.

    So tonight she wrote on my facebook wall this:

    "I have been talking with my niece, Summer..She really loves looking at all the modelling photos and she's shown me a few pix she did at home, like really trying to pose n stuff. Its sooo cute! Anyhow, I told her I would get her a real shoot! And we'll create some beautiful art with her..She's 10 years old... Read More and just a sweetie. I thought it could be a fun Auntie day with her! You wanna?"

    What what what??? Now she's telling her 10 year old niece that she'll get her a photoshoot??? Without asking me or anything? I am not doing a free shoot for a random 10 yr old girl! If she wants a shoot she (or someone) can pay for it. Like I'm getting to the point where I want to tell (but I'm too chicken) Stacy that I am not going to do free shoots anymore because it's not benefiting me. And if she wants shoots she can pay for them. But she's told me she'd never pay for a shoot so whatever.

    [color=#000000]That's all really.. I just needed to talk about it to people who understand it (which is you guys!!


  • #2
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    Yeah, I know what you mean. I have no guidance but you can have my shoulder. I never really tried much artistic, just slick commercial. The models were all agency and everyone agreed on what was good and what wasn't. Even so, they could be so difficult to work with I ditched it and went into still life. Keep going, Laura, you'll work it out. Gaining ascendancy in artistic is a lofty goal but someone who can take their clothes off and lay down in snow has the determination to do it.

  • #3
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    Thanks. Yeah people are hard to work with lol. I wish I could quit them for a while and have people buying my creative prints instead of just whatever I photograph.

    I just have a hard time telling people no lol.

  • #4

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    It's "JUST" business, Silent. If you can get that into your mentology, the better you will be able to handle people. I used to shoot semi-pro back in the 80's. Seniors, weddings, sports and all the rest; starting out I was just like you, wearing my feelings on my shoulder and trying my utmost to please all. I can tell you now that its impossible to please everyone, simply because of their "vanity". I once had a woman in my studio who's son (senior pic's) I'd photographed wanting to buy the negatives ONLY! Her intentions were very clear....use my expertise and expensive equipment and blood, sweat, & tears for next to nothing. I politely told her that I am a professional and that everything I do is copywrited, etc etc. She just blew up, lol. Then I politely asked her to leave & that I was not interested in doing business with her. BUSINESS! Now I knew she would go out & make a big to do about it & she did. But my work prevailed simply because (most) everyone else was very happy with my work (and pricing) and understood running a business costs MONEY! So, take this on the chin and learn from it. Don't let this get to you. Stand up and be proud. It takes nerve and courage to deal with "some people", and they are easily recognised, trust me. Always let your professional side shine through! And just carry on..... You have no ideah, what I really wanted to say to that woman, and all that would have accomplished is more negative "yakity yak". Stick with it sis, you'll be fine.

    Jess
    jessarooy2k (Jess)

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  • #5
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    Jess: It is hard to think of it as a business thing and tell people "no" lol. It shouldn't be but it is. I'm overly nice and love doing things for people, but this part is my busienss, yeah. I hate it when people want the copywrite to a photographer's photos.. I've had people ask just to put all the pics of them on a cd (large files without copywrites) so they could print out whatever they wanted. I tell them no. I did that once for my cousin when she had her children baptised and I photographed the ceremony for her. She didn't pay me to photograph it (when she knew I charged for photos) and she never offered to pay for the cd. I thought after the ceremony "Ok she'll catch up with me later.." then she didn't. So I mentioned to her about making a cd and she can print off whatever she wanted. She said that'd be great. So then I though "Ok great I'll just charge her like 150-200 for the cd and we'll be ok since she's family." I made her the cd and gave it to her, she didn't give me a penny. Said thanks a lot, but not a penny. I didn't have the heart to say anything, but I've learned from it to never do that again! And now I make people pay for shoots before I take one single photo.

    I talked to my mum about it too. She says I should be able to give free shoots to whoever I want, but not have to feel obligated to give it for free just cause someone thinks they can get a free shoot from me. So that is what I am going to do. If I want to do free pics for a friend or whoever, I will. If I want to charge them I will. I want to do some free shoots for some people who'd be very interesting to photograph, fun hair, make up, peircings, tats, interesting wardrobes etc. But not the typical standard looking person. I have a lot of those types of photos and they are not really me lol.

    If I'm gonna do a free shoot, it's gonna be what I want the shoot to be like, not the model. I catered to Stacy's wants for her shoot.. which isn't right. If it was a paid shoot then yes I'd do it the way the person paying me wants it.

    Thanks for the advice =)

  • #6
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    I'm not a portrait photographer, except for my brief "adventure" in tourist vintage.

    I do a some free work, and never charge my family for anything. The way I look at that is, they have supported me through some tough times, the least I can do is pay some back with the skills I have.

    I also do occasional free work for people who have bought photos from me.
    This is a part of getting started; of establishing good relationships with potential future buyers, who MIGHT sometime repay the courtesy with a purchase or a referral.

    My signed work on ANY wall, I consider "advertising" -- if someone sees my work and likes it, they are a potential buyer. In that sense, small immediate sacrifices pay dividends in the long run.

    Nevertheless, I had to laugh when my sister gave me an enlarged copy of a photo of her granddaughter, that I had taken, as a gift.
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  • #7
    Extra Toys in the attic!
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    Well, I just looked at that post of Stacy, #3 and the last one with the "dry lips" are great shots...those two are my fav! She has beautiful eyes and hair....You are right though, most people do not like the way they look at themselves...They see just the flaws...I have learned to look at myself and say..."If you don't like what you see, then DON"T look at me!" I am not here to please anyone else...so now I look at myself and laugh!

    as far as interesting photos...I have 10 tattoos! and looking at another one that I like!

    Your work is great! don't let anyone make you feel like your work in not anything...view it through your own eyes, and if you like it, then it is perfect!
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  • #8
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    I feel your pain. It is tough working with friends and family. When I work with models (and thankfully that isn't too often) they sign the release prior to me unpacking my camera.
    When I visit family I take a handful of disposable cameras with me. When they ask for photos I pass them out.

    When I worked as a coin dealer my family and friends would rarely contact me when they wanted to buy coins. They felt as if they were taking advantage of me. Now that I take photos for a living, they contact me constantly.
    Steve

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  • #9
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    If I've read your op then correctly your "friend/model" hasn't actually signed any form of contract with you but thinks she has the right to dictate what you can and can't do with the images that you take of her- I don't think so .IMHO I think you need to sit her down and tell her what's what and that they're your images and you'll do what you like with them as you own the copyright, and if and when you ever assign that copyright over to her(highly unlikely I know),then she'll be able to do what she wants with them.As long as you're pleased with the finished results and they add to your portfolio please don't be bullied into removing shots that someone else doesn't like-afterall not many people do actually like shots of themselves.

    Saying "no" to people is hard but it does get easier the more you say it

    Good luck!
    Karin


    Taking photos that please me, but if you like them too then it's a bonus!

  • #10
    heathersphotos.com
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    I wouldn't let her have or maybe even see any more pics until she's agreed to YOUR terms, and let that be a lesson for any sessions with her in the future - sign before you shoot! That way, no matter how they turn out she can't say a WORD or try anything with them.

    I actually really like the dry lips too!! It gives the whole thing more character IMO, it has an over all 'look' to it, I dunno.. This isn't really the place anyway but I hope you get what I'm saying, lol.

    But to address your feelings, I am with you 100%! I definitely have people that I would do and do do free sessions for and I don't mind, but when someone comes across me like on myspace for example and want photos, they always assume I'll do it for free even though it clearly says what I charge - $50 for a CD........ I personally feel like I'm ripping myself off, but I digress.. I just got asked to do senior portraits for a friend's sister and when she knew I was charging "SO much!" she said she'd have to get back to me, and I had kept up asking her what her decision was and she kept saying she didn't know. Low and behold, the minute I offer to just go ahead and do them for free she goes "Oh, wonderful! Let's do it." -_- It figures, it really does, but hey I'm new and I need exposure, so I do it.

    Anywho I didn't mean to hijack or anything, just letting you know I KNOW THE FEELING

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