Deciding to turn your hobby in to a business….Commonly asked questions

I have done several free shoots for friends and family but I want to start to earn money from the investment in my equipment. How do I charge at the very beginning? People warn me of being cheap and finding the wrong clients.. but I cant justify being expensive until im getting it really right more often?! 

 

I started with £20 shoots, all in. shoot and all the edited digitals. I even said copyright included purely as I thought it sounded better!!!!! I shot LOADS!!! Upped to a whole £50 all in. Shot loads still. Gained SO MUCH INVALUABLE EXPERIENCE – I was shooting in dingy flats, parks, midday sun, gardens with no shade you name it!!! Isabelle came with me either strapped to me or on her playmat. I am not suggesting this is what you charge at all. I think choose your target audience and model call. Include the shoot and a little extra. Then have a set price list for the rest. CHOOSE WHO YOU SHOOT AND ONLY SHOOT WHAT YOU WANT TO SELL 

WORK OUT YOUR COSTS OF DOING BUSINESS. Its not how much you are worth, its how much you need to earn to run your business.  

So how much you need to earn to be comfortable – how much you want to be shooting a month and what outgoings you have (studio overheads etc)

 

  

 

Where do I even begin with contracts? While being cheap/free I don’t want someone to take advantage and I want clients to know where they stand. Did you write yours as you went along or pay a solicitor or what? 

  

I muddled it out, there are free contracts available online. Over the years I have tweaked and improved my contract. Ideally, a solicitor would go over and watertight your contract.

 

 

What do you do for GDPR / using images on social media.  

I have a bit at the bottom of my contract initially, stating where their information is stored and who can access (myself & Emma), then also send out a image use/storage permission form following their shoot. Your client can withdraw permission at any time and this must be respected.

 

 

Insurance

You will need professional indemnity and public liability. I insure my kit and studio also. Personally I use Policy Bee

 

 

How do you organise your digital images?  

I import raws, save to two separate hard drives. Import all to lightroom when I come to edit. Cull. Edit and export as jpeg. Save jpegs to clients file. Keep raws and jpegs. I also back up to the cloud and Shoot Proof. 

 

How to get clients that you enjoy working with – I remember when I met you pre my wedding that you were interviewing me and my wedding rather than the other way round – curious how you achieve this still and how do you politely say no! 

 

Be confident in yourself. Its your art and your business. Shoot who you want and what you want and never anything less. The right clients will come to you I promise. I am very professional about it and explain why I do not think I am the right photographer for them (they are getting married in a golf club and want a group shot in the shape of a heart) and recommend so and so.

 

 

Screen calibration has nearly killed me. I was using a mac book pro 2015 (laptop) and the prints were awful from digital lab. I bought a calibration device and they improved, but not consistent enough that I was confident so I have ended up buying an Imac to edit on. First photos will come back this week and I so hope they look similar to my screen but this might be a good point for newbies not with an imac and not sure how you’ll cover it..  

 

This is a pain!!!! First, check your screen settings are RGB, always edit at night/dark room! Have screen brightness no more than three, less if poss. Export as SRGB colour. Don’t click colour check on lab options when ordering. Editing on a laptop is hard. Get a big big screen 

 

Do you have a system for memory cards usage ie taking photos off, emptying cards / how do you know when they might die?  

SD card x 2 in every camera and I shoot RAW files to both. If one carcs it the other is there. Back up immediately to two external hard drives. Keep one SD card until edited gallery 

Format for every new shoot in camera.  If SD card shows any sign of playing up it goes in the bin. Mine tend to last about a year or 2.  

I shoot to 64gb 

 

  

Building a website – did you get the bones made for you and then add your photos and writing or did you hand this over to get good SEO

 

I started with a WIX template and did it all myself. Last year we invested a lot of money in having a website made on WordPress by F.E.S. Enterprises. I have taken it back over but the skeleton is there, I just chop and change things. SEO is still tragic.