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03/26/2008 10:13:06 AM · #1
As I enter into my second year of doing part-time professional photography I find myself completely stalled when trying to describe and categorize the services I can offer potential customers. Iím hoping some others here have run into the same problem and can help be adjust my thinking. Iím sorry this is long, but I cannot say it any shorter yet and I really need the helpÖ

What Iím doing now:
+ I am a photographer of people
+ I do a fair amount of photography with models. I donít make any money at this, but the resulting images do draw clients to my site. I would call these fashion portraits because the style is borrowed from fashion photography but there is as much focus on the person as on the cloths.
+ I do some general portrait work, but I believe the style is more aligned with editorial portraits that you might find in a magazine than with traditional portraiture.
+ I make about 2/3 of my photographic income from senior portraits
+ I make about ¼ of my photographic income from what I would call glamour portraits for private clients. This is something I have never featured on a web site or offered in any literature, but the calls keep coming.
- I donít do traditional formal portraits in a studio
- I donít do family portraits
- I donít photograph children

Goals:
+ Shoot more senior portraits, but keep this balanced at ½ - 2/3 of my work.
+ Break into some editorial portraits or low end fashion work. Not much money to be made but it keeps things interesting.
+ Add some bridal portraits because it seems to suit the type of work I am doing
+ Continue to pick up the private Ďglamourí commissions without advertising as a glamour photographer

Challenge:
- I believe there is a market for non-traditional or Ďeditorialí style portraits, but most clients wouldnít understand what I was trying to say. How do I describe this so potential clients can find me?
- How do I organize a portfolio so clients can find examples that match their interests? Iíve tried this about a dozen different ways and am probably just to close to it now.

I appreciate any thoughts you might have!

03/26/2008 10:20:26 AM · #2
a couple of quick observations, that might or might not help you

You say you currently do 2/3rds of your photography as senior portraits. You then say you want to do more senior portraits, but that you want that to be less than 2/3rds of your photography. This seems confused one way or another - either you want to do more, less or about the same, but you are saying you want to do more and less at the same time.

If you want to do editorial or fashion work, you probably should be contacting magazines, making promo cards, getting a book in front of photo editors. local fashion magazines are probably not a bad place to start. Use the model work you've done already as that book - keep it to one style, not a mish-mash of a dozen different looks.

bridal portraiture always strikes me as 'traditional formal portraits' or 'family portraits' which it seems you don't want to do. Maybe, maybe not.
03/26/2008 10:26:41 AM · #3
Originally posted by Nusbaum:

As I enter into my second year of doing part-time professional photography I find myself completely stalled when trying to describe and categorize the services I can offer potential customers. Iím hoping some others here have run into the same problem and can help be adjust my thinking. Iím sorry this is long, but I cannot say it any shorter yet and I really need the helpÖ

What Iím doing now:
+ I am a photographer of people
+ I do a fair amount of photography with models. I donít make any money at this, but the resulting images do draw clients to my site. I would call these fashion portraits because the style is borrowed from fashion photography but there is as much focus on the person as on the cloths.
+ I do some general portrait work, but I believe the style is more aligned with editorial portraits that you might find in a magazine than with traditional portraiture.
+ I make about 2/3 of my photographic income from senior portraits
+ I make about ¼ of my photographic income from what I would call glamour portraits for private clients. This is something I have never featured on a web site or offered in any literature, but the calls keep coming.
- I donít do traditional formal portraits in a studio
- I donít do family portraits
- I donít photograph children

Goals:
+ Shoot more senior portraits, but keep this balanced at ½ - 2/3 of my work.
+ Break into some editorial portraits or low end fashion work. Not much money to be made but it keeps things interesting.
+ Add some bridal portraits because it seems to suit the type of work I am doing
+ Continue to pick up the private Ďglamourí commissions without advertising as a glamour photographer

Challenge:
- I believe there is a market for non-traditional or Ďeditorialí style portraits, but most clients wouldnít understand what I was trying to say. How do I describe this so potential clients can find me?
- How do I organize a portfolio so clients can find examples that match their interests? Iíve tried this about a dozen different ways and am probably just to close to it now.

I appreciate any thoughts you might have!


I would say that "you're a photographer of certain people" since you don't do families or children.

As for getting into bridal portraits, most couples are going to pick one photographer to do the whole thing, you can either do weddings or not do weddings.

I think you should advertise "Personal portraits - Photographs that show who you are" or something like that and explain that your photography goes beyond simply capturing a likeness in a sterile studio setting and shows people more about who the subject really is. Or something like that.

As for not advertising your glamour work why not at least mention it?

03/26/2008 10:30:58 AM · #4
(just thinking out loud)

You could always just add the word "unique" or "specialized" on your business cards and advertising, then explain further when what is meant by "specialized"
03/26/2008 10:31:06 AM · #5
Originally posted by Gordon:

a couple of quick observations, that might or might not help you

You say you currently do 2/3rds of your photography as senior portraits. You then say you want to do more senior portraits, but that you want that to be less than 2/3rds of your photography. This seems confused one way or another - either you want to do more, less or about the same, but you are saying you want to do more and less at the same time.

If you want to do editorial or fashion work, you probably should be contacting magazines, making promo cards, getting a book in front of photo editors. local fashion magazines are probably not a bad place to start. Use the model work you've done already as that book - keep it to one style, not a mish-mash of a dozen different looks.

bridal portraiture always strikes me as 'traditional formal portraits' or 'family portraits' which it seems you don't want to do. Maybe, maybe not.


Thanks for taking the time to read all of that, I know it was long.

As for doing more senior portrait work but keeping it at about 2/3 of my work, the clarifying point that I didn't include was that I want to being doing more photography overall with the hopes of doing a mid-life career change. So keep the ratio the same but increase my overall workload.

As for the bridal portraits, I was thinking there might be a market for brides interested in the more fashion style images they might see in a magazine rather than the traditional posed formal portrait in a studio.

I guess I'm trying to find a niche outside the traditional portrait studios in my market and cannot articulate it well. Even my web sites are a mess right now because I cannot figure out how to structure this.
03/26/2008 10:33:52 AM · #6
Originally posted by Nusbaum:

As for the bridal portraits, I was thinking there might be a market for brides interested in the more fashion style images they might see in a magazine rather than the traditional posed formal portrait in a studio.


post wedding bridal fashion (trash the dress project)

:)
03/26/2008 10:39:04 AM · #7
Originally posted by Spazmo99:


As for not advertising your glamour work why not at least mention it?

I live in a very conservative town and have been worried that showing glamour images might push away some of the potential senior work. But, I should be able to mention it without causing problems. On the other hand, I'm not pulling the traditional clients from the established studios anyway, so maybe I should find a subtle way to do more of the private commissions.

Thanks!
03/26/2008 10:42:37 AM · #8
Originally posted by hopper:

Originally posted by Nusbaum:

As for the bridal portraits, I was thinking there might be a market for brides interested in the more fashion style images they might see in a magazine rather than the traditional posed formal portrait in a studio.


post wedding bridal fashion (trash the dress project)

:)


I would LOVE to do this, if I can just find my first willing subject. Dirt, water and mud are definitely not knew area for my photography. Maybe I could use some of my model work as examples...

new ideas already, thanks so much for jumping in to help
03/26/2008 11:35:28 AM · #9
Originally posted by Nusbaum:

Originally posted by hopper:

Originally posted by Nusbaum:

As for the bridal portraits, I was thinking there might be a market for brides interested in the more fashion style images they might see in a magazine rather than the traditional posed formal portrait in a studio.


post wedding bridal fashion (trash the dress project)

:)


I would LOVE to do this, if I can just find my first willing subject. Dirt, water and mud are definitely not knew area for my photography. Maybe I could use some of my model work as examples...

new ideas already, thanks so much for jumping in to help


You know, the bride in your example "Trash the Dress" shot does not have to be a bride at all.

Buy a discount dress off the rack and get a model to trash it.
03/26/2008 11:49:20 AM · #10
Originally posted by Spazmo99:

Originally posted by Nusbaum:

Originally posted by hopper:

Originally posted by Nusbaum:

As for the bridal portraits, I was thinking there might be a market for brides interested in the more fashion style images they might see in a magazine rather than the traditional posed formal portrait in a studio.


post wedding bridal fashion (trash the dress project)

:)


I would LOVE to do this, if I can just find my first willing subject. Dirt, water and mud are definitely not knew area for my photography. Maybe I could use some of my model work as examples...

new ideas already, thanks so much for jumping in to help


You know, the bride in your example "Trash the Dress" shot does not have to be a bride at all.

Buy a discount dress off the rack and get a model to trash it.

You know it seems so obvious now, and I even have the perfect model for it. As I said, thought so much I couldn't find the forest through the trees.
03/26/2008 02:10:06 PM · #11
How about thinking in terms of 'stylized', 'corporate', or 'contemporary'? Well, not sure if contemporary is exactly the right word... But, something along those lines.
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