When I go to my Chick-fil-A restaurant and ask for my favorite Spicy Deluxe w/ Pepper Jack cheese they are not telling me how much time it took to make the sandwich and how much tomatoes, lettuce, pepper jack cheese, Chicken, bread, butter and all the coatings cost and that being the total price. They just tell me the price.
Freelancers need to learn from other industries. The only people talking to each other about what it costs to make the sandwich are other Chick-fil-A Franchise owners. The public doesn’t understand all those numbers.
To get the price of their sandwich that information is part of the formula. That is the point I am making here. The actual costs are part of the formula that gives you a total.
Now for up selling restaurants put together packages. Do you want the meal or just the sandwich. The meal comes with fries and drink.
This is how freelancers should be talking about their prices.
Create a base price, medium price and high price.
Do you want the basic sandwich or the deluxe? Do you want the meal? Would you like the small, medium or large?
So the point here is you need to know your costs, but don’t talk to your clients about your hourly or daily rate. Talk to them about basic, medium or large package.
Hope this helps you with knowing how to better price yourself for the public.
With the 55-200mm on the Fuji X-E3 I was able to get good video of the Volcano at sunset.
Shooting with the Fuji the 200mm is a 300mm due to the sensor is a cropped sensor.
We stopped and visited with my friend Tom Butler a coffee farmer. His coffee won 2nd best in the cupping contest for Kona coffee. If you want some great 100% Kona coffee you can go to his website http://paradisefoundhawaii.com.
The main reason I am shooting with the Fuji on the trip around the Island and not the Nikon D5 is the weight and size. I wanted a compact system.
I was able to take wonderful photos in almost every kind of light on our trip. One of the stops I always make is to Ken’s House of Pancakes in Hilo.
Another of our stops that we made and we had been there before 12 years ago was the Hawaii Tropical Gardens near Hilo.
We also celebrated my birthday at Kona Brewery where the entire restaurant sang Happy Birthday to me.
Dorie enjoyed the beaches while I was teaching Lighting and Business Practices to the School of Photography at the University of Nations.
While I taught students how to shoot in a photo studio I also took them on location for lighting class.
As you can see we had lots of fun.
One of the students wanted to know how I stay inspired and going to Hawaii and seeing all the beauty of the island and the people is one of the ways I stay inspired.
Six years ago when teaching lighting to the School of Photography 1 in Kona Gary S. Chapman’s daughter Sara helped as part of the staff for class. Sometimes she was a model for the students. This is one of the assignments I used to give where the student’s were mixing flash with available light. In this photo Hasting Franks took the photo as other class mates tossed water onto Sara.
This was where the student’s used a studio monobloc light to over power the sun to shoot the assignment.
Today more of the students are using the Godox because it is more affordable than their Sony, Nikon, Canon or Fuji brand flashes.
I did a post not too long ago using them to light the soccer players.
Here is the lighting setup for both of those soccer photos:
For the assignment shoot this week in Kona, Hawaii we were illustrating how to improve a difficult available lighting situation like this one here.
To do the assignment this year I took the class to the coffee shop on campus where it had been raining. I picked a situation where the off camera flash could improve the lighting in a situation. Here you can see the one lady is back lighted and the other lady has light on her face from the window.
On the far left you can see not just the Godox V860IIN but the instructor for the school Dennis Fahringer getting a photo of me demonstrating this to the class behind me.
Here you can see how much the off camera Godox V860IIN flash really helped the photo.
They have to first take a photo that there is no flash and then take a second photo where the flash improved the photo.
They are also making an environment portrait. An environmental portrait is a portrait executed in the subject’s usual environment, such as in their home or workplace, and typically illuminates the subject’s life and surroundings. The term is most frequently used of a genre of photography.
We went outside as well to demonstrate how someone sitting in the shade would benefit from an off camera flash. I instruct the students to put the flash so it forms a triangle between the subject and the camera.
A good starting place is always at 45º, but they can put the light any where to help improve the lighting.
Here you can see the after shot showing better lighting on the face. Also you can see Dennis taking more photos of the teaching time with the students.
I was using a really wide-angle lens to capture the environment around the subject.
A couple of years ago I changed the assignment from just a mixed lighting assignment to more of an environmental portrait. In 2016 I walked around the campus doing similar exercise and here is that post for you.
Godox V860IIN + Godox X1NT
This is the very first year where most all the students had bought a similar flash. Most all of the students have the Godox V860II + Godox X1T for their brand of camera.
Most all the students are shooting this assignment with the speed-lights that they own rather than using the studio strobes that are available as well. No one wants to carry around the heavier gear if the lighter gear will do the job.
GODOX X1-N FEATURES
Godox 2.4GHz RF Radio System
Range – 100m +
Flash Modes – iTTL / M / OFF
HSS to 1/8000th
Second Curtain Sync
FEC / FEB – 1/3rd Increments (±3 Stops)
FEL (Flash Exposure Lock)
Manual Flash – 1/128 – 1/1 Output (1/3rd Increments)
Remote Flash Zoom (Auto / Manual) (Global for All Groups Only)
Group Mode – 5 Groups A / B / C / D / E (D & E Are Remote Manual Only)
Large LCD Display with Back Light
HSS Delay Setting – 0~19.9ms, (100us Increments)
Auto Memory Function
AF Assist light (With an On/Off Switch)
Wireless Shutter Release
Micro USB Port for Firmware Upgrades
Transmitter PC Sync Port – Input & Output
Receiver 2.5mm Sync and Shutter Release Port – Output
Last night I worked with Island Breeze dancer/singer Victoria Taimane Kaopua at the Old Kona Airport along the beach. I am teaching lighting this week to the University of the Nations-Kona, School of Photography I.
Last night I was teaching them off camera flash and mixing it with daylight.
You are seeing three flashes on the left 2 Godox V860IIN and Flashpoint XPLOR 600 HSS TTL Battery-Powered Monolight with Built-in R2 2.4GHz Radio Remote System – Bowens Mount (AD600 TTL). Both systems work together using the Godox X1NT. They make this so these will work with Sony, Nikon, Canon and Fuji. When you buy them just get the one for your system.
In the first photo the only flashes firing are the smaller speed-lights and not the larger studio strobe.
I start with photo of the dancer with out flash and then I add the light.
My friend Dave Black likes to call this the Silhouette and Reveal.
I would show the students some of the shots as I was working.
I also was showing the model dancer the photos.
Today we will go over the photos in our class and I will see how many students paid attention to the conversations I had with the dancer and when I showed her photos. I will ask them why I did this. Do you know why?
The dancer and I were working together to make the photo. I was able to show her what I was getting hoping to get her more excited about the shoot and engage her more in the process.
We will talk about composition today as well as the lighting.
We are also going to talk about VALS today. That is a Voice Activated Light Stand, which is having someone hold your flash and adjust it when you ask.
Besides it helping you it also gets people involved and creates excitement by everyone because they are now helping you and are a part of the process.
If you want to do this with me give me a call and we can organize a photo shoot with your friends in your hometown.
I have been covering an annual meeting for a client these past few days. For the most part I can set my camera to these settings:
Auto ISO – ISO 100-12800 on Fuji X-E3 & ISO 100-102,400 on Nikon D5 with starting shutter speed @ 1/100 or 1/200.
I find that in places I am working fast that I tend to take the shutter speed up a little faster to avoid getting motion in photos due to being anxious.
So for about 90% of the photos this works just well. I was able to capture speakers and people hanging out at the event.
Now the problem comes that if you are not use to shooting a variety of things when you get the Olympic Gymnast Laurie Hernandez performing shooting at 1/200 will make her look out of focus and blurred.
Since I shoot sports as well I just switched my Auto ISO shutter speed setting to 1/4000. I have this saved as a preset that I choose on my Nikon D5.
I also must remember to switch the camera back so that I am always getting the best quality, which is the lowest ISO at the lowest shutter speed I can shoot safely to get sharp photos.
Hope this tip reminds you to check your shutter speed when shooting events. Is it set to stop the action appropriately?
One of the best ways for restaurants to get you to buy their food is to sample it. Walk through almost any malls food court and one of the restaurants is giving out samples. When you have low market awareness with your food then you have to do something to get people to know you exist and what you offer is good.
Now photographers don’t have to give their photos away for people to know what they will get if they purchase a photo from you. They can look at your portfolio and it serves the same purpose.
Successful business model is one that is a win-win deal for all involved. The problem for most people starting out in business is they don’t know what they don’t know.
The devil doesn’t come dressed in pointy horns. He comes in everything you wished for …
Drug dealers give free samples to get you hooked. They don’t work in back alleys all the time. Today many are selling what appear to be legitimate prescription drugs. There are even doctors who have been doing this because it is so lucrative to them because of the kickbacks they get from drug companies.
When most successful business start out they hired lawyers, accountants and other experts to help guide them so they would be successful.
When you start out I cannot recommend enough getting expert help. One of the best photography organizations I know is ASMP [American Society of Media Photographers]. I have been a member since 1987.
The group was founded to help represent magazine photographers in matters of wages and working conditions. Those early years ASMP was acting as a union for photographers. While today it isn’t a union the purpose of ASMP at its core is to help photographers be successful businesses.
Remember Groupon? Businesses thought that giving super discount to get customers in their doors would have them later pay full price. A study by Lightspeed Research shows that 63% of Groupons are purchased by existing customers. … Sucking value out of the small business market will ultimately damage the local merchants that are the bread and butter of Groupon’s base. Groupon’s model is not sustainable.
Now if Groupon which is a discounted price sucks value our of small business what do you think of Unsplash?
Beautiful, free photos. Gifted by the world’s most generous community of photographers.
Remember photographers do not have to give photos away like you see in a mall’s food court. They can show their images on websites or displays. People can get a taste of what you offer without you giving anything away.
Remember: “Successful business model is one that is a win-win deal for all involved.“
Mikael Cho is a graphic designer who was solving “his problem” when he started UnSplash.
Mikael’s problem was that when he needed samples for an idea he was working on he realized that when he went to Google Images he couldn’t just use those images. Not sure exactly how he knew that those were copyrighted and not for free, but I am guessing it would be similar to others who start out. They made mistake and someone pointed out you cannot do that without paying for the images.
By the way Mikael had his bills paid by another way it appears than graphic design. He thinks of himself as an artist. He just wants to create and share.
This is great if you have a job. Then your creativity is a hobby and not a career. The problem is that Mikael sucked people who want to do this for a career into his creative vortex.
Mikael seems to be talking as an artist. I have heard this many times before. Usually in the past I would then hear they don’t want to “sell out.” Wikipedia defines: “Selling out” is a common idiomatic pejorative expression for the compromising of a person’s integrity, morality, authenticity, or principles in exchange for personal gain, such as money. In terms of music or art, selling out is associated with attempts to tailor material to a mainstream or commercial audience; for example, a musician who alters his material to encompass a wider audience, and in turn generates greater revenue, may be labeled by fans who pre-date the change as a “sellout.” A sellout also refers to someone who gives up, or disregards, hence the term ‘sells’ – someone or something – for some other thing or person.
Simply put, you can’t live out your purpose if you aren’t selling and that’s why sales is a critical skill for artists to develop.
Even if you don’t participate in Unsplash and give your images away you should be very concerned. You cannot stay in business if your clients can get what you could provide through a “FREE” service like Unsplash.
All working photographers need to educate the public and especially those who are trying to be photographers on the pitfalls of highly discounting their work or giving it away for free.
I understand shooting your first wedding for a friend to get samples to show for a portfolio. You do have to do some work for free to create a portfolio, but once you have examples you no longer have to do free to show what customers can expect when they hire you.
Your goal as a successful business should be to have customers who are willing to pay full price and come back to you over and over.
A few weeks ago I had a Facebook friend request. It was another photographer. Now this scenario has happened more than just once for me. I want to walk you through what happened and what I want to share with those photographers who are struggling financially.
Since I didn’t recognize the name I went to his profile and clicked on his “About” section. Here you can see my information.
Now little did he know that I wasn’t just a photographer, but I hire photographers throughout the year for a few of my clients. I act as a director of photography role as well as other roles for those corporations.
I was looking for a few things that I feel like show me you are a successful professional photographer who is growing their business.
Do you have a way for me to contact you other than Facebook? I like to see three things: 1) phone number, 2) email, & 3) website.
It wasn’t long in our messaging that he said something like he is struggling as a freelancer because his market is over saturated.
When I asked if he had a website he said I need to work on that. He even said he knew that was important.
2 Create a domain name. I recommend Godaddy, but there are others. This is where you create your personalized web address. A .com address runs about $12 a year, but if you buy it for many years the price drops. You basically rent these addresses. You can also “mask” your website domain name with your custom domain name.
3 Create email with your domain name. I have actually had so many email addresses through the years that I cannot remember them all. I started with Compuserve and it was a number. The cool thing is once you own your domain name you can “mask” your @gmail.com address to be firstname.lastname@example.org. People send you email to your address and it actually can go to your @gmail.com address. The advantage here is that in 20 years when Google goes out of business or is bought and the email address changes to all your customers and prospects you are still email@example.com.
4 Create business card. Be sure your card has: 1) your name, 2) phone number, 3) email address, 4) website address, 5) your town & 6) your specialty. You want people to find you but you don’t have to put your street address on there to advertise to people where all your camera gear is located. You do want people to know if you are close by for an assignment. Don’t put just photographer on the card. That is as useful as putting human on the card. Put what you are the very best at doing on your card.
5 Buy business software. I recommend to photographers Cradoc’s FotoBiz. It will help you with creating cover letters, creating estimates & invoices and tracking of your receivables and payables. It also includes FotoQuote, the industry standard pricing guide for freelance photographers.
6 Create a home budget. This should be the very first thing you do. You cannot know what to charge if you don’t know what you need to pay your household bills. Once you have created a home budget that takes into account everything you spend money on during a year from rent, food, and the basics; it should also include things like vacations and retirement as well.
When done celebrate! This is what I would call the foundation for your business.
7 Last step is a Marketing Plan. In a nutshell this is where you will identify all those potential customers who need your specialty.
Rule-of-thumb marketing. If you contact 1,000 contacts only about 100 of these will be interested in your services. That means that 900 have various reasons that they are not interested. The reasons they are not interested run from every thing from they has someone they are happy with or that your style of work doesn’t mesh with their style.
Out of the remaining 100 only 10 will hire you. Again there are many factors here. The best way to put this is 90 are willing to date you, but not marry you.
No matter what you are doing, you are marketing yourself. Either you are helping your brand or hurting it. When you meet new people how many know that you are a photographer?
Since I used the marriage metaphor earlier, your marketing should be like the process you find your mate. You are working on building a relationship. So the first time you meet someone you don’t ask him or her to marry you. Also you need to be clear that you want to date or you never make it clear that you are interested.
I have written many articles on marketing that you can search for on my blog here.
I hope this has given you some things that can turn your lack of getting work into the road to prosperity.
One of the types of photography I do a great deal of for clients is the event coverage. This is the type of coverage that you are capturing the photos with available light and an occasional on camera flash for a quick grip and grin.
In these situations you need to go as wide as possible to pretty close up. I find that the Nikon 14-24mm ƒ/2.8 is the best lens for capturing those super wide and wide angle shots.
With a new campus dedication I needed to show tour groups going through and around the new campus. I used the 14 -24mm to capture the room interiors with people to give a sense of perspective and to capture as much of the room as possible.
Now I was also using the 28-300mm because I was needing to capture moderate to telephoto shots of people around the campus and the speakers at a podium.
Now this lens combination works great for just about any situation. Now for a smaller venue I am often using the Sigma 24-105mm ƒ/4 when I just want to carry one camera.
If you are to cover things where you have speakers an need to capture rooms where you cannot back up enough then the 14-24mm and 28-300mm lenses will help you do a great job.
I am also loving my Fuji X series cameras and lenses. I am finding shooting with the Fuji X-E2/X-E3 with the 10-24mm and the 55-200mm lenses will give you a similar lens coverage.
The Fuji is much lighter system than the Nikon.
It is much easier to walk around at an event all day with the Fuji system.
I haven’t tried the Fujifilm XF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 R LM OIS. I would love to try this with some high school football games to see if it could work. However, I am super confident with the Nikon D5 & Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8 with the TC-2001 converter keeping up with the action.
I am also more pleased with the Nikon D5 having microphone and headphone jacks for recording video. The Nikon D5 is the camera system that does it all and really my only complaint is the weight.
My recommendation is to have lenses for covering events that are at least 20mm wide to 30mm for a full-frame camera. As far as a camera I cannot see ever buying a camera today that doesn’t have ISO of at least 51200 and the low of 100. This will let you shoot in almost every situation without the need of a flash. The reasons I use my flash today are to add light to improve the photo where often there is no light.
Shooting events requires you to be ready for just about everything, so be sure you have the lenses, camera and flash to do deliver for the client.