Saturday, April 23, 2011

Photography...the business of it!!

Hey there!

Firstly, before I begin, I'd really like it if those that can, can follow my blog on!! It'd be greatly appreciated. And if you (models and photographers) can comment on this blog that would also be greatly appreciated. I'm not here to piss people off or "stir the pot" - I'm here for fairness and I LOVE what I do with photography!! I hope you love my results!!!

I've been a photographer for many years now. I have a complete passion and love for photography, but I wanted to start with a bit of a history on what I've done in the photography world before getting into the details of my thoughts today.

I started off taking photos of aircraft as I've always loved aviation of all kinds (military and civil). I've met F18 pilots, sat in F18s, RAF Tornados, RAF Jaguars and have met some fantastic people involved with the Airports both in Edmonton and Calgary, and all over.
After a couple of years, I started hiking and scrambling and grew to love the landscape that is only 45 minutes from home. I also started studying wildlife and over the last 6 years have concentrated more on the wildlife photography side of things. At that same time, I also got to know the Calgary Stampeder (CFL) Staff and team quite well. I got a couple of sideline passes and shot some fantastic stuff!! I just need to buy a new scanner and re-scan my slides....but, everything costs money!! More on this later :)

For most people, photography is, and will remain, a hobby, and they'll never put any effort into making it into an actual business. Family gatherings, their kids graduations, that's good enough for them..anything to do with their family, or something like that. Business will never cross their mind. For me, this year, it is about business. There is a LOT of work. Keeping mileage logs for the vehicle, fuel and repair receipts, receipts for any paid jobs, costs associated with equipment, etc...In the past, the majority of my work has been done for free, and please don't get scared, but that has to change this year!! I can't afford to buy equipment I need, and upgrade things I need to, by doing things for free. I'm not talking outrageous prices, so please, keep reading.

The last couple of years I was able to photograph a couple of friends of mine, Monika B, and Dannielle S, and dabble in the "portrait" side of things. I'm a people person and absolutely love being with people, talking to them, learning about them, and photographing them. In January of 2011, I got in touch with Tim Rollans ( At the time I met him, we discussed where, at that time, his studio called "Model World" could go, and we seemed to have the same outlook on things. At the same time I met another fellow photographer Monika Forintos - her energy is amazing!! Even now, since the closing of the "Model World" studio, her energy is catching! We'll definitely be working together again this year!! This is where it all gets a little confusing to some. Since I'm still relatively new to the "portrait/fashion" whatever you want to call it, area of photography, I'm NOT a noob when it comes to logic, and business. However, I'm not into anything to rip people off, or promise them things that I can't deliver. In EVERYTHING I do, I want to be fair, while putting a little extra cash in my pocket. Not talking getting rich, although that's everyone's dreams, but just putting a little extra in the bank so equipment costs can be covered. Like Tim's thinking, photography, modeling, whatever "profession" you are in or want to be in, at the end of the day, we ALL need to make money. Equipment (for a model, clothing For an MUA, cosmetics. For a photographer, a HELL of a lot of expensive equipment) costs you can see, EVERYONE involved has a cost. Some more than others. What my thinking is, is that I can do a basic outdoor shoot for $40 (these prices may and most likely will change in the future) per model. This could be something from outdoor portraits, kind of a grunge graffiti shoot, whatever it may be, where any property rental isn't required. When I say property rental, it doesn't strictly relate to realty - it could be a car, motorcycle, etc. The owner has to drive or get whatever "property" to the location. This could cost fuel, but no matter what property it is, there's wear and tear, so why shouldn't they get a bit of the pie?? They should.
I don't expect the basic model who's not actually working full time as a full time paid model (The Tyra Banks, Cindy Crawfords of the world..), to pay $500 for headshots. It's not realistic that most people would have that kind of spare cash nowadays. Are they serious about becoming a model? HELL YEAH! (that's for your Mon! LOL!) But like everything, money, or lack thereof, always plays a factor on how quickly one can obtain their dreams and goals. It's not that people aren't serious, it's that funds don't allow them to get there at times.

What everyone has to remember, is that ok, I (and probably most other photographers) can't pay a model because I'm a photographer that's NOT getting paid on a consistent basis (weddings, etc..). But, what I can do for the model is provide different styles, and different shoots/themes, to add to their portfolio for a VERY reasonable price. The model can then use those photos to help get them to where they want to be, within whatever agency or angencies, they decide to work with. I think that's fair....and that's what I'm all about. It has to be fair for everyone. Everyone should be willing to help each other. There are not "secrets" to photography, retouching, or anything. The internet has made sure of that! So why not be willing to "share" and be nice to each other and network, and not cut others down? I've heard so much negativity in my life in no matter what business I've been in, and that's why I like working with people like Monika Forintos, because she's positive, full of energy, and we come up with some great ideas together!! She's a great friend and I can't wait to work with her again VERY shortly! :)
I can't wait to finally meet fantastic photographers and people like Al Del Degan, Paul Spenard, and other fellow local Calgary photographers that I've "met" via facebook. You all seem great people and I really, honestly, can't wait to finally meet you all!!!

So this is how I've come up with my pricing guide and what I'm willing to do for models and photographers.

1) $40 per model for a basic outdoor shoot. This would be 1-2 hours, the model will view the photos with the photographer and decide on 2 favorites. Those 2 would be re-touched (just basic retouching - skin, eye color, makeup color), by myself, and those 2 pictures will be burned to a CD with all of the originals from the shoot. You've got to admit, that's a great deal for $40!!

2) $100-$300 per model - intricate theme shoots. These type of shoots, depending on location, could range from 1/2 day to a full 8 hour day (including travel time). This time, 6 retouched photos would be included on the CD of the originals. This could be anything, but it would require rental of property. Of course, this is where it gets interesting - if there are 5 models, and 3 photographers, then obviously, the cost decreases as now there are more people putting money into the "pot". Believe me, I currently have 3 great shoots planned which will cost money from everyone involved and would love as many models (male and female) involved, as email me ( if you are interested in additional details!!

The above is directed more to the models. For fellow photographers, I think a $25 fee per shoot isn't unreasonable either. I'd be putting in the effort of getting the model, setting up the shoot, day, time, location, props, have your camera so you'd be keeping your again, a FAIR $25 per shoot fee (basic outdoor shoot), I think, is FAIR for everyone involved.

I realize that a lot of people don't want to pay for anything these days, but it's impossible to get anything for free!! To put it in perspective from a photographer's position, I personally don't have a $2300+ lighting system - used either in studios or portable for location shoots. I can rent a set, and I talked to my mate at Vistek today for about 45 minutes and it would cost me about $150 A DAY to rent. Now to get the right lighting so the model looks perfect, that's what's required. So as you can see, that's one cost that a photographer personally has to pay out, even before a model has paid him for his services. If I wanted to rent a studio, then of course that's another additional cost of anywhere from another $100-300/day depending on size, and most studios rent the space, not the equipment such as lights and props/ you can see, the costs just keep going up for the photographer. A camera body costs anywhere from $500-$5000 (if you want to go REALLY high end, medium format Hasselblad's are about $25,000-40,000!!) - and that doesn't include lenses!!! Lenses (GOOD ones) are minimum $1400 (17-55mm 2.8).

Now that you've been so kind to read the whole thing, I'm going to put it as simple as possible. The photographer needs to be paid. Not much, but enough to cover expenses, leg work, retouching time, equipment, etc. If the photographer has to pay a retoucher (ie: nataliemitouch, and many others that I can't remember the names of right now) then obviously, $40 won't cover it. I'm just using $40 for now, but these prices will most likely change in the future, with purchase of my services, but again, it will be REASONABLE for everyone.

Those are my thoughts and I'd like to hear what you (models and photographers) think. I'm trying to make my business affordable for the models, and still at the same time put a bit of money in the bank to get better equipment to make the results for YOU, even better!! And I'm trying to make it so that fellow photographers are included too! Share and Share alike is my motto. Now if a photographer has a studio (in their house, or a studio space in a building) and they have a shoot and we trade shoots for no charge, obviously that could be discussed and worked out too. That's the beauty of this (and any other) business - ANYTHING can be discussed and things worked out and shared, as long as the parties involved are willing to discuss and share.

Well, that's it...this post is done and I really hope you understand where I'm coming from in regards to costs and charges and helping each other. I also hope you're all having a great (and SAFE) Easter long weekend!! At least the weather in Calgary has FINALLY been more like summer these last couple of days!! :)


And on you tube!! Search "fotoman calgary" in the youtube search bar!!

No comments:

Post a Comment