I’ve had a point and shoot since high school and love to play around at photography. The other day I picked up one of those camera specials at the big box store – you know, where it comes with a body and a lens all in one?
So I was thinking, I’m pretty good at photography, and because I haven’t had a raise in five years and my husband has been out of work for 18 months, I think I’ll make some money at it.
I’ve already shot a wedding and did a pretty good job. Its easy. You just show up and keep shooting. Sure I ended up with over 3000 images. But I had to take that many; by the time I went through them and took out all the bad ones, I had 400 great ones left. And after I Photoshopped what was left, I have to say they were pretty good. The bride seemed pretty happy with her CD.
And I made $500 bucks for my effort! That really looked good in our bank account. Sure, I work during the week, and the wedding took 10 hours out of my Saturday. But the kids will understand – this is a tough time. So $500 and 10 hours of time – that’s $50 an hour. Yipppeeee. Oh wait, I guess I did spend 5 hours on Sunday editing the 3000 down to 400. Oh, and I did spend the several hours each night over the following week Photoshopping those final 400. And I did meet the bride for coffee so she could look through the disk on her computer. And I might have to meet her again if she wants to order anything else – but she does have the images so that probably won’t happen anyway.
I loved the camera I used as well. Sure, I couldn’t get everything I wanted – its hard with the one lens. I’ll save up and buy another one soon, but for now the one camera body and one lens should do just fine. The on camera flash seemed to work pretty well too. This last wedding was in the middle of the day and held out on a patio area, so I didn’t need much flash anyway. It can’t be that much different at a night wedding, or a wedding reception in a dance hall with low lighting, right? And as long as I’m careful with my camera, the one should last me this entire season.
I talked with another bride today and she asked me about price. I have no idea what to charge, but I do know everyone I’m talking with wants a CD with all the files. They really don’t care about prints or albums or frames, so I know I’m going to stick with handing them a CD with all the images. That seems like the easiest way. And since I’m new at this, I know I can’t charge what others do. I searched online today and found several photographers in my area that charged $1000, $1200 and $1500 for wedding coverage. So I’ll low-ball it to make sure I get plenty of work. I think I’ll offer a $500 and an $800 package.
Business license? I need one of those? A tax ID? Insurance? Really? I want to do this bare-bones. What do I absolutely have to have in order to get this business off the ground? All else can wait.
I’ve worked the last five weekends, and boy am I getting tired. The weddings are all over town, so I’m averaging 10 hours per Saturday. And of course you can double those hours with production time. I haven’t spent any time with the kids in weeks. We’re having to get babysitters too as my husband found a part time job as well. But in five weeks, I’ve made $2500. Of course I have no idea where the money went. Groceries, gas, dentist bills and clothes for the kids. Probably a lot to the babysitter as well.
Oh no, I dropped my camera. And I have a wedding tomorrow. It should still work, right? It looks like its okay.
Well it wasn’t okay. And now the bride is fuming. All of her pictures are messed up and I don’t know what to do. I told her I would spend a lot of time Photoshopping them and doing what I can to make them great.
After 50 hours of computer time, the bride is finally happy. Whew. I was worried she was going to sue me. And I haven’t had time to look into that insurance yet. Maybe I should do that this week…
This was the worst summer of my life. I have no extra money in the bank, I’ve been working 7 days a week for the past 5 months, I don’t even know who my kids are anymore, I haven’t spoken with my husband in 3 weeks, and I have a pile of work still left to do. Photography used to be fun – it’s a huge chore now. There’s nothing creative about it. I just show up and literally start shooting in hopes I capture something great. I hate posing as I really don’t know how to do it. And I’m always stressed out and worried my camera will die or I’ll have to replace a lens. And these bridezillas! I had no idea some of them could be so demanding. They really want me to get a shot like that? How would I do that?
They say the best way to get more weddings is to market your business. What? I have a business card, but I can’t afford anything else. And do I really want to anyway? I can’t imagine having another summer like this. Maybe its time to hang up my camera and go back to shooting for fun.
I’m thinking there might be a little more to it in becoming a true professional photographer.