Pricing your work

 

WP15 ImageHere we are, just added the next part of the business course here on the Blog site so that anyone thinking of going pro or already have can just get an idea of how to price your work and how to charge for it.

It’s not rules but a guide from someone who has been in the business for 24 years.

Please remember, keep your prices as a reflexion of the quality of your work

Any questions just give us a call

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Model Portfolios

LAUREN JOnce again we read in the press of studios that offer model portfolios with a view to getting work. Singers, actors and models are being targeted by studios who promise work from the portfolios that they create.

The image shoots that these studios offer are, on the whole, very expensive with a basic portfolio costing anything from £1’000 upwards and the model being pressured into buying the images immediately after the shoot with no cooling-off period.

We have advised prospective models and actors many times before that agencies do not search the internet for photography sites to find new faces. It just does not happen that way.

The process is much more simplistic than that. Would-be models should contact the preferred agency directly and if photos are requested by the agency then those photos should be amateur snaps taken in the house or garden or whatever by a family member. Agencies will not normally concern themselves with professionally taken images as these can be enhanced or manipulated. The agency wants to see potential in the model and not the skills of the photographer.

If a model is taken on by the agency they will organise a professional shoot with a preferred photographer or studio. This will be done at the cost to the studio not the model.

When a model turns up for a shoot he/she should know the following before starting the session:

  • What are the images to be used for?
  • Who will see the final images?
  • Can I have a copy of the session?
  • Can I sign a “Model Release”?
  • Is it going to cost me?
  • What will the photographer get out of it?

I love my profession and I really don’t like those who set-up as professionals to rip-off naive young models with promises of work simply to take money from them.

Let’s keep professional photography nice. Yes we can make money from it but not by telling lies and giving false promises.

If you want to know how to shoot models just give me an e-mail and I’ll happily tell you for FREE.

Business

DELEGATEJust a quick post to say that we have added some content to our Business page here on the blog site.

We will be adding the rest a little later.

Shoot for Free?

camera

I have been reading about photographers shooting for free. They are shooting for free to build up a portfolio of work to advertise their skills. Well that’s ok if you have planned this and you have scheduled this into your work time and budget and you are not actively losing money and you are not shooting actual customers for free. The reason most new photographers will run photo sessions without charging is to build a portfolio for as little money as possible. Digital photography is great for being able to take loads and loads of images at a relatively low-cost but producing a portfolio must never been seen as cheap. Your portfolio is your way of showing the world what you can do. The general public aren’t daft and they will see right through a cheap, badly produced portfolio.

Producing a portfolio is advertising. Just take a look at magazines and the advertising in those. None of it is cheap and nasty. Advertisers use the best looking models and the best locations. You MUST do the same. Simply asking one of your customers to model is wrong. Sorry, but it is. Look at the quality of the models advertising perfumes, or hair products, they’re stunning. It’s because subconsciously the manufacturer hopes that the prospective customer will see themselves in the same light as the model on the front of the packaging. That’s how advertising works.

Great photo studios work the same way. Go for the best and it will attract the best. Simple as that. It’s the old adage: Speculate to accumulate.

As I have said if you want to do free shoots then that is up to you.

Its ok if you have planned this and you do not propose to then charge, in the future, the people who have benefitted from shoots for free.

Photographers have for years offered TFP or TFCD images in the model industry but trying to do this in the wedding, portrait or baby sector is a lot more difficult.

TFP/TFCD or “time for prints/ time for images on a cd”, was a very common way for new photographers and new models to get together to mutually benefit from a creative photo shoot. This meant that neither party needed to hand over any money and both walked away, hopefully, with a good set of images that could then be used to further the careers of the respective budding professionals.

It’s a bit different when working in the social photography genre as the only party that actually profits is the customer.

Budding professionals must do what they think best to further their careers and offering free shoots seems to be the way with some of them. All I am saying is that you are then actually working for no profit which devalues what you are actually doing.

Once you have done a FREE shoot for a customer don’t think that you can then get them back into the studio at a later date to get them to pay for another shoot. It just doesn’t happen.

In the dim and distant past I too have been guilty of giving away free images. I learnt the hard way that this is counter productive. Building a portfolio to advertise your work takes a long time which is why we tell prospective new pros to not give up the day job until you have a good portfolio. I also found that using “customers” as models really is not the way forward. If you want to create a portfolio, especially in the portrait world then you really do need to hire great looking models who know how to pose and react in front of the camera. Sounds like cheating? You bet. But I wanted to show prospective clients fantastic shots of beautiful people and get them into my studio so that I could create great images of them also, and do you know what? It worked.

Sometimes you get to shoot beautiful who are not models but it is rare. If you do get “modelesque” customers then keep hold of them and treat them like royalty. They will recommend you to all their friends. They are the best advertising that you can get.

Some new photographers who have attended one of our courses have often said, ” its easy for you to get models as you are a professional”. Well, yes I am professional and I do know how to get models to photograph for portfolio shoots, but it’s not rocket science.

I built a register of models over many years but when I started and needed to build my portfolio I took advice from an old friend who had been the chairman of qualifications with the MPA (Master Photographers Association) Derek Avery. Sadly, no longer with us he explained that the best way to find new models is to run a model competition with the local newspaper. This I did and all the images taken from about fifty models filled my portfolio for a few years until we needed new images and we repeated the whole process. With weddings it was a bit harder but we advertised for newly married couples who still had their wedding outfits and gave them the chance to have sensational images that could never have been taken during the wedding itself. You get the picture. None of our models were asking for payment or were required to pay me but they were not customers. They were ordinary people who wanted to have great images of themselves.

Later in my career I was able to hire professional models and take the photography to another level. I never shot customers for free. Why would I? My work is expensive but its work that has been honed over many years and so is the business.

If you want to shoot for free that’s fine but just remember how much you are actually giving away.

If you want to know how to get the local newspaper to run a model competition just get in touch with me and I will be more than happy to tell you.

 

Happy snappin’

 

Shoot for Free?

BORDER4I have been reading about photographers shooting for free. They are shooting for free to build up a portfolio of work to advertise their skills. Well that’s ok if you have planned this and you have scheduled this into your work time and budget and you are not actively losing money and you are not shooting actual customers for free. The reason most new photographers will run photo sessions without charging is to build a portfolio for as little money as possible. Digital photography is great for being able to take loads and loads of images at a relatively low-cost but producing a portfolio must never been seen as cheap. Your portfolio is your way of showing the world what you can do. The general public aren’t daft and they will see right through a cheap, badly produced portfolio.

Producing a portfolio is advertising. Just take a look at magazines and the advertising in those. None of it is cheap and nasty. Advertisers use the best looking models and the best locations. You MUST do the same. Simply asking one of your customers to model is wrong. Sorry, but it is. Look at the quality of the models advertising perfumes, or hair products, they’re stunning. It’s because subconsciously the manufacturer hopes that the prospective customer will see themselves in the same light as the model on the front of the packaging. That’s how advertising works.

Great photo studios work the same way. Go for the best and it will attract the best. Simple as that. It’s the old adage: Speculate to accumulate.

As I have said if you want to do free shoots then that is up to you.

Its ok if you have planned this and you do not propose to then charge, in the future, the people who have benefitted from shoots for free.

Photographers have for years offered TFP or TFCD images in the model industry but trying to do this in the wedding, portrait or baby sector is a lot more difficult.

TFP/TFCD or “time for prints/ time for images on a cd”, was a very common way for new photographers and new models to get together to mutually benefit from a creative photo shoot. This meant that neither party needed to hand over any money and both walked away, hopefully, with a good set of images that could then be used to further the careers of the respective budding professionals.

It’s a bit different when working in the social photography genre as the only party that actually profits is the customer.

Budding professionals must do what they think best to further their careers and offering free shoots seems to be the way with some of them. All I am saying is that you are then actually working for no profit which devalues what you are actually doing.

Once you have done a FREE shoot for a customer don’t think that you can then get them back into the studio at a later date to get them to pay for another shoot. It just doesn’t happen.

In the dim and distant past I too have been guilty of giving away free images. I learnt the hard way that this is counter productive. Building a portfolio to advertise your work takes a long time which is why we tell prospective new pros to not give up the day job until you have a good portfolio. I also found that using “customers” as models really is not the way forward. If you want to create a portfolio, especially in the portrait world then you really do need to hire great looking models who know how to pose and react in front of the camera. Sounds like cheating? You bet. But I wanted to show prospective clients fantastic shots of beautiful people and get them into my studio so that I could create great images of them also, and do you know what? It worked.

Sometimes you get to shoot beautiful who are not models but it is rare. If you do get “modelesque” customers then keep hold of them and treat them like royalty. They will recommend you to all their friends. They are the best advertising that you can get.

Some new photographers who have attended one of our courses have often said, ” its easy for you to get models as you are a professional”. Well, yes I am professional and I do know how to get models to photograph for portfolio shoots, but it’s not rocket science.

I built a register of models over many years but when I started and needed to build my portfolio I took advice from an old friend who had been the chairman of qualifications with the MPA (Master Photographers Association) Derek Avery. Sadly, no longer with us he explained that the best way to find new models is to run a model competition with the local newspaper. This I did and all the images taken from about fifty models filled my portfolio for a few years until we needed new images and we repeated the whole process. With weddings it was a bit harder but we advertised for newly married couples who still had their wedding outfits and gave them the chance to have sensational images that could never have been taken during the wedding itself. You get the picture. None of our models were asking for payment or were required to pay me but they were not customers. They were ordinary people who wanted to have great images of themselves.

Later in my career I was able to hire professional models and take the photography to another level. I never shot customers for free. Why would I? My work is expensive but its work that has been honed over many years and so is the business.

If you want to shoot for free that’s fine but just remember how much you are actually giving away.

If you want to know how to get the local newspaper to run a model competition just get in touch with me and I will be more than happy to tell you.

 

Happy snappin’

 

Starting Again?

DELEGATESince arriving back in Wales after three years in Hampshire I have been asked if we are going to start the courses again.

Well, the plan was to publish the on-line course here on my blog site so that anyone can follow it for free.

The on-line course was due to be published last year as a full and stand alone course but we had many copyright issues and once they had been settled, in our favour, we then had problems with the license provided by the software provider. I won’t go into the problems there in detail but suffice to say the provider of the platform software tried to profit from our hard work and to take more than was rightfully theirs. We then offered the course as a home study project and that sold very well and we had some great feedback from this.

As the business is now officially closed I am free to do what I want with the courses that we have developed and written over the years and I choose to offer the course free of charge to anyone who wants to have a go at it.

The idea is to publish the course, in its entirety, here on the blog site as we have closed the official website. Over the next few months we will put a few extra pages on this site and publish the home study course.

As for running new face to face courses  may prove to be a little more difficult as we don’t have premises and we would need to find somewhere to use on a regular basis to offer our range of courses. Don’t rule it out though.

Keep checking us here.

Get the Business Right

WP15 ImageWe have recently moved our business and ourselves back to Wales after three great years in Hampshire. During that time in Hampshire we held many courses for businesses where we emphasised the need to get the business side of your operation just right. Simply being a great photographer is not enough. You have to make the customer want to come back to your studio. You need to get to a point where you are THE photographer in your area; where you are the “go to” photographer. It takes more than just good photography, it takes being a great studio where your team are regarded as good people who will help and will give the customer an experience that they will enjoy and remember for all the right reasons. It actually does not take much to make your business a great business. A tweak here and there and a genuine desire to give your customers an enjoyable experience. Returning customers are the ones that you really want as you do not need to advertise to them. They already know how good you are.

I say all this because moving and r e-locating has been a very non-enjoyable experience even though we planned the move to the letter we were let down by many people during the move. Small things that could be so insignificant suddenly become big issues.

I will explain. We went to our local bank branches to register our new address but the bank’s data base was out of date and they could not recognize the address that we had given them and this delayed our registration causing a delay in certain payments. Believe it or not this impacts on your credit rating, adversely.

We hired a van for the weekend to put items in storage. A van hire company that prides itself on “American Customer Service”. Well if the Americans provide service like that I don’t want to go there.

The removal company that we hired managed to damage almost every piece of furniture and charge us extra cash at every problem that they encountered. They promised that all the items they moved were insured against loss or damage but failed to provide us with a certificate of insurance and so we now can’t contact the insurance company and the removers are not answering their phone. The index company that we used on-line also are not answering their phones.

Closing our telephone and broadband account required us to do so via their website yet on each attempt the site froze accompanied by an on-line message that advised us to contact our broadband supplier. For the most prolific communications company in the UK they are almost impossible to communicate with.

Anyway, you get the idea. Almost all the companies that we contacted in respect of our move created problems. Some, however, were very good and professional but they were few and far between.

When you run a company or a business, shop or on-line service it is very important to get things right.

Customers names need to be recorded accurately and if you can’t understand what they are telling you then get them to write it down. Much better this than getting it wrong. Keep data bases up to date, be polite, smile. Dress the part, make sure your paperwork is up to date and reflects your business. Business cards cost almost nothing but so many companies don’t use them. Don’t promise things that you can’t deliver. If you are a wedding photographer and you use a third-party to produce digital albums tell your customer exactly how long the album will take to produce. Don’t tell them porkies just to make your self look better. Never lie to customers, it will back-fire. If you take deposits for wedding photography ensure you place that deposit in an account specifically set-up for the purpose and don’t spend it. Check your spelling and grammar. If your English is poor then hire a specialist. If you are not good with accounts then again hire a specialist. It may seem expensive but I assure you it will be worth it.

Getting your business operation and structure right is essential.

We are all passionate about our industry and we need to ensure that we are seen as professional and in total control of all aspects of our business. It doesn’t take much but it means the world. People like dealing with businesses that they see as professional and friendly and helpful. Make sure yours is one of them.

 

Happy snappin’

Enough is enough

LEONIE 09Well, finally we have come to the end of the courses here in Hampshire. It has been a great three-year adventure. The wonderful people at the Angel Hotel allowed us to use their facilities and I can’t think of a better place to hold the One-Day courses.

My family and I have used the Angel, not only for the courses, but also to sample their excellent fair and great beer on many occasions. Thank you so much to all at the Angel.

The formal courses have now finished but I haven’t. I am hoping to use this Blog site to publish our on-line courses. We did try to launch the courses while we were in Hampshire but problems and concerns with copyright and licence issues prevented us from getting it out to the general public. We now have full control of our course content and we are hoping to publish the course in its entirety here on the Blog site.  It will be totally free of charge and available to all. The main course is basic to level two.

If you wish to bookmark this site please copy and paste this URL:

https://obriencooper.wordpress.com/about/ if this link does not work please access it through our Facebook page at:

https://www.facebook.com/OBrienCooper/?ref=aymt_homepage_panel

The business is actually now closed but I shall be continuing in the photography industry in various ways for many years to come. I can’t just stop.

This is just a very brief blog to let my customers and learners know where to find our blogs.

We will publish much more in the coming months.

Happy snappin’

 

Copyright

We have recently become aware of some images that are copyrighted to us have been displayed on websites without our permission.

We would like to remind all and everyone that has had images taken by us and produced as either digital files or printed photographic copy that the copyright of all those images remains with us, O’Brien Cooper Photography. Even if the images have been taken of you, you do not own the copyright or the rights to publish those images. All our images are protected under the Copyright, designs and Patents Act 1988.

We do have the means to check the internet to determine whether our images are being used illegally.

It is the same as copying, illegally, any works of art such as books, poetry, music or research. It is illegal, it is theft and we are prosecuting.

For us the images are our work and our product and our livelihood and we do not take lightly to the images being published in places or on websites that we do not approve of. Our work will not be used for financial, political or religious gain.

If you wish to own the copyright of your images please contact us and we will start the process of transferring ownership and use of those images. If you do not possess a certificate with all the relevant authorities to own the copyright then you are breaking the law.

Even if our business closes we will still own the copyright of all images until the proper certification has been approved.

Stay safe, do not steal.

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