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Breaking outta Niche

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  #1  
Old 08-17-2004, 02:29 PM
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grafx grafx is offline
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Breaking outta Niche

Ok guys and gals,

I am trying to break out of my pageant niche into actual modeling/headshot retouching. Evidently my current work cannot work for samples of what I am capable of, it is looked down upon by most photographers. I can do ANY form of retouching, but all my samples are from the pageant type or "creative". Any suggestions on getting new clients. Do I have to do some Pro-bono? Freebies? I would prefer to have actual professional photos to work on from a photographer (no copyright issues that way). I joined a photographer/model website and got bashed right away. Sorta disheartening.

::bummed::
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Old 08-17-2004, 05:00 PM
Noelf Noelf is offline
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Go to somewhere like Photos.com or any photos website and join up. Then take some of those photos and do some work on them.

Photos.com has many professionally shot photos, I play with different ones from there all the time

- Noel
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Old 08-17-2004, 05:33 PM
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painperdu painperdu is offline
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Join a few 'pure' photography sites to hobnob with the pros. http://pbase.com is one such site and they have a forum.

For practice, lots of free images at http://www.sxc.hu

I'm sure there are gazillions more but those two are my favs.
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Old 08-18-2004, 12:23 AM
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roger_ele roger_ele is offline
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try digitalphotographers.net

nice people who appreciate talent - and business ...

pose it as a question like you did here ...

hope this helps,
Roger
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Old 08-18-2004, 03:11 PM
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grafx grafx is offline
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great advice as always

I've also tried my freebie idea and have one bite already. I figured it would not only give me the portfolio images I need, but may also get me in contact with more photographers. Rub those elbows.
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Old 08-18-2004, 08:34 PM
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Chip Hildreth Chip Hildreth is offline
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Be very cautious about giving work away. It's a good thing sometimes but it can also pigeon hole you into a low cost, low end market. You can vary that slightly, get portfolio material and stay out of the low price trap.

You're a designer, right? New fashion models need comp cards and professionally finished portfolio images. Lots of photogs do new model portfolio gigs, the model pays the shooter to build a portfolio. You can hunt the photographers down and offer them a deal on comp cards and work usage rights into the bargain for your own portfolio. The photographer gets to offer the model professionally designed comp cards as an add-on sale and you will get access to tons of quality images to work on. If you have trouble getting the comp cards printed because they are a short run, let me know, we'll give you a deal on the printing.

If you haven't already, get Katrin Eismann's book Photoshop Restoration and Retouching, the last two chapters are 75 pages of portrait, fashion and glamour retouching.

Lastly, you shouldn't be too dis-heartened about the pageant work. Niches are generally a good thing when you're self-emloyed. Don't let people who pan your work get you down, no matter who they might be. Constructive criticsm is hard to handle at times but valuable. Plain old criticizing, that is, saying something is bad without offering a way to make it better is a sure sign of predjudice... ignore it.

You can always do like I did, go to the dogs.

chip
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Old 08-19-2004, 08:47 AM
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grafx grafx is offline
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Chip as aways you are d'bomb!

My "freebie offer" is for a limited time. I already have 3 pics for my port in one night. One was a TERRIBLE acne/bad lighting/etc headshot that I cleaned up in a "natural" retouch. I actually was a bit proud of myself. Yes, I can do retouching with skin texture...LOL, its been so long since I've had to.

I have a second bite now that wants to try me out for a couple samples, but also is requesting my rates. My standard rate is $40/hr. This is low to some people and high for others. What is everyone's opinion on this? I base it on my geographic location and my speed at retouching.

I'm not alienating my niche clients, I just feel the need to diversify. Flex those retouching muscles. I really want a beefier portfolio.

laters,

Sarah
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  #8  
Old 08-19-2004, 09:51 AM
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Blues_X Blues_X is offline
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Question working with pageant customers

Sarah,

How is it working with pageant customers?

I ask because my wife recently watched a documentary on parents who enter their children in pageants. Some of the people were downright creepy (of course, I suppose they wouldn't focus on the 'normal' people for the film). I was wondering what your general experience with this crowd has been like.

I'm trying to escape my current bureaucratic job and go into digital image work, and I'm sure I'll need to milk every possible avenue to make it pay off.



thanks,

Lance Goins
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  #9  
Old 08-19-2004, 09:57 AM
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Chip Hildreth Chip Hildreth is offline
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We charge $75.00 per hour for design or retouching... or washing cars, whatever. $40.00 per hour is more like what we actually collect on most jobs.

We work from a storefront and meet all of our customers face to face. We like most of them and they are patient and understanding when we are behind schedule or a job goes over the estimate. We always charge them less than we actually work... or more accurately, we invoice them for actual and add a discount.
Some customers, Duke University would be a good example, want everything fast, cheap AND good (our rule is you can pick any two of those but you can't have all three), then they take 60 days to pay. We charge them full rate for every second including drive time to meetings. phone conversations, everything.

The $75.00 rate allows us to manage the hassle factor and offer our good customers a discount. We are in a small, kind of artsy, quaint historic town but the State Capitol and Research Triangle Park are 30 to 45 minutes away... if that means anything.

Don't sell yourself short. Around here good retouchers are all over the place. Unless you're around Jacksonville or Daytona, good retouchers are probably a little hard to come by so you should charge accordingly.

I can't wait to tell my kids I'm d'bomb. Thank you!

Chip
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  #10  
Old 08-19-2004, 12:42 PM
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grafx grafx is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blues_X

How is it working with pageant customers?

I'm trying to escape my current bureaucratic job and go into digital image work, and I'm sure I'll need to milk every possible avenue to make it pay off.
Most are alright even if a bit high maintenance. I have repeat customers that are great and the ones that are a bit odd don't normally stick with one dressmaker, one photographer, one retoucher etc very long. I try to stick with working for photographers when possible. They have an idea what is digitally possible and impossible. They are my barrier from strange requests. If you're contemplating doing pageant retouch be ready to take an image of a child wipe it clean and rebuild but yet don't let it look "plastic".

Have fun
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