29 / 1 / 12
All photographers have been asked to work for free in their time. It’s normal to do free shoots when you first start out, you need a portfolio so you work with a team who all work for prints/cd. What is not normal is when you have been shooting for years and still get taken advantage of. Your cousin’s best friend, your friends friend, your auntie, your next door but one neighbour, they all want a free shoot. Even the new company down the road because they ‘have a tight budget’. When do you say no? I have done many free shoots in the time, shoots for family and friends, test shoots with models etc. Don’t get me wrong, I love testing with models and would never give that up, it keeps my portfolio fresh and creative and I get to work with some amazing people. However when you get everyone and their dog expecting you to give them free photos it gets a bit tedious. I often wonder if people would go and work in a shop, a bar, a hospital, a school or an office for free? No they certainly wouldn’t. I wouldn’t ring up an electrician and ask them if they can fix my lights for no payment. Yet so many people expect you to take photos of their kids, their grandkids etc for free. Here is what goes into a photoshoot.
My photography gear is probably relatively cheap in comparison to a lot of photographers. Some will have gear worth £10,000. Mine is worth around £2,000 but I had to save up and buy my camera, lenses, memory cards, reflectors, bag, laptop, photoshop etc. How am I going to make this money back if I give everyone a free shoot?
The Preparation & Travel
Even for a family photoshoot I have to spend my time thinking of a location to suit the client, arranging times, dates, thinking of something unique for the shoot. For a fashion shoot I would spend hours planning the make up, hair, styling, poses etc and arranging a date that up to 10 people are all free on the same day. Lots of emails. If I need to travel somewhere that adds on an extra hour-2 hours to the day plus 99% of the time I pay for the travel too. Trains are not in anyway cheap. I am already out of pocket by £6-£20 depending on the location. Unless I want to be very hungry I also need to feed myself on the shoot which would cost another £5.
The Shoot Itself
For a fashion shoot it’s usually a pretty long day. I would say around 6 hours inc. hair, makeup and styling. I like to shoot as many photos as possible, there’s no point in wasting the opportunity. For a regular client shoot the shoot can still take up to 4 hours depending on the type of shoot. In the Winter thats a very long time, stood in the cold with no coffee! So add up the time spent prepping, travel, and the hours spent on the shoot and we get around 10 hours. Let’s say if I got minimum wage which is around £6.50 (I don’t really have a clue what it is) I would be £65 out of pocket plus the £25 for travel and food. £90 so far.
After The Shoot
To me this is the bit that takes the most time. A lot of people don’t understand that after the photos are done there’s hours of editing to be done. This means sitting at my laptop until my eyes go square sometimes for days. It can take up to a week of editing for around 6 hours a day to finish off a shoot. So lets say we are getting minimum wage here again, thats 6 hours, over 7 days which is £273. Wow, Very out of pocket now.£363! Then the client wants the photos and hopefully since they aren’t paying me they would want them on a CD, I’ll still have to buy the CD’s but at least I won’t have to pay for their prints as well. Yes I’ve had people expecting prints for free to. My answer is NO.
So next time you ask a photographer for their rates and you think £100 is a lot for a shoot then think again. If I did a shoot for £100 I would still be out of pocket but at least I would be paid something for my time. Just for the sake of it, if you add up all those hours (which comes to 54) spent on the shoot I would be getting 54p per hour! Wow I’m rich! Would you do your job for 54p per hour? Of course this is the extreme, some shoots would be half that time but that would still pay me £1.08 per hour! If a photographer quotes you £400 remember they may only be getting minimum wage for the time they put into the shoot. Photography is a job, not a hobby. This is my job yet people still think they should get it for free!
20 / 1 / 12
3 / 1 / 12
With the new year already 3 days in, today I’ve been busy planning my goals for the year and for the future with my photography. I’m ashamed to say I’ve never really done this but I guess it’s quite important in order to grow. I hope to tick off all of these this year but if not a few would be nice!
So my goals for 2012 are….
1. Get my work published (this is already happening in September 2012 but it would be nice to happen more than once!)
2. Shoot with agency models.
3. Do some shoots in London.
4. Do a creative shoot at least twice a month.
5. Update my blog more.
6. Improve my photography skills - you can always learn something new.
7. Improve my photoshop skills.
8. Do a photo project. I’ve just started a 365 iPhone project and hope to keep going with it!
9. Do a themed photography project. I am yet to think of a theme but I’d love to do a 50 day project or something.
10. Network with other creatives.
Happy 2012 everyone!
3 / 1 / 12
Happy 2012 everyone! Thanks to everyone I’ve met and worked with in 2011 and lets hope for more amazing shoots this year! Hope you all had a great Christmas!
6 / 12 / 11
As I stated in a previous blog post a little further down the page, I had an exciting shoot which was the biggest work I’d done so far. Now I can reveal what it is…In August I received an email from Harper Collins saying that they had found a photo of mine online and wanted me to shoot something similar for a book cover. At first I thought it was a windup, Harper Collins couldn’t possibly be asking me to shoot for them! After a few weeks of email exchanges with the lovely Art Director there, I started to plan putting the shoot together. They had chosen Sammy to model and I asked my fave Make Up Artist Sarah Gosnell to be involved. You can see the behind the scenes further down the page.
After the shoot I spent about 3 days editing the photo to make it as close to the original as possible. I finally sent it off and they were very happy with it, thankfully! I was so nervous!
The book is called Carnival Of Souls by Melissa Marr and the cover will be revealed next year sometime, (I haven’t even seen it yet) with the book coming out in Autumn/Winter 2012.
26 / 11 / 11
My work was recently featured in issue 2 of Dot.Dot.Dot Magazine. Check it out at http://www.dotdotdot-magazine.com/
7 / 10 / 11
Just a pic I took on my iPhone on the park near my house.
Today I’m planning some Autumn shoots, lots of moodboarding and stuff! Hoping to get some submissions in to some magazines as soon as possible, it’s about time I get some more published work. Autumn is my favourite time of year esp when it’s cold but the sun is shining through the gorgeous orange trees. The most perfect weather for a shoot if you ask me and I always feel more inspired at this time of year, Summer does nothing for me at all. Watch out for some new work from me very soon. I also have a feature in a magazine soon and a BIG published photo somewhere which I still can’t reveal but hopefully I’ll know more soon! It’s very exciting though!
29 / 9 / 11
Last month I recieved an email from someone rather exciting and they wanted me to do a shoot for them. I can’t reveal too much until the photos are approved but it is the biggest work I have done so far and I’m very happy that they found my photos on Flickr! I sent them a couple of model ideas and they liked my friend Sammy best so I got together with her and my fave make up artist Sarah Gosnell who now works at MAC in London and we did the shoot last week. The client wanted dark smokey eyes and red lips which Sarah did beautifully as always. Here are a couple of behind the scenes pics that don’t give too much away! Fingers & toes crossed that I can reveal more next week! Watch this space! xxx
Model : Samantha Marie Parsons
Make Up : Sarah Gosnell
25 / 9 / 11
Follow me on Twitter…. @heatherlouise_
20 / 9 / 11
A girl emailed me with lots of compliments about my work and asking for my autograph. This doesn’t happen often. Or ever. So I got right on it! Haha. I am nice to my ‘fans’