Fun Experience For The Day!

Michigan Comp Card Photographers Mary DuPrie

I’ve been a model photographer mostly with an occasional commercial job thrown in.  The problem with that scenario is that your livelihood is in the hands of just a few people.  If those people move on for whatever reasons or you fall out of favor you’re screwed.  The agency that referred me the most was bought out last year by another agency whom I’m not familiar with.  Even if you’re referred you’re still competing against at least two other photographers they are referring along with you.   So I had to take a serious look at non-referrals whether I wanted to or not.

Thus the serious look at SEO.  I know I’m probably boring everyone to death about it but it’s become a large percentage of my business lately.  From nothing, did I happen to say nothing as in 0%,  to at least 50% of my business has been from internet inquires.  I’ve had to take a serious look at my pricing and the info I send out.

I would normally only accept agency qualified models for shoots.  Yes, I would turn down paying work if I didn’t think they qualified.  I now have a two look shoot that I offer with this description…

  • This shoot is for models to add to their books
  • For potential models to submit to the industry
  • For those of you who just want a fun experience modeling for the day!

I have stripped out whatever I could

  • No proof CD
  • No final CD
  • No contact sheets
  • Makeup artist only does makeup/ No hair or eyebrows (without an additional fee
  • Only Web Gallery Proofs for 90 days
  • Two retouched portfolio quality images emailed
  • One gig card per look

Done Deal

I do a headshot and a 3/4 or full body shot (mostly 3/4).  I’m trying to slim line it as much as possible.  I’m use to taking my time and I’m having a hell of a time cutting down on the time but I’m trying.  I’m thinking of doing the full body with a white wall/floor or grey seamless paper.

I need to add more plain fashion type images to my book but find you need good wardrobe to pull that look off and of course a thin model.

A lot of work for not a lot of money.  I don’t mind at all as the small jobs add up at the end of the month.  Head shots and two look shoots have been paying the rent as of late.  I’ve been enjoying the challenge of taking great headshots and hope to be taking even more in the future.  I try and take an actors headshot that has a models edge to it so they can submit to both categories.

I’m always adapting… don’t hold on too long

2 comments category: Headshots,Photographing models

1 Aurora Vanderbosch August 29, 2010 at 10:18 am

My boyfriend has the same problem with the art directors he works with, and he’s been working as a commercial illustrator for something like three decades, and, with many national awards, is at the top of his profession. Doesn’t matter. He might’ve worked with the same magazine for years, but when they hire a new art director, that art director puts their stamp on things by sweepingo out the old, and bringing in the new. Same with ad agencies–someone you’ve worked with for years retires, or goes into business for themselves, and new people come in, and they don’t want to work with the old people–they want to work with THEIR friends and contacts…which means you’re always hustling for new business–nothing’s ever secure. :/

It sounds like you’re addressing that in a very practical way! (And I know it’s a hassle, but you might look into the lucrative senior portrait market. The “model for a day” thing is quite popular right now…and session sales from senior portraits can be quite high–ranging into the thousands of dollars. You might not be familiar with all the “extras” they expect–but you’ve already got the look down cold–so why not capitalize on it? ;))

(Skype me, if you want to talk about seniors…they’re not really my focus–“hip” is not my thing!–but it’s impossible to be a well-informed portrait photographer and not know a TON about that market! ;))


2 Kevin M. August 29, 2010 at 7:48 am

You’ve got the experience….I think you should go into teaching! Hit the circuit, offer more workshops, lecture at events. People will come…..


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