Portrait commission (Live project)

I haven’t been overly keen on doing portrait for a while now, even though when I initially started to study photography my plans for the future were to become a commercial portrait photographer. Since my work started to become more personal I moved away from this idea, however following the talk from guest speakers Steve McCoy and Stephanie Wynne where they told us about how they combine their commercial and personal work, and I have thought about how I can make a living from the photography. The most obvious ways are commercial portraits and weddings, so when I was approached about taking a child’s portrait I agreed to do them.

The initial discussions were about the cost, and the where and when’s,  It was agreed that I would go to the clients home, I have a mobile lighting kit and backdrop but not much room at home whilst  her living room was large and we would have ample space to set up. She also felt it would be more convenient for her as she doesn’t drive and it would have meant that she would have to take her daughter on public transport.  My travelling time and petrol were factored into the costings along with post production time, and we agreed on the price for the photoshoot. We discussed how many final images she would have, agreeing that the images would be given to her either on a cd or a pendrive and she would arrange her own printing.  In the past I haven’t considered the post production time when setting my prices, it’s something I have learnt to take into account, the client often assumes that once the photos are taken that is it, and it’s just a matter of transferring on the computer.

This is the type of portable lighting kit that I have, I use the soft box option which are relatively easy to set up.

This is the type of portable lighting kit that I have, I use the soft box option which are relatively easy to set up.

Last night was preparation time, I got everything organised, charged spare camera battery, checked for spare SD card, spare AAA batteries for the receiver, reflector, flash gun (incase of lighting malfunction!) It’s only now as I’m writing this that I’ve thought that I should have a check list so that I don’t forget anything….something to put on the “to-do list”

I found setting the lights up a little bit stressful,  I would have preferred to have been able to do this at my leisure, but today I felt the pressure of having to demonstrate professionalism whilst fumbling with my under used equipment. The shoot itself went really well, the child seemed to take to me and performed to the camera beautifully, after approximately an hour of shooting, allowing for clothing changes, it became obvious that she’d had enough, so we followed her queue and called it a day.

Today's little model

Today’s little model

For future photoshoot I think I need to schedule a time slot rather than it being open ended, I think I am undercharging by under-estimating how long I will spend taking the photos.  Today’s shoot has been a good learning curve for me, and by writing this blog I’ve had a chance to reflect on how I can improve future shoots.  Since posting a selection of the images from today onto my social media page, so that the client can have a preview, I have been contacted by a couple of people who are interested in arranging photoshoots with me.

Once I have ironed out some of the flaws from today’s session I will be getting back to them to set a date, I need to take all opportunities which come my way in order to fine tune how efficiently future commissions run.