Rethinking my photography

I’ll bet you’ve noticed that I’m not posting photos[1. Here or at Flickr] as often as before.

These past few months, I’ve hung out with my friend, Michael Kang[2. Flickr friends might know him as “Kangster“]. We’ve talked for several hours, and he’s given lots of hands-on help and time with my photography.

Other friends, coworkers, and photographer peers have encouraged me. A few have even took it a step further to pay me for my service. Apparently, I have a gift. I need to use it.

How do I move beyond photography hobbyist? How much do I charge?

I know I need to write what I want to accomplish from the bottom up. (How many of you have a written business plan?) Without that, I won’t know my expenses and how much profit I’d like to make.

Why not charge lower than the competition? You’ll devalue yourself.

How do I build my portfolio? Serve clients/customers pro bono. However, let them know that while you’d normally charge x dollars, you’re giving them a 100% discount to help build your portfolio. At the same time, I can’t just give myself away. I need to feed myself and pay the bills.

Coupled with college, part-time work as a Computer Network Assistant and playing with The Scarlet Paradigm, am I spreading myself too thin?

If I try to make this a full-fledged business, will it just become another job? (I don’t see that happening.)

I realize the magnitude of my questions. There isn’t an easy answer.

Ultimately, I want to help people. If my photography can help you somehow, and you’re not a mooch, let’s talk.

Published by

Bryan Villarin

Bryan is a Community Guardian at Automattic. He's also a photographer, card magician, and cat whisperer. (Thanks to my friend and colleague Steve Blythe for the sweet photo!)

4 thoughts on “Rethinking my photography”

  1. I say go for it while you still can, but obviously, that’s your own life decision. You’ve been paving your own road into the photography business for some time now, and you have a lot of friends who can help you along the way. If you like what you’re doing with the paid shoots, keep doing them.

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  2. I second Brian. Go for it. If it proves to be too much then make some adjustments. You obviously want to go for it. If you don’t you will regret it.

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  3. I think it’s great that you are thinking about these things. It is important to understand what it takes to make it work. At the same time, sometimes you just don’t know until you try.

    From personal experience, I spend a lot less time photographing for pleasure since I’ve started charging for my services, however, I still enjoy it and I make some money doing it.

    Good Luck!

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