cc welcome: First paid bridals (pick heavy!)

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txdoula's picture
Joined: 07/16/09
Posts: 87
cc welcome: First paid bridals (pick heavy!)

I'm trying to up my game a little and start charging. I've not been charging as I've been trying to just get experience and practice. I'm shooting her wedding in 2 weeks! I recently (mothers day gift to myself!) upgraded my camera to a 50D and this was the first time I've really got to use it so I was nervous. She is very happy with them so I'm happy that she is. I'm always looking for ways to improve so feel free to cc if you see anything and how I could improve it next time! Wink












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sadieruth's picture
Joined: 06/09/05
Posts: 6236

These are great!

I really can't cc most of them b/c I love them all! Your comps are great and your conversion is as well.

On #10- she seems to be squinting or something doesn't look right with her eyes. That's all I have to say b/c these are great!

txdoula's picture
Joined: 07/16/09
Posts: 87


lol.. i just noticed in my rush to hit send so I could go lay my daughter down for her much needed nap I put "pick" heavy instead of "pic"..whoops! thats what i get for trying to post with a wiggly 18 month old on my lap!

Amy_&_Eva's picture
Joined: 08/23/07
Posts: 2378

Wow these are gorgeous and I am in love with the location!!! Great work!

p.s. would it be too much trouble to post your settings for these?

AmberBella's picture
Joined: 02/15/07
Posts: 1831

These are great. The only one I don't love is #6. Excellent work.

txdoula's picture
Joined: 07/16/09
Posts: 87

I *think you can click on the images and it will take you to the flikr site they are posted on?? If so, you can click on additional properties or something like that to the right of the image you want to know about and it'll have all the shooting info (focal length, fstop, ss, iso..) If not.. I don't mind posting it. I know I appreciate when I can see how people got certain images.

Her maid of honor went with us and kept "suggesting" her to do different poses and #6 was one of them.. it wasn't my favorite my any means either but I did it because I didn't know how close they were and if *she would like it (maybe it's her personality?? i dunno, she kept suggesting really wierd things). We were walking by and another photographer had the zebra print chaise and we all commented on how awesome it was and she said "well my clients are late, if you'd like to use it you are more than welcome to"...Um.. OKAY!!! Wink Her friend immediatly had her lay on her back across it and it looked horrible.. i took "a" picture just to not hurt her feelings and then I had her get up and sit and lean on the arm. Don't ya just LOVE "helpers" Wink

cazzoom's picture
Joined: 06/22/02
Posts: 1315

Love all of these!!!

Joined: 03/16/15
Posts: 53852

Beautiful images! Nice job! And what a pretty bride too!

PCOS Mama's picture
Joined: 10/20/06
Posts: 76

WOW!!! These are amazing. You definitely ROCKED it!!!

Joined: 05/10/07
Posts: 427

#1, simply stunning Smile Nice work!!

ChubbieOwl's picture
Joined: 02/04/09
Posts: 191

Wow, these are just lovely! I can see why the bride loved them, who wouldn't?

txdoula's picture
Joined: 07/16/09
Posts: 87

Thank you all so much! I have REALLY been trying to up my game and have felt so discouraged by some local photographers disussions they have recently had on public sites about "newbies". Ironically, the day before I did these, the disucssion was about bridal/wedding portraits and how "new" photographers undercut the market so much and the whole "you get what you pay for". I totally get where they are coming from. From "photographers" that get a nice camera for christmas or whatever and put it in auto and think "wow, i can take some rockin pictures and charge people what other photogs are charging.. this is EASY"... and it shows in their pictures. It's one of the reasons I have NOT charged anything because I don't want to get ahead of myself and be one of "those" that try to jump into it too fast and call myself a "photographer" when I feel like I still hve SO much to learn. However, I don't feel like I haven't learned enough to put "some" price on the time I DO spend on my photography trying to learn, upgrading equipment, school (I just started back to college and I am going for a fine arts/photography major.. and yes.. I'm almost 30 and expecting my 5th child and I'm a "college student" Either way.. one of them said "Ya.. you let me know how those $500 wedding/bridal pics turn out for you, you'll be crying wishing you had spent the $2k+ on a REAL photographer"... $500 just happens to be what she is paying me and that is a LOT compared to what I have made (which is basically nothing). She has had a HORRIBLE time with this wedding, she's a friend/coworker of one of my midwives and after she got scammed on the first dress she bought ($2k down the drain!), all she can swing is $500 or it's just rely on friends/family to do the pictures. It's NOT like I'm advertising that I'll do your wedding for $500 + bridals, this is just what she approached me about. It's a great opportunity for me, good learning experience, good practice, gets my name out there a little .. what's WRONG with doing it for $500 for my first "real" job like this (i had another friend pay me $350 to do her neice, but she is my best friend and it was like family.. this is different.. this was someone I didn't know!). So going into it the next day I was really nervous that maybe they were right.. maybe she WiLL hate the images b/c I'm not a "photographer" and she'll be disapointed. But then I kept thinking.. it would be really arrogant of me to throw a photosite together and start charging full price that the real good photogs around here have worked up to. You have to start SOMEWHERE!?!? right!? I really don't have a clue where to go from here though. I've had people emailing me the last few days after I've shared some from this session and asking what I would charge to do their family pics and i have NO idea what to say!? I am ready to start charging.. but just don't know what is acceptable when it comes to being new and still learning.

Anyway.. i know this is longer than I expected..haha.. Just wanted to post here and see what some of the pros had to say about the images. Just needed a little boost after reading all of that crap the other day. Photography is something I am really passionate about, I love to do this.. but it is SOOO dang CUT THROAT!!! I am just NOT like that! I don't want to be "that" photographer that thinks she is really good but really is not and is the one that the other local photogs gawk about.. kwim!?!?

Joined: 01/18/06
Posts: 402


I just have a second right now but wanted to say that I love #4. Your idea to do an overhead shot with the nicely patterned stones is really creative!

Joined: 10/26/01
Posts: 3499

WELCOME BACK!!!!! It's so good to see you posting ... especially w/ an awesome set like this!!! I know the bride must be over the moon for these!!! And I gotta tell you ... your conversions are AWESOME! LOVE THEM!!!

1. The eyes here are AMAZING!!! Did you do anything to bring them out or was this pure photography goodness?!

2. What a fun shot. Love the peek of bare feet. It feels slightly off on the horizon though. The verticle lines all seem fine, but she seems tilted on the couch. Not sure how best to correct this, but wanted to mention it anyway.

3. LOVE LOVE LOVE this locations! the leading lines are FANTASTIC. Focus and exposure and even composition look dead on to me. I wish there was a bit more light in her eyes. Were you using any kind of reflector/fill flash?

4. WOW! LOVE LOVE LOVE! I love how the paterning in the cobblestones echos the lines of her skirt. this is canvas-worthy in my book. Smile

5. VERY nice! Love the splash of green in there to liven this up. I think it complements the highlights in her hair. Light looks amzing here!

6. I'm not a huge fan of this one. color, focus, exposure all look great. But I feel liek I'm peeking down her dress. Maybe I'm just too old. Wink I do like the playful nature of this shot. Maybe a bit more of an angle, maybe having her look back over her shoulder at you would cut down on the peek-a-boo effect here.

7. a beautiful classic shot. perfectly executed!

8. LOVE THE CONVERSION! WOW! a good b&w conversion makes this already great shot SPECTACULAR (imho)!

9. this is really sweet. and what a truly beautiful bride!

10. I wish her eyes were a bit more open here. I've been told (but never tried) that if you get below your subject a bit the eyes will appear more open.

11. this one should be on the front of your portfolio! You'll have brides lined up around the block!

12. really lovely! I wish we could see just a bit more of the dress, but otherwise, PERFECTO!

What a fun experience this must have been for you! I hope that you will get to posting back LOTS with us now!!!

Oh ... and as for charging.... I would find out what the pros in your area are charging. List that as your base price, but then offer current prices at a percentage of that and call it your 'portfolio building special' or something to that effect. That way you don't have to feel like you are over charging while you are still in learning mode while at the same time, you don't set yourself up to short yourself when you are fully ready to put on the 'professional' hat. kwim?

Take care and KEEP POSTING!

Jeffininer's picture
Joined: 11/07/07
Posts: 1796

Amazing work! I love the fashion aspect of these. Though, I feel you are lacking a 'traditional' bridal portrait. Maybe your client wasn't looking for that, but it would have been nice to see something that really showed off that dress!

Your conversions are great and I think the lighting is nice.

Can't wait to see what else you have to share with us Smile

Joined: 03/16/15
Posts: 53852

As far as charging and what to charge...put up a website with the prices you want to charge in the future and discount from there at first. There is nothing wrong with charging $500 for your first wedding but if you deliver wedding pics that are of the same quality as these bridals, I wouldn't be charging that for long. You also have to consider what your time and talent is worth and not undercut that.

And the cheaper your prices, unfortunately the cheaper your clients. Which doesn't mean that they will be less demanding of your time! Make sure that you value your work!

txdoula's picture
Joined: 07/16/09
Posts: 87

WOW! Thank you all for all the lovely comments!

Gigi.. It was just me and my camera. Wink I didn't have anyone with me to use a reflector and didn't know her maid of honor was going or I would have brought one plus a big filter so I just used what I have learned so far about positioning her and her face to make the shadows work in my favor. I wasn't necessarily avoiding shadows b/c we naturally have them and I personally like *some shadows when they are apporpriate but try to avoid shadows like under the eyes if I can (or at least minimize them so I can fix them in ps) and a shadow across the nose. It was cloudy outside so it was perfect for doing a WHITE dress and the location was awesome (it was her suggestion, I had never been there) and had tons of open shady areas. There were a LOT of photographers doing sessions that had big set ups with portable light units, assistants, couches and props, reflectors.. so I felt like I was getting "the eye" because here I was walking around with "just" my camera. Wink

#1... I did a little bit of an eye pop but then lowered the opacity to like 20-30%(can't remember exactly) but otherwise she just had amazing eyes and the light just caught them perfectly in that shot! that one is my FAV of them all! I add a sepia toning layer to all my black and whites and then lower the saturation and the opacity till I get the effect I want.. it just gives good tones to the skin imo. Another photog friend of mine showed me that and I fell in love with it and everyone seems to really like it! I actually use free actions from pioneer woman and coffee shop actions and then use those to base off of on some of them (some I do just my own stuff) and sometimes I'll run an action just to get one or two things out of it and turn the other layers off.. I tweak each layer to my liking and then usually add a levels, curves and contrast layer to each one and do any retouching and cloning if needed. I'm still learning ps.. I have cs4 and man can that thing do a LOT! I'm trying to spend more time with getting it right BEFORE I take it to ps so I need to start spending some time learning how to do more with pp.

She had a pretty good idea of some of the spots she wanted her picture taken since she had been there before so I followed her and when I saw other spots I'd ask her to just try some and if we didn't like it later, then it wasn't a big deal. She seemed like the type wanting more of a "fashion" type session and her friend that referred her to me sent me a text and said she was "THRILLED to say the LEAST", so I feel pretty confident that I judged that right. I made sure we got some of the dress, some of the back, side and some of her. I sure hope I can pull stuff like this off for the wedding. Wink

I know how to use a reflector, but i dont' know how to use a flash for fill flash outdoors. I have a 580ex (is that right? lol.. it's the 500 something one) speedlight but dont' really know the functions on it yet.

I also need to start looking at website stuff because I have NO idea where to start with that!

Amy_&_Eva's picture
Joined: 08/23/07
Posts: 2378

What is that place called? I just love all of it and am curious to know what type of place it is. Your photos are gorgeous.

txdoula's picture
Joined: 07/16/09
Posts: 87

I think it's just called "the canals". Biggrin It's a place in Las Colinas, Tx.. it kind of reminded me of a mini, more quite, nicer river walk in San Antonio. I love it too and will definately be back! I was really glad she knew of that place and suggested it!

Amy_&_Eva's picture
Joined: 08/23/07
Posts: 2378

Awesome! I've been at the "river walk" in San An. Loved it. But this place looks totally amazing Smile