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A super short intro to my business

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Jakuli View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Jakuli Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: A super short intro to my business
    Posted: 14 April 2014 at 15:47
I began offering my photography as a paid service in November 2012. I still donít know what that makes me as a photographer Ė pro, semi-pro, paid amateur, pick your poison. The thing is that I still have my day job with a steady income, which is works well for me (and for my family).

About three years ago I had severe health issue that endangered my professional music career Iíve had since I was 13. Since then Iíve been looking if photography could be way of making some money. Today Iím in a situation where shooting brings money on the table enough that Iím not so much worried about the future. Also, the problems with playing have diminished after hard working so that I can perform publicly without too much of shame. Having two professions is nice but a bit chaotic from time to time. Plus that I donít have any problems with free time any more.

Iíll try to go a bit deeper how I see my business and how I do things in another thread, but if you would like to know anything about my journey in pro photography, please suggest some topics or things youíd like know.
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thornburg View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote thornburg Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 April 2014 at 18:03

What kind of photography do you do?

I also have a day job, and am trying to supplement my income with photography. So far, I've made about $20 in "profit", but my prints are only available at one small local gallery, at the moment.

I imagine that portraiture would be the way to increase the income, or event/wedding. So far, my schedule doesn't really allow me to do much of that sort of thing, and I would need a lot more experience with that type of photography before I was willing to charge somebody any substantial amount.
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ricardovaste View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote ricardovaste Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 April 2014 at 18:05
Hey Jaakko,

How do you manage to balance the two jobs & family life? Any tips?
I photograph the moments in people's lives that mean the most to them: Richard Harris Photography
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rickztahone View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote rickztahone Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 April 2014 at 05:05
Great to hear some backstory from you Jakuli. I have always admired your work and I do not doubt for a second that you could make it as a pro photog if you were to quite your day job.

Keep up the great work.
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Jakuli View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Jakuli Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 April 2014 at 17:50
Originally posted by thornburg thornburg wrote:


What kind of photography do you do?

I also have a day job, and am trying to supplement my income with photography. So far, I've made about $20 in "profit", but my prints are only available at one small local gallery, at the moment.

I imagine that portraiture would be the way to increase the income, or event/wedding. So far, my schedule doesn't really allow me to do much of that sort of thing, and I would need a lot more experience with that type of photography before I was willing to charge somebody any substantial amount.


It's portaits and headshots what I do 90% of the time commercially. I think photographing people is probably the easiest genre money wise. Luckily, that's where my passion lies, the human face and the personality behind is fascinating to me.

It's very few people that make their living shooting just wildlife, architecture or products. Those folks typically have heavily invested in their niche and have long careers with tight connections in the industry. It's very hard for a new photographer to break into the business. Getting experience is key to gain confidence and with confidence you'll be able to charge somebody for your skills. Start with photographing people close to you, relatives, colleagues at work, neighbors, local events. Give them some low-res pictures to share on Facebook and soon you'll be asked photograph again. At that point you probably want to be compensated for your work and time. Don't be too modest when asking for compensation, it's the free things that are valued the least in life. I think it all comes naturally if you just do it and keep shooting.
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Jakuli View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Jakuli Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 April 2014 at 18:22
Originally posted by ricardovaste ricardovaste wrote:

Hey Jaakko,

How do you manage to balance the two jobs & family life? Any tips?


Well that's the tricky thing, I could use a few extra hours per day. It's funny that photographing is so enjoyable, rather than watching the telly I'm editing, instead playing videogames or chatting on Facebook I'm planning for the next shoot or learning new Photoshop skills, most of the walks outside are experiences of how the light changes according the weather, bus rides are a collection of different faces and personalities, bad weather is the best backdrop for things to happen.

But seriously I know the danger to burn myself with all the work, but so far it's been ok and besides I'm the kind of person who can't just be without doing something for too long. Luckily, my first job doesn't require working for 50 hours per week. There's a limit how much one can play an instrument, just like in sports. After 25 years of playing in symphony orchestras your start to know the basic repertoire by heart.

I don't know if I have any tips, but being upright with your family helps a lot, planning things together well in advance and sharing your results as well as asking for opinions about your photographic choices can make everybody feel close together.
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Photosopher View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Photosopher Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 April 2014 at 05:24
Originally posted by Jakuli Jakuli wrote:

...being upright with your family helps a lot, planning things together well in advance and sharing your results as well as asking for opinions about your photographic choices can make everybody feel close together.


That may be the most incredible bit of advice/insight that I've ever heard.

After 35+ years self employed, and growing up in the family business with both mother and father being photographers too, I've never once considered what you suggest. It never happened with us. And I think things may have been a lot better if it had.

Will be calling mother immediately to schedule an editing party. I think we both will really enjoy that.

You never cease to amaze me Jak. Thank you!
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4paul View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote 4paul Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 May 2014 at 14:15
I wondered what happened, I do miss your 366 pictures

Your 'day job' is not like an office 'day job' most of the rest of us talk about ... you (and your family) are perhaps better prepared for irregular work schedules and obsessive editing sessions than most, since you practice hours on end playing cello (it is cello?) and travel for performances.

I'd like to know how you get work to earn money; I saw your orchestra portraits, a subject close to you - do you get work from strangers? I'm assuming most of your time is setting up locations/props for the shoot and the time to create an idea/plan for the shoot?

Recently I have been paid for photos, and don't have a reliable other source of income, so I am now calling myself 'professional photographer' even though I have no desire to have a photography business. Most of my pay so far has been for real estate pictures, which is not very creative and does not easily allow pre-production. I'm guessing you limit your projects to creative portraits, that you do not do 'factory' style headshots by setting up a booth and doing hundreds at a time (a common business model, at least here in the states, from what I have seen).

Thanks Jakuli!
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Jakuli View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Jakuli Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 May 2014 at 07:53
Originally posted by 4paul 4paul wrote:



Your 'day job' is not like an office 'day job' most of the rest of us talk about ... you (and your family) are perhaps better prepared for irregular work schedules and obsessive editing sessions than most, since you practice hours on end playing cello (it is cello?) and travel for performances.


That is absolutely true, well put!

Originally posted by 4paul 4paul wrote:


I'd like to know how you get work to earn money; I saw your orchestra portraits, a subject close to you - do you get work from strangers? I'm assuming most of your time is setting up locations/props for the shoot and the time to create an idea/plan for the shoot?


Most of my photographic income comes from headshots, portraits and group shots of music related artists and ensembles. Some of the gigs come form people I've never heard, more frequently now, but 85% have some sort of connection to the music business. The time spent with camera in my hand is surprisingly short compared to planning, setting up, scheduling and post-production. The time spent in front of the computer is probably most time spent for a shoot.

Originally posted by 4paul 4paul wrote:


Recently I have been paid for photos, and don't have a reliable other source of income, so I am now calling myself 'professional photographer' even though I have no desire to have a photography business. Most of my pay so far has been for real estate pictures, which is not very creative and does not easily allow pre-production. I'm guessing you limit your projects to creative portraits, that you do not do 'factory' style headshots by setting up a booth and doing hundreds at a time (a common business model, at least here in the states, from what I have seen).


I've done some real estate photos, actually 3 last month. I don't limit myself just to portraits and headshots, though I think that's my forte. Photographing real estate takes a bit different approach, but I do find it creative and there's even more to do in post. Think how you can present the subject in best possible way, be it a person or a house. You certainly can learn from all the flavors of photography, so if you have the time and resources go for it. I did one funeral and I learned a lot how to do the job very discreetly and how to make yourself invisible but getting the shots in the same time. That is one genre I probably won't be touching anymore, the shooting was hard enough but the post was killing me.

I know I've been quiet with posting images here, I miss that! I promise to improve that, the postwork with my personal projects are 2 months behind at the moment...

Happy shooting!
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jannatul18 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote jannatul18 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 May 2014 at 10:46
I dont know much how it is good take photography as a business yet, but after reading some of your experience get some idea now. May be later I think about to start my one too!
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4paul View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote 4paul Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 May 2014 at 16:21
Happy Shooting!
There is a difference between a shaky or out-of-focus photograph and a snapshot of clouds and fog banks. - SchrŲdinger
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