Earlier this year I started posting photos I had taken of my wife, sisters and niece, I had no idea that people would then be interested in having me take photos of their events based on those photos. I had covered weddings before, mostly pro bono and where people promised to pay, they would give me a measly fee that would not even cover my fuel costs to get round to their events.
I didn't complain, as that still provided me with an opportunity to practice and cover events from start to finish. I know Rome was not built in a day, and I also know that you must start somewhere by taking the first step. So I kept at it.and when I got my first DSLR, I got a lot more practice hours. It is still below 10,000 shots so every shot I have taken in that range, will count as my worst. But they have gotten way better.
So, after I posted a few photos I had taken, I got an interested person calling me through my sister to ask how much I would charge for a wedding. Full day, only shooter starting at bridal dress up through to reception. I was stunned! I had not yet thought of putting a price on the service I would provide and would have done it for next to nothing. After a bit of thought, I gave her what I thought my price would be. Considering this was my first enquiry, I threw in a lot of incentive for the low price. My thought was if I could get customers to spread the word round, that would be payment enough for me. So we had a deal.
And that is how I met Grace and Lekani. Grace had been in touch all the time because her husband to be worked out of town. She is the one that filled me in on the dates, and even when there was a change after President Michael Sata died, she kept in touch and informed me of the changes. The finally got married on November 23, 2014 and their day was beautiful. My first paying clients had a successful day. And from that wedding, I have gotten a few enquiries already and I know in due time a lot more will come.
|Grace & Lekani|
|Grace & Lekani|
|Grace & Lekani|
|Thank you for being my first paying clients!!!|
My young uncle was determined to have me as his photographer. He could have picked anyone from the group of other talented photographers, but he chose me. And I think it helped that my wife was their matron. On December 14, 2014, they were married at Libala SDA Church.
The photo session was at Southern Sun Hotel. It rained heavily on this day but we managed to get some good photos on location using what was available to us at the time. It was also the first time I had a couple coming in for Studio shots at home. My Neewer lights worked wonders and I am sure the studio skill will get better with practice.
I am sharing a few photos from our session with the Hamoonga's here.
|Shhhh! Be quiet!|
|Julia and Lweendo|
|All I told them was to act as though they were talking.|
They ended up with a deep conversation as you can see.
|Wrestling the bride's maids for her husband.|
|I fell in like with this one.|
|The proposal all over again.|
One final event I had on December 6, 2014 was the Marine Corps Ball. I was approached to find out if I could provide photography services for the Ball. I didn't know what to say. I am friends with the person who has provided photography services for as long as I can remember for the Ball and I was a little hesitant to give my fee. But when I got the enquiry more than once, I provided my fee and we had a signing.
The contract template I was given seems like a good idea for me to have with my wedding clients. It seems like the professional thing to do where the negotiated fee is indicated and I wont forget how much I am expecting for my hobby. I had a lot of fun at the Ball, both as a guest and as a photographer. I may share one photo here but the rest will be shared by the client.
|Special thanks for the opportunity to cover the Ball.|
As you can see, it has been a busy couple of months for this Enthusiast. I recal a discussion that got heated on the Photographers group about how much to charge. As well as other skilled photographers who were on the more realistic side, I do think you need to somewhere. Small it may be, but it is a start nonetheless. As word gets out and as your skill improves, you will be able to charge more for your services. I am learning that you do not need to rush into bigger prices; your liability is higher. As an enthusiast, I may not be able to stomach paying back a couple thousand kwacha, but I can manage what is at my level.
I read something last week that said "Every artist was once an amateur". Little by litle, amateur skill will fade and the art will become better. Compliments of the season to you all!!!