How do I get into "paid gigs"?

Joined
May 5, 2011
Messages
1,438
Location
Albany, OR
I've been an avid amateur/hobbyist photographer for a little over 2 years now, but I'd really like to get into some paid work. In no way do I want to make a living as a photographer, but I would really like to fund some new lenses through paid shoots.

So how did all of you get into paid shoots?
I'm hoping you don't need to "know someone", as I have no connections in the photography world.

I have no idea where to start, other than advertising on craigslist?

Thanks for the help!
 
Joined
May 18, 2010
Messages
930
Location
Sacramento, CA
That's the big question, isn't it?

I've been out there for 5 years trying to turn photography into something that makes me money, and I haven't had much luck either.

(Maybe being named Max is a curse!)
 
Joined
May 8, 2011
Messages
300
Location
Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
well you have to start somewhere ......... My paid shoot came from a general shoot i did for myself during one play. Company approached me for some photos afterwards since I was the only shooting there. They liked it and since that time I am their go to guy for any shooting needs.

in some way you may want to do a "freebie" in order to get a future paid
 
Joined
Oct 7, 2008
Messages
2,550
Location
Littleton, Colorado
paid work is a pain in the ***. lol

i try to keep this strictly hobby

that said, you could spam yourself out on facebook, start a self-promoting photography group and invite all your contacts. (for those who are anti-facebook you are missing an excellent free advertising). post up your best images, and anytime you do a shoot get a shot of you doing the shoot and add it to the image list. it helps if people see pics of you doing what you do.
 
Joined
Sep 6, 2009
Messages
253
Location
Mpls, Mn
To get paid gigs, you need a strong portfolio. Most times doing TFD or even paying for a good model to model. Or simply responding to some craigslist ad and see what you get. And if you want to fund some lenses...well thats alot of gigs you got to do before you have enough unless you do weddings.
 
Joined
Dec 4, 2006
Messages
10,266
Location
Texas!
Ok here is a tip. However this only works for high school seniors. Call several high schools in your area ... Ask to speak to the person who is in charge of putting together the "All Sports Program". This is the program that the school sells at the football games... Typically for $5.00. Ask that person you are interested in placing an ad. This is the cheapest way to market yourself and lots of parents will see it.

I bought a full page ad for $150.00 (black&white).. A color ad was $300.00. This will work. Trust me.
 
Joined
Jun 13, 2008
Messages
869
Location
Atco, NJ
It really depends on what you like to shoot - as every person;s reply will be for the area that they work in - Photography in general is vast in terms of market.

I shoot automotive ( paid ) I had a P&S that got my first paid gig, i've been employed for over 4 years now on a regular basis doing it.

You need to expose your product tot he right people in order to get their attention - thats the fun part!

What do you specialize in?
 
Joined
Jan 8, 2009
Messages
5,301
Location
San Jose, CA
Paid work is only a pain in the *** if you don't truly love it. At least, that's my take. You can love it as a hobby, or you can love it as a job.

For me? I love weddings. I love weddings because of the joy, the stress, the heightened sense of everything. It's a rush, then slows, then a rush, then slows, then a rush, then slows... I love that.

Call up some local photographers. Ask them to shadow them. Whether it's an automotive shoot, a journalism thing, a wedding, a fashion show/shoot. Shadow them. Hold their bag. Carry their gear. Then eventually ask if you can shoot with them. They may even pay you to be their assistant.

If they're cool folks, they'll let you us the shots you get in your own portfolio. Then spread the word to family and friends. They'll hire you. Trust me.

ALL of my business has been entirely word of mouth and referrals from family, friends, and other photographers. Take that for what it's worth, but I've booked 6 weddings for this year, and haven't marketed myself at all, minus $115 for really nice business cards and doing some SEO stuff on my website.
 
Joined
Feb 19, 2006
Messages
8,400
Location
LA (Lower Arkansas)
Paid work is only a pain in the *** if you don't truly love it.

I don't love the processing - which is more important for paid gigs than for recreational shooting. And I don't love working on someone else's timeline. That's why it's a pain.

Otherwise, it's just photography...but that's the easy part.
 
Joined
Aug 23, 2007
Messages
3,407
Location
Missouri
Well in my case it really was word of mouth and I started with seniors. All of my daughters friends know me and I started shooting their senior pictures and it took off from there. Then I just started a photography page on Facebook and have just some of my work there but also post it on my status as well. Here is the link to my FB Page and I just have had 4 more likes on my page since yesterday. It does help to photograph high school ball games as ppl get used to seeing you and will get to know you. Have business cards ready to hand out. Hope this helps, Good Luck!!
 
Joined
May 5, 2011
Messages
1,438
Location
Albany, OR
Thanks for all the replies everyone!

paid work is a pain in the ***. lol

i try to keep this strictly hobby

that said, you could spam yourself out on facebook, start a self-promoting photography group and invite all your contacts. (for those who are anti-facebook you are missing an excellent free advertising). post up your best images, and anytime you do a shoot get a shot of you doing the shoot and add it to the image list. it helps if people see pics of you doing what you do.
I've been "advertising" on facebook pretty well, although starting my own photography page would be a good idea!

Ok here is a tip. However this only works for high school seniors. Call several high schools in your area ... Ask to speak to the person who is in charge of putting together the "All Sports Program". This is the program that the school sells at the football games... Typically for $5.00. Ask that person you are interested in placing an ad. This is the cheapest way to market yourself and lots of parents will see it.

I bought a full page ad for $150.00 (black&white).. A color ad was $300.00. This will work. Trust me.
I think I'll give that a try next fall. School is just about done this year, thinking the ad will be more worth while in the fall.

It really depends on what you like to shoot - as every person;s reply will be for the area that they work in - Photography in general is vast in terms of market.

I shoot automotive ( paid ) I had a P&S that got my first paid gig, i've been employed for over 4 years now on a regular basis doing it.

You need to expose your product tot he right people in order to get their attention - thats the fun part!

What do you specialize in?
Well, automotive photography is actually my favorite/specialty as well. Unfortunately there is such small demand for that around here I fear that may be a hard area to get in to...

Paid work is only a pain in the *** if you don't truly love it. At least, that's my take. You can love it as a hobby, or you can love it as a job.

For me? I love weddings. I love weddings because of the joy, the stress, the heightened sense of everything. It's a rush, then slows, then a rush, then slows, then a rush, then slows... I love that.

Call up some local photographers. Ask them to shadow them. Whether it's an automotive shoot, a journalism thing, a wedding, a fashion show/shoot. Shadow them. Hold their bag. Carry their gear. Then eventually ask if you can shoot with them. They may even pay you to be their assistant.

If they're cool folks, they'll let you us the shots you get in your own portfolio. Then spread the word to family and friends. They'll hire you. Trust me.

ALL of my business has been entirely word of mouth and referrals from family, friends, and other photographers. Take that for what it's worth, but I've booked 6 weddings for this year, and haven't marketed myself at all, minus $115 for really nice business cards and doing some SEO stuff on my website.
Thats a great idea! I hadn't ever thought of that, I think I'm going to start going through some craigslist ads :)
 
Joined
Jun 13, 2008
Messages
869
Location
Atco, NJ
FYI - It is hard for me to get paid gigs from the owners of the cars - but if you take an idea to a publication, with images, and the editor likes the pitch - you get paid!

Location means nothing except where to mail your check to at that point.
 
Joined
Jul 29, 2005
Messages
9,532
Location
Pittsburgh, Pa.
Here's how I started.
For weddings I photographed one as a gift for a friend. It was the second marriage for each and was low budget. I edited over 300 images, delivered them on CD and made them a slide show on DVD to music. The DVD was a big hit, they sent them with the thank you cards to all the guests. I starting getting asked to shoot weddings. The first one was good experience. It made me realize how much work it is and why photographers charge so much.

For commercial photography, my wife and I stayed at a high end Bed & Breakfast ($375/night) for a weekend. We were celebrating our anniversary. The manager noticed my camera and asked if I'd send her a few photos. I did and the next thing I know I'm there as a paid photographer. I've done their work for several years now. It turned out that the owner had several businesses and I've worked for each one. I'm going there next week because they have remodeled two rooms. In two weeks I shooting a black tie event. I'm also listed as their preferred photographer for weddings.

My advice, show everyone your work. Don't be pushy about it. Show them that you are confident, humble and friendly. It should be their decision to contact you, don't force yourself on them but let people know of your skills.
 

Latest posts

Links on this page may be to our affiliates. Sales through affiliate links may benefit this site.
Nikon Cafe is a fan site and not associated with Nikon Corporation.
Forum post reactions by Twemoji: https://github.com/twitter/twemoji
Forum GIFs powered by GIPHY: https://giphy.com/
Copyright © Amin Forums, LLC
Top Bottom