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Photographer
Giacomo Cirrincioni
Posts: 21,042
New York, New York, US


John Allan wrote:
$20K - When was that?

Back in the early-mid 90s it would cost about the following to produce a portfolio for a photographer.
And this is assuming one portfolio image per shoot - which is probably unrealistically conservative.

Per image:

$120 film and processing for 6 rolls
$35 - Interneg
$50 - Custom print 11x14
====
$205

Take this times 20 and you get:

$4,100 for portfolio images

Ok, let's say you're the model or makeup artist

$35 - Interneg
$50 - Custom print
$500 - Photographer paid test
====
$585

Take this times 20 images and you get (again conservatively assuming 1 image per shoot:

$11,700


Still a far cry from $20K

I was referring to commercial photographers (typical Art Center or Brooks grad).

You're fees take into account film and processing.  Most were trying to get the kind of gigs that required a bit more than just shooting ad hoc.  So, let's say part of those were studio shots.  If you were fortunate enough to be assisting, or had access to a studio and kit through school, that might not cost you much, if not, you had studio rental and lighting rental for all shoots.  You might very well be building sets (even for still life work).  If you were putting together a food photography portfolio, your costs went up very quickly between the food itself (you need about six times whatever you're going to be shooting), a chef to prepare them, a stylist, the lighting and grip gear, etc.  An editorial portraiture book?  Again, model fees, stylist fees, hair/makeup fees, retouching fees (yes, even then - I still know a woman who retouches directly on 4x5 and 8x10 negatives), location fees. 

Even if you beg, borrow and steal, this can still come to between $1K and $2k per shoot (in today's dollars) - easily. 

Let's say you need to put together a beauty book (something I'm doing now for a particular reason).  You can't have non agency faces in the book.  You just can't.  So that means agency models.  You might get them for free if they're brand new, and you already have a track record and/or the booker likes your work.  Let's say you want some more established faces as well and your model costs average out to $200 per shoot.  That's pretty cheap for a beauty shoot that will have the model in hair/makeup for two to three hours prior to you ever firing off a frame.  Now, you have hair and makeup.  Again, it has to be "right", otherwise the shot is a waste.  So you want the best team you can get.  Even if they're doing you a favor, it's going to cost you at least $500 for the duo, a name team will cost you more - even at friend of a friend pricing. Retouching?  Another $200 to $300 dollars for the kind of retouching needed for that kind of shot. 

So, assuming you don't have to rent a studio and have all the kit necessary (entirely possible for a simple beauty shot) and you don't include the cost of expendables, you're still close to $1,000 per shot, and that's without film and processing costs.  If you're good with the agencies/don't have to pay models (those of us who are more established career wise, as opposed to a kid straight out of school), that number still only drops by $200 per shot.  "Back in the day" the other costs would have been adjusted lower, however film and processing costs could have brought it right back.  Still, in terms of constant dollars, I think my number is about right. 

Want to do a larger scale shot, on a great set or interesting location?  Costs can go up quick. 

It's an investment.  I'm willing to invest the money I'm investing right now because of the access I have to a particular set of clients.  You might not.  If this young lady has the resources necessary to "buy" a portfolio of images in a short period of time that allows her to market her work to her target market effectively, then that is exactly what she should be doing.

Apr 01 13 11:52 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Select Models
Posts: 35,568
Upland, California, US


Backstreet Photography wrote:
What do you think Ansel Adams work would look like if he had used a Nikon D600, or D800 ??

I could see Ansel Adams shooting with a D800e on 'monochrome' setting... using NIK software on a 40 inch monitor to edit his Yosemite B&W's to perfection... lol

Apr 01 13 02:02 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
MichaelClements
Posts: 1,739
Adelaide, South Australia, Australia


MiGel wrote:
Boy, this image sucks!
It was shot with a crappy EOS 40D and a shitty Sigma 10-20!

http://photos.modelmayhem.com/photos/090126/09/497deed82af62_m.jpg

Thank god it's the light, models, perspective, theme, pov, clothes, location and make up that barely save it from being put in the bin immediately!

I agree. Don't forget that nasty vignetting too.

Apr 01 13 02:12 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Select Models
Posts: 35,568
Upland, California, US


MichaelClements wrote:

I agree. Don't forget that nasty vignetting too.

OUCH!... wink

Apr 01 13 04:02 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
J O H N A L L A N
Posts: 9,831
Santa Ana, California, US


Giacomo Cirrincioni wrote:

I was referring to commercial photographers (typical Art Center or Brooks grad).

You're fees take into account film and processing.  Most were trying to get the kind of gigs that required a bit more than just shooting ad hoc.  So, let's say part of those were studio shots.  If you were fortunate enough to be assisting, or had access to a studio and kit through school, that might not cost you much, if not, you had studio rental and lighting rental for all shoots.  You might very well be building sets (even for still life work).  If you were putting together a food photography portfolio, your costs went up very quickly between the food itself (you need about six times whatever you're going to be shooting), a chef to prepare them, a stylist, the lighting and grip gear, etc.  An editorial portraiture book?  Again, model fees, stylist fees, hair/makeup fees, retouching fees (yes, even then - I still know a woman who retouches directly on 4x5 and 8x10 negatives), location fees. 

Even if you beg, borrow and steal, this can still come to between $1K and $2k per shoot (in today's dollars) - easily. 

Let's say you need to put together a beauty book (something I'm doing now for a particular reason).  You can't have non agency faces in the book.  You just can't.  So that means agency models.  You might get them for free if they're brand new, and you already have a track record and/or the booker likes your work.  Let's say you want some more established faces as well and your model costs average out to $200 per shoot.  That's pretty cheap for a beauty shoot that will have the model in hair/makeup for two to three hours prior to you ever firing off a frame.  Now, you have hair and makeup.  Again, it has to be "right", otherwise the shot is a waste.  So you want the best team you can get.  Even if they're doing you a favor, it's going to cost you at least $500 for the duo, a name team will cost you more - even at friend of a friend pricing. Retouching?  Another $200 to $300 dollars for the kind of retouching needed for that kind of shot. 

So, assuming you don't have to rent a studio and have all the kit necessary (entirely possible for a simple beauty shot) and you don't include the cost of expendables, you're still close to $1,000 per shot, and that's without film and processing costs.  If you're good with the agencies/don't have to pay models (those of us who are more established career wise, as opposed to a kid straight out of school), that number still only drops by $200 per shot.  "Back in the day" the other costs would have been adjusted lower, however film and processing costs could have brought it right back.  Still, in terms of constant dollars, I think my number is about right. 

Want to do a larger scale shot, on a great set or interesting location?  Costs can go up quick. 

It's an investment.  I'm willing to invest the money I'm investing right now because of the access I have to a particular set of clients.  You might not.  If this young lady has the resources necessary to "buy" a portfolio of images in a short period of time that allows her to market her work to her target market effectively, then that is exactly what she should be doing.

Well, I see your point, and I was only including direct costs and making some assumptions. Ie. Fashion book, having place to shoot, not having to rent equipment. Access to agency level testing (not just total newbies), Makeup/hair testing. I'm not including retouching, since there was a whole lot of straight-from-camera then.

Apr 01 13 04:15 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Giacomo Cirrincioni
Posts: 21,042
New York, New York, US


John Allan wrote:
Well, I see your point, and I was only including direct costs and making some assumptions. Ie. Fashion book, having place to shoot, not having to rent equipment. Access to agency level testing (not just total newbies), Makeup/hair testing. I'm not including retouching, since there was a whole lot of straight-from-camera then.

I hear you.  I knew a fantastic still life shooter that was putting together a book specifically to market toward cosmetics companies.  This was years ago and I had NO idea what real cosmetics cost.  When I found out what he was spending to set up his elaborate scenes - just on the products - I about died.  I think he spent $8K all in for that and some beauty shots as well.  All shot on 8x10 with those processing fees.  He saved by being able to use a studio he was assisting in at night.  He didn't sleep for a month.  Stuff adds up.

And as far as fashion goes, how many guys got (and still get) started because they can afford to do editorial work for years (which mostly pays squat) because daddy is paying the bills (often spending a fair chunk of change on an editorial that they lost money on - although it's a great investment if you can do it).  Many didn't as well, and I'm not trying to belittle those who did have such an advantage, but let's be honest it existed.  If you're a well off trustafarian who regularly vacations among the rich and famous and you like photography, you have a different path ahead of you than someone else.  You still need talent, and drive and ambition and all the rest, but there's no denying the advantage.  That's a different tangent though...

I just read post after post after post on this site about how to best spend a chunk of cash, and it's always focused on equipment.  It never seems to be focused on producing a body of work.  Or even just a really cool shot. 

I think many folks would be better off if (say they had $500 to spend) they asked themselves: "What kind of a photo could I take if I invested this money into the production of the shot?" 

Maybe you'd rent a killer suite at a great hotel for a night, or build a really cool set in your friends garage.  Or maybe you'd higher a great hair/makup team that would be willing to give you a break on price and do a shoot for you at that price.  Or maybe you'd talk to a photoshop wizard here who's great at retouching and compositing and work with them to create something that can only be done by compositing a number of photos together.  Something.  Anything.  Instead of just buying another lens to take the exact same pictures that they've been taking...

Apr 01 13 04:38 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Legacys 7
Posts: 33,782
San Francisco, California, US


AVD AlphaDuctions wrote:
when people are impressed by my kids I always answer that I have a really good penis smile

I too am impressed with your step kids.

Apr 01 13 07:54 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Legacys 7
Posts: 33,782
San Francisco, California, US


R Michael Walker wrote:

NOPE..you need both in the digital world. I MIGHT say the lens is most important (Aside from the Nikon D800) but a crappy body with a great lens is going to hold you back. Not that a crappy lens on a great body is a good scenario either. You need both. And then some talent to use the great gear to your advantage.

This. But I also think that people are reading way too much into the o.p. Imo, his point is similar to your older post where you showed a crop version coming from the same camera where the waterfall is in detail. Very impressive.

Apr 01 13 07:58 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Rick OBanion Photo
Posts: 1,346
Saint Catharines-Niagara, Ontario, Canada


Whatever...one of the great photographers I know uses an old D80 and another F'ING AMAZING photographer uses a 50D. The stuff they put out puts 99% of us to shame.
Apr 01 13 09:31 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Herman Surkis
Posts: 8,417
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada


And I have an absolutely beautiful book of images shot in Tuscany.
Puts to shame most of what I see on MM, or anywhere for that matter.

Pinhole

Homemade
Apr 02 13 01:06 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Select Models
Posts: 35,568
Upland, California, US


Herman Surkis wrote:
And I have an absolutely beautiful book of images shot in Tuscany.
Puts to shame most of what I see on MM, or anywhere for that matter.

Pinhole

Homemade

What?... no pics?... roll... yeahOKsure... wink

Apr 03 13 12:21 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Camerosity
Posts: 5,083
Saint Louis, Missouri, US


I have a monthly contract for studio time. When I met another photographer who shoots there last year, we started talking about our work. This guy did some pretty high-profile jobs last year. I won't name them, because some people would know who I'm talking about.

Early in the conversation, he said, "Yeah, I could tell that you're a pro," and he pointed at my D3X. He's a Canon shooter, but I couldn't tell you what model he has.

Last time I saw him, he was working in a camera store and shooting part-time.

Guess he shoulda gotten a D3X.
Apr 03 13 01:54 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Select Models
Posts: 35,568
Upland, California, US


Rick OBanion Photo wrote:
Whatever...one of the great photographers I know uses an old D80 and another F'ING AMAZING photographer uses a 50D. The stuff they put out puts 99% of us to shame.

There's some true supershooters on this site... so I'm thinkin your percentages claim could be a alittle 'incorrectamundo'... wink

Apr 03 13 02:04 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Image Works Photography
Posts: 2,890
Orlando, Florida, US


Seen great pictures taken with a nikon D60 camera. Back then there wasn't a D800 but yet the pictures were outstanding and so are pictures taken half a century ago or more. Its a matter working with light and the skill of the photographer more than anything.
Apr 03 13 04:18 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Bad Dog Photog
Posts: 277
WASHOE VALLEY, Nevada, US


I will point out a couple of things here...

Ansel Adams HIMSELF said two things that need to be understood in this argument:
1) The most important part of the camera is the 12 inches behind it.
2) If I was starting out today, I would never make it as a professional photographer. (Spoken at the end of his career, obviously)

Chef argument:

1) Commercial kitchens have expensive stoves, ovens, and other equipment. They are built more rugged, easier to maintain, and last longer. They still use the same gas to cook as is available in the home. The same food can be cooked by anyone else. The professional equipment only serves to decrease maintenance.
2) The pans are the cheapest they can find that will still do the job. Reason is that nothing will keep the pans from being destroyed by use. Lessen the cost of replacement.
3) House knives are cheap as shit. Professional chefs have their own personal knives purchased for their own needs, and desires. Usually feel in the hand, and ease of sharpening vs. longevity of the edge. sliding scale.

Camera choice is the same for a professional photographer.

Film argument:

Yeah, pick a good film. Any camera that can take said film will produce similar results. With a few exceptions, the camera doesn't change the quality of the image on the film.

Quality of the camera makes a difference? In a way, but before you get all techno geek, go check out DigitalRev on youtube. There are a few video called "Protog cheap camera" that might enlighten you.

Chase Jarvis used a LEGO CAMERA, and still got results. You will also see just how much the camera factors in to the photos, because they weren't the best they could have been. I think the series was meant to be a joke, but it actually turned out to be an AWESOME test of exactly where the camera ends, and the artist begins.
Nov 28 13 03:12 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Select Models
Posts: 35,568
Upland, California, US


YAOZA... Bad Dog comes along and bumps a 7 month old thread.  Definitely living up to his name... lol
Nov 28 13 05:15 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Bad Dog Photog
Posts: 277
WASHOE VALLEY, Nevada, US


Select Models wrote:
YAOZA... Bad Dog comes along and bumps a 7 month old thread.  Definitely living up to his name... lol

Thank you. I aim to please.

That's why everyone loves a bad dog.

Like a discussion about your favorite car. Some people shake their fist, and insist one car is better than another, and others voice their disagreement, citing virtues of another one. Nobody actually wins the argument.

Then a dog comes by, and lifts his leg on the tire.

Perspective is restored.

Nov 29 13 12:57 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Select Models
Posts: 35,568
Upland, California, US


Bad Dog Photog wrote:

Thank you. I aim to please.

Well hey... you're welcome... so do I.  But every once in awhile, a moderator will get all pissy about MMer's bumpin old threads... but HEY... I don't have a problem with it... wink

Nov 29 13 02:02 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Bad Dog Photog
Posts: 277
WASHOE VALLEY, Nevada, US


Select Models wrote:
every once in awhile, a moderator will get all pissy about MMer's bumpin old threads...

That's where the charm comes in. wink

Besides... I didn't really stir the soup, just slam dunked the pudding.

Nov 29 13 02:19 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Select Models
Posts: 35,568
Upland, California, US


Bad Dog Photog wrote:

That's where the charm comes in. wink

Besides... I didn't really stir the soup, just slam dunked the pudding.

YUMMY... HUGE pudding fan here too... borat

Nov 29 13 08:48 am  Link  Quote 
Clothing Designer
GRMACK
Posts: 1,744
Bakersfield, California, US


Aaron Lewis Photography wrote:
There's no doubt that gear matters. I have a D7000 and when I rent a pro lens like the 24-70 or 70-200 it's a world of difference.

The images are literally night and day. Oh I should mention that I normally shoot with the kit 18-70, a 50mm 1.8 which everyone knows is amazing and I have an 18-200 which is decent as well.

I went pretty much the same direction with the D7000.  Mine came with the 18-105mm kit lens and it never seemed sharp.  I did buy the 18-200mm too and even that seemed soft - maybe even more than the kit lens too.

Talked myself into upgrading to the 70-20mm f/2.8 VRII thing, traded in the 18-105mm kit lens, and it was like a new camera was born.  I could see individual hair strands and not some soft waterfall of hair.

Later got the D800E and the cropping ability was very nice.

I am now curious to try that $4,000 Zeiss Otus 50mm thing where the sharpness is allegedly off the charts against anything else out there.  Lensrentals may have a new rental customer in February.

Nov 29 13 09:11 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Select Models
Posts: 35,568
Upland, California, US


GRMACK wrote:

I went pretty much the same direction with the D7000.  Mine came with the 18-105mm kit lens and it never seemed sharp.  I did buy the 18-200mm too and even that seemed soft - maybe even more than the kit lens too.

Talked myself into upgrading to the 70-20mm f/2.8 VRII thing, traded in the 18-105mm kit lens, and it was like a new camera was born.  I could see individual hair strands and not some soft waterfall of hair.

Later got the D800E and the cropping ability was very nice.

I am now curious to try that $4,000 Zeiss Otus 50mm thing where the sharpness is allegedly off the charts against anything else out there.  Lensrentals may have a new rental customer in February.

The difference in quality optics between the 18-200 Nikon lens (an amateur vacation lens) and the Nikon 80-200 NanoCoat ED-VRII is HUGE... regardless of whatever camera you put them one... just my two cents... wink

Nov 29 13 01:44 pm  Link  Quote 
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