Zack! Quick question : Why did you go with PhaseOne over Hasselblad? Better image quality? Lenses? Besides the flash sync speed which you've already said? Cheers!
I came to a point where I nearly flipped a coin but Phase did inch out ahead of Hasselblad for me for a few reasons.
1. The digital back isn’t married to the body. If you buy a Hasselblad you can’t just pop the back off and put it on another Hassy body. They are linked together. You also can’t put it on other adapters for other uses. I have a 4x5 adapter for my Phase back that allows me to shoot with it on a 4x5 camera. I have yet to really get into that but it’s on my list of things to do more of. It’s pretty cool. I can also have a second Mamiya or Phase body and put my current back on that without issues.
2. Customer service won me over. Between Phase and Capture Integration (where I bought my camera) their customer service blew Hasselblad out of the water.
3. Sync speed. That’s part of it. I can get to 1,600th with the Phase.
Greetings Mr. Arias! What health insurance company/site would you recommend for us freelancers?
Funny you should ask. We’ve been shopping for a policy lately.
Now, I’m not an expert on this subject and it can vary from state to state so take what I have with a grain of salt.
I’ve been running without health insurance for ten years now. So far so good but if something ever BIG happened in our lives (heart attack, cancer, loss of a limb, etc) then we would be hosed.
How have we lived without health insurance? Cash talks. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve informed the health provider that we are paying cash and the price for services dropped like a stone. Like $1,500 bills getting dropped to $300 kind of thing.
In my recent shopping for a solid policy for myself, Meg, and kids I’m looking at $900 - $1,000 a month! That’s nearly studio rent! That’s A LOT of doctor visits. Eff that. What I’m looking at is a major medical sort of policy. Something with about a $10,000 deductible that kicks in just in case something major happens to our health. Those policies can be had for less than $200 a month.
I’m using a local insurance broker at the moment who is shopping around and bundling some things. You can, for instance, get an accident policy for the amount of your deductible. So if I get a $10,000 deductible health insurance policy and then fall off of a roof and break both my legs then the accident policy pays $10,000 that I then put to the first of my medical bills that takes care of my deductible. That kind of policy is like $8 a month.
I’ve looked at all manner of co-ops, organizations, etc, etc, group policies and haven’t found anything that’s far superior to just going out and shopping the market myself or working with a broker to do the same thing.
Also of note… We do have an Aflac policy. That has been great for us.
Zack, I bought the X-E1 and I love it. I came with the 18-55 zoom. I wonder what would be your suggestion for an additional Fuji X lense. Does it make sense to buy the 14 mm lense? Is it worth it having the 18-55 zoom?
Unless you L-O-V-E wides, get the 35 f1.4. It’s my favorite of all of them. It’s a gorgeous lens. My second favorite is the 14.
RE: Cost of Doing Business question... It's important for your business accounting to keep business expenses separate from personal ones. It helps portray your actual income accurately and if you ever apply for a loan (like for a house) or get into trouble paying your bills (like your mortgage) if you apply for help the underwriters are going to ask for them to be separate. Keep your P&L strictly business and do a personal budget as well! Love your blog, keep it up brother!
Agreed! You’re absolutely right.
Zack, I'm a commercial performance and publicity theatrical and dance shooter. Recently purchased an X100S and love it. Been using it commercially for some extra shots after I have the client's shots in the bag. Great results. Had read somewhere you dumped your SLR gear, but I just can't imagine not working with SLR gear for high movement/low light work like production shots for dance. Been thinking about renting an Xpro-1 to see how that would perform. Do you shoot hi movement stuff with the X?
You have to remember that each photographer needs to choose the tools for the job they have at hand. I don’t shoot the kind of stuff you shoot so it wouldn’t make sense for me to dump DSLR gear if I was.
As to the X-Pro1… The x100s is faster than the X-Pro1. I’d wait to see what the upgrade looks like for you. I bet it’s going to be great. I love the X-Pro1 now but I’m not shooting what you shoot. It works for me.
Hey Zack, regarding charging a client and the "Cost of doing business", i'd like your take on this; Say you know your CODB is 3K per month (rent, food, kids, car and so forth...). Does that become your base quote for clients (from which you will not go below)? Do you charge a minimum of 3K for a portrait shoot? or do you divide somehow?
If you CODB is $3k a month then you divide that by the number of shoots you expect to do per month. If you are only going to do one shoot a month then you can’t walk out the door for less than $3k or you don’t live. If you do three shoots a month then you are, at the bare bones minimum, needing to charge $1k per shoot.
These are just basic guidelines. To get really deep into it you need to cover your expenses (rent, kids, gas, food, cell phone, taxes, insurance, etc) THEN add “salary” into that or “profit”. You have to make a profit. You have to be sustainable. If you need $3k just to survive then you should try to bring in $6k a month. Then you pay taxes and the like on that (consult someone who actually knows what they are doing on that part) and you need to have covered all expenses and have money left over.
Hey Zack, I have a question -- up until now, all of the work I have done and received has been by word of mouth. I haven't done a lot of advertising, either. Recently, a big organization approached some photographers, myself included, to write up a proposal to bid on a contract for an upcoming campaign. Now, I'm sweating bullets -- I've never had to write a proposal before and I'm not sure how to compose one without sounding like a blubbering idiot. Any advice or samples out there? Thanks!
Spend a lot of time over at APhotoEditor.com.
Etc, etc, etc.
in a previous post you say you didn't get a gig becasue your bid of $4500 was too low, and it should have been around $25000. You said you emailed the lady to ask why you didn't get the job. Could you explain why you asked about not getting the job? I thought we weren't supposed to be overly annoying to the people who book us? Expecting a hiring agent to give us an explanation is a bit presumptuous no? Is there a risk of seeming unprofessional?
Let’s say you go to a restaurant. Your waiter doesn’t give you very good service. The food was not what you ordered. Etc. You leave a marginal tip.
You decide to try the place again a few weeks later. You get the same waiter. The waiter says one of two things…
“Hey, last week you didn’t give me a good tip. Why?”
“Welcome back! I’m glad to see you again. You know, last time you were here we didn’t get things quite right. I’d appreciate it if you could tell me how I can better serve you this time around.”
Do you see how they didn’t even mention the small tip? But how they appreciated your business or interest and knew that maybe last time things weren’t great but they are willing to learn why and do better. See that?
Hope you are doing well. As I’m progressing through my career in photography I like to follow up on jobs that I didn’t win just to see how I can do better or if there is something I’m missing that can serve my clients better. I know you went with another photographer on that X job. I was just wanting to know, for the sake of gaining experience, what I could have done better on my part to serve you. I hope the job goes really well for you!
Bam! See how that isn’t annoying? Who doesn’t want to help someone out?
The reply came back something like..
I appreciate you reaching out to me. We did go with another photographer who we felt had the experience we needed for this project. The scope of the project was going to require a lot of production and I don’t think you foresaw how much that production would be. Most of the estimates we received were between $20k and $30k. Your’s came in at a fraction of all of that. We felt that you just didn’t quite have the experience to take this project on because of that estimate. I really like your work and I think you’ll probably get called on again. Think about adding costs of location fees, stylists, production assistants, prop rentals, etc in your next bid.
Be nice. Be inquisitive. Do it from a place of truly wanting to learn and better yourself so you can better SERVE your clients. Not everyone will be so open with you but you can try. Hell, you already lost that job so you should be used to rejection at that point! :) What do you have to lose by following up.
Did I ever get called by them again? No. I lived and learned though from the process and it helped me out a lot as I moved forward. I follow up on every job now whether I get it or not unless it’s stated up front.
Remember. We’re humans connecting with humans. We aren’t slaves answering to masters. People hiring photographers are just people. You’re people. Just connect person to person in a kind and gracious way and a lot can happen for you.
How do you make the distinction between beeing choosen and being called by photography. I have been doing this "Photo thing" a very long time, I have dropped it in the past and it keeps coming back. Thanks for any input. Kevin
A simple way of thinking about it is like this…
There are people who do photography because they want to.
Then there are people who do photography because they have to.
I want to play guitar. Have I signed up for a lesson yet? No. Do I practice? No. I want to. I’d love to. I really really want to play guitar but I’m not putting the time into it because I don’t have to.
My wife has to play music. As many times that it drops out of her life she has to pick it back up again. It’s inside her. If it doesn’t have an outlet then it begins to kill her. She has to release it. She HAS to play music. Even… get this… during the times she doesn’t want to.
I have to be a photographer. I have to shoot photos. I have to create things with cameras. It’s all I know to do. It’s all I want to do. I could win the lottery today and I’d still be shooting photos tomorrow. The difference is I’d just be shooting for me and for organizations I want to support. But I’d still be shooting.
So. Do you want it? Or do you have to have it? A lot of folks want it and go after it and do it. That’s cool. That’s good. But the ones who keep going when everything says it’s time to stop are the ones who have to do it. They may disappear for awhile but they’ll be back because they have to come back to it.
OK here's the situation, at what point do you leave your 'crappy day job' and go for photography full time? Do you stop the job all together or fade into photography gradually?
The proper business way — Save up six to twelve months of income before you quit.
What most people do — Jump off the cliff with ten bucks in their pocket.
There comes a point when you’re running this thing part time and the day job is getting in the way of the photography job and the photography job is getting in the way of the day job. You’re late to work because you were up all night editing. You can’t get back to clients on time or you’re getting behind on delivering jobs because you have a day job. You usually get to a point that one has to go or you’re going to lose both.
At that point you sit down and take an honest look at your finances. If you are married or in a relationship then you both sit down and look at them. Can you go part time with your day job? Or get a part time job? That sure helps during the transition but it isn’t always a viable option.
There’s a lot to be said about saving money first. Most folks I know aren’t in a position to do that or it would take ten years to save up one year of income.
Slash and burn your expenses. Get rid of cable. No more coffee shops. No more eating out. You probably won’t take much of a vacation, if at all, for the next few years. Sell a car. Pay off debt. Tighten that belt and jump.
But see, I’m an all or nothing type of personality so take what I say with that grain of salt.