Unit 11: Job Reviews

Portable Studio Photographer

In the interest of providing an unusual service that is unavailable elsewhere, I am contemplating the concept of a horse box conversion into a studio. Large horseboxes can be available cheaply second hand, including a small living space for additional comfort of clients, offering a place to offer consultations and meetings to discuss available options, both pre-shoot and post shoot. Kitchen and toilet facilities are also often built into these boxes, creating a convenient location to take quick breaks from shooting if required, both for photographer and client.

Not only is this structure convenient for those unable to access a studio, but also allows a studio environment potentially to offer at events, including fairgrounds, livestock shows or sporting events, for example. These locations offer high amounts of footfall, both in terms of people (including parents and children) and animals (especially dogs at livestock shows) which may be seeking family based photographs or beloved pet portraits. This can eliminate the initial struggles of achieving clients, as well as allowing your name to circulate among event organizers and producers whom may lead you to future business.

Studio equipment such as backgrounds will be required, including spares for regular replacement due to damage or marks caused by both animals and children. Studio lighting such as soft boxes will be needed, alongside an electric generator to produce a source of electricity, powering lights or further electrics required. Alternative equipment that may be required include props, such as pet toys and beds, particularly when focusing business at events whereby pet owners may have nothing significant to hand. Assorted treats may also be helpful in order to manipulate the behavior of models accordingly.

Costs that will need to be factored into shoot rates include fuel and travel costs, event pitch costs and replacement or replenishment of equipment, including damage to lights or simple replacements of bulbs and backgrounds, or tatty props. Insurance for vehicle, equipment and clients will also need to be considered. Image production and a reasonable wage for time spent editing are also to be considered when forming a cost. While clients will happily pay large expenses for quality portraits of their pets, focusing business at event locations may appeal further to people looking for a budget photo as a souvenir from their outing.

Hired as a Studio Photographer

Studios are a commonality in most urban spaces, such as town or city centres, and offer generic shoots such as family portraits most commonly. These make ideal gifts, particularly for parents or family members, and so holidays such as Christmas are typically going to attract more attention than your general day-to-day work.

While this may be a steady wage for you as the photographer, a studio may offer little stability if the workload is not covering the expense the studio needs to cover. It is important to find a studio that receives a good amount of work and ideally some positive publicity or advertising campaign.

When hired as a studio photographer, the company or owner of the studio will typically maintain the studio, including replacement equipment and any replenishments or repairs to things such as lights etc. However, a photographer may be required to cover their own insurance costs.

Photography Assistant

Being a photography assistant is a possibility across the wide range of photographic fields, but is particularly common in event or wedding photography, or studios. Often these roles are filled by apprentices, however the higher class photographers will often seek more experienced help.

The wage for positions such as this can vary – while an apprentice wage is below the minimum rate, it can allow for progression with your photographer or the company, a privately employed professional in the role of assistant may receive a fair wage that has little opportunity to progress. This role will always offer a lower pay than that of the photographer you work with, and may not involve photography so much as handling equipment, carrying and arranging models.

Similar to retail work, the position of assistant consists of your presence at work and no more, with no insurance or personal equipment likely to be required (provided by yourself).