Professional Photography and Free Photo Shoots

A question I am often asked is, “how long have you been a photographer for”? An answer often given is, “around fifty years”. But, that is not really accurate. I was given my first camera by my parents before a trip to India and Pakistan back in the mid 1950’s. I still remember its brand name, it was a “Bunny”. It took rolls of 120 film, and after taking twelve shots, the film had to be rewound onto its original spool to be processed. Many different cameras I have owned and used since then. And as well as the quality of the equipment having improved markedly, I like to think that my photographic skills have also.

Photography has never been my job, but it has been a passion of mine for a very long time. As a teenager and young adult I still recall spending many evenings in my makeshift darkroom with an enlarger and trays of chemicals.

Back in those days, many people did not have cameras. Times have changed, now nearly everyone has at least one camera, and for snapshots, your smart phone is great. But, professional photographers don’t spend thousands of dollars on cameras, lenses and associated gear if smart phones can do the same job. They can not!

What is a professional? To me a professional photographer is one who has quality equipment and the expertise to use it well, and produce quality results. Others may tell you that a professional is someone who charges. But, there are photographers out there who call themselves “professional” who have very little experience and some with only entry level equipment. Some even have the audacity to try charging like wounded buffaloes for their inferior product.

Well, according to my definition, I am a professional. But, with only a few exceptions that you could count on the finger of one hand, I have not and will not charge for any of my photography sessions. I made that conscious decision years ago. Never have I wanted photography to be my job. I enjoy photography, and as I have already said, it is a passion of mine. In the past, I have sold some framed prints that were hanging on the walls of a café where I used to display some of my work. Currently, I submit some of my photography in response to briefs that have been given to an agency called Image Brief that I am associated with.

These activities have given me some return, but that is a small fraction of what I have spent, and continue to spend on equipment. I do like to have quality.

My favourite genre is portraiture. But this goes beyond photographing people posing. My preference is for photographing people involved in activities. I do ask all models I work with to complete and sign Model Release forms. These are required by Image Brief clients. If for example they want a photograph of a young child holding a puppy for a book cover for a book publisher, they need to be assured that consent had been given for the photograph. This was a brief I recently submitted to, unfortunately although I obtained some great photographs, the submission was not successful.

If you live in south-east Queensland and you would like to be involved in my photography sessions, you would be made very welcome. The only cost to you will be your time and the cost of getting to the venue involved. Information on my shoots is available on my Passionate About Photography Facebook page and my Passionate About Photography web site.

In the past I have done some pet photography, but I would like to do much more now that I have additional time available. If you have a special pet and you would like some photographs of it, or better still you with it, let me know. I include horses and other farm animals in the category of pets also. Recently I set up a web site specifically for Pet photography and also a Facebook page for pet photography. You are welcome to take a look.

The agency I submit briefs to I have already mentioned. It is Image Brief. Click on the link if you would like to see my portfolio there.

Book Marketing and Reviews

Retail book stores these days are almost as scarce as hen’s teeth! Almost all books are currently purchased through online book sellers. This change of marketing does have its pros and cons. You can now do your searching online and have the books delivered to your door. I don’t know about you, but I miss being able to go into the large book stores like firms such as Booktopia and Queensland Book Depot used to have and actually browse through the books on the shelves, pick them up, hold them in my hands and look inside. It seems that most bookstores that do still exist are just there to flog off discounted cheap remainders.

Most of the books I have purchased in recent years, whether they had been paperbacks or e-books, I purchased through Amazon. Unless the title was of a book which I had known well, I would generally read the reviews associated with that book. And, I think most people do this and use the reviews as a guide for their purchases. Some publications purchased lived up to the reviews they were given, others were complete rubbish. I assume the positive reviews had were written by close friends.

Waiting to read reviews before making a purchase poses a bit of a “chicken and egg” problem. If a review has to come first, who is going to make a purchase? With the exception of my paperbacks which are workbooks or journals, and a few of my early photography albums, all have also been published as Kindle e-books.

Recently, I went into my Amazon Kindle account and made all of my Kindle e-books as cheap as I possible could. They had low prices before. The most expensive was US$5.00. But now they are all priced under US$3.00 with some as cheap as US$1.00. The higher priced e-books are the photography albums which have quite large file sizes, and Amazon has higher minimum prices for these.

Why the extra low prices?

Well, my hope was and still is that people will make purchases, realise that they have great value for the money spent, and give the book a positive review. The e-books are electronic versions of the paperbacks and are almost identical. So, a review of an inexpensive e-book also applies to the paperback version.

I am hopeful that some of my friends will go to my Amazon author’s page, make a purchase of one or more of my e-books and leave an honest review. Amazon does indicate whether or not the review was made by a verified purchaser.

If you have been to any of my photo shoots over the last year or so as a model, some of your photographs will be in some of the albums. If you don’t already have a Kindle Reader, the program can be downloaded at no cost, whether your device is an Apple or an Android.

You probably won’t ask, but if you do ask yourself the question, “what’s in it for me?” Here is what I am offering.

The paperbacks I can provide to you at a lower price than you can buy them online. I purchase multiple copies at the one time and save on shipping. If you would like a paperback version of one of the books you have purchased the e-book version of, I shall knock off an additional $5.00 off my already discounted prices. Alternatively, if you purchase two copies at my discounted price, you will get a third copy at no cost. (This can be for the same album, or a different one at the same or lower price).

Let’s be mutually helpful to each other!

Recent Publications

I have published several books so far this year. In addition to photography albums, there are four workbooks/journals. Information on the photography albums can be found by clicking on the link. Likewise click on workbooks/journals for more information regarding them.

Kindle e-books editions have been published for most of the paperbacks that I have published. These are all listed on my Amazon Authors site. A week or so ago I adjusted the prices of all of these e-books to as low a price as Amazon would allow me. They are now priced from about US$1.00 to US$3.00. The colour albums have a larger file size and Amazon’s minimum prices for them are understandable higher than straight text publications. The workbooks are not available as Kindle editions.

I have copies of the majority of the paper-backs, and those I don’t currently have I can easily obtain. Most of the paperbacks have been officially published with ISBN numbers. This means that they are potentially available through any book retailer worldwide, including Amazon. However, if you live locally, in the Brisbane/Gold Coast region, I can provide these books to you at a lower price than you would have to pay on Amazon. Keep in mind that if you purchase from Amazon USA, the price listed is in US dollars and you would need to pay shipping costs in addition to the selling price. If however you want copies of any of the publications for relatives or friends in the UK or the USA, Amazon prints from those countries and delivers to your door free of any postage costs. This information is accurate at the time of writing, April 2017, and I don’t foresee any changes being made.

If you, or members of your family, have modeled at any of my photo shoots, your photographs will be in at least one of my albums. Generally I carry around at least one copy of each album with me at shoots, and I have e-book versions on my ipad.So if you would like to take a look, just ask.