help REALLY needed: FREE session, would you do it?

Started Apr 26, 2012 | Discussions thread
Flat view
marcio_napoli Senior Member • Posts: 1,277
help REALLY needed: FREE session, would you do it?


Guys, I trully need some advice here, and you are the most knowledgeable audience I can reach to.

I just hope some honest advice. It can be harsh, but it should be honest, as I'm a little desperate.

I'm really thankful to those that are willing to help.

I'm facing a dilemma.

It's quite unique and bizarre, I shall presume, but I beg you try your best to understand my case.

I'm living a double life:

Side A of the coin:

Everyone in town that knows me, assumes I'm one of the most skilled and successful photographers in town. (coff, coff) - that's their thinking, not mine -

As I'm quite good at promoting myself as THE guy to be hired, and as my portfolio barely confirms that, every one that knows me, think I'm a successful photographer.

Side B of the same coin:

The problem is that in fact, very few customers actually knows me.

My career started 5 years ago, and I moved to a different State about 2 years ago, so I'm very new to my market and almost no one actually knows me.

What happens when you're demanding prices that are compatible to a higher quality product, and have a low volume customers base?

You got it, you starve to death.

I'm locked in a very small and bizarre niche market, where my product presents good quality, and I'm very respected by my small clientele, but I still have no money in my pockets.

In the end, my clientele is quite small, and that's all that matters.

I'm having a hard time to make a living.

And almost forgot, I live in Brazil.

Here, you can be good at what you do, and still starve, as people here value very little everything, from talent to hard work, people really don't care.

I know, it's great, yeah...

I mainly do fashion, catalog work, and personal sessions for new face models.

Let us focus only on these personal sessions, shall we?

Right now, I demand a higher than average price for these sessions, as I have very high production costs.

Now we get to the point.

I've heard countless times of a business model where the session itself is free, and the customers only pays for each photo he/she wants to buy.

I've always heard that business model is a very successful one, as you can attract a really larger customers base (free session).

As long as the shots are great, your profit is guaranteed. The customer will buy many photos, and you'll have profit.

Guys, my dilemma is the following:

Would you do it?

I mean, I deal with the fashion industry... you know what I mean.

A fashion photographer must keep a certain status quo. Specially if you're dealing with agencies and the hypocrisy of the fashion industry.

You gotta a reputation to protect, and can't be seen practicing free sessions.

In this particular industry, it's all fake! It doesn't matter if you're starving, you just gotta maintain the status.

I know, it's pure hypocrite BS, trust me, I really know... but I didn't invent the rules. They were there before I got here.

Bottom line:

Would you risk your hard earned reputation? (I mean, times are tough... but I could endure it a little longer till my clientele multiplies)

Or I could give this business model (free session, payment for photo) a try, and see what happens.

If all that happens is a injured reputation, but more cash im my pockets, I'm in. Where do I sign?

But... if it doesn't work... I would have permanently injured my status, all in vain, all for nothing.

That's my dilemma.

Anyone with similar stories to tell?

What did (or would) you do in my case?

Folks, thanks a lot for any input.

I mean it, thanks a lot. I'm desperate, and I can't figure it out for myself.

All the best,

Marcio Napoli

Flat view
Keyboard shortcuts:
FForum PPrevious NNext WNext unread UUpvote SSubscribe RReply QQuote BBookmark MMy threads
Color scheme? Blue / Yellow