Jan 13, 2014

10 Questions Answered on Building A Business

You want to start a business, now what?

How do I promote my business? How do you get models? When is a good time to build a team? How to set up contracts? We opened our message boards to listen to the questions our Phamily had about starting a business, and here are the insights we have.


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    As for the model question, I’d weight in in favor of Model Mayhem. I had my first experience with finding a specific model right before Christmas and was actually quite surprised by the number of answer I got (you can try other site like Craigslist to broaden your research if experience is not mandatory).

    What I would had though is: when looking for a model on website such as MM, try to be as specific as you can about the model you’re looking for and the project description (rather than basically saying ”hey anyone who’d like working with me for that obscure project I have only in my mind). The reason behind that is there are, IMO, a lot of model ready to do TFP projects but the good one (with experience) won’t go for just anything and you need to ‘sell’ them your project as a valuable one for their portfolio too.

    Casting calls on Facebook, with the help of a few valuable friends (<3) is another effective way to reach an impressive number of people for your projects, and you might even get a few of them to like your fb page or visit your website…

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    Francisco Rullan

    So, about “doing work for free” what about when you are still in the need of learning from another experienced photographer?

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    Ok, this is regarding the last question about style and the earlier question about getting models. Figuring out what makes people tick is something I’ve been fascinated with my entire life, since I was a kid with a completely dysfunctional immediate and extended family and community, even. My primary interest when I started photography was telling people’s stories. So many of these stories stay locked up and destroy not only their owners but the people around them. I wanted to show how the imperfections and vulnerabilities are not only beautiful but also what connects humanity across any and all divides. At the same time, I want to do sessions with women to show them how beautiful they themselves are; take down the walls and insecurities and show them the beauty they’re locking up behind them. Kinda grandiose, I know. Anyway, fast forward to now, and for whatever reason i am totally scared to actually do this. I can’t even ask friends to be subjects for me. Ok, three. I have asked three. But that’s not even a drop in the bucket of the ideas I have for what I want to do. I think, maybe, that because my focus and intent is potentially so personal, I am terrified of not meeting expectations. Of not doing them or their story justice. or something…. And, I’m an introvert. I’m an Observer first and foremost. Then, a VERY close second, I’m a Thinker. Actual Talking comes into play somewhere like step #120 on the list after I’ve done the observing and thinking and am ready and comfortable enough to engage and use that knowledge to draw out even more. How do I get to that level within an hour or two for a photo shoot? The thought of standing there with the person looking at me, and me not knowing what to say is enough to make me stay in the house. In fact I’ve recently become very focused on Still Life photography and while there definitely are aspects about it I love – I can take as long as I need to set up and adjust and re-shoot, etc. – I think a lot of it is that it’s “safer” than continuing the mental war with myself to find and photograph people. I have yet to meet a dried leaf or bird’s skull that’s required me to talk to it (you can see some of my stuff here… I listen to Aaron and Cat say, just get over it and go do it, and others say Oh, you just ask the client this or that or whatever wonderful things they do to get the wonderful results they get. But just thinking about the situation makes me want to crawl into some human-sized version of a mouse hole. Like seriously, it’s bad. And disappointing. I’m disappointed that I haven’t gotten over this by now, if not that it was ever an issue.
    What I probably need is a therapist… lol… but I’ve ended up watching a lot of Aaron’s more passionate videos the past couple of days and it’s gotten me thinking and so here I am spewing all this stuff out to you. I don’t expect anyone to answer me, I’m just responding to the medium that’s making me think, is all. lol thanks. 🙂

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      Dear “Guest”

      You very much got my attention while reading your comment. I got this real feeling that you HAVE to do photography the way you describe it. You must! Go interview these women and “portrait” them the way you see it.
      Vulnerability and connectivity are huge. The lessons life has been teaching you are of great value, which you will use in your profession.

      I sincerely believe that one day soon you will make an exceptional photographer! So skip the therapist and start putting your work in motion. It will ultimately bring you success and most of all healing and a lot of satisfaction.

      PS: I completely understand your concern about being safe.
      They say: A ship is safe in a harbor, but that’s not what it was built for.
      Go on your journey now, you will succeed!


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    Brandi Guzman

    I love tuning into Phlearn! This video was very informative. Thank you for creating a valuable resource for photographers. I follow this tutorial blog very closely, and have learned quite a bit. Thank you!