Friday, February 18, 2011

Starting From Scratch - Part 6 - Presenting Your Product

 First of all apologies that there has been a bit of a break from this series – so much has happened over Christmas and the New Year I have barely had time to breath! One major exciting thing is that I have quit my part-time job at the electrical store (Clive Peeters) in order to spend more time on Hopeless. It's a little scary particularly in regards to the financial side of things – but it is also very exciting, and I really felt like I was ready to take the leap!

So back to the topic – Presenting your product. I really wanted to make a point about how important it is to present what you are doing professionally, but at the same time that you don’t need to break the bank to do it. Right from the beginning of Hopeless I knew having really great pictures was going to be a major key to success.

Once I had made my first range I got in touch with friends and friends of friends to help me put my first shoot together. I was very lucky to be able to find some amazingly talented people who were also starting out at the time, and were happy to help me put the whole thing together for a price that was manageable for me at the very beginning. The other thing to note is that I didn’t choose just anyone – I made sure my team, and my photographer especially had the right aesthetic for my product, and was someone I could trust to cover all the technical aspects that I didn't know enough about.

Thanks to the internet the world has become a lot smaller – and everyone has access to budding young photographers, make up artists and models who are often willing to do TFP (trade for print) to expand their folio and just gain experience. If you have an amazing product and a great concept, then it is worthwhile asking about TFP. But at the same time never presume that someone will want to work for free for you – it is usually best at the outset to let the photographer, MUAH or model know that you are working within a budget – even if that budget is $0. Always be upfront about all financial position, agree upon a price and what that price will involve right from the start. This includes time, how many shots/looks, what sort of shots they will be, if lighting is required, if the location needs to be paid for and any other details that might affect your budget. Some models, photographers and make up artists are also happy to work for ‘contra’ – that is where instead of money you give them some of your product, or a combination of both.

Photographers, models, MUAH's and stylists fees will all vary greatly usually according to experience. Photographers generally charge an hourly rate for the shoot itself, or have a half-day or full-day fee. This can range from under $100 to the many $1000's. If the photographer has to hire lighting or other equipment you will also be charged for this too. Photographers will also then have an editing/retouching fee, which can be by the hour or per photograph. This is again why it is good to agree from the start exactly how many shots you want. Models are usually paid by the hour - and will often charge a higher rate for lingerie or swimwear. If a model is agency represented - be prepared to pay more costs on top of the hourly fee depending on how the images will be used. Some agencies will provide models on a TFP basis if they need shots to build up their folio. If you do ask an agency about this make sure you have a great photographer behind you. Make up artists and hair stylists charge on an hourly basis, and usually stay for the whole photo-shoot to do touch ups when necessary. Some beginner make up artists and hair stylists will be happy to work for a 'kit-fee', which covers the cost of the products they use for the shoot, and sometimes also travel costs. A stylist is not always needed when you are just wanting to show your product, but if you are wanting to accessorize they can be a great help. A stylist will usually charge for the hours it takes to go and pick up samples to use for the shoot, their time on the day of the shoot, and the time it takes to return the samples. The same applies if they are going and finding things from op shops or making things for the backdrop or other things that will take time. On the day of the shoot it is great to have the help of a stylist as an extra set eyes making sure garments are sitting correctly, underwear isn't poking out, dressing the model and so on. (But this is usually a job I do myself.)

These are all things I have learned the hard way, sometimes things have ended up being much more costly than I imagined, and sometimes I do not get what I had hoped for at the end. The best thing you can do is be prepared, supply as many reference shots as possible, be clear about your budget and your expectations.

Once you have at least one great series of images, it will be much easier to find people willing to work with you. The first one is always going to be the hardest, scariest and most exciting – and after that you get into the swing of it all.

Gaby xoxo
Photo: Hopeless Lingerie 'The Hunted'
Photos: Jo Duck
Model: Lulu Wagstaffe
MUAH: Sarah Lea Cross
Assistant: Dominique Adamidis


Kelsey Genna said...

This is really wonderful.
I truly wish I had something like that to read when I first started out.

You've always done a really amazing job with photos & marketing!

Kels x

BeckyDAZZLER said...

I really enjoy this series and look forward to more! x