Nespresso packshots

Nespresso packshots caramelito

Sara, my girlfriend, regularly gets products to test and review for her blog. Off course as a photographer, I can’t resist the urge to use them to test out new techniques or ideas. So it happens that yesterday afternoon, I was standing in the living room, shooting Nespresso packshots with hot chocolate, milk and coffee.

Don’t forget, you can still subscribe for the workshops film photography and darkroom.

Nespresso packshots vanilio

Nespresso packshots Ciocattino

Frustrations of a photographer

Frustrations of a photographer - Véronique

As I already mentioned in my previous post What does a photographer cost? I’m writing a series about the frustrations of a photographer. In this post I’ll be talking about things that annoy me when sending quotes or receiving certain request from clients.

I made a small list with my most common frustrations and I also explain why I think these are frustrating, annoying or even insulting.

Disclaimer: I do not mean to offend anyone, but if you feel offend, accept my apologies in advance.

Can you make a photo report, we’ll give you free tickets

This request is one of the reasons, I started this series of articles

My job as a photographer is to create photos, during an assignment I’m focused on that task and I can’t really be part of whatever else is happening during the party/conference/show/award ceremony. So I’m sorry but tickets aren’t very useful.

Although it can be a really interesting subject for you and others, the subject probably is outside my area of expertise and doesn’t really connect with me.

You’ll get photo credits.

This seems to be the golden ticket for a lot of companies/magazines/newspapers/…, it doens’t matter if the photos will be used in a commercial or non-commercial publication. The logic being that it’s an honor as a photographer to be published. It may very well be that I think it’s an honor to be published, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to get paid for the work I do/did.

My credo is, if I do something for free it’s my decision. If there is any money involved (entrance, sponsoring, advertising purposes, …), I’m not doing it for free or credit.

Our budget is limited to xxx

This is usually a reply after receiving a quote, meaning: Can’t you do the same work for less money. I’m really sorry but I can’t, have a look at my previous post What does a photographer cost?. However, what I can do for your budget is adjust the quote and reduce the workload.

We’ll need to photos by tomorrow morning xxam.

A question that always follows at the end of an assignment and wasn’t mentioned at the time of the quote. Off course that’s possible, but it does cost more because it does require a lot more effort.

For example delivery by the next morning, means I have to process everything during the night and it does happen quite often I’m working till 3-4am to get everything delivered on time.

This also means, I have to adjust my planning for the next day. If I know before the assignment that I have to process everything the same day, I can take that into account when planning.

Everything is possible, but I would prefer to know about it beforehand.

We would like every photo you took.

This one I do hear less and less, but it still happens. Sending you all photos isn’t possible. A good photo is a process of improving the previous photos. In the end a client only cares about the great photos, that can be published, there is no use to deliver every photo.

This is something every decent photographer will confirm. It only hurts my image as a photographer.

Our payment terms are xx

As a freelancer it’s not easy to have a decent cashflow, if clients decide to pay whenever pleases them, a cashflow is none existing. It can’t be that hard to wire money, can it?

I can continue for a bit, but I think I covered the most important ones.

The next post in this series will be about the remarks a photographer receives

Workshop film photography and darkroom

Workshop film photography

Lately I get quite some questions about film photography, so I decided to start with some workshop on the topic.

22/06/2013: Workshop film photography: intro

In this workshop the topics will be:

  • Different types of film cameras
  • Different types of film
  • The relation between films, settings and surroundings
  • You got the ability to photograph with several of 60+ film cameras, ranging from half-frame till 4×5 inch large format cameras
  • You’ll learn to develop film, black/white and colour

Details

  • Location: Aalst
  • Datum: 22/06/2013 from 9 am till 5 pm
  • Limited number of seats, maximum 7 seats
  • All materials will be provided, but you can bring your own camera and film if you want (no E6-film)
  • Price: 129 euro (excl. VAT)

Subscribe by sending an e-mail to workshop@pitslamp.be

Workshop darkroom

06/07/2013: Workshop black and white darkroom printing: intro

This workshop requires a knowledge of film development and an developed black and white film. The topics of this workshop include:

  • How to build a darkroom and what to keep in mind
  • Difference between enlargers
  • The different material needed and why
  • Techniques and how to solve certain problems
  • You’ll print 1 of your own pictures and take it with you afterwards

Details

  • Location: Aalst
  • Datum: 06/07/2013 from 9 am till 5 pm
  • Limited number of seats, maximum 5 seats
  • All material will be provided, bring one developed black and white film yourself
  • Price: 199 euro (ex. VAT)

Subscribe by sending an e-mail to workshop@pitslamp.be

If you want to attend both workshop the price is only 299 euro (ex. VAT)

What does a photographer cost?

What does a photographer cost - image of people discussing

After several years as a full time photographer, I have gathered a couple of things I want to clarify or rectify. That’s why I decided to write a short series of articles about my cost and frustrations as a photographer. I’ll publish the whole series during the next couple of days. Today I’ll start off by answering the question, what does a photographer cost and why I have to set this cost.

Situation

We’ll assume I got the following request. I have to photograph during 3 hours, capturing the atmosphere and speakers at an event in the centre of Brussels. The photos will only be used on a website as a photo essay of the evening. No special requests

How much does a photographer cost

Below you see a quote I would send out for this assignment. I used an imaginary coin, the numbers only represent the values compared to each other.

  • Photography during 3h. (with a marge of 1h) – 147 bunkies (ex. VAT)
  • Material: reportage kit – 73 bunkies (ex. VAT)
  • Transport inside benelux – 49 bunkies (ex. VAT)
  • Selection and processing of the images within 5 business days – 73 bunkies (ex. VAT)
  • Storage and archiving during 5 years- 49 bunkies (ex. VAT)
  • Delivery of the selected images in web and high resolution through a shared folder on dropbox.com or via wetransfer
  • Complete and unlimited use of the photos

This makes a total 391 bunkies (ex. VAT) for this quote

Why this price

Let us analyse every cost.

3 hours of photography

A cost of 147 bunkies, means an hourly wage of 49 bunkies, at least that’s for the hours I’ll be photographing. If you receive an hourly wage from an employer that does seem a lot. Let’s see how much time I actually spent on this event, even without processing the photos.

  • Process the request for a quote, make appointements, check the route, etc… – this can easily be 1h30min.
  • Arrive 30 to 45 min. in advance, to make the last appointements and prepare all the material
  • The start of the event is 15 min. late
  • As advertised it takes 3hours, but it goes 15 minutes over time, as events do.
  • Checking with the responsible that it’s ok to leave and put away all my gear takes about 15 min.

In total that’s 5 till 5h30min. Let’s reconsider my hourly wage now. It goes down from 49 bunkies to +/- 30 bunkies before taxes and social costs. To keep it easy I’ll assume those are 40%, so my netto hourly wage is 18 bunkies.

Material

What do I need to shoot an event and why do I count this as a cost, I have bought this anyway.

  • 1 camera + 1 backup camera
  • 3-4 lenses
  • flash, minimal 1 preferably 2 and backup
  • Memory cards
  • batteries + backup batteries
  • lenscloths

All together this is about 8000 bunkies, this means to pay of my gear I have to do +/- 110 assignments. Off course it doesn’t stop there, because whenever anything fails, I have to use my backup and try to replace it before the assignment. If I can’t replace it, I have to rent or borrow equipment, that’s cost of time, transport and maybe a renting price. But as a customer you’re sure I’ll be on the assignment with appropriate gear.

Transport

49 bunkies to go from Aalst to Brussels and back, ain’t that a bit much? Let’s analyse

  • Standard transportcost of 0,35 bunkies/km, Aalst-Brussels-Aalst = 50 km x0,35 bunkies, total of 17,5 bunkies
  • Parking in Brussels for 5h to 6h – 2,5 bunkies/h makes about 12,5 bunkies
  • Time traveling + finding a parking spot without traffic jams – 1u

The cost for parking and transport is 30 bunkies. That makes 20 bunkies for my time or 12 bunkies after tax. But my transport is fixed inside the benelux, so that means if I’m driving to Brussels or Amsterdam it’s the same price, you can make your own calculations.

Selection and processing

Als rule of thumb every hour spent shooting during an event is half an hour processing, let’s see.

  • Transferring photos to the computer – 45 min.
  • First round going through and eliminating all the bad ones – 10 min.
  • Second round going through, making small adjustments for colour and exposure, developing the photos if you will – 45 min.
  • Third round going through checking all images and deleting duplicates – 10 min.
  • Preparing export and exporting to dropbox – 40 min.
  • Checking export and sending it all to the client – 10 min.

That’s a total of 2h10min., let’s round off to 2hours. That means my hourly wage is now 36,5 bunkies. But we forget to calculate the cost for the computer, card reader, programs, internet connection, dropbox account, all necessary for processing the images. That cost is about 3000 bunkies, using the same value of 110 assignments, that makes about 27 bunkies. I’m left with 23 bunkies hourly wage or about 14 bunkies after taxes

Storage and archiving

This means that every customer can ask for their images again within a time period of 5 years without any extra cost.

  • 1 archiving disk
  • 1 backup of the archiving disk
  • 1 backup of the computer, not every image is archived directly
  • 1 offsite backup of all the above
  • Good archiving system, so that everything can be found again
  • Time to find the images and deliver them again

It’s hard to pick an exact value for these things, but for 5 years it does not look as an exaggerated cost

Conclusie for what does a photographer cost?

It may seem that you pay a lot for a photographer, but after analysing the prices and their cost, you can see that it’s really not that much.

The next article is about the frustrations as a payed photographer

Time lapse experiment Plakias

During the summer of 2004 and 2005, I lived in Crete in a small village called Plakias or as the regular visitors call it Planet P. It’s a small village on the south coast of Crete., it’s magical and I lost part of my heart there.

Visitors of Plakias should know the 3 lies before going there:

  1. I’m not drinking tonight
  2. I’m leaving tomorrow
  3. I love you

During our visit at the end of April, beginning of May this year, I tried to capture the beauty of nature in a short time lapse. As we were on a vacation, I did not spend too much time capturing the time lapse sequences and I did not redo any part that looks a bit flickery. It was my first decent attempt at a time lapse video and all in all I’m very satisfied with the result. Enjoy

For the technical part, I used a 5d MKII on sraw setting combined with a tripod and a Triggertrap dongle with triggertrap mobile on the iPhone. I edited the raw images with Lightroom and LRTimelapse. The photo sequence was processed into a video with Time Lapse assembler and the final editing was done in Final cut pro X.

Don’t hesitate to leave a comment or like this post.

[PitsLamp-shorts] Portrait of strangers

Mamiya RB67 portrait in the streets of Ghent

In the beginning of april, I went out with Stijn to photograph some strangers, while Stijn used his digital camera, I took 2 photos, 1 polaroid to give to the people and one for myself on black and white film.

It was a test in efficiency, I wanted to capture the person in just one photo, nothing more, nothing less. It did not work out every time, but I love the result in the photo above.

Also read Stijn’s report of the day: Improve communication skills, shoot a stranger

All the portraits

Mamiya RB67 portrait in the streets of Ghent

Mamiya RB67 portrait in the streets of Ghent

Mamiya RB67 portrait in the streets of Ghent

[PitsLamp short] Stop motion cinemagraph

stop motion cinemagraph nespresso

I like stop motion, but it takes a lot of time. Sara needed some photos of the limited edition Napoli and Trieste of Nespresso and off course I’m the one making those. However having spend way too much time working at the computer lately, I decided to do something fun and combine a cinemagraph and stop motion, 2 things I love, but rarely get around to doing. After about an hour, this is the result. Enjoy

Large format camera

[Large format view camera(/images/blogposts/large_format-0236.jpg)

Since I started in photography, there has been one type of camera that I wanted, a large format camera. There always have been reasons not to buy the camera, first I didn’t do any film. Since I shoot film, I haven’t found any kit for an affordable price until a week or 2 ago. On a local classified site, I found a very affordable 4×5 view camera.

Large format view camera portrait: Pieter

A view camera is to a normal camera like a hand drill is to table drill for a carpenter. You can make great pictures with any camera, but with a view camera you can just do that bit more. I love this camera for taking portraits.

Large format view camera portrait: Sara

As you can see in the package I bought there was also a pack Polaroid included and I already had loads of fun with it.

Large format view camera portrait: Bunker

[April fools day] Digital is dead, long live film photography

[UPDATE] This blogpost was an April fools day joke, I will still be doing digital and film.

Vredebox: the start of my film photography

The last 2 weeks were very quiet over here and I’m sorry for that, but I have a really good reason for it, several reasons as a matter a fact. First of all it just have been very busy weeks, with a 4 day trip to the UK, a lot of shoots and other work. However the most important reason is that I have been struggling and debating with myself to make a lot of changes in my photography business.

6 years ago when I started this business, it was a second income and a hobby. That has changed a lot since then, not only the way I look at it, but also my own photographic style, life but also the medium I use for photography. I started out doing everything digital but I felt like something was missing in the way I was working. When I started photographing on film a couple of years ago, I almost immediately knew what had been missing till then.

Since 2009 I have come to master the whole process of film photography, starting with the different types of cameras, developing my own film and even printing in the darkroom on different surfaces. That also brought an important change, I was spending less time at the computer. Spending less time at the computer was one of the arguments to become a full time photographer, because I used to be a front-end webdeveloper.

Because of all the reasons I mentioned above, I have been debating to quit doing digital photography for clients. Don’t get me wrong, this is a huge leap and I did not make this decision overnight. It’s been on my mind for some weeks now and I also have been investigating the whole thing, to make sure it is possible. So now that I have convinced myself that it is possible, I’ll just have to jump in the deep end.

From today on I won’t be doing any digital photography for clients and will only focus on black and white film photography!

What’s the impact of my switch to film photography for you as a client?

All in all, not that much is going to change, a list:

  • I’ll still be shooting events, advertising and portraits like before, the only difference is that everything will be black and white
  • Everything will still be billed on a project basis, I won’t charge per roll of film or hourly.
  • You’ll still get a selection of the images in high res and web, but the originals will be on black and white film
  • My standard post processing time will stay 5 working days, the only difference is that processing on location won’t be possible anymore
  • The biggest change is off course the lack of colour, I will only be shooting black and white.

During the coming weeks, everything here will change accordingly. I wanted to have everything ready to be changed today, but due to the busy past weeks, that didn’t work out.

I’m very excited for the future and hope that all of you will support this change and help me get the word out by sharing this blogpost.

Marathon portrait session in the snow

Portrait session Kristof

I got a request from the people behind UITpas to do a small Project 30303030 in the end of January. They asked if I wanted to shoot 8 portrait sessions with members of UITpas in one day.

So the 26th of January, a particular cold and snowy day in Aalst, I set out to do just that. Here are some of the results.

Click on the photos to enlarge them

Portrait session Veronik Portrait session VeronikPortrait session Veronik Portrait session PetraPortrait session PetraPortrait session Petra Portrait session PetraPortrait session PatrickPortrait session Patrick Portrait session PatrickPortrait session NancyPortrait session Nancy Portrait session Nancy Portrait session LouisaPortrait session Louisa Portrait session Louisa Portrait session Kristof Portrait session Kristof Portrait session Elke Portrait session Elke Portrait session Elke< Portrait session Ann & kids Portrait session Ann & kids Portrait session Ann & kids