Filling Downtime & Staying Busy
How working for someone else can help you!
Contracting is a bit of a dirty word to some photographers, and sometimes for good reason too. There's always a company out there looking to exploit the beginning photographer and their talents, but there are also some great ones that truly just want quality photographic services to be more available to the masses. While contracting may not be for everyone, it's certainly allowed me to grow in both the variety of poses I can rattle off of the top of my head and also my ability to exploit a location for all it's worth when I'm there for a session.
Since quitting my job back in September to become a stay-at-home dad and focus solely on photography (more on that here), I've had the pleasure of working with two different photography companies in addition to booking my own work. One is a general purpose company that lets customers book for any type fo session they like outside of weddings and the other specializes in weddings and engagements. While there is some overlap in what these companies offer, they have very little in common when it comes to their execution. It can be a challenge at times to keep things straight, especially after a month like May where I had close to 20 sessions in total, but being that busy also allows the opportunity to experiment with new ideas.
The first company I work with specializes in what most photographers refer to as "mini sessions". A customer books their time in 30 minute increments and simply picks a given location from a set list and lets the photographer know what kind of session they want done as well as any other specifics. Working with this company has taught me the importance of confirming details with customers as well as being mindful of my time and maximizing all opportunities to give the customer the best result possible. This company also has their photographers do their own editing which has helped me to be more attentive to consistent images throughout the session to lessen the time needed to edit once the session is completed.
The other company I work with has been strictly engagement sessions, but they are more of the "traditional" approach to the customer's session. Each customer gets a one hour session at a location of their (or the photographer's) choosing depending on what they are looking for. In working with a company that has such an open ended venue approach I have become more aware of my surroundings when I'm out and about and constantly looking for areas that have something good to offer for the customers. With these longer sessions I have experimented with more unique poses and ideas since we have the time to make it up if an idea just doesn't work out the way it is in my head. I also use these longer sessions as an opportunity to have the couples open up about how they met and the details of their wedding as they've planned to that point to help them be at ease and enjoy the session more. One huge saving grace with this company is they handle all the editing in an effort to maintain a consistent style across all their imagery which is a huge time saver for me (especially with two kids).
In short, I am a huge fan of contracting for other companies if it fits what I am trying to accomplish. I have learned more in a short amount of time with these two companies than I would have on my own and also met some great fellow photographer along the way. I am more than happy to speak with anyone that has questions about how to get started in contracting with companies and what to expect, just reach out to me here and I'll get back to you right away!
Currently Listening To: Dressed To Kill by New Found Glory