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Thread: "Naming Day" and first birthday "job" - help required...

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    "Naming Day" and first birthday "job" - help required...

    OK, hoping not to step on any toes and asking questions that have been answered a million times (sorry if I am)...

    I have never been to a Naming Day but I have been asked to quote as "semi-official" photographer. Meaning that they know I am not professional, but as friends they have asked me to quote for the job of documenting their baby girl's special day.

    So the first part of my question (and I will follow this up with a thorough discussion with the parents)... what is a Naming day? What are the ceremonies involved. Is there a part where the baby sits in the sun with a nice backdrop and get's pictures taken with the parents, like they do in weddings?

    Second question. Any handy hints for taking photos of babies? My boy is 18, so it's been a while...

    Third and inevitable question, what should a beginner Pro charge for such an event, not assuming discounts for friends (I will apply that when I have an idea of the standard quotes).


    Thanks all for your help on this. If it get's too complicated I might just refuse the request, as I do not want to risk the event being ruined by my inability to cover it properly.
    Best Regards, Mark (Criticism encouraged on all my photos. Thanking you for your guidance).

    Canon 5D II and 40D | Canon EF 16-35mm f2.8L IS | Canon EF100-400mm f4.5-5.6L IS
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    Don't do it.

    Seriously

    Don't do it.

    Believe me, even if you go along as a friend with a camera they will expect your pictures to be amazing. If there is money exchanged they expect more. I have done a few weddings, engagements, 'casual' portraits for friends, all at no cost. Not worth the effort. I have now sworn off this sort of stuff. They see the big camera with the big lens and expect the same results as if they had engaged the top photog of the area. After all, it is simply a matter of point and shoot and with that nice camera how can you fail!!

    If you do go with it, secure some advantages. Ask for 30 minutes 'alone time' with the family / baby to do your set shots. Think about those shots because they are the ones that show your skills. Snapshots during a ceremony----bah, people with point and shoots will get those just as good as those of us with DSLRs

    just my opinion (caveat - yep, I am bitter from this sort of work. Sworn off it now, I am not up to it, it is a personal thing though.)

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    Huh, wow, pretty heavy...

    I feel like I should take some risks to get ahead...
    Last edited by mkooper; 18-10-2013 at 12:13am.

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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    I agree. If you do not know how to take photos of a baby, decline!

    Even though they know you are not a professional, if you arrange an agreement and money is involved, then they are expecting a professional service. My guess is they think you have great skills, so then they assume you are probably great at baby photos and the only reason they want to use you, is that being a beginner-professional, they hope you will be cheaper. But they will expect top quality photos!

    If you do this, and they are not happy with the results, what happens to your reputation.. as a beginner-professional? If you do decide to go ahead, good luck. I hope it works out for you, but if it doesn't, you will be doing a lot to recover your reputation. Do you need to be doing that?

    If you want to get into baby photography, do it on your terms, find some friends with babies (or their adult children with babies) and approach them, explaining that you are starting out and want to incorporate baby photos in your business, and could you take some photos of their family, with an offer of some prints etc. Learn on your own terms, not on a paying job.

    Also seeing the last photos we have seen from you were in Sept 2010 we really are not in a position to even contemplate if your photography is good enough, and we have never seen portraiture (person/people)from you at all. All you photos have been of the natural world, with a couple of architectural and animal ones thrown in, so I would suggest you are way out of your depth with this job, based on what you have put on AP in the past, unless things have changed in the last 3 years. But looking at your website, not a baby photo in sight either.

    A naming day is generally a cultural or religious ceremony, though people who are not religious do them as an alternative to a religious ceremony too. Many from eastern European counties have them traditionally, as does the Hindu faith. It is similar but different to a 'christening/baptism', depending on the religion (or lack of) or culture behind the event.

    Re charging, as you are starting out as a Pro, have you done a business plan and worked out a rate? If not, then do that before you start taking on jobs: http://www.ausphotography.net.au/for...l-Photographer
    Last edited by ricktas; 18-10-2013 at 7:44am.
    "It is one thing to make a picture of what a person looks like, it is another thing to make a portrait of who they are" - Paul Caponigro

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    Arch-Σigmoid Ausphotography Regular ameerat42's Avatar
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    I agree. But do not just NOT DO it. Rather, DO IT for FREE.

    OK, are there significant travel/accommodation costs to you? Perhaps they could meet these, otherwise...

    Naming Day/Ceremony? It's just the day that the infant is officially given its name(s). - And associated traditions.

    Am(as it is said).
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    How about if I charge only for the good photos after the shoot and post production?

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    I think if you are asking for help deciding what to charge then you probably still dont have enough experience to charge. Sorry to be blunt. Lots of people consider doing shoots for friends and friends of friends as portfolio building which is a bit of a win win situation for all involved. The photographer gets images for their portfolio and the client gets some nice shots with no over the top expectation that the photos will be of pro quality - even if they are. The other thing to consider if you are charging is if you have public liability insurance which is pretty much vital if you are doing paid work with other people involved. I also had a pro a few years ago give me the advice of doing a type of shoot at least 10 times before charging for that type of shoot. For some that might be over the top - but every time I do another specific type of shoot I learn more and more and improve more. Ultimately it is up to you to charge what you think your time is worth - but if you are also asking for specific tips on shooting an event to me it would be an indication you are not experienced enough to shoot that specific event.
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    It's all about the Light!
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    Quote Originally Posted by mkooper View Post
    How about if I charge only for the good photos after the shoot and post production?
    What is none/very few are any good? What happens to your relationship with your friends?

    The real problem here is experience and expectations.

    If you do go ahead make sure you do a practice session to get your lighting setup right before the event.
    Also, can you visit the venue first? Are there light (flash) restrictions etc?
    These things should be sorted way before the event itself.
    regards, Kym Gallery Honest & Direct Constructive Critique Appreciated! ©
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    Arch-Σigmoid Ausphotography Regular ameerat42's Avatar
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    (The last two posts sound like, "Do it for free" to me.)
    Last edited by ameerat42; 18-10-2013 at 2:23pm.

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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mkooper View Post
    How about if I charge only for the good photos after the shoot and post production?
    Sounds like the photographer and the client need to sit down and talk. There appears to be a difference between what you are suggesting and what the client is expecting.
    Last edited by ricktas; 18-10-2013 at 3:34pm.

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    Thank you all so far, very helpful advice.

    I'm a bit frustrated though, and there is why:

    We're close friends and I have taken shots of their Belly-dance Haflas many times and had good reviews (these are old ones, the newer ones are for sale, so not listed here: http://mkooper.smugmug.com/Competiti...nce-photos-for). So they know something of my abilities.
    I will tell them of the risks involved and the fact that this is a new genre for me and that I have little experience. So I will suggest that they also get some other friends to take happy snaps to minimise the risk.

    Now on the other hand, these guys are not well off, but she's from the Ukraine and has relatives (mother and sister) overseas that can't join (imagine, they have to put down a $10k deposit to get a temporary visa for Australia). So my friends can spend $1k - $2k on a pro or they can ask me. I want to help them out.

    Here is another thing, these friends are proud people and they do not want me to work for free. They insist on paying something. So I'm thinking, if they are happy with the photos I will charge them $300. If not then they can have the ones I did for free.

    And lastly, for me to gain experience I will have to bite the bullet and get some practice. So you might say, get it during non-critical events. I will do so. Also go there with an experienced pro. Problem: cost. Even if I apprentice for free, they will still need to pay the pro. Of course the pro will deliver better photos, so where is the cut-off point.

    So let me redirect the question, since I think I need to talk to my friends in more detail first. In this case I would still like to know if someone has done a naming day shoot before and if they know anything about the process. Secondly, what handy hints are there for taking baby photos? Eg: Should I use flash or avoid flash?
    Last edited by mkooper; 18-10-2013 at 3:44pm.

  12. #12
    Moderately Underexposed I @ M's Avatar
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    Mark, a couple of things stand out here.

    You are close friends.

    They are proud people and want to pay you.

    They are impressed by your belly dancing images.

    Your belly dancing images are pretty good.

    Summing up my thoughts into a short sentence with zero knowledge of baby naming ceremonies or the venue where your particular event is going to take place........

    Try to avoid using flash if you don't have an extensive knowledge of how to use it to give natural results, remain good friends, either back out of the "job" now or do it for a very small fee to keep them happy, do NOT encourage them to have everyone else getting happy snaps to make sure that they get good images as that is the scenario that is guaranteed to make sure that you don't get good images.
    Andrew
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    Arch-Σigmoid Ausphotography Regular ameerat42's Avatar
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    And... look it up in Google (like I did for the particular title you used) and maybe as it is celebrated in the Ukraine.

    I may be ignorant of this but it would be something of the ilk of a baptism. If there is a venue where it will take place, try to
    do a few "dry runs" first. That'll give you a pretty good idea of what to expect. After all, it's like any other project.

    Now just a thing, will you be doing this as the sole (semi/pro) photographer? You mention a "pro" in your last post.

    Don't be too worried. I'm sure you'll manage. I saw your other shots. After the even, you will be the AP Name Day expert

    At this stage I'll leave the charging for services up to you.

    Am.

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    Ausphotography Regular MissionMan's Avatar
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    I've done some newborn stuff, but it's normally the same story, I do it free of charge for friends in a hospital (close friends only) and then recommend they get a professional to do the good stuff. I think part of it is how you present it to your friends. If they want a couple of decent shots to put up on Facebook for their friends of the newborn a day or two after they are born (that don't look like they were taken with an iPhone or through the bottom of a beer glass), then its fine, but if they want a professional shoot, they need to hire a professional, not a semi-professional and not an amateur. I have a friend who is a professional (recently jumped from his job) and still reasonably priced so he's normally the one I refer on because he's often within a lower price range (as he is building his portfolio). He has one of the best eyes for photography that I've ever seen.
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    Member Tjfrnds's Avatar
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    Just wanted to share some thoughts on a 'Naming Day' as I am currently organising one for my son. We wanted to have a day similar to a baptism, to welcome my son into the world in the presence of family and friends without the religious side of things. For example, at my son's naming day, we will be having a few 'ceremonies' such as promises made by my husband and I, a few words spoken by close family on the roles they promise to play in my son's life and we're putting together a time capsule of wishes/advice for him by family and friends for him to open on his 21st birthday. I know many that have held naming days for their children and everyone does things differently and adds their own personal touch to the day. So I'd recommend discussing with your friends what they have planned and if there are any special ceremonies they have organised that they specifically want captured. I also agree with Am in checking out the venue prior to the day so you can be as prepared as possible (will it be held at their home, a park/gardens, a hall?). Good luck
    Tania

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