How to get your first commercial photography client

… or why selling photography services may not work

A few months later after this video was released, I received this email from one of Photigy members, Tony Martin:

Dear Alex, my story. I shall try to keep it brief and hope not to hit ‘enter’ too many times and send you a hundred messages.

In January 2014 I was ready to stretch my wings and enter the photography world of business but I didn’t know where or how to start. I decided to follow some advice I saw in one of your videos. It was about ‘if you want to be a photographer, do the things a photographer does, if you want to be in business behave like businesses do.
So that’s what I did. My desire was to get into small event and party photography as a mainstay of a wider photography business. Following your advice, I went to a charity motorbike ride and shot the ride like I would if I was being paid to.

Nobody minded and I produced a set of photographs I was pleased with. Then I posted the set on the facebook page of the charity that held the event. A gift. Some months later I was in a motorcycle clubhouse when a lady showed me her phone saying ‘hey you’re the bloke that took this photo aren’t you?’
She had one of my photos as her screensaver, it was her and her partner. ‘Yes’ I admitted it was my photo and as a result, the lady paid me a nice fee to shoot her girlfriends Hens night.
At the Hens night was a man running games and topless male waiters, he had his own business offering such things. He was always in need of photographers he said and I was in need of work.
We easily negotiated a small fee as a starting point and I had regular work with him for about 9 months. Unfortunately, he wasn’t holding up his end of the agreement, to promote me as well as he said he would through savvy social media use and he made some other bad business decisions made our relationship uncomfortable.

Some months ago another new business in the party and events industry surfaced and I introduced myself briefly on Facebook.  Recently we had occasion to further discuss how we might be of benefit to each other’s businesses. They said they didn’t have much cash flow but they could help build me a webpage and set up my business facebook account inclusive of graphics, logos, a watermark and the like. 
There was an opportunity for me to work with them for a couple of hours and so I did for FREE. As a gift, like you said in one of your recent videos.
I did the job for them, edited the set and gave them the photos at no cost and no strings. No obligation to do anything more.  I also offered them an arrangement that might benefit them. In exchange for their offer, I offered to do 4 hours work (boots on the ground shooting time) per month for 12 months at a rate that I can afford.
Leather n Lace accepted my offer and we now have a written agreement about this deal. We now also have agreed to hourly rates for promotional events and parties (higher for parties) As their business takes off and the cash flows I will be paid good money to do the job I love. I will also have a pro level internet presence with excellent branding continuous through all areas of media.

Currently, I am on top of the world and my business career is looking bright. In large part it is due to accepting and implementing very simple but very effective business strategies outlined by you Alex  Koloskov.
For that I am extremely grateful Alex. Your words have taken me off the street, gained me meaningful contracts and work and taken my business endeavors farther and faster than I ever expected.

You rock Alex Koloskov, thank you.

Tony Martin

Freelance Photographer

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