It's been about a month since my last post, and today I launched my Indiegogo campaign to raise some money to get some new equipment. I've been needing to upgrade for quite awhile, especially as I take on projects that I can do but I wish I had better equipment for. I always want to get my clients the best product possible.
I've been so humbled by the truly incredible amount of support in the FIRST DAY of campaigning by friends and family, but one of the most astounding assets to my campaign was a stranger who brought up a valid question. One that probably many people are thinking, so I think it's fair to answer it in a forum that is both professional and easily accessible.
They asked: Why should I fund donations for a for-profit company?
In all technicality, my business is not actually for-profit. Last year I made LESS than $0 (funding most of my work and gear out of pocket from my "regular" day job). As of this year, I'm ALMOST at $0 (or breaking even). I donate a lot of time, resources, and out-of-pocket money towards my business so that I can continue to offer competitive pricing to the clients that I do have. I want this to be a viable, full-time business someday, but in order to do that I need the right equipment, I need a larger client base, and I need to quite honestly focus more efforts and resources on marketing, some classes to update my skills, and some props for some really exciting new projects this year.
I do what I do because I LOVE to make people happy. I'm not in this for the money. I'm in this for YOU. I'm in this to offer my clients a higher standard, a better quality service, at the SAME price. I don't want to have to raise my prices exorbitantly just so that I can buy new gear. That doesn't seem fair to the people I'm supposed to be helping. Supporting my community by doing something I'm good at - that's what is important to me.
I don't have enough space to post this on my Indiegogo campaign, but here are the items I'm raising money for, and why I'm looking for $8000 in funds.
Canon 5D Mark III - $3400
Canon 6D - $1749
2 Pack LP-E6 Batteries for Canon 5D Mark III - $29
Battery Grip for 5D Mark III - $99.95
Battery Grip for 6D INCLUDES 2 replacement batteries - $74.99
Strobe lighting kit - $215
Software upgrades - $480
Materials for DIY Kino lights - $400
Memory Card for Canon 5D Mark III 64gb extreme compact flash - $146
Memory Card for Canon 6D (Extreme 64 GB Class 10 SDXC) - $65.56
Adobe Classroom book series - $37.79
Muslin Backdrops White/Black 10' x 20' - $41.69 each ($83.38 total)
Some marketing costs for this year (business cards, posters, gallery fees) - $500
Other (maintenance and props) - $720
I have invested so much of my own money, out of pocket, to building my business. I work a full time job and this is only my side job. One of the biggest questions I imagine I will receive is this - why in the heck do you need THREE cameras? I use fixed lenses, which means they do not zoom in or out. They are much higher quality and have much better glass which means a far sharper image. I've invested in all of the fixed lenses I want, on my own, out of pocket. But in order to use these effectively at events (think - weddings!) I need gear that can accommodate all of them at once, which means most often carrying at least three cameras around with me. I do that now, too, although I am using much lower-quality gear - A DSLR Canon Rebel and and a SLR 35mm Canon Rebel. They work, they do, but I would love to have the equipment to go above and beyond what my clients expect.
I also donate a lot of time and money to other small businesses across New England. I've spent time particularly with authors, one film business in particular, and quite a lot of other entrepreneurs. I like to see people succeed, and if I can help them do that, all the better.
I don't want anyone to think that I'm taking advantage of them. I want everyone to know that I am being as transparent as possible. I wouldn't be asking for money from strangers if I thought I could make enough profit to do it myself. But as Amanda Palmer said in her Ted Talk, there's nothing wrong with asking for a little help.
If you're interested in checking out the campaign, you can do so at this link.
I'm normally pretty reasonable when it comes to packing for a trip, often able to pack into a single carry-on for a weeklong trip. When my husband and I travel together, we use one suitcase and pack as much into that as possible.
With the exception, of course, being our electronics. We have a lot to bring on trips, mostly because I insist on bringing every single piece of photography equipment I own with us. That's a bit of a stretch. I don't bring my light kit. That's too much.
The list of equipment that I bring on a trip, however is as terrifying as it is hilarious. Check it out:
I'm also all about portability, so while I have to carry all this gear on the plane with me, I still have to document all of the in-between moments. I don't get really excited about having my camera out and having to put it back... and get it out again. I've been playing around for awhile with ways that I can keep my gear on lock-down but still have something to use.
Which is why when I first saw the CamKix Universal 3-in-1 lens kit for smart phones, I squealed. I'm not proud of it, but I squealed, and then I did a brief (but animated) happy dance. It's not in any way a miracle transformation for my iPhone 5 camera, but it certainly adds both flare and interest to photos that can otherwise stagnate, and it's fun. I also downloaded the VSCOcam app for my iPhone, after a suggestion from a brilliant photographer (who also happens to be a fantastic friend). The app is free and comes with some basic editing options, which you can add to (careful, fees occur here!) if you want to. I find it a really awesome and portable way to photograph and edit right from my phone - which is really what I like to do when I'm just taking snapshots. For me, it's a much better and affordable option than to buy a new point and shoot - I already had the iPhone, so why not utilize its capabilities? I do NOT recommend getting an iPhone JUST for this portability option. If you don't have a smartphone, go for a good point-and-shoot. I'm particular to the Sony point and shoots - they've always blown me away with their capability and the image quality. Personally, I like the Sony Cybershot, but if you're looking for a newer option, go with the Sony DSC-WX300. At around $300 it's cheaper than an iPhone 5 and you get much better image quality.
This week, my husband and I are headed to Phoenix, where I'll be doing an engagement shoot for one of my best friends. But we'll also be wandering, exploring and most importantly, we'll be visiting the Grand Canyon! While I'll most certainly bring one of my DSLRs with me to the Grand Canyon and I'll definitely be using them for the engagement shoot, the rest of the time I'll be carrying my handy little iPhone around to document ALL THE THINGS.
Because that's how I survive without breaking my neck all the time.
Cheers to you all! Happy photographing.