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Travel Portrait Session for Traveler

Shazni

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Hi Guys!!
I will be in Japan from September to November, and would love to do some freelance photography job while I'm there. The thing is, I am not sure where to advertise my service for fellow travelers there. What I would like to offer is a few hours of portrait session mainly for travelers so they will have some proper photos to bring back from their trip. The price starts at 10,000 yen per session (up to 3 hours), and photos will be given within 48 hours after the session. (^_^)
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It would be great if I can get a platform to advertise this to travelers coming over to Japan during the period i'm there :)
 

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Mike Cash

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You will be coming on a visa that allows you to work while you are here?
 

Shazni

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You will be coming on a visa that allows you to work while you are here?

Oh, not really. I will provide this service as a freelancer ;) . But, at the same time, I would love to find some permanent job here and thus, convert my visa to a proper one too.
 

nice gaijin

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Come to Japan and take photos to improve your craft. Shoot people and get their information so you can send it to them (for free), or give them your card with a flickr link or something so they can come find themselves. Offer to send prints or original/high-resolution files for a fee if anything. Do nice things for people, expand your network and your horizons. If you love photography, a trip to Japan can be a great opportunity, but you're sabotaging your own trip by trying to schedule photoshoots and looking for work.

Your pricing is somewhere in the uncanny valley between too much for people to want to spend and too little to indicate that your work and time is very valuable. Everyone has a camera these days, you'd better be bringing something to the table that doesn't make them go "I could've done that." You should also be working on your post-processing game, you're losing a lot of detail on the dark end.
 

johnnyG

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You should also be working on your post-processing game, you're losing a lot of detail on the dark end.

As for the embedded ones, +1 on that. The thumbs are better.
 

Shazni

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Come to Japan and take photos to improve your craft. Shoot people and get their information so you can send it to them (for free), or give them your card with a flickr link or something so they can come find themselves. Offer to send prints or original/high-resolution files for a fee if anything. Do nice things for people, expand your network and your horizons. If you love photography, a trip to Japan can be a great opportunity, but you're sabotaging your own trip by trying to schedule photoshoots and looking for work.

Your pricing is somewhere in the uncanny valley between too much for people to want to spend and too little to indicate that your work and time is very valuable. Everyone has a camera these days, you'd better be bringing something to the table that doesn't make them go "I could've done that." You should also be working on your post-processing game, you're losing a lot of detail on the dark end.

Hey there! super thanks for your advice. I admit I have stopped doing proper photography for a while due to other commitments, but I do feel good for coming back on this track. You're right that I need to definitely improve my craft. Sort of refresher of my photo quality if I may say so. To be honest, this trip is actually mainly to look for work. It wont be as sabotaging as I think it would. I understand the challenge well.

About pricing, indeed it needs to be right at the dot where it doesn't shift my value too much.
Again, super thank you for your insights on this! I do hope I can come up with something with a "wow" factor!
 

Shazni

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As for the embedded ones, +1 on that. The thumbs are better.

Hey there Johnny, Thank you for your kind words! That was indeed some kind of standards (or better) that I hope I can re-achieved. It has been a while since I last have a proper portraiture session. So, I really need to improve a lot within such short time. :)
 

nice gaijin

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People who aren't professional models are generally REALLY awkward when you stick a camera in their face. They either pose or freeze up, making it really difficult to get candid shots or capture the expression you have in your mind. My theory is that the best portrait artists are the ones that know how to talk to their subjects while they're shooting to elicit the right responses, so they can capture the right moment.

One of my favorite approaches is to tell a story with my model as the protagonist, and have them act things out or react to what I'm saying. I get the best expressions by making crazy stuff up.

And take your photos into lightroom or photoshop or whatever you prefer, and make multiple versions of the image to see what you can do with it. Play with curves, color balance, contrast, presets. Go to places like Graphic Design & Illustration Tutorials by Envato Tuts+ and try some of their tutorials to make your photos into something wild and eye-catching. The average subject will probably not say "I could've done that."
 

Mike Cash

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Oh, not really. I will provide this service as a freelancer ;) . But, at the same time, I would love to find some permanent job here and thus, convert my visa to a proper one too.

Then you are talking about coming here and working illegally. Not a good idea.

If you will permit frank criticism, the photos you presented look like the typical output of every amateur who bought a DSLR and kit lens and got a couple of nice comments from their friends and relatives which made them think they should be a pro. The world is littered with them. None of the photos look like anything one would expect to see in a pro portfolio. The composition is uninspired and the processing is lacking.
 

Shazni

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People who aren't professional models are generally REALLY awkward when you stick a camera in their face. They either pose or freeze up, making it really difficult to get candid shots or capture the expression you have in your mind. My theory is that the best portrait artists are the ones that know how to talk to their subjects while they're shooting to elicit the right responses, so they can capture the right moment.

One of my favorite approaches is to tell a story with my model as the protagonist, and have them act things out or react to what I'm saying. I get the best expressions by making crazy stuff up.

And take your photos into lightroom or photoshop or whatever you prefer, and make multiple versions of the image to see what you can do with it. Play with curves, color balance, contrast, presets. Go to places like Graphic Design & Illustration Tutorials by Envato Tuts+ and try some of their tutorials to make your photos into something wild and eye-catching. The average subject will probably not say "I could've done that."

You're really giving me some superb tips! I really appreciate this. I could use some time to practice and improve my photo quality and my communication towards the subjects. Super thanks for all this! :D
 

Shazni

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Then you are talking about coming here and working illegally. Not a good idea.

If you will permit frank criticism, the photos you presented look like the typical output of every amateur who bought a DSLR and kit lens and got a couple of nice comments from their friends and relatives which made them think they should be a pro. The world is littered with them. None of the photos look like anything one would expect to see in a pro portfolio. The composition is uninspired and the processing is lacking.

Well, I dont plan to make it as my main activity here, because I'm still gonna be in Japan for my vacation / break + some information gathering. It's more on utilizing my free time here with this activity whenever I can.

Ouch. the photos are really that bad eh? well I admit I may not have a pro portfolio to show, but I am confident, that I will be able to deliver more than "uninspired photos" that you saw here. Understanding my level & quality, I may not be able to compete with the professionals out there, but at least, I know I can deliver above average photos for the tourists, especially those looking for a low budget kind of photography. Everyone deserves pretty decent photos during their travels than blurry ones. :)
 

Mike Cash

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Well, I dont plan to make it as my main activity here, because I'm still gonna be in Japan for my vacation / break + some information gathering. It's more on utilizing my free time here with this activity whenever I can.

Then do it for free.

Do you really not understand that what you want to do is illegal? Or do you just not care?
 

Glenski

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What I would like to offer is a few hours of portrait session mainly for travelers so they will have some proper photos to bring back from their trip. The price starts at 10,000 yen per session (up to 3 hours), and photos will be given within 48 hours after the session.
I don't think anyone on vacation is going to take you up on a three-hour photo shoot. Even one hour is way too long. You would be cutting into their travel enjoyment.

Besides, Japanese don't really care that much for quality pics except for private studio work, like graduation pics. They are perfectly content to shoot crappy pics with their cell phones.

Your price is too high, too.

And even if you throw visa caution to the wind, are you able to converse in Japanese?

My Japanese wife agrees. She added that young people today enjoy the fun of taking their own pics. Plus, she said there is a lack of trust in someone like you offering this service.

My opinion of the embedded pics:
Not what I would pay money for, from a professional, which is how you appear if you advertise. Faces are dark, for one. The guy with the spear is an attempt at being stylish, but it fails with poor focus, and the sun should be filtered with a starburst or something similar to avoid washout.
 
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Shazni

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Then do it for free.

Do you really not understand that what you want to do is illegal? Or do you just not care?

Yeah, I might just do it for free and for fun, take time to improve my portfolio for now, as you did say the photos from this batch is pretty bad. Illegal part, it's pretty subjective though not that I don't care at all. I wouldn't want to get myself into trouble. But I do understand what you're trying to say. Super Thanks for your advice up till now! it really got me thinking.
 

Shazni

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I don't think anyone on vacation is going to take you up on a three-hour photo shoot. Even one hour is way too long. You would be cutting into their travel enjoyment.

Besides, Japanese don't really care that much for quality pics except for private studio work, like graduation pics. They are perfectly content to shoot crappy pics with their cell phones.

Your price is too high, too.

And even if you throw visa caution to the wind, are you able to converse in Japanese?

My Japanese wife agrees. She added that young people today enjoy the fun of taking their own pics. Plus, she said there is a lack of trust in someone like you offering this service.

My opinion of the embedded pics:
Not what I would pay money for, from a professional, which is how you appear if you advertise. Faces are dark, for one. The guy with the spear is an attempt at being stylish, but it fails with poor focus, and the sun should be filtered with a starburst or something similar to avoid washout.

Hey, super thanks for your input on this! You're right to say that the locals enjoy taking photos on their own, because it's personally more fun in their own terms. However, there are certain group of people (normally foreigners) who may want to have a properly group photo taken (or maybe for solo travelers / couples on honeymoon etc). So I am actually offering this to other foreign tourists instead of locals (I can converse in Japanese, but I won't say I'm at fluent level yet)

I really shouldn't use those batch of photos as my example I guess. They're not really the best I have in my portfolio after all (as I was in a hurry to get opinion on this kind of service) I didn't have much option with what's available in my PC at that time. But, since you (and others) have point it out, I do need to have better portfolios shown after all! I really appreciate your tips on the photos! :)
 

Glenski

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there are certain group of people (normally foreigners) who may want to have a properly group photo taken (or maybe for solo travelers / couples on honeymoon etc).
Personally, this foreigner would find it creepy to have someone approach me (or my wife and me) to offer to take pics of us. Way too much personal security risk there. I know you mean well, and you might find a few gullible open types, but I think this is overall a futile attempt.

And you still haven't addressed the problem of a work visa. Why is that?
 
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