1. Andy82

    Andy82

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    Hey guys. I'm after some help and need some advice.

    I've been taking photos on and off for around 10 years. Mainly portrait type shots of my children and stuff like that. I really want to move on and start doing some paid work in the future, but my main problem is confidence. I'm shy to ask people I know and to be honest I'm struggling to find people I don't know. Like an inexperienced model to kind of collaborate with maybe to help me and him/her get some portfolio shots to help each other out.

    The next issue really is that the photos I have been mainly taking are of my kids, but I am reluctant to share them all over social media to use as a tool to get work. It's making my head hurt

    Andy.
     
  2. ancient_mariner

    ancient_mariner

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    Do you have any work colleagues you could aske to help out, offering a portrait session & images in exchange for their time?
     
  3. JohnX

    JohnX

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    Hire a model!

    Pure business.
     
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  4. MartynK

    MartynK Opting Out.

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    I think you should consider hiring an experienced model. Be frank with her. Explain that you're very new to this, lack confidence, and let her help you; rather than trying to muddle through with an inexperienced model who is likely to be nervous and awkward. That won't benefit either of you.
     
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  5. Phil V

    Phil V

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    This’ll sound harsh but hear me out.

    Grow ups!

    Shyness is more common than you’d think, there are coping mechanisms. I’ll tell you that I was exactly the same as you, and it was your problem that turned it around.

    The old adage ‘fake it till you make it’ is the formula I used. I invented a persona... ‘Phil the photographer’ and he wasn’t shy at all, he had no problems selling himself, talking to strangers etc (it’s not all easy... there are still some issues 20 odd years later), and eventually, the shy bloke has almost disappeared and the confident bloke has taken over.

    The other one... really this is where you need an adult attitude. You want to take images of strangers that you presumably will want to share... but you don’t want to share images of your family. :thinking:

    There is no logical reason for this, it’s frankly moronic, so sort it out, and I hope you’ll be sharing images with us all soon. :D

    If you expected sympathy, you’ll never make it as a businessman. ;)
     
  6. GTG

    GTG

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    When it comes to work you have to put things like that to one side.

    You are not there to make friends, you have a job to do and bills to pay.
     
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  7. Andy82

    Andy82

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    I do and I don't. Some of my work colleagues might let me photograph them, but they aren't the type really that would enjoy that sort of thing.
     
  8. Phil V

    Phil V

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    Also... if you can find it, watch the excellent program on shyness the BBC did recently with Greg Davies.
     
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  9. Andy82

    Andy82

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    I think this could work. I did look on model Mayhem but there weren't many models in my area that seemed to have updated their profiles in months. Are there any other model outlets?

    I did see a thing on YouTube where this guy went to a potrait workshop and had a chance to take shots of a model along with other people who paid to go. I thought that kind of thing could help me but I can't find any of those workshops in the Midlands.
     
  10. Andy82

    Andy82

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    I hear ya. I'm not after sympathy of any sort, just solutions to my problem, albeit a mental one really. I think it's easy to say what I should do. Even I know what I should do to a degree, Im just afraid to take the steps for whatever reason.

    As for sharing shots of my kids, they are young and I don't want to. If shoot someone of age and the consent to me sharing or are going to share themselves then it's less of an issue.

    Thanks.
     
  11. Phil V

    Phil V

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    There’s dozens of training courses and workshops, but with the greatest of respect, they’ll do you no use other than to get some portfolio images.

    If you can’t convince someone to have their picture taken for free, how on earth do you believe you’ll be able to convince someone to have their picture taken and give you hundreds of ££s?

    I’d also add if you can’t find a suitable training course, I don’t hold out much hope of you researching a market.

    I’m not trying to put you off. I’m attempting the opposite, trying to open you up to the reality of what you should be aiming for.
     
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  12. Phil V

    Phil V

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    So will all your customers be of the age of consent? If you think that your kids images on the internet is a ‘risk’, maybe pro photography isn’t for you.

    I’ll reiterate the fake it till you make it. I was the kid who literally hid behind my mums skirts. A couple of years ago I was stood on Doncaster High St trying to wrangle 100 wedding guests on the Mansion House steps on race day, whilst being ogled by a stream of ‘merry’ racegoers.

    I recently had the job of shooting headshots for a very senior civil servant who was extremely self conscious and required me to put her at ease to get the job done. This is someone who gets dragged into meetings with ministers on a regular basis, and I had to be the confident one.
     
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  13. Andy82

    Andy82

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    It's not so much the portfolio images I'd want, it would be the experience. The courses I have found are ones that teach me how to use the camera and so on. I don't really need that as such.
     
  14. Andy82

    Andy82

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    I have no idea potential customers would be. But please don't tell me I should be sharing my kids photos online. If I don't want to I don't want to. Don't get me wrong, my wife has shared the odds photo on Facebook to her friends but it's not something i wanr to do.
     
  15. Phil V

    Phil V

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    Andy, feel free to ring me for a chat, workshops are generally much less use for you than you’d believe. The ratio means that you’ll get much less interaction with the talent than you really need. You’ll only get experience by putting yourself out there. Become ‘the guy with the camera’ that people turn to when they want some photos, you’ll soon build a portfolio and get some experience under your belt.
     
  16. gremlin16

    gremlin16

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    Take note of Phil, he is absolutely right. It’s all about confidence. If you don’t find some, you will struggle. Once you find it, you can keep adding to it, and that can only lead to good things. Good luck.
     
  17. ianmarsh

    ianmarsh

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  18. GreenNinja67

    GreenNinja67

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    It's why I struggle with street photography.

    Meet me at a party and you'd never know I'm not too confident.

    Quite the opposite actually.

    But I've done paid weddings in the past. You just have to put on the "uniform" or whatever makes you feel you can do it.

    Phil's absolutely spot on.

    Pay no mind to how people post, I'm willing to bet you're not the only one here like this by a long chalk.
     
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  19. Andy82

    Andy82

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    Thanks. I know you guys are right. I definitely think that once I do it for the first time it first couple of times I'll be fine. Its just getting that first shoot done and dusted.
     
  20. Andy82

    Andy82

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    Thanks for the info Phil. I'm definitely taking what you say onboard
     
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  21. Andy82

    Andy82

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  22. holty

    holty

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    look for another way to earn money im only being honest
    im not one of these pc people who waffles on about how everyone is equal etc etc
    you need bags of confidence to be getting paid as a tog
     
  23. Dave70D

    Dave70D

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    Some very good advice for the OP, I find what helps me is... I go and find our local buskers and take photos of them then just send the shots to them, as I`d also like to get into this sort of photography like you asked about.
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2018
  24. GreenNinja67

    GreenNinja67

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    Precisely why I'm a legal IT technician
     
  25. Furtim

    Furtim

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    Spot on. I bet you already do it, perhaps not in photography, but at your day job.
    'Work' me is a very different beast to 'home' me. Wasn't always the same, just had to jump in at the deep end and learn. You need to eat and feed your family, so you do it.
     
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  26. Harlequin565

    Harlequin565

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    I'd offer a suggestion that worked for me...

    Go back to school :)

    I went to night school for photography (not a workshop, but just a "beginners" course) and had a blast. But it was the physical "going out to do photography with people who also wanted to do photography" thing. Like minded people who I got to know over the course of the... course... and became good friends with. Most colleges offer a beginners course. Go and sign up for it. If you're already comfortable with photography, that should give you more confidence. Don't see it as a learning photography exercise, see it as a "how to socialise again" exercise.

    I teach adults now. And the amount of adults who come in 1st night and are nervous and fearful is much higher than you would imagine. By week 8, they're all good friends, swapping email addresses and organising meet-ups. This sort of thing would give you a pool of people local to you who you could practise with.

    And it doesn't have to be a photography course. There are several people at our college who will do any course no matter what it is - just for the social aspect.
    Good luck!
     
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  27. Mr Badger

    Mr Badger

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    I've recently started doing some street and real-life type documentary photography (a bit of Martin Parr type stuff just for my own fun, not commercially) and I was a bit self-conscious about taking photos of strangers without their prior consent but have found the following: Pick your moments with street photography and try to blend into the background (without looking like a spy or a private detective!) and no one really seems to notice me (mind you, being middle-aged tends to help there as I find you become more invisible the older you get!).

    Secondly; turn up at a village show, car show, etc. with a professional-looking Canon DSLR, a lens with a red ring round the end (other makes are available but don't look as impressive! ;)) and a large flash mounted on top of it all, and people automatically seem to think you are a local press photographer and seem happy to let you take their photographs! The slight downside to this is that I find one or two people usually come up to me at each event and ask for photography advice or how to get started as a pro-photographer! However, I find this helps break the ice, I just explain I'm a keen amateur photographer and show them a few of the photos I've taken on the camera screen, and then have a chat with them and try to answer their questions as best I can. If you're shy, then having a quick chat about your hobby to someone and giving them a bit of advice on how to use their camera is probably a good way of getting used to talking to complete strangers. :)

    Perhaps doing something like that might get you used to talking to strangers about photography, and might lead to a client or two? Alternatively, do you have any good friends or relatives you could discuss your idea about portrait photography with? If so, perhaps offer them a free photo session if they'll allow you to use the photos to build a portfolio of work (don't forget to get them to sign model release forms though!), if you do a good job then they might recommend you to their friends (perhaps at a reduced rate to start with), allowing you to work with people who aren't really complete strangers until your confidence grows enough for you to be released into the wild? :)
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2018 at 11:20 AM
  28. Pound Coin

    Pound Coin

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    Another tack would be to get to the bottom of why you are introvert and deal with it. Using something like NLP.
     
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  29. juggler

    juggler

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    I'm fundamentally a shy, confidence lacking type too.

    Seemingly at odds with this is the fact that I've had a partial career as a performer and acrobat - and I don't think anyone would accuse me of being shy during a shoot ;)

    Confidence comes from any or all of the following
    1. Faking it
    2. Knowing that you know what you're doing
    3. Having a plan to fall back on when your brain falls out of your ears
    4. Realising & understanding that nothing bad will happen if you fail - whether that be 'fail to talk to someone, fail to take their picture, fail to.. whatever'

    Finally.. I would strongly counsel against hiring an inexperienced model for your first shoots. Hire someone who knows what they are doing,, ideally someone who is a photographer too .. lots of models are. You will have a much happier time and make much better images. Most pro models are very used to working with nervous beginners.

    If that's not an option for you then I'd suggest attending a studio day rather than a workshop. The format of these is such that you get all the assistance you need from the studio owner for a couple of hours and a model, but it's not a taught session.

    PurplePort is a good place to find models & studio days.
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2018 at 2:41 PM
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  30. juggler

    juggler

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    Another thought occurred to me.. most of the work of running a photography business is running the business, not the photography, and a huge part of that is sales and marketing.
    It sounds as though you'll struggling without some sales training.
     
  31. Furtim

    Furtim

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    Most people oscillate between both depending on the circumstances and it's all about comfort zones.

    I'm as 'shy' as they come. When I started work as a programmer, I had to do a presentation to 30 or so people some months in, and I literally lost weeks of sleep stressing over it. I was an absolute wreck with the anticipation, but I survived. It wasn't brilliant, but it got done. For the next few years, they got a bit easier, but I'd still lose sleep for days if not weeks - but it was something I needed to do, so I did it. I was in awe at some of the senior people who just excelled and made it look so easy, and totally jealous of the ease at which they 'performed'.

    Roll on 20 more years and I regularly end up speaking to 100's of people with little or no preparation and I don't even break into a sweat most of the time :) Why?
    • because there's no longer a novelty factor to get my heart racing - the old flight/flight principle; this is normal now, so no need to panic.
    • because, generally, I know my subject well. I'm confident that what I'm saying is (probably) right, and I know I can field those odd questions (usually!)
    Does that mean I could command the attention of 100 guests at a wedding with ease? Lord no. That would be a whole new set of skills and I'd be back to the gibbering wreck if I jumped in that particular 'deep-end', but I am confident that anyone, given the right attitude and time can get there - shy or not.

    All you need to do is get out there and try. There are absolutely no consequences of failure in this case which is both a blessing and a curse. It's a curse because equally there's no real imperative forcing you to do this, so perhaps don't bother, but the reality is if you do, nothing bad will happen, so give it a go.

    As others have said, hire an experienced model for a few hours. Explain from the start that this is a bit of a learning journey for you and be realistic in your expectations. Look on purple port, should only cost a few bob for a couple of hours portrait shoot.
    Then repeat, repeat, repeat and you'll get there.

    Shyness is an asset not a weakness providing you know how to catch yourself and stop overthinking :)
     
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  32. ABTog

    ABTog

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    You're certainly not the only shy photographer, I'm shy too.
    There's plenty of good advice here, but I'll add another suggestion.

    Try a stranger portrait project. Go out on the streets with your camera, spot a stranger, say hello, ask if you can take their photograph and if they agree, then take a portrait (not a snap, a portrait), thank them, ask them if they'd like to see it or if they'd like it emailed to them (lots of people want cool profile pics for social media) and move on.
    There's one project called "100 strangers" where the challenge is to photograph 100 people, but it's not a race, it's a means to learn as you go. Check it out on Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/groups/100strangers/
    About half the people in that group would call themselves shy or introverted.
    Each time you photograph another stranger, you learn and you build up your confidence and so long as you're asking their permission (make clear you're not selling the images) then they can go online and in your portfolio.

    The decision to share images of your kids is your own, but you might need to revisit that especially if you're expecting other parents to allow you put images of their kids in your portfolio.
    But having photos of kids in your portfolio is only relevant if you want to offer your services to families.
    (btw I do share some images of my kids on flickr and my public facebook page, but not all. Some remain for family and friends only.)
     
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  33. Cagey75

    Cagey75

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    I did a presentation on anxiety last year, I'm certainly no expert, I had to do my research of course. But I have family members who suffer bad from it, one being my own daughter who has special needs on top. I too suffer from it at times, though anyone who knows me would never believe it, they think I am confident and pretty strong minded. I have learned to deal with it in steps, only as they arise.

    The advice here may seem harsh, but it's correct. Anxiety doesn't exist without you creating it, that is the first thing you need to recognise. Realise that you only need be in control of the short time that has just passed, and a short time ahead, over thinking is the enemy most of the time. Don't try to take in too much at once, even advice, but try and learn to overcome little pieces of your fears each time.

    As for using images of your own kids to advertise, if you don't do this, then you are failing from the off! Trust me, predators and weirdos are not waiting for you specifically to upload a nice portrait of your children before pouncing. The chances of them ever coming across them are about your chances of winning the lottery. It's not as if you're about to share photos of your children in the bath, or even in their pajamas [though, there isn't anything wrong with this] - You will only share set up portraits, professional quality, and only of interest to other families who you hope will want the same for their kids or relatives. Clients will not care if you are a chatter box who never shuts up and full of life, or quiet and shy, once you are pleasant to deal with and produce the quality they seek.

    Best of luck with it, one step at a time. Decide on some images to show off first up I would recommend. Then move to extended family, invite them to sit for you and add those images to your portfolio.
     
  34. Livin The Dream

    Livin The Dream

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    Some very sound advice throughout here and won’t add to the debate regarding your own personal struggle. I was going to touch on the above but this really sums it up for me. I'm very mindful of sharing certain family content myself and you'll only find relevant material of my family that is open for most, purely for photographic reasons. I keep the regular snaps for just immediate friends and family. I don't really play the social media game much but you should be utilising your best pictures to help what you wish to achieve. One big consideration though with this: if you want friends to realise that you're open to selling your services, then you need to be open and say so. Before I started doing a few shoots, people just assumed that I was just sharing pictures of my daughter, the subliminal message wasn't clear. Even my brother-in-law nearly turned an opportunity down for me when someone saw a studio shoot and said they'd like their daughter photographed in the same vein, he just assumed I was happy being a hobbyist. Just be up front and open from the off. Your best bet is to work on a mini portfolio and go from there. Some sort of dedicated social media page is a clear message and doesn't confuse anything. I've decided myself that, a little like you, I want to do some more but need to work on a body of work that isn't completely dominated by family members. I currently only have my general use Flickr page and so plan to have something else by the end of the year. Feel free to have a browse of what I share on my Flickr page, there's plenty hidden in the background of my daughter larking around that I don't want seen by the general public.

    One last point, showcase work that you want to be doing. So if it is children photography that interests you, then you may well have some content of your own to utilise. Identify the holes in your portfolio and work out how to fill them. I have one friend that I still wish to use, but in a certain manner and will be after the summer. There’s a couple of children of a certain age etc that I’m going to have go and either pay to get the pictures or trade as my circle of friends can’t assist me.
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2018 at 11:07 PM
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  35. swanseamale47

    swanseamale47

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    Rhod Gilbert did one too.
     
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  36. Phil V

    Phil V

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    :oops: :$
     
  37. wilt

    wilt

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    I would be shy and socially awkward but I love portraiture. This isn't easy when I crap myself days or weeks before the shoot. I talk myself out of jobs (paying and TFP). I find it so much easier shooting with a photographer mate, I find I'm far more comfortable and confident. We bonce off each other with ideas and the stress is far less.
     
  38. Ed Sutton

    Ed Sutton

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    Lots of helpful advice for the shy and introverted, but nobody has asked why the OP feels the urge to do paid work as if it's the obvious next step after gaining a certain level of experience.
     
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  39. Phil V

    Phil V

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    I stopped asking this question years ago. I’m taking it for granted now that a given percentage of people who pick up a camera assume that the obvious outcome is to make money with it.

    The obvious fact of course is that ‘running a business’ and ‘taking photographs’ is a Venn diagram with such a slim overlap that from a distance the sphere’s would appear to not touch. But some people don’t see it that way
     
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  40. Bollygum

    Bollygum

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    I was in this position some years back. I was moving towards early retirement (sick of my work) and photography was becoming an important part of my life.

    Friends would suggest I become a professional photographer for no better reason than I seemed to take ok photos. I was complimented, of course, so I did think about it.

    I came to the conclusion that working to get paid as a photographer would just force me to do things I didn't want to do and, as the money I made from it was likely to be trivial, it would just pile a whole lot of negatives onto a very enjoyable hobby.

    There is absolutely no reason that you can't move to the next level of photography and still be an amateur.

    That was the decision I made and I have never spent any time or effort on selling my photos or changing what I photograph to suit perceived customers.

    As luck (and there is always luck in these things) would have it, I now get a lot of requests to sell photos and time-lapse, do presentations and exhibitions, run courses and travel overseas to assist with photography in some very unusual places. I suspect that a fair amount of this is luck. One observation that I have is that while being paid does give me an initial boost (they're paying me so I must be good), it is quite short lived and hollow (I don't absolutely need the money as I was retired).

    What I really enjoy is the presentations, courses, exhibitiond and travel as these provide direct feedback by real people, rather than internet email.

    In the OPs case, I would think that the feedback would be in the photo sessions, not in the handing over of money.

    I had a friend who liked (strange but true) doing wedding photos. He did it unpaid for friends until the demand got so great that he started charging to reduce the numbers. There was still too much demand, so he charged more until he was earning more from the wedding photography than from his day job. So, he became a professional wedding photographer.

    I think the main point I am trying to make is to make sure you stick to the photography that you really enjoy. If you get lucky, you will also make money out of it, but if you dont, you will still enjoy your photography.
     
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