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FORUMS Post Processing, Marketing & Presenting Photos The Business of Photography
Thread started 29 Mar 2015 (Sunday) 19:20
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Conversation overheard during photography Meetup

 
wanyc
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Mar 30, 2015 07:57 |  #16

You are assuming that she is asking about his sitting fee. It could just as easily be interpreted as how much will you charge me all in for me to have a finished, framed b/w portrait to send to my parents.




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BlakeC
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Mar 30, 2015 08:27 |  #17

Anything is only worth what someone is willing to pay. Beyond that, it's just a matter of personal opinion.
Sound like what it is. You overheard a conversation and it struck a nerve. I don't care either. Funny how everything has to be controversial all the time though (referring to everyone's reactions to this thread.)

Also, how are those loupes? I've thought about getting one for outdoor photography. Are they worth taking up space in a bag? How durable are they? Can they take a few knocks in a trail pack? I never knew what they were called, but knew what they were.


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RDKirk
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Mar 30, 2015 08:45 |  #18

sapearl wrote in post #17497437external link
Correct me if I am wrong, but it sounds like you are really bothered by the possibility that somebody you consider to be a fairly new amateur might make a substantial amount of money for what you feel is a relatively small amount of work. It's whatever the market will bear. Perhaps the shooter is highly qualified and does beautiful work. Or maybe the buyer will be truly disappointed paying a large sum for inferior work. It's a possible deal between the two of them and if they are both happy with it then it's a win-win.


That's what I'm hearing, too.

We don't really know what conversation went on between those two people prior to this overheard snippet. Perhaps the portrait guy had just shown the other an outstanding cell phone portfolio. We don't know.

But I do know that if another photographer approached me to do a family portrait, he or she certainly should know that "a few hundred dollars" is an appropriate expectation for anyone who can do a professional job.




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moose10101
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Mar 30, 2015 08:51 |  #19

dkizzle wrote in post #17497452external link
I am not bothered at all since portrait / wedding photography has no impact on my downline. I have no problems with free market but question the consumer who as newbie photographer willing to pay a few hundred, few means more than two (two hundred) to newbie photographer with same skill level and equipment for 1 b/w portrait.

As a landscape photographer who depends on print sales I am not bothered if someone with entry level DSLR makes money. I am shocked people are willing to pay $300 for amateur quality.

Yeah, you're bothered. Big time.

And how did you go from "I am not sure what kind of portrait photographer he was" to "newbie photographer" who produces "amateur quality"?

I guess anyone who a) doesn't use/know about that accessory you're hung up on and/or b) uses a Rebel must be an amateur.




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TheInfamousGreedo
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Mar 30, 2015 09:08 |  #20

I'm going to jump in and say that I can actually share your sentiments.

It's a passive judgment, that I don't mean to do, but I do this myself.

To clarify where I come from, at least....

The problem in this day and age is that EVERYONE thinks they are a photographer. Give someone a smartphone and access to social media and BAM, they are a photographer. Then they get themselves into a DSRL and start with a kit from Best Buy and BAM, they are a professional photographer.

To even further explain... I went to my brother's wedding two years ago; my mom was frustrated that I didn't bring my camera and I told her, A) they paid someone to do their wedding (a friend of the bride) and B) I don't do weddings and have no experience (at that time) with doing a wedding and C) I wasn't about to drag my camera gear to Wisconsin for a wedding. Of course now that I am a more avid hobbyist, I pay attention to what other people are shooting with. The lady who did their wedding was using a Rebel series with the kit lens. I was taken back, and even insulted, because here she is shooting a wedding and using the basics of basic gear. I mean at least cough up a little and rent a decent lens! You are being PAID to be there; show a little more professionalism (with gear and presence, because she did a horrible job at being inconspicuous).

So what I'm saying is that maybe it's an egomaniacal passing of judgment, but from my standpoint (of an expensive hobby), it's almost embarrassing to see people charging money for photos when they are using the bare bones basics. Put some of that money back into it and get yourself some decent gear; isn't that the point? I would be so happy if I could even just cover the cost of a trip or a lens or even a lunch through my photography, but I don't....and I know I don't because I don't advertise myself [yet] as a photographer.


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RDKirk
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Mar 30, 2015 09:12 |  #21

I know some quite adept commercial photographers who own only rudimentary equipment with which they practice and play, but rent high-end equipment to do their paid commercial work. I'm running into more and more wedding photographers who do the same.

Now, for portraits I specialize in large prints--up to 30x40. For that reason, I use a digital format that will resolve facial hair in a full length portrait at 30x40.

But if I never expected to enlarge more than 16x20, a Rebel with a kit lens will do that. There are some usability problems with the Rebel, but on the whole the difference between a Rebel and a 5DIII is like the difference between a Mamiya C330 and a Mamiya RZ67...both of which can do excellent portrait work, but it's a whole lot easier to work with an RZ.




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dkizzle
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Mar 30, 2015 09:16 |  #22

bumpintheroad wrote in post #17497510external link
I think it's possible that there are professional photographers who never look at their camera's LCD except as verification that a reasonably accurate exposure and composition has been captured. And if they specialize in portraits they might never have considered any option to the eye-level viewfinder aside from tethered shooting to a laptop or large LCD screen. While the concept of using a loupe in photography is not a breakthrough, prior to digital it was limited to inspection of negatives and transparencies or critical focus with large format cameras. And I'd also venture a guess that professional portrait photographers don't consider magazines that focus on landscape photography to be critical reading.

I only know about devices such as Hoodman and Zacuto due to my daughter's career in video. Once I discovered them I found them useful for portraits, but I might never have learned about them if I wasn't investigating gear for video.

As for $800 to shoot a wedding being underpaid, it depends on what you're offering the client. $800 to shoot a wedding and deliver a basic 12 page book could easily turn into $2,400 to deliver the final products after upselling and additional product orders. The $800 is a starting point; how many brides and parents will be satisfied with just 12 pages, especially with all that wedding gift money in the bank? If the $800 starting price gets you 40 weddings a year and after upselling you average $1,200 net per wedding, that's a pretty good income for a part time weekend job.

As for the newb Meet-Up photographer taking $200 to shoot a portrait, that sounds like a budding entrepreneur to me. Maybe a year or two from now he'll open his own studio with an established demand at $200 per sitting. That's not a bad place to be.

I did tell him that in bright situations you can read the histogram to get some idea of how picture looks. This was replied with a puzzled look. I spent 10+ mins during walkaround talking to him & we also went to the same train station at the end. He was beginner in photography, not a pro.

Snafoo wrote in post #17497632external link
I agree with others- you have way too little information to justify your shock. Perhaps the woman was well off, liked the fellow's work, and wanted to support his efforts to start up his new business. Perhaps she was attracted to him and thought $300 was a fair price for spending some one-on-one time with him. Perhaps she had read one too many admonitions to new photographers to not undervalue their work, and didn't want to appear like was price gouging. Perhaps $300 was the price she paid for her last portrait and assumed it was the going rate. Perhaps she wanted a ton of prints, possibly large ones. I could go on.

Bottom line: it was a free market transaction.

The woman offered the price herself, said she worked in non profit which was her signal to indicate she was not rich, only needed 1 small print. I dont deny that its a free market transaction, if it happens I am happy for both of them. I also consider Peter Lik's latest sale to be shocking, if true.


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TheInfamousGreedo
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Mar 30, 2015 09:16 |  #23

RDKirk wrote in post #17497854external link
I know some quite adept commercial photographers who own only rudimentary equipment with which they practice and play, but rent high-end equipment to do their paid commercial work. I'm running into more and more wedding photographers who do the same.

That I can understand; there's a time and place for certain things, mostly lenses in this case. I would love to own an array of lens, but the reality is, most of them will sit and go unused more often than they would ever see use (for me, primes).

BUT, I do have a hard time with "professionals" having ZERO "high-end" lenses in their personal quiver. Like I said, if you're making money doing it, put a little bit of that money back into it.


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BlakeC
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Mar 30, 2015 09:18 |  #24

RDKirk wrote in post #17497854external link
I know some quite adept commercial photographers who own only rudimentary equipment with which they practice and play, but rent high-end equipment to do their paid commercial work. I'm running into more and more wedding photographers who do the same.

I notice people judge by what equipment you have or what it LOOKS like you have. I had a friend make fun of a guy using a newer leica because it LOOKED like an old vintage camera. I googled the camera and showed him. His jaw dropped. lol

Besides, compare today's entry level cameras to some of the old pro cameras and what they are able to do. If you are going to judge at all, look at the result, not the equipment.


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RDKirk
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Mar 30, 2015 09:19 |  #25

The primary differences between a "high-end" lens and a kit lens are lost when you're not pushing them to their limits. I certainly prefer a constant wide aperture, but at f/8 -- which is what you're using with a family portrait--the differences are indistinguishable in a 16x20 print.




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dkizzle
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Mar 30, 2015 09:45 as a reply to moose10101's post |  #26

I spent time with the photographer to know he was an amateur. This is not an assumption, its a fact. I do not consider everyone with a DSLR to be a pro, regardless of what kind of body it is. While body & lens are important the skill of the photographer plays a role too.

This "free market transaction" does not bother me at all. I am shocked that people are willing to pay $300 for 1 portrait to just anybody with a DSLR.


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RDKirk
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Mar 30, 2015 10:13 |  #27

dkizzle wrote in post #17497893external link
I spent time with the photographer to know he was an amateur. This is not an assumption, its a fact. I do not consider everyone with a DSLR to be a pro, regardless of what kind of body it is. While body & lens are important the skill of the photographer plays a role too.

This "free market transaction" does not bother me at all. I am shocked that people are willing to pay $300 for 1 portrait to just anybody with a DSLR.

Three hundred dollars is an appropriate price to pay for a custom (that is, not sitting on a standard "X" in a picture-mill studio) family portrait, regardless who does it. Actually, it's a bottom-line price.

Even a relatively new amateur with today's tools can turn out a professional-looking portrait, albeit at a level of reliability and efficiency too low to make a living at it. If a client is willing to allow the new amateur enough misses, sooner or later, he'll score a hit, and that hit will be worth $300. The reason I charge much more is because I can do it first time 99% of the time.

"An amateur practices until he gets it right; a professional practices until he can't get it wrong."




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benji25
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Mar 30, 2015 12:24 |  #28

TheInfamousGreedo wrote in post #17497851external link
Of course now that I am a more avid hobbyist, I pay attention to what other people are shooting with. The lady who did their wedding was using a Rebel series with the kit lens. I was taken back, and even insulted, because here she is shooting a wedding and using the basics of basic gear. I mean at least cough up a little and rent a decent lens! You are being PAID to be there; show a little more professionalism (with gear and presence, because she did a horrible job at being inconspicuous).

So if I buy the same shoes as LeBron I am somehow more justified in charging people money for my basketball skills? By the same token, if LeBron was wearing sneakers would they pay him half as much because he is not using pro shoes?

90% of wedding photos (assuming you don't blow them up to large sizes for prints) would like fine coming from a rebel and decent kit lens. The 10% where it is super low light (i.e. reception) may be tough but not impossible.

If I had a budget for a wedding and I could get Joe Buissink with a rebel and kit lens or an amateur with $30k of gear I would take Joe 110% of the time.

edit: Also his/her job is not to be inconspicuous. It is to get the shots the bride and groom want. Sure if she was stopping the ceremony to pose people yes. But short of that I would bet most brides want the shot over making a little bit of noise or getting in the way of uncle Joe's smartphone shot.


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dkizzle
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Mar 30, 2015 14:45 as a reply to RDKirk's post |  #29

You are assuming that this amateur photographer had a studio which is not impression that I had after directly speaking to him about photography for a long period of time as the group walked around taking snapshots.


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sapearl
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Mar 30, 2015 14:56 |  #30

dkizzle wrote in post #17498275external link
You are assuming that this amateur photographer had a studio which is not impression that I had after directly speaking to him about photography for a long period of time as the group walked around taking snapshots.

Regardless of whether or not the person has a studio is a non-issue IMO.

Even if you perceive the cost as high, it's entirely possible that the buyer is extremely comfortable with the photographer as a person, likes his/her style, demeanor, and the way he or she presents and conducts business. There is a word for this: SERVICE. It is a mixture of the tangible and intangible and no two people are alike in this regard. Perhaps this is the thing the buyer values the most, how he feels about the potential transaction and EXPERIENCE. It's easy to buy things, but far more difficult to purchase great experiences that make you feel really good about yourself. Maybe this is the vibe the buyer is getting from the photographer.

Of course I wasn't there, and you are basing everything on a small fragment of an incomplete conversation. My thoughts are just speculation.


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Conversation overheard during photography Meetup
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