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FORUMS Post Processing, Marketing & Presenting Photos The Business of Photography 
Thread started 12 Jan 2013 (Saturday) 09:14
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My Proposed Business Plan - Feedback Wanted

 
Fettaugraphy
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Jan 20, 2013 11:31 |  #16

Addiction2k wrote in post #15511695 (external link)
I'll tell you something most would consider strange, I'm not really counting the cost of any gear I've already got as a cost of starting a business. With the exception on one lens, there isn't a single thing that I've bought "just for business" most of it is stuff I just wanted so I'm considering that a sunk cost.

Things that I'm buying now, studio lights, extra camera body, etc are things that I am only buying to run my business.

Addiction . Just to clarify, I am only looking at the equipment costs to bring it to the next level and I am not considering what I have. As you may note from my gearlist, I would likely need another body (FF) and several L lenses if I want to really compete.


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I ­ weston ­ I
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Jan 21, 2013 12:37 |  #17

Fettaugraphy wrote in post #15511859 (external link)
I would likely need another body (FF) and several L lenses if I want to really compete.

With whom are you competing? Which L lenses do you really need in order to capture the shots you want?

For portraits, you have very adequate tools with lighting being your weak point - not lenses. Don't fall into the "I need L lenses to take good pictures" group. They can definitely serve a purpose but can also be a waste of money from a business sense.


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1000WordsPhotography
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Jan 22, 2013 00:24 |  #18

I'll counterpoint. If you are finding yourself over and over again in situations where your equipment can't cut it there may be a reason to upgrade gear. I used to shoot a T3 and I lost a lot of pictures to high noise and/or low light lack of performance. But there are plenty of camera, lens and light combinations that will put you in a position to capture 90% of the pictures available to you.

While I have bought L lenses and will continue to do so its mostly because I want them not that I feel I have to have them to succeed as a professional photographer. Some of the people who've classes I've attended can make magic with a T3 and a 24-105mm so don't get caught up in the gear trap. You should not explore new gear until you have become a master of the gear you have.


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1000WordsPhotography
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Jan 22, 2013 09:33 |  #19

memoriesoftomorrow wrote in post #15519141 (external link)
It is actually a reality for some of us, not a "forum mentality". I have plenty of very dark churches that I shoot at where flash isn't allowed and I'm at ISO 4000+ at F2.0 (on a good day) or wider. My 60D looks as rough at that ISO and I wouldn't touch shooting there without a minimum of 5D MKII quality low light capability.

Isn't the other choice to shoot what your equipment allows you to shoot now? I've only been an auxiliary at weddings previously because I knew in situations where I couldn't shoot with flash my camera couldn't perform well. Until I was ready to take the plunge on a 5DMIII I just accepted jobs where I knew my equipment was good enough and worked on expanding my portfolio and my skill set. Now I have the equipment to shoot almost anything, though i don't feel I have the experience to become a single point of failure on someones special once in a lifetime day.

I don't mean to be snide, but if we get back to the original poster instead of saying "I need L lenses to compete" he can say "I'd like to be able to get some equipment that lets me do X, Y and Z but for now this is what I can do so let me do this until I can bank an amount of money from the business (not my regular job) that affords me the capability to get better equipment." Isn't that also a viable approach?


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memoriesoftomorrow
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Jan 22, 2013 09:52 |  #20

Addiction2k wrote in post #15519589 (external link)
Isn't the other choice to shoot what your equipment allows you to shoot now? I've only been an auxiliary at weddings previously because I knew in situations where I couldn't shoot with flash my camera couldn't perform well. Until I was ready to take the plunge on a 5DMIII I just accepted jobs where I knew my equipment was good enough and worked on expanding my portfolio and my skill set. Now I have the equipment to shoot almost anything, though i don't feel I have the experience to become a single point of failure on someones special once in a lifetime day.

I don't mean to be snide, but if we get back to the original poster instead of saying "I need L lenses to compete" he can say "I'd like to be able to get some equipment that lets me do X, Y and Z but for now this is what I can do so let me do this until I can bank an amount of money from the business (not my regular job) that affords me the capability to get better equipment." Isn't that also a viable approach?

"Sorry, I can't shoot your wedding as my equipment isn't good enough to cope in that venue with the restrictions they have"... That will sound great to a potential client.

You don't need L's but you need kit which is up to the job. You can rock up at a reception venue to find some of the main lights aren't working. You can think you can cope in a dimly lit church but then it is a horrible day outside and any natural light there was coming in is less than you had expected.

Basically don't think about shooting a wedding until you have the kit to handle the situations you could find yourself in as weddings have a very good habit of not going to plan.

IMHO it isn't a viable or professional approach to take on a wedding (and charge) unless you can handle the broad range of circumstances that you could well encounter on the day. It is along the same lines as having suitable backup equipment for shooting a wedding. They aren't "nice to have" items. They are essentials.

Portrait, family shoots etc you can reschedule... you can't do that with a wedding.


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1000WordsPhotography
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Jan 22, 2013 10:19 |  #21

memoriesoftomorrow wrote in post #15519673 (external link)
"Sorry, I can't shoot your wedding as my equipment isn't good enough to cope in that venue with the restrictions they have"... That will sound great to a potential client....

Memories,

As a photographer I have turned down 2 weddings by saying "I'm sorry but at this point my business isn't set up to handle that scale of engagement, but I hope I can help you in the future." The first one still booked me for their maternity photos and have since called me back about their childs christening photos. And the second one recommended me to their folks for their 40th anniversary party. I think most people will accept and respect your honesty.

I've also turned down work in other venues, as a software architect before IBM bought my business with only 100 employees I always had clients trying to hand me jobs outside of our scope of expertise or that required resources far beyond what I wanted to bring to bear. I do not believe I ever created negative impressions or hard feelings by being honest about work that was outside of the scope that my business could handle.

And I think as a part time shooter who is trying to build a business for when he retires he doesn't have to do weddings right now. He can make a good amount of income doing family and senior portraits and the like. And he can have a plan that says "OK I take a year to get a new camera and a decent lens, then a year doing second shooter work, then I book some weddings of my own." Or decide to never do weddings. Personally I don't think I'll ever shoot a wedding as the main shooter, I'll only do second shooter with partners who credit me for everything shot under my lenses.


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Fettaugraphy
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Jan 22, 2013 20:34 as a reply to  @ post 15521387 |  #22

You are all hitting on some elements of what I would like to do. I certainly will not go out and buy $10K of gear tomorrow. Would be nice but with 2 kids and private school fees to pay, it ain't going to happen. This will be a slow and gradual process hopefully with some insight from fellow POTN members.

An example of gear acquisition : I am allowed to shoot pool side at indoor competitions which luckily for me is exclusive. I can get some fairly good low light shots at high shutter speeds keeping the iso at about 2000 with the 85 f1.8. This only works well for the first three lanes. I could use something a little longer, since I prefer something hand holdable the 135L comes to mind. So if me sales are good in the next couple of months then I will look into buying.


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16-35 f4L IS, 70-200 f4 IS L , 85 f1.8 ,35mm f2 IS, Tamron 24-70mm f2.8 VC , Sigma 50 mm 1.4 art , 135 L
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Jan 22, 2013 20:46 |  #23

To the OP:

Lots of good advice here.

I give several free seminars a year to artists (photographers included) that want to take their hobby to the next level and make a business out of their passion. The seminar is called The Business of Being an Artist. I have lots of material I can share with you, but I think it would be best to discuss by phone, PM or eMail. There's just too much to post here. PM me and we'll exchange info. I serve on the Board of Directors of several not-for-profit arts organizations, mainly in the U.S., but one of them is in Toronto.

Hope I can help (yes, for free too).

Alex


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1000WordsPhotography
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Jan 23, 2013 11:37 as a reply to  @ post 15523314 |  #24

Glumpy,

Both of those last two posts were stellar, thank you for those. When you are a hobbyist and a businessman its sometimes easy to forget that these shots aren't for you. They are for the people paying you for them.

And more equipment for equipments sake is not good business sense. After reading that post I had to sit back and think. Photography for me is a sideline business but I have been buying equipment like gangbusters, however for my actual job I don't upgrade technology just because I can. I buy what increases my billability and makes me more valuable. Thanks for the reminder.


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dave ­ kadolph
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Jan 23, 2013 18:58 as a reply to  @ post 15525871 |  #25

I was trying to be PC but that seems to have been lost here.

In my little haven of less than 100,000 people 5 studios have shut down and two have consolidated.

When my burning and dodging were done in a darkroom there was a steep learning curve and a great amount of skill involved--modern gear and digital processing has changed all of that. One pass through Portrait Professional or lightroom does a better job than a skilled pro could do spending a great deal of time under an enlarger.

Bodies keep getting more capable and cheaper--instant feedback makes sure you have the shot--most of the real skill has been made obsolete.

People will not pay the long dollar for something they can do themselves--ROI means nothing if you can't produce a distinctive product.

I dragged the old gear out to shoot a quarter final game this fall for a friend whose son was playing. There were 3 parents shooting with 7D's and 70-200's. If I was working on spec the odds of making my gas money back were slim to none---even shooting with superior gear against the hobbyist because they are willing to give away their images--and they are everywhere today.

Sports Illustrated has an excellent online gallery--Take a look at shots taken in the peak of the film era--most of what was considered cover material then wouldn't make first cut today

You need to get out of the film mentality and how business was "back in the day". That ship has sailed and not coming back to port ;)


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1000WordsPhotography
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Jan 23, 2013 20:22 |  #26

glumpy wrote in post #15525871 (external link)
... I'm out to take the pics that the clients will most want to own or, the pics that will enable me to get the most money from the clients.

In satisfying those parameters, I have found that perfect technical quality is not even on the list of requirements to achieve that goal.
For the very most part, in focus, well lit and close enough to see the subject clearly are about where the clients Technical requirements start and end. :lol:

It's not a film mentality, these are the heart of Glumpy's 100% spot on point.

With all the equipment and experience I have I know I can shoot something for a client that thier friends with 7Ds can't but we should never lose sight of the fact unless we are Anne Liebowitc(sp) no one is paying for us to shoot what we want, the are paying for us to shoot what they want. And there can be a huge difference between what we think is best and what they think is best.


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dave ­ kadolph
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Jan 23, 2013 20:35 |  #27

Addiction2k wrote in post #15526239 (external link)
It's not a film mentality, these are the heart of Glumpy's 100% spot on point.

With all the equipment and experience I have I know I can shoot something for a client that thier friends with 7Ds can't but we should never lose sight of the fact unless we are Anne Liebowitc(sp) no one is paying for us to shoot what we want, the are paying for us to shoot what they want. And there can be a huge difference between what we think is best and what they think is best.

Anne is broke and pushing the iphone camera :lol:


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I ­ weston ­ I
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Jan 23, 2013 21:08 |  #28

dave kadolph wrote in post #15525989 (external link)
Bodies keep getting more capable and cheaper--instant feedback makes sure you have the shot--most of the real skill has been made obsolete.

I would say the opposite, when gear can't set you apart, it is only your talent you can rely on.

Don't tell me some soccer mom with a 70-200 is going to take the time to set up in the right vantage point and have the timing to catch their son in a perfectly timed capture of scoring a goal to win the game...

You get that shot and you can guarantee a sale, at least if you are shooting for the right crowd.

Talent >> Gear any day (provided the gear meets the minimum requirements)


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