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FORUMS Post Processing, Marketing & Presenting Photos The Business of Photography 
Thread started 26 Feb 2013 (Tuesday) 19:33
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Cheap Competitors - How do they do it?

 
Karl ­ Johnston
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Mar 25, 2013 12:42 |  #61
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dear god this topic is neverending, always the same bull**** year after year


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Tom ­ Reichner
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Mar 25, 2013 13:28 |  #62

kevalb wrote:
Anyway, the point here is that this area, we thrive on word of mouth. I'm never going to get started if I expect something in return off the bat.

RDKirk wrote in post #15682972 (external link)
Here in the land of capitalism and free enterprise, I have to stop and examine the statement that I bolded.

Are there really any other businesses that get started in such a manner?

Yes,

People who are hobbyist fishermen, and want to start a fishing guide service. They usually take their friends and family out for free. They often do this for a few years before they have their first paid client.

Ditto for hunting guides.

Fly-fishermen who tie their own flies. They will often give flies away to friends, family, and other fishermen they meet streamside. Eventually, they get a local tackle shop to sell their flies, and their cut of the sales does not even cover materials. After a couple years, they start charging more, and learn to buy materials in bulk so that their costs are minimized. Eventually they sell at a marginal profit. If they keep at it for years they can eventually get a business license and do it all "on the books".

Artists who are just starting out. They sell their works very inexpensively in order to make very meagre ends meet. All of their sales are via word-of-mouth. Those who stick with it eventually license a business and turn a profit.

Woodworkers. People who take forever to build a piece of furniture at home in their basement. They sell it for just enough to cover the cost of materials. Then someone sees the finished piece in the customer's home, and asks where they got it. Referral #1! When the woodworker gets the request for a quote, from the referred client, they include a small amount for their time. Now they are getting more than just the cost of materials - they may even net 2 or 3 dollars an hour for their labor! The next referral they get, they may net 10 dollars an hour. Eventually, if they stick with if for years, they license a business and start to produce some actual income!

Same thing with aspiring contractors who specialize in home remodeling projects.

Same thing with many landscape designers.

Same thing with many who sell flowering perennials to home gardeners.

Same thing with - you guessed it - PHOTOGRAPHERS!


"Your" and "you're" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one.
"They're", "their", and "there" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one.
"Fare" and "fair" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one. The proper expression is "moot point", NOT "mute point".

  
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scorpio_e
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Mar 25, 2013 13:38 |  #63

snapshot2011 wrote in post #15753365 (external link)
There is one person here who I swear takes every photo and throws them into a nik plugin and calls it a day.

Do we lock them up on an island and let them loose on themselves?

This would be my advice;)

I hate that yellow blown/pink/green out look . It is going to get dated.


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delhi
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Mar 25, 2013 13:59 as a reply to  @ post 15753643 |  #64

Cheap Competitors - How do they do it?

Easy.

Step 1 - Acquire <insert favourite affordable dslr>. Posting "X vs. Y camera" on forum is optional.

Step 2 - Take pix of everyone and everything

Step 3 - Post on Facebook to get "Ohmigosh LIKE!" responses.

Step 4 - Shop Pirate Bay for favourite Post Processing software.

Step 5 - Post more Facebook photos to get "Ohmigosh LIKE!" responses again. But with new fuzzy instagram like filters from newly acquired post-processing software. LIKE!

Step 6 - Add "Will Shoot your wedding for $300 and Baby portraits for $50. Offering $100 off when I reach 500 LIKES!"

Step 7 - Repeat and rinse.

Business Registration? www.facebook.com/Ishoo​tanythingphotography (external link)
Insurance? What's that?
Accountant? What for?
Products? Disc is all you need.
COGS? Isn't that the character from Beauty and the Beast?
Profit? I have 10000 LIKES!

I may miss something. Or maybe it is even simpler than that.


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Corbeau
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Mar 25, 2013 15:07 |  #65

Good one, delhi...

OK, quick question about the olden days: abbypanda said that a low barrier to entry can explain how we got to Steps 1 through 7 above.

But what was it like 30 years ago? Weren't there hobbyist with SLRs or low-end medium format gear that would think "Hey, I can undercut the pro"? If not, what changed?


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Luckless
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Mar 25, 2013 15:11 |  #66

RDKirk wrote in post #15682972 (external link)
Here in the land of capitalism and free enterprise, I have to stop and examine the statement that I bolded.

Are there really any other businesses that get started in such a manner?

To add to previous replies:

I don't know a single software developer who didn't do at least one free project for someone else before they had a job where they got paid.


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RDKirk
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Mar 25, 2013 15:30 |  #67

Luckless wrote in post #15754285 (external link)
To add to previous replies:

I don't know a single software developer who didn't do at least one free project for someone else before they had a job where they got paid.

I specifically referenced a bolded sentence:

I'm never going to get started if I expect something in return off the bat.

And I asked if people really start a business with the idea of "I'm never going to get started if I expect something in return off the bat."

And then I fully explained that you should be getting something in return--even if it's just a testamonial, at least be sure you get that testamonial. You should get something in return, even right off the bat, and you should be able to quantify what you get.

My daughter has started some free blogs for a couple of start-up businesses...no money, but she gets some real business blog work for her resume. That's something.

Do people really have that much difficulty reading?


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Phil ­ V
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Mar 25, 2013 15:48 |  #68

Corbeau wrote in post #15754271 (external link)
Good one, delhi...

OK, quick question about the olden days: abbypanda said that a low barrier to entry can explain how we got to Steps 1 through 7 above.

But what was it like 30 years ago? Weren't there hobbyist with SLRs or low-end medium format gear that would think "Hey, I can undercut the pro"? If not, what changed?

The last barrier to entry - knowledge.

30 years ago, self taught meant years of practice and thousands of rolls of film.

You could pay for training, but it was expensive. Advice from other pro's? If you were really lucky, you'd get taken under the wing of an old timer.

Nowadays, the internet means you can see thousands of inspirational images and start building what 'style' you want to shoot before you even buy your first camera. And there's tutorials and friendly help all over the web.

The saddest part is, when they want to know how to shoot, they'll hang on your every word. When they want to know how to turn a profit, and you tell them how it needs to be done properly, you're just getting in the way and being protectionist / you're out of kilter with what people will pay.


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J ­ Michael
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Mar 25, 2013 16:38 |  #69

30 years ago a studio might offer a low price point for a shoot, provide 'proofs' to the client, and then motivate the client to buy a sufficient dollar amount to get the proofs for free. But the same market conditions existed then as today, new people competing with established studios, although harder and more expensive to practice due to cost of film and processing.




  
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Curtis ­ N
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Mar 25, 2013 17:09 |  #70

Phil V wrote in post #15754446 (external link)
The last barrier to entry - knowledge.

Your point about the learning curve being much easier to climb today is certainly valid. If photography still meant buying, shooting and processing film, I would still be happily snapping along with an automatic 35mm (or APS) and getting prints from Walgreens.

Digital lets us practice and experiment for free, instantly see our results, and automatically keeps track of the camera settings we used.

And the learning opportunities available via the internet (including this forum) have been a critical part of the process for me.

My business knowledge, however, was obtained at the same school of hard knocks attended by my father's generation.


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DocFrankenstein
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Mar 26, 2013 02:29 |  #71

RDKirk wrote in post #15668970 (external link)
The title of the forum is "The Business of Photography." The thread is about photographers who present themselves as professionals and businesspeople. You seem to be the one in the wrong place, if you don't realize that.

This attempt to censor is just funny.

"The business of photography" needs to understand that amateurs exist.

As much as you like to imagine amateurs being idiots who can't even focus their cameras, in the real world the clients can't tell the difference. It's the failure of the business to see the obvious competition. It's easy. It's pleasant. It's fun.

People will give you competition because the profession is FUN, EASY and PLEASANT.

It's like being a male porn star. There's usually going to be some douchebag who's willing to switch jobs with you for a few hours. The "weekend warrior". He's not feeding his family with this. He's not paying the mortgage. He's there cause it's FUN. If you want to get paid consistently for what you do, you have to be visibly better.

If the clients don't see it - your superiority is all in your head... from a business side of course, but you may be a great artist.

And it doesn't matter if you

  • have been doing it since Ansel Adams was a baby
  • are willing to show up on time
  • went to school for it
  • are paying penis insurance in case something goes wrong
  • have equipment maintenance expenses
  • studied all the great masters and know their styles
  • have a dusty room full of industry memorabilia and german implements from last century


Or whatever other "reasons" pros come up with as to why the free market owes them a living with no competitive advantage.

The end result for the producer and the client is the same.

Sorry for the graphic analogies, but a lot of pros don't get it and if that's what it takes - so be it.

National Sarcasm Society. Like we need your support.

  
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Mike ­ Hoyer
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Mar 26, 2013 02:51 as a reply to  @ DocFrankenstein's post |  #72

Speaking from experience eh? :D


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DocFrankenstein
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Mar 26, 2013 02:53 |  #73

Mike Hoyer wrote in post #15756294 (external link)
Speaking from experience eh? :D

If only I lived in LA :cool:


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mobei
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Mar 28, 2013 21:52 |  #74

To the OP's question: How do they do it?

They do it because professional photogs allow them.
Professionals could eliminate better than half of the cheap photogs by calling the tax authorities as we have found. (our region) roughly half are operating outside the law.
About 2 years ago a number of the studio owners in the region decided to start notifying the tax authorities when we found people advertizing on FB etc. It wasn't a easy decision but paying the mortgage and feeding our families was more important to us. We have no delusion of ever becoming a must go to photog like a McNally, just average mid america photogs that were being undercut by amatuers doing business illegally. Well so far things are looking up, Christmas sales were up this year not quite to the levels of 5 years ago but manageable. Were waiting to see how much Sr. Portraits improve.
Cheats and criminalss survive only when not confronted.
Advice to the pros: When you sit down with your laptop at night in front of the TV, scotch in hand check out FB and other social media and send a quick email to the proper authorities. If your too lazy to do this in order to survive then don't **** when you go broke.




  
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DocFrankenstein
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Mar 28, 2013 22:36 |  #75

mobei wrote in post #15767496 (external link)
To the OP's question: How do they do it?

They do it because professional photogs allow them.
Professionals could eliminate better than half of the cheap photogs by calling the tax authorities as we have found. (our region) roughly half are operating outside the law.
About 2 years ago a number of the studio owners in the region decided to start notifying the tax authorities when we found people advertizing on FB etc. It wasn't a easy decision but paying the mortgage and feeding our families was more important to us. We have no delusion of ever becoming a must go to photog like a McNally, just average mid america photogs that were being undercut by amatuers doing business illegally. Well so far things are looking up, Christmas sales were up this year not quite to the levels of 5 years ago but manageable. Were waiting to see how much Sr. Portraits improve.
Cheats and criminalss survive only when not confronted.
Advice to the pros: When you sit down with your laptop at night in front of the TV, scotch in hand check out FB and other social media and send a quick email to the proper authorities. If your too lazy to do this in order to survive then don't **** when you go broke.

So, what exactly do you write to the RA?
What exactly is being advertised on facebook?
And what happens to the "illegal amateur" cheats and criminals?

How is facebook advertisement different from your own advertisement? Can I call the taxman and tell his to check you out a little more closely?


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