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FORUMS Post Processing, Marketing & Presenting Photos The Business of Photography 
Thread started 28 Apr 2014 (Monday) 14:26
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When to go pro

 
jwhite65
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Apr 29, 2014 09:55 |  #31

gmm213 wrote in post #16868087 (external link)
I guess I should rephrase. When to start a photogrophy buisness? When is it worth the extra work for a formal buisness with its own insurance, marketing, and a photographer activiley seking work, possible investing in studio space and equipment

The simple answer... When you have the capability to turn a profit.


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Thomas ­ Campbell
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May 01, 2014 00:59 |  #32

There is an old sailing saying: "Only step up into a lifeboat." Meaning the main boat is already underwater, it is a last resort.

Shoot part time and build up your skill and business. When your skill & business is good enough, you will be able to leave one boat for the other. If your level is not high enough with either, you are going to get all wet. Photography is going to be a lot more difficult to make it than most careers. Don't quit the day job (or searching for a day job) until your business is running well enough to support it.


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drewl
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May 01, 2014 17:43 as a reply to  @ Thomas Campbell's post |  #33

i turned pro when it made sense to.

i'd been shooting seriously for 9 years, then started getting gigs here and there. then a client offered me a contract that allowed me to not do my other work. once i was just doing photography it was easy to grow it from there.




  
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i_am_cdn
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May 02, 2014 13:56 |  #34

80% of all businesses fail, regardless of the market demand or the quality of the product. They almost all fail for one single reason - Poor Business Practices.

Anne Geddes failed at business, she went bankrupt and had to sell the off all the rights to her photos. But she is an amazing photographer. She went bankrupt because she spent more money than the shoot would make for her.

Those posters here saying to make a business plan are 100% correct. I have been a Marketing Consultant for 25 years, and I can tell you that regardless of the business you start, if you do not have a defined market, products for that market, and a plan to acquire the customers you need to generate enough money to pay all your expenses, taxes, and then give yourself an income sufficient enough to live of of, you WILL FAIL. It is simple economics.

Sorry to say, but I also agree with the people who say the quality of your photography is not the standard to which you decide if you should go pro. I would love to say it, but the reality is many people have been very successful in markets where the quality of your photography is inconsequential to your earning potential.

Case in point is businesses who do Santa Photos in the Malls. These companies can bring in insane amounts of revenue, and deliver the crappiest photos ever, and people will wait in lines for hours to get them. I did a Business Case for one, just for fun, and I was shocked at the money that can be made doing it.

As another example the most successful burger company is McDonalds, but they are far from being what most people would consider a "Pro" burger. They make their money on shear volume and on Brand.

So to the OP, forgetting about the word Pro here, you want to know when should you start a business. My advice is as others indicated make a business plan so you know who your market is and how you will target them. Start small, while you have a safety net with another part time job. Build your business and market yourself. Make a Brand for yourself, and as your business grows along with your reputation you will find you will reach a tipping point where you can't work 2 jobs, and need make the decision. If you believe based on your Plan that the market exists that if you had more time you could get more clients and make sufficient profit to derive an income to live off full-time, take the leap.

You don't need to be full-time to be Pro, you just need to be in business, and being in business means making a profit.

just my 2 cents.


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Christopher ­ Steven ­ b
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May 02, 2014 14:14 |  #35

We might be talking past each other slightly. I still feel the pang of cognitive dissonance as I ponder this thread--no doubt largely because I have a lot to learn.

My suggestion has never been to look at the work of others for the purposes of emulation, for the purposes of being one of the crowd, as you say. I'm saying that exposing yourself, comparing yourself to the work of others often clarifies at what stage you are technically--never mind aesthetically.

We see a lot of posts from amateurs trying to break into the business who are rebuked by you, me and others. If they don't know the answers to the very basic questions they're asking (e.g. what shutter speed should I use for the wedding ?), we often retort that they don't seem to be ready to shoot weddings.

This thread seems to gently whisper to them not to give a shyte about whether or not they are actually ready in terms of understanding photography technique; and I think that's not a good thing.

memoriesoftomorrow wrote in post #16868699 (external link)
I look at it this way. The moment you start trying to compete you become one of the crowd. One of the crowd in an already massively saturated marketplace.

However when you start to view your product as being unique to you (since people can't buy "you" from anywhere else) it then becomes a simple matter of can you sell yourself and sell what you do... or do enough people want to buy/hire "you".

I have never followed what other photographers do, what they charge, what they include etc... why? Because I don't want to be competing with others. If I bring a product to market and there is limited supply of that product (as I'm the only one who offers it) price then gets determined by the demand for my product.

If you were to look at what others in the market in which you are attempting to compete with were doing the decision would be a simple one... to find another career. Given the massive failure rate of businesses in out industry along with the widespread shift from full time to part time, closures of studios etc the only decision a rational decision maker would come to would be to not enter the industry.

However if you look at whether you can sell your own product (which at the end of the day is all that matters) you may well come to a different conclusion.



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Phil ­ V
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May 03, 2014 05:10 |  #36

Christopher Steven b wrote in post #16877692 (external link)
We might be talking past each other slightly. I still feel the pang of cognitive dissonance as I ponder this thread--no doubt largely because I have a lot to learn.

My suggestion has never been to look at the work of others for the purposes of emulation, for the purposes of being one of the crowd, as you say. I'm saying that exposing yourself, comparing yourself to the work of others often clarifies at what stage you are technically--never mind aesthetically.

We see a lot of posts from amateurs trying to break into the business who are rebuked by you, me and others. If they don't know the answers to the very basic questions they're asking (e.g. what shutter speed should I use for the wedding ?), we often retort that they don't seem to be ready to shoot weddings.

This thread seems to gently whisper to them not to give a shyte about whether or not they are actually ready in terms of understanding photography technique; and I think that's not a good thing.

I see what you're saying, but the quality standard is hidden in the answer 'if there is a market for photography of the standard you produce'.

Unfortunately, there is a market for totally abysmal photography. But it's not a sustainable one. All of thiose shyte photographers will get some cheap customers, some of them will believe for a short time that they're making money. The reality of course is that they're not, and they will fail. That's the answer the business plan gives without the OP having to consider whether he's 'good enough'.


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HappySnapper90
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May 03, 2014 21:18 |  #37

"going pro" is when you license your business with your government, pay payroll taxes, business insurance, business taxes, have marketing efforts, and many other business related expenses. There's much more to "going pro" than deciding to try it has your only source of income.




  
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AZGeorge
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May 05, 2014 16:16 |  #38

I think you owe yourself the answer to some tough questions like these:

What do you want to do?

Are you looking at paid shooting and running a photo business primarily as an opportunity in itself or mostly a way of getting away from what you doing now?

How hard are you willing to work? (Would an eighty hour week be good news or bad?)

Have you ever run a business of any kind?

Does your business plan look solid to you? If you don't have a business plan prepared, why not?

How many pictures have you taken in the last six months? In what settings? How many of them would you be willing to show a prospective customer?

If you were to go a year making very little money would you and your family still be okay financially and emotionally?


George
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