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FORUMS Post Processing, Marketing & Presenting Photos The Business of Photography 
Thread started 26 May 2015 (Tuesday) 17:35
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memoriesoftomorrow
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May 28, 2015 00:12 |  #31

Flugelbinder wrote in post #17574163 (external link)
Understood, but one need images to backup the price range, right?

You need to be able to make the SALES and have the PERCEIVED VALUE to backup the price range. Take the domestic genres as an example... the quality of images can vary tremendously in every segment of the market.

You need to stop thinking like an "artist" and start thinking like a "businessman".


Peter

  
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May 28, 2015 00:29 |  #32

Flugelbinder wrote in post #17574134 (external link)
I'm just confused when you mention that the quality of the photography isn't relevant, which goes against everything I have read and heard, so far...

Because what is actually being said is "the quality of you photos is only one small part of doing business".

Look at Peter Lik. He makes loads of money and his images are trite, "inspirational poster" quality, pap sold as fine art. He is an amazing sales man (or his sales team are). So clearly it is possible to have a successful business if you are good at business and mediocre at photography.

The reverse is not true. It doesn't matter how good your work is if no one knows it exists because you are bad at marketing or if your company goes bust because you charged the wrong sales tax and got dinged by the IRS.

Conclusion
Keep working to improve your photography but balance that by also spending time learning about business. You are good enough when you can do bot adequately well to attract customers who will pay you enough that you make a profit.


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bumpintheroad
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May 28, 2015 00:30 |  #33

Perhaps if I answered it this way.

From a quality perspective, yes, you have what it takes to charge people money for your work. And the more you shoot, the more your quality will (should) improve.

From a business perspective, the answer depends on what you expect to get out of it. Do you intend to quit your day job and be a photographer your sole means of support? Or do you just hope to supplement your full-time work with some paid photography gigs? In either event you are still a pro photographer and get to make money doing what you enjoy. But if you want it to be your full-time job you have to work at it as a full-time job. And that means answering all the hard questions that have been asked here, and doing all things necessary to support and ensure you are able to meet income objectives. To do that you need both a business plan and a marketing plan.


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May 28, 2015 00:40 |  #34

quickben wrote in post #17574078 (external link)
Paul. I think your only mistake was to ask a question like that in this bear pit. I've never come across a bunch of people as elitist as some of the pros on this forum. I generally steer clear of this part of POTN.

Your work is very good indeed and it's very clear what your style is. It's very close to my own and there is definitely a market for it (atleast as far as I know from knowledge of my locality)

Don't look for validation here, since it means absolutely nothing in reality. Go and do more of what you're already doing very well, and hopefully you can make the step to full-time.

I sincerely wish you the best of luck.

Gary.

...I'm an elitist pro?

Seriously?

Hilarious. I'm participating in this thread to help to make sure the OP doesn't become another one of the many photography business failures. I want him to succeed. I don't want to shut him out.

The purpose of this forum is to help fellow photographers build better businesses. I told the OP that he takes good images and that there is a market for them at the price he's set for them. I said exactly the same thing that you have said. Almost literally the same words.

On top of that I've added a whole lot more advice on why simply taking good images isn't enough. He specifically asked for honest and blunt feedback in his very first sentence and he got it. If offering the advice that the OP asked for is being an "elitist pro" then I suppose that's the title I'll have to wear.


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the ­ flying ­ moose
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May 28, 2015 01:21 |  #35

Flugelbinder wrote in post #17574163 (external link)
Understood, but one need images to backup the price range, right?

That is a question only you can answer based on your location and doing your research.

Again, locally, I've seen a very poor photo be purchased for just under $500 and what I thought was a great photo, sell for $200.

There is no one magical price range that matches a skill level. It depends on what your local market is like. For example a head shot in your area might be $300 for a couple shots and in my area people would laugh me out of business for charging that. Also, if you are marketing yourself well, then a lesser quality photographer could sell for more than a good quality photographer who doesn't know anything about business or marketing themselves. The lesser quality photographer knows his market and knows what it will pay for a certain photo. He might charge half of what the better quality photographer does but he is also selling 10x as much as the better quality photographer.




  
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quickben
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May 28, 2015 02:47 |  #36

banquetbear wrote in post #17574205 (external link)
...I'm an elitist pro?

Seriously?

Hilarious. I'm participating in this thread to help to make sure the OP doesn't become another one of the many photography business failures. I want him to succeed. I don't want to shut him out.

The purpose of this forum is to help fellow photographers build better businesses. I told the OP that he takes good images and that there is a market for them at the price he's set for them. I said exactly the same thing that you have said. Almost literally the same words.

On top of that I've added a whole lot more advice on why simply taking good images isn't enough. He specifically asked for honest and blunt feedback in his very first sentence and he got it. If offering the advice that the OP asked for is being an "elitist pro" then I suppose that's the title I'll have to wear.

That's why I said "regardless of intent" in an earlier post. There's blunt, and then there's harsh and that's how you came across, to me atleast. The OP even said he didn't know what to think after reading your advice. I'm not trying to single you out by any means, and I apologize if it looks like I am, but there's an overall tone in this particular part of the forum that is often intimidating and a little aggressive. It can be disheartening to some.

As I've said, you and the other pros here clearly know your business and I would never contest any of the advice given, this thread included. However, in the first few posts in this thread, I sensed the OP was getting frustrated. Nobody really answered his question. You told him the question you thought he should be asking.

I may be wrong. It wouldn't be the first time ....


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memoriesoftomorrow
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May 28, 2015 03:08 |  #37

quickben wrote in post #17574286 (external link)
I sensed the OP was getting frustrated. Nobody really answered his question. You told him the question you thought he should be asking.

I think you'll find he was trying to get the OP to think for himself a little about what he was really asking and why he was asking it.

The problem so many people new to business have is that they get tunnel vision and focus a lot of attention on what are in fact insignificant things when it comes to business. A prime example being the OP's post which contained a whole passage about one (yes just one) potential lead. Likewise all the other bits about how many shots he takes... all completely irrelevant.

At the end of the day when reality hits, it hits hardest for people who start out without having done the basics like costings, break-even points, marketing plans etc. They are the ones who end up as fodder for the "photographers beat your depression" workshopsmongers before quitting in desperation. What is clear to me here is that it if a good thing the OP gets that check sooner rather than later. Given the nature of his responses it is clear he needed it too.

If you want harsh I'll give you harsh... any photographer who starts a business without knowing the prices and sales volumes they need to charge/make in order to be sustainable/profitable isn't ready to be in business. Costings etc are business 101.


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May 28, 2015 03:17 |  #38

memoriesoftomorrow wrote in post #17574298 (external link)
I think you'll find he was trying to get the OP to think for himself a little about what he was really asking and why he was asking it.

Presumptuous and a little arrogant.

The problem so many people new to business have is that they get tunnel vision and focus a lot of attention on what are in fact insignificant things when it comes to business. A prime example being the OP's post which contained a whole passage about one (yes just one) potential lead. Likewise all the other bits about how many shots he takes... all completely irrelevant.

Ya' gotta start somewhere !

At the end of the day when reality hits, it hits hardest for people who start out without having done the basics like costings, break-even points, marketing plans etc. They are the ones who end up as fodder for the "photographers beat your depression" workshopsmongers before quitting in desperation. What is clear to me here is that it if a good thing the OP gets that check sooner rather than later. Given the nature of his responses it is clear he needed it too.

If you want harsh I'll give you harsh... any photographer who starts a business without knowing the prices and sales volumes they need to charge/make in order to be sustainable/profitable isn't ready to be in business. Costings etc are business 101.

He didn't ask for business 101, he asked if his images were salable, in yours and other's opinion.


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memoriesoftomorrow
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May 28, 2015 03:32 as a reply to  @ quickben's post |  #39

Call it what you like.

"WHY?" is one of the fundamental questions people starting out don't ask themselves. WHY have I set my prices where I have? WHY should I chose this business model over another... the list goes on. The first check to examine what you are doing, why you are doing it etc should always be with yourself... then with others. E.g. the whole "What should I charge scenario". If you can't explain your reasoning to yourself then you have no chance of explaining it to others. That self diagnostic is incredibly important and it can prevent a large number of bad decisions ever being made.


"Ya' gotta start somewhere" - You're missing the point. Focus that much attention (and hope) on each and every enquiry and the business will eat you alive. It is a long ball game. It is about the bigger picture.

EVERYTHING is saleable... Being able to sell it, knowing where the market is for it, pricing for that market etc, etc is another matter entirely.


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May 28, 2015 03:45 |  #40

memoriesoftomorrow wrote in post #17574313 (external link)
Call it what you like.

"WHY?" is one of the fundamental questions people starting out don't ask themselves. WHY have I set my prices where I have? WHY should I chose this business model over another... the list goes on. The first check to examine what you are doing, why you are doing it etc should always be with yourself... then with others. E.g. the whole "What should I charge scenario". If you can't explain your reasoning to yourself then you have no chance of explaining it to others. That self diagnostic is incredibly important and it can prevent a large number of bad decisions ever being made.


"Ya' gotta start somewhere" - You're missing the point. Focus that much attention (and hope) on each and every enquiry and the business will eat you alive. It is a long ball game. It is about the bigger picture.

He was just giving a little background illustration. That's it.

EVERYTHING is saleable... Being able to sell it, knowing where the market is for it, pricing for that market etc, etc is another matter entirely.

Ok, what you and Banquetbear and others are saying is more than likely, very good sound advice. However, it wasn't what he asked for. He asked for some feedback on his website and the images within. Nothing more.

Basically he asked the first question, but you all answered the second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth. And berated his naivety.


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memoriesoftomorrow
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May 28, 2015 03:54 |  #41

Asking "Do I have what it takes" in any half decent photography business forum will see people giving the advice that the photography only counts for so much. In most circles you'll find the 80/20 ratio and that in the business of photography is 20% photography tops.

He is getting the answer to his question... people are commenting about both the 20% of the (having what it takes) question that relates to photography... see the answers about quality not counting for a great deal... AND people are commenting about the the 80% of what the question actually involves i.e. the 80% of the (having what it takes) question that relates to having what it takes to start/run a business.


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quickben
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May 28, 2015 04:34 |  #42

memoriesoftomorrow wrote in post #17574321 (external link)
Asking "Do I have what it takes" in any half decent photography business forum will see people giving the advice that the photography only counts for so much. In most circles you'll find the 80/20 ratio and that in the business of photography is 20% photography tops.

He is getting the answer to his question No he isn't... people are commenting about both the 20% of the (having what it takes) question that relates to photography... see the answers about quality not counting for a great deal... AND people are commenting about the the 80% of what the question actually involves i.e. the 80% of the (having what it takes) question that relates to having what it takes to start/run a business.

Again, he only asked if the images in his website were good enough to sell. Maybe it needs a little more than a YES or NO answer, but he didn't ask for a lecture on the minutiae of marketing and how the quality of his work is irrelevant.

Ok, I'm bowing out of this one. Some fights just aren't worth fighting.


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May 28, 2015 04:44 |  #43

Flugelbinder wrote in post #17572305 (external link)
...some honest and blunt feedback on both the website - http://www.paulresinap​hotography.com/ (external link) - and, maybe the most important part, do I have what it takes?

FWIW, I have bought my first camera 3 years ago. The first year and a half, I made around 2500 captures - mostly a hairdresser's bust - learning exposure and about light & shadows, the second year was somewhat of an hiatus, which I only took around 2000 and mostly of my recently born baby girl, although I have shot a wedding for a friend; and that's where I got the bug...
This year, I've been busy and I've shot a few women, a couple of guys, some corporate events, and last week a baptism.
A couple of weeks ago, I got an account with Model Mayhem, hoping to get more chances to shoot. Already have a few shots booked.
With one of the models the conversation has gone really good; she mentioned my style and how she loved the soft look of my poses. A few messages after, she told me that her boyfriend (now I know that is fiancée) was also excited about getting photographed together, and, out of the blue she mentions they will be getting married in about 6 months. In one of the messages, where we were trying to come up with a location for the shoot, as they live relatively far from where I do, I've slipped a line wondering if they would be getting married there, assuming someone will be shooting their wedding they would already have photos in that location.
The answer never mentioned a Wedding Photographer, only that the location isn't the same. I'm kind of hoping that they like my work enough to ask me to shoot their wedding... If not, at least I'll have some nice images to possibly upgrade my portfolio, which was the intention in the first place...

Just saw this post. Here's my 2 cents.

You've already got the skill. Just go out there and DO it!

Money will come and your portfolio will sort itself out with all the pictures coming in. Your website will be brimming with more excellent photos.

Charge what you think is fair. Be open to negotiate but be firm. Learn to say no.

With experience, you'd be able to identify your target group.

Good luck.




  
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May 28, 2015 05:05 |  #44

Yes I do, thank you. Very informative with lots of good advice.


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May 28, 2015 13:18 |  #45

My thoughts:

Banquetbear and others are posting business advice, not photography advice. Take your original post, and do a word search-and-replace. Replace "photography" with "guitar playing" and "wedding" with "club gig". Then re-read his and other's advice. It will make sense for a performer. But in reality, it applies to all of us.

Just my observations . . . but I could be wrong . . .


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