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FORUMS Post Processing, Marketing & Presenting Photos The Business of Photography 
Thread started 05 Jul 2015 (Sunday) 19:49
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Anyone ever feel burnt out (business)?

 
JeremyKPhoto
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Jul 05, 2015 19:49 |  #1

Have any of you ever decided to do photography as a business and later decided you didn't enjoy it?

I absolutely love photography, but I guess it lost it's fun factor after I stopped doing it for myself with my own ideas, and started doing it for other people. All I really seem to do anymore are family photos... and I honestly can't stand doing them.


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EOS-Mike
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Post edited over 3 years ago by EOS-Mike.
     
Jul 05, 2015 23:38 |  #2

Wow. I just came here to post a similar thread and saw yours. I wasn't going to ask it as a question, however. For me it's more of a final decision.

I'm quitting portrait photography for money. I really don't like it anymore.

I do love portrait photography and event photography, but no longer am I doing it for pay. It's just not as fun as I thought it would be (doing it for money), and it zapped my spirit.

If others enjoy it, great. That's wonderful. I have a friend who does very well with it, produces great results, and never gets burned out. I hope she keeps on building her business. She deserves her success.

As for me, all it took was one bridezilla to really seal the deal. I had a local person contact me through Facebook asking me to do a wedding. I really didn't want to do it (because I never had, other than a renewal of vows ceremony that I did for free a few years ago). So I said yes because they were in a bind (it was put together in just a few days. Bride was starting to show--you know what I mean) and they needed to get that wedding done ASAP. I was told, "Very informal. No pressure." Well, that was from the organizer (a friend of the groom).

The job went well and I got all the key shots. I went above and beyond (especially considering the very modest fee I charged for the "one hour" wedding that would be "casual" in the park. My photos are really good for the price they paid. But the wedding wasn't casual. He showed up in full military dress and she had on a really nice wedding dress. Plus, that hour turned into several (this I knew would happen).

However, the part that put me over the edge and made me decide to quit (well, quit my current business model) is that the bride won't leave me alone. I swear she must have a photographic memory of every single shot. I promised them 50-100 quality shots, and I gave them about 180 in an online folder. But she kept asking, "did you get this shot" or "did you get that shot?" It's like she remembered every single shot we took.

My hourly, after all this work, has diminished to the point that I'm over it.

Thank goodness I finished all my jobs. I am clear. And I met a goal in under of year of paying off thousands of dollars in equipment I grabbed off Amazon for my business. The idea was to buy my dream setup (full frame 6D and lenses, strobes, etc.) and pay them off within the 18 months I had interest free. I cranked out the jobs, got really good reviews, and then the jobs kept pouring in. I had it all paid off in about a year, which is great. Now I own a bunch of good gear.


SOOO.... now I'm dropping the events and portraits in favor of doing what I want to do: Sell my photos online. And frankly I don't care if they sell. I have a really good day job with benefits and am not interested in working for anyone using my camera. They (the customers) don't seem to get how seriously difficult it is to get the shots right, process them correctly, and not mess up. And they have a lot of demands. I get that. They are customers and I always met the demands without complaint (to them).

That's my rant. After doing it professionally for about five years now (part time, never full time), I'm going back to just doing it for free and producing art that may or may not sell (but will make me happy and me others happy who I give work to).

On a positive note, I have met a lot of cool people along the way and gotten some cool photos.

But my real passion is getting photos of actors and set locations, all for my own enjoyment (not paparazzi stuff, but portraits up close by permission).

From now on I'll do all of it on my terms, even if I have to use my day job's money to buy gear. I'm an artist, not a businessman. That's just me and is not meant as an opinion on what others do.

Some of the stuff I did for pay (which was pretty good money): Engagement photos, one wedding, seniors, families, and more. I don't regret any of it (not at all), but I am done. I'll have some cool stuff to fall back on for my portfolio if I ever need to do it again (which hopefully won't happen).

This is a small example of what I did for pay.

IMAGE: http://fairbanksfamily.smugmug.com/Portraits/Daniel-and-Jessica/i-bMhLdM2/0/XL/IMG_2466-3-XL.jpg
IMAGE LINK: http://fairbanksfamily​.smugmug.com …MG_2466-3-XL.jpg&lb=1&s=A  (external link) on Smugmug

IMAGE: http://fairbanksfamily.smugmug.com/Portraits/Daily/i-RxFZ37p/0/XL/IMG_0218-XL.jpg
IMAGE LINK: http://fairbanksfamily​.smugmug.com …/IMG_0218-XL.jpg&lb=1&s=A  (external link) on Smugmug

IMAGE: http://fairbanksfamily.smugmug.com/Portraits/Silberts/i-QbZk2xJ/0/XL/IMG_6338-XL.jpg
IMAGE LINK: http://fairbanksfamily​.smugmug.com …/IMG_6338-XL.jpg&lb=1&s=A  (external link) on Smugmug


IMAGE: http://fairbanksfamily.smugmug.com/photos/i-35gDd4Q/0/XL/i-35gDd4Q-XL.jpg
IMAGE LINK: http://fairbanksfamily​.smugmug.com …i-35gDd4Q-XL.jpg&lb=1&s=A  (external link) on Smugmug

IMAGE: http://fairbanksfamily.smugmug.com/photos/i-tdZ3bjb/0/XL/i-tdZ3bjb-XL.jpg
IMAGE LINK: http://fairbanksfamily​.smugmug.com …i-tdZ3bjb-XL.jpg&lb=1&s=A  (external link) on Smugmug

Back to my passion: Actors and free portraits along with landscapes and architecture (and some macro and such).

I especially like meeting and (trying) to make friends with some of the actors in the Atlanta area (mostly Walking Dead actors and Under the Dome). These pics mean more to me than anything else I took over the years. It's a rush to get access to events and shoot portraits. I give them away and I get to hang out with the celebs when they are in the Atlanta area. Very fun.

IMAGE: http://fairbanksfamily.smugmug.com/photos/i-NKFxJ4z/0/XL/i-NKFxJ4z-XL.jpg
IMAGE LINK: http://fairbanksfamily​.smugmug.com …i-NKFxJ4z-XL.jpg&lb=1&s=A  (external link) on Smugmug

IMAGE: http://fairbanksfamily.smugmug.com/photos/i-MmZGJ2g/0/XL/i-MmZGJ2g-XL.jpg
IMAGE LINK: http://fairbanksfamily​.smugmug.com …i-MmZGJ2g-XL.jpg&lb=1&s=A  (external link) on Smugmug

IMAGE: http://fairbanksfamily.smugmug.com/photos/i-LHtVDGT/0/XL/i-LHtVDGT-XL.jpg
IMAGE LINK: http://fairbanksfamily​.smugmug.com …i-LHtVDGT-XL.jpg&lb=1&s=A  (external link) on Smugmug

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Littlejon ­ Dsgn
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Jul 06, 2015 08:53 |  #3

I have yet to get burned out, however I am running this as a second job, I do my day job from 6am-3pm M-F and do my photography on the weekends and evenings. Currently doing well enough that my wife stays home and works on the business while I am at my day job. We do Seniors, Weddings, Family, and out of a separate business boudoir, swimwear and "girls with cars/bikes". I have yet to work at a job that is fun all the time. So for me its not about the fun factor its about the not working for a large company and getting to be our own boss. Our goal is to have it be full time for the both of us in the next few years and I think we are well on our way. We have exceeded the goals we have set for the year and its only July.




  
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BlakeC
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Jul 06, 2015 09:24 |  #4

Charge more until it is enough to make you happy doing it! It's a side job, you can also just say no. If you don't like it, don't do it. ;)

I do this for a side job as well. I started getting annoyed and bored with family photos too. So, I started charging more. Now I get a much better caliber of clients. I don't do as many but when I do, it's worth and I have fun now.


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Littlejon ­ Dsgn
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Jul 06, 2015 09:52 |  #5

BlakeC wrote in post #17622417 (external link)
Charge more until it is enough to make you happy doing it! It's a side job, you can also just say no. If you don't like it, don't do it. ;)

I do this for a side job as well. I started getting annoyed and bored with family photos too. So, I started charging more. Now I get a much better caliber of clients. I don't do as many but when I do, it's worth and I have fun now.

The right amount of money can make almost any job "fun" or at least "worth it"




  
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BlakeC
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Jul 06, 2015 09:58 |  #6

Littlejon Dsgn wrote in post #17622440 (external link)
The right amount of money can make almost any job "fun" or at least "worth it"

Exactly! lol... Not the ideal solution. I'm not saying over charge until you are happy. Just saying that the OP could be charging too little and feels it is not worth it. I felt that way. Like I was ripping myself off. I had a ton of business but it was all of those people who don't see the value in paying for good photos and are only hiring me because I was cheap. These same people would rather have "Uncle Bob" do it for free.


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Littlejon ­ Dsgn
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Jul 06, 2015 10:02 |  #7

BlakeC wrote in post #17622449 (external link)
Exactly! lol... Not the ideal solution. I'm not saying over charge until you are happy. Just saying that the OP could be charging too little and feels it is not worth it. I felt that way. Like I was ripping myself off. I had a ton of business but it was all of those people who don't see the value in paying for good photos and are only hiring me because I was cheap. These same people would rather have "Uncle Bob" do it for free.

Along those same lines, nothing feels better then getting a booking right after you raise your prices either. Just did that for our weddings, less then 24 hours later got another booking for almost double what that package was listed at the day before.




  
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BlakeC
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Jul 06, 2015 10:07 |  #8

Littlejon Dsgn wrote in post #17622452 (external link)
Along those same lines, nothing feels better then getting a booking right after you raise your prices either. Just did that for our weddings, less then 24 hours later got another booking for almost double what that package was listed at the day before.

Perception of value right there! Just gotta be careful that you manage your expectations. Price plays a big role in managing those expectations.


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Northwoods ­ Bill
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Jul 06, 2015 12:00 |  #9

I had really just begun down the road of a second business. I have built my other business to the point that it is a lot less stress than it used to be. I noticed I was going home from the photography business all stressed. So..... Bye Bye photography business! I am back to shooting for fun - what I want, when I want!


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EOS-Mike
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Jul 06, 2015 12:38 |  #10

Part of the reason I'm also going to more of the art side is that I get offers to buy my photos (the ones I choose to take), especially if they are of town I live in or the actors I get to shoot occasionally.

One business model I'm hoping to develop is portraits of fans with celebrities. This is common at conventions, of course, and for the photographer it's relatively easy work. You simply get a subject to stand for a minute or two while you get the light and settings just right. After that it's just click, chimp, and on to the next customer.

I've recently been shooting the meet & greets with celebrities from The Walking Dead, and am about to propose a plan to the people who invited me to help out.

First, they started doing these meet and greets for fifty dollars a person. The fan walks in the room, shakes hands, gets an autographed print, and then hands his or her camera (usually a phone) to an attendant who takes a photo of the celebrity and the fan. Then the attendant hands the camera/phone back to the fan and the next fan enters the room.

So one day I heard they were having one of these events and I went. I saw a big line waiting to meet the actor (laurie Holden from The Walking Dead) and I yelled, "How about a photo for the newspaper?"

The big crowd was enthusiastic, so they all smiled and waved for the camera.

IMAGE: http://fairbanksfamily.smugmug.com/photos/i-GCQvrJ8/0/XL/i-GCQvrJ8-XL.jpg
IMAGE LINK: http://fairbanksfamily​.smugmug.com …i-GCQvrJ8-XL.jpg&lb=1&s=A  (external link) on Smugmug


Some of the crowd asked which newspaper would have the photo and I said, "I'll submit it to all the local papers." There were 250 people in line paying fifty bucks each. My mind started working numbers.

Then, I went in the back door to the event, got up my nerve, and said, "Hi, I'm here to take pics for the local papers." The organizers asked, "Who are you with?"

I was nervous but had to play it honest and cool, so I said, "I'm not affiliated with any of the papers. I'm freelance, and I submit photos of interest to them and they occasionally publish them." All that is true, but usually it's a bridge, flowers, or something that is kind of random around town.

They let me in and said I could take some press photos. So I did.

This photo (along with the first one shown on this page) were published in a couple local papers after I submitted them along with a few lines of copy (story). The actress (Laurie Holden of The Walking Dead) is in the middle and the organizers on her outside.

IMAGE: http://fairbanksfamily.smugmug.com/photos/i-VpgxZrf/0/XL/i-VpgxZrf-XL.jpg
IMAGE LINK: http://fairbanksfamily​.smugmug.com …i-VpgxZrf-XL.jpg&lb=1&s=A  (external link) on Smugmug


One of the organizers mentioned to me that there would be more meet & greets the following month, and I took that as a very informal, tentative invite.

As the dates for the next celebrity meet & greets came up, I emailed the organizers and tried (as smoothly as possible) to get another invite. They agreed.

None of this was for pay. It was all pretty much a back scratching kind of thing.

Another from a different day and celebrity (Scott Wilson from The Walking Dead in the middle with a bunch of employees).

IMAGE: http://fairbanksfamily.smugmug.com/photos/i-M7tVrHB/0/XL/i-M7tVrHB-XL.jpg
IMAGE LINK: http://fairbanksfamily​.smugmug.com …i-M7tVrHB-XL.jpg&lb=1&s=A  (external link) on Smugmug


So it got me thinking: People want a photo with the celebrity, and I figure I could save them time and make myself money (without cutting into their profit) by doing the photos.

Right now the fan/customer hands his or her camera to an attendant, as mentioned. The attendant has to figure out how to use the camera and often the fan has to step forward, show the buttons, etc., and then the attendant shows the fan the photo and the fan usually says, "thanks" but sometimes wants a retake.

My thought was that if I have a modest setup (just need one strobe, umbrella, tripod, etc.) then the fan can get a professional photograph that has the correct white balance, no noise, and is sharp.

My plan (which I need to finalize and submit) would either give me a small fee per photo (say, $5--that would translate to about a grand for the day). While this might seem to take a grand from the organizer's profit, it might be worth their while because they could get more people signed up (I can save them a lot of time).

Another thought was to take a pic of each fan and they can go online and order from me for, say ten bucks or so (digital download) as an option and still use their own phone/camera if they like.

None of their phone pics come out near the quality of a proper portrait.

IMAGE: http://fairbanksfamily.smugmug.com/photos/i-c59tDvv/0/XL/i-c59tDvv-XL.jpg
IMAGE LINK: http://fairbanksfamily​.smugmug.com …i-c59tDvv-XL.jpg&lb=1&s=A  (external link) on Smugmug


So, there is always an opportunity, if you look around, that can satisfy your own wants along with the wants of others.

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BlakeC
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Jul 06, 2015 12:48 |  #11

EOS-Mike wrote in post #17622594 (external link)
Part of the reason I'm also going to more of the art side is that I get offers to buy my photos (the ones I choose to take), especially if they are of town I live in or the actors I get to shoot occasionally.

One business model I'm hoping to develop is portraits of fans with celebrities. This is common at conventions, of course, and for the photographer it's relatively easy work. You simply get a subject to stand for a minute or two while you get the light and settings just right. After that it's just click, chimp, and on to the next customer.

I've recently been shooting the meet & greets with celebrities from The Walking Dead, and am about to propose a plan to the people who invited me to help out.

First, they started doing these meet and greets for fifty dollars a person. The fan walks in the room, shakes hands, gets an autographed print, and then hands his or her camera (usually a phone) to an attendant who takes a photo of the celebrity and the fan. Then the attendant hands the camera/phone back to the fan and the next fan enters the room.

So one day I heard they were having one of these events and I went. I saw a big line waiting to meet the actor (laurie Holden from The Walking Dead) and I yelled, "How about a photo for the newspaper?"

The big crowd was enthusiastic, so they all smiled and waved for the camera.

QUOTED IMAGE
IMAGE LINK: http://fairbanksfamily​.smugmug.com …i-GCQvrJ8-XL.jpg&lb=1&s=A  (external link) on Smugmug


Some of the crowd asked which newspaper would have the photo and I said, "I'll submit it to all the local papers." There were 250 people in line paying fifty bucks each. My mind started working numbers.

Then, I went in the back door to the event, got up my nerve, and said, "Hi, I'm here to take pics for the local papers." The organizers asked, "Who are you with?"

I was nervous but had to play it honest and cool, so I said, "I'm not affiliated with any of the papers. I'm freelance, and I submit photos of interest to them and they occasionally publish them." All that is true, but usually it's a bridge, flowers, or something that is kind of random around town.

They let me in and said I could take some press photos. So I did.

This photo (along with the first one shown on this page) were published in a couple local papers after I submitted them along with a few lines of copy (story). The actress (Laurie Holden of The Walking Dead) is in the middle and the organizers on her outside.

QUOTED IMAGE
IMAGE LINK: http://fairbanksfamily​.smugmug.com …i-VpgxZrf-XL.jpg&lb=1&s=A  (external link) on Smugmug


One of the organizers mentioned to me that there would be more meet & greets the following month, and I took that as a very informal, tentative invite.

As the dates for the next celebrity meet & greets came up, I emailed the organizers and tried (as smoothly as possible) to get another invite. They agreed.

None of this was for pay. It was all pretty much a back scratching kind of thing.

Another from a different day and celebrity (Scott Wilson from The Walking Dead in the middle with a bunch of employees).

QUOTED IMAGE
IMAGE LINK: http://fairbanksfamily​.smugmug.com …i-M7tVrHB-XL.jpg&lb=1&s=A  (external link) on Smugmug


So it got me thinking: People want a photo with the celebrity, and I figure I could save them time and make myself money (without cutting into their profit) by doing the photos.

Right now the fan/customer hands his or her camera to an attendant, as mentioned. The attendant has to figure out how to use the camera and often the fan has to step forward, show the buttons, etc., and then the attendant shows the fan the photo and the fan usually says, "thanks" but sometimes wants a retake.

My thought was that if I have a modest setup (just need one strobe, umbrella, tripod, etc.) then the fan can get a professional photograph that has the correct white balance, no noise, and is sharp.

My plan (which I need to finalize and submit) would either give me a small fee per photo (say, $5--that would translate to about a grand for the day). While this might seem to take a grand from the organizer's profit, it might be worth their while because they could get more people signed up (I can save them a lot of time).

Another thought was to take a pic of each fan and they can go online and order from me for, say ten bucks or so (digital download) as an option and still use their own phone/camera if they like.

None of their phone pics come out near the quality of a proper portrait.

QUOTED IMAGE
IMAGE LINK: http://fairbanksfamily​.smugmug.com …i-c59tDvv-XL.jpg&lb=1&s=A  (external link) on Smugmug


So, there is always an opportunity, if you look around, that can satisfy your own wants along with the wants of others.

Thats a great Idea! I've been working on something similar! I will be shooting the photos, then viewing them via wifi on my tablet and printing them via blue tooth 5x7's

Since your situation is specifically for getting more people through to meet and greet. I would suggest your $5 per photo (or more), then you give the photos to the shop and they upload them for everyone to download later. Their photo would only get taken if they had already paid for it so no worries. If you were to print them while everyone is waiting, it may take too long.

I sense we are getting off subject from the original OP though. Its a good example of just finding something you enjoy doing!


Blake C
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the ­ flying ­ moose
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Jul 06, 2015 22:50 |  #12

I had two other things I enjoyed get ruined by doing them as a business. I thought the more the better but quickly I realized that once I got home from work, I no longer wanted to do them for fun. I was just too tired. Never again. I do some photography for money but its on my terms and I will never overload myself like that again.




  
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JacobPhoto
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Jul 08, 2015 13:00 |  #13

The hardest part of being successful in business is understanding the scope of each job and knowing when to say no to clients or projects that don't fit your wheelhouse. Know what you're good at, know what it takes to produce what each client wants / needs, know how to price it all, and know when something doesn't fit your structure.

Notice that all of what is listed above happens before a camera is touched. Most photographers don't realize how much of running a business happens away from the camera. Prospecting, understanding the scope of each job, negotiating, handling contracts, outlining shot lists / creative direction, then post processing, asset delivery, invoicing, following up on payments due, etc.... all of that is substantially more important to getting paid than what happens on site at a shoot.


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frayne
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Jul 08, 2015 13:20 |  #14

Running a business of any type requires wearing many hats and skill sets. Unfortunately most people do not like certain aspects of the business (accounting, scheduling, dealing with the public, etc.) and those tend to suffer and hurt the overall effort. Know your skills and get help in the other areas and it just might reduce the burn-out factor a bit. I love photography but only as a hobby and will not take a paying job, been there and done that. I've had many offers to take photos for weddings and family events and just tell people I am not for hire, regardless of what they might be willing to pay. I just don't want to screw up a hobby I truly love.


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JeremyKPhoto
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Jul 08, 2015 16:53 |  #15

Well I am glad to see that I am not the only one that does not really enjoy doing this as a business. I used to pull my camera out so much more than I do now. Maybe just being annoyed with the business of things I related that feeling to photography in general. The thing that really pushed me to start deciding to call it quits as a business is my time. I just started working on my masters degree and my time feels so limited. I have so much to write and ready by next week, and I already have to meet with a lady tonight and do her session on Sunday.... Meanwhile, i'm trying to figure out when I will be writing my papers. Turns out my insurance expires on the 15th of this month anyways, so it works lol.


5D Mark III / 70-200 2.8L IS II / 24-105L / 50 1.8 stm / Tamron 70-300 VC / Sigma 85mm 1.4 Art

  
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Anyone ever feel burnt out (business)?
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