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Thread started 09 Feb 2018 (Friday) 00:40
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What a scam!

 
Jarvis ­ Creative ­ Studios
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Post edited 6 months ago by Jarvis Creative Studios.
     
Feb 09, 2018 13:31 |  #16

Tom Reichner wrote in post #18560172 (external link)
If it's a tour run by a corporate enterprise such as the one the one the OP is discussing, the overhead costs are extensive, as they involve office space, utilities, state and federal licensure and permitting, administrative employees, accountants and lawyers and insurance, a vehicle fleet, etc, etc, etc.

.

I don't believe that's correct. I think this is a one man operation or possibly a very small company. The instructor is the exact same for every tour no matter the location. You'll notice a few of the tours are in Texas, and that instructor lives in Austin. They have changed websites 3 times in the past 3 years (easily found info, I did not dig) and their Facebook page had less than 250 likes as of yesterday.


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Tom ­ Reichner
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Feb 09, 2018 13:46 |  #17

Jarvis Creative Studios wrote in post #18560177 (external link)
I don't believe that's correct. I think this is a one man operation or possibly a very small company. The instructor is the exact same for every tour no matter the location. You'll notice a few of the tours are in Texas, and that instructor lives in Austin. They have changed websites 3 times in the past 3 years (easily found info, I did not dig) and their Facebook page had less than 250 likes as of yesterday.

That's good info.. It isn't necessarily bad, but it is the kind of info that potential clients should be looking into before they sign up and send in a deposit. . Even if I were very wealthy, I would never pay for such a tour without first speaking with the tour leader and getting to know him/her a little bit. . With any bigger purchase, it pays to do a bit of research on the thing you plan to spend your money on, before committing to it.

The vast majority of the people who pay to go on guided wildlife / nature photo tours are repeat customers, and have gone on lots and lots of similar tours in the past. . I know this because I meet these people while afield, and they tell me all about the other tours they have taken. . They're really into it. . And they know just what they're getting for the money, because they've done it so often that they know just what to expect. . So they're not being snookered out of their money, and they typically don't have expectations that are going to be unfulfilled.


.


"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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Luckless
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Feb 09, 2018 14:00 |  #18

Even if it is just a one man operation, costs can still add up in a hurry.
How much of that cost is going into insurance? - If you were hosting guided tours like this you would get insurance, right?
How much has gone into advertising, overhead, and general work leading up to the tour? - You would want to get paid for your time you spend planning and organizing the event, right?
How much of that goes into paying for things like for your health insurance, and how much are you putting towards your retirement?
How much wear and tear is there going to be on gear and such?

$1500 for a five day event is a bit expensive, but it is not beyond reasonable.

The issue really isn't that tours like this are 'fleecing their customers', but more other/cheaper options are under valuing their offerings.


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Feb 09, 2018 15:00 |  #19

Some people might think that charging $1500 to turn up to a wedding and produce a few happy snaps of the day is a scam. After all, everyone has a camera in their phone, don’t they? But you and I know there’s a lot more to it than that, especially a lot of ‘behind the scenes’ work both in producing fine photos and in managing such a business, that is not immediately obvious to the average person.

I keep reading here and elsewhere that it’s getting really hard to make a living from photography. If photo safaris are, as you surmise, a booming business, why wouldn’t photographers get into it? I already run a small (not photo-oriented) tour business taking people into stunningly beautiful, wildlife-rich areas of mostly privately owned land that the public cannot easily, or at all, obtain permits to visit, let alone learn about from our lifetime and generations of experience. While there are a few cowboys in this business, to run tours properly requires a lot of background work, as Tom and Luckless have alluded to. But thanks for the inspiration; photography safaris may be just the thing for my company and a very experienced but struggling photographer friend of mine to get into.


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Lt ­ Colonel
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Feb 09, 2018 15:43 |  #20

I guess this comes down to how valuable is your time. I have been on several guided photo events, some better than others. I just finished one that was one of my better ones. What did I get? I got a guide who knew where to find the birds we wanted to photograph in the morning and the afternoon. He knew where we needed to be based on the angle of the sun of course, but more challenging where to be based on the wind direction. Where the different species were most likely to feed and where they would roost.

Could I have done this myself? Sure. Do I have to time travel and scout all the locations to find where the birds are at different times of the times of the day in a 12,350 acre area for just one of the units? No. Do I have time to research and watch the behavior of the birds in different wind conditions? No. So, I paid for someone's knowledge of the area, the species behavior we were shooting (he is a wildlife biologist by training) and general instruction as needed. I spent my time shooting and not searching for something to shoot.

I also got some really good photo tips (we can all learn something, right) and I now know where the birds are hanging out if I choose to return on my own this year. I'm sure their behavior will be different depending on where US FWS plants crops and floods fields next year.

Are guided events right for everyone? No, but for those of us who still work and have families it offers me optimum use of my time. Your mileage may vary.


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Feb 09, 2018 18:13 |  #21

Jarvis Creative Studios wrote in post #18560173 (external link)
I can tell that there are not a lot of people who agree with me here, and I will admit calling it a straight up scam was a little heavy handed. I should have known with this forum being primarily wildlife photographers this post would not get much love.

I guess I'm just not a fan of something where I think people are being played out of their money. If, like you say Tom, that most people who sign up for these things know exactly what they're getting into, and they are just blowing extra cash because they don't want to take a few hours to plan out a trip, then that's perfectly fine. However, I have to believe that many people going into these types of "adventures" have to think that they're going to gain invaluable photography skills that they didn't have before. If they do then awesome for them, but by the description of the specific tour I posted, it seems it's more like "we'll take you to a few locations, do your best, and turn in your work at the end".

I'm sure like you say, the instructors are more than capable of going by themselves and getting the shots for magazines, etc. And I'm sure they are. But it seems they are happily going on other people's cash. Get 7-10 people to give you $1500 each, and you have a nice 10-15 grand to go on a vacation and get some amazing photos that you can publish. At least in the case of the tour that I posted, as it seems to be a one man operation.

Seems like a pretty sweet deal for the instructor, not so much for the students (unless they know exactly what they are getting into).

Taking your statements in order:

Do you have knowledge that rest of us lack that posters here are primarily into wildlife? Postings sure don't seem to show that but, rather, a rather wild and wonderful variety. How do you reach your conclusion?

What evidence do you have of people being "played"? People read the same tour description you did. Are these people stupid while you are smart? If that's your approach, you really do want to check your assumptions. If you found evidence in the promo, please let us know? It seems quite straight up to me. I'm not interested in the tour, but that doesn't mean those who are and sign up for it are being "played."

I don't know how you come up with a 10-15K net on the operation. Perhaps you are confused with gross. If you'd like to post your analysis I'd be happy to learn from it.


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Sideshot
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Feb 09, 2018 18:21 |  #22

Jarvis Creative Studios wrote in post #18560173 (external link)
But it seems they are happily going on other people's cash. Get 7-10 people to give you $1500 each, and you have a nice 10-15 grand to go on a vacation and get some amazing photos that you can publish. At least in the case of the tour that I posted, as it seems to be a one man operation.

Seems like a pretty sweet deal for the instructor, not so much for the students (unless they know exactly what they are getting into).

If it seems so "sweet" you should try it. When making money looks easy 99.99% it is not the case.

Jarvis Creative Studios wrote in post #18560177 (external link)
They have changed websites 3 times in the past 3 years (easily found info, I did not dig) and their Facebook page had less than 250 likes as of yesterday.

Just like you can dig up his info the owner can google his company and find this thread and look up your info.
I have seen a few internet wars that started just like this. People start bashing each others businesses with reviews, threads, facebook getting into a on going damage exchange that is a toxic waste of energy and resources.

If you see a what looks like a good business idea, try it.




  
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Tom ­ Reichner
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Feb 09, 2018 18:29 |  #23

Sideshot wrote in post #18560306 (external link)
Just like you can dig up his info the owner can google his company and find this thread and look up your info.
I have seen a few internet wars that started just like this. People start bashing each others businesses with reviews, threads, facebook getting into a on going damage exchange that is a toxic waste of energy and resources.

.
But I don't see why this needs to be "a war".

Rather, this thread can become a learning experience for the OP and others. . They can learn a lot more than they previously knew abut the photo tour industry. . In so doing, they will learn that it really isn't easy money, and that the tour operators incur a lot of expenses, and that the guides do a heck of a lot of hard work in order to provide these services.


.


"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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Jarvis ­ Creative ­ Studios
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Feb 09, 2018 20:15 |  #24

It seems there is a good chance I may have jumped to a conclusion with this post. I admit I did not research the photo tour industry before this post and I posted mainly based on a reaction to the cost and what I perceived to be not much benefit / inclusions for that cost.

Based on the overwhelmingly negative reactions, I realize I may have stepped out of line with my post, and will look into the photo tour industry more fully to try to understand it better. If anyone was offended by the post I apologize, as I admit I was reacting to the financials of the tour and not much else.

Feel free to continue to discuss among yourselves, but I will no longer be responding to this post. Admins feel free to delete it as I don't see it providing any value to the forum.


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Feb 10, 2018 09:07 |  #25

Tom Reichner wrote in post #18560310 (external link)
.
But I don't see why this needs to be "a war".

.

I don't ether. I was just pointing out that internet fights between businesses do happen and you have to be careful not to get tangled into them.




  
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Feb 13, 2018 08:44 |  #26

I think nothing wrong business deserves its name to be cleared and mentioned not just once. https://scenicpic.com/ (external link) National Photographic Adventures business is totally legit. Regular guided photo tour with some perks added. Including magazine with photos from the tour. This is it. I knew photog running tour like this locally and internationally. Northern Ontario and somewhere in South Asia. I knew photogs who attended it more than once. He does basically the same, showing people how to shot if for magazines.

And if OP is having problem to read and understand this sentence:

"The best of everyones photos will be published to tell this story in National Photographic Magazine, of which participants will receive several copies to show off to their friends and family."

Then I not so hopeless with my ESL :-D.


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Feb 13, 2018 12:28 |  #27

I've only been on one photo tour... (Roy Toft (external link)) this past December to Costa Rica (see my Costa Rica thread here). It was great, I'd much rather pay someone who knows the local area and work out all of the logistics. Not that I could not do it on my own, and in the past I have, but felt much better having someone else plan it out in advance. I plan on doing another photo tour in the near future. I feel that I got exactly what I paid for and it certainly was not a scam and even learned some new photographic techniques.

I don't think I would ever do a photo tour of an urban area in the states, there is so much info that you can get online that I wouldn't think it's necessary. But going out to remote regions of the world in search of rare animals a lot different in my opinion. I would never do the photo tour that the OP mentioned, but I have and would do others. Just like everything else you have to shop around and do some research.


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Feb 13, 2018 15:22 |  #28

I'm not a wildlife photographer, and I don't see this as a scam. They are offering services for a price. Charging the price, then NOT offering the services would be a scam.

My in-laws recently went on a guided tour of Italy. They loved it. I, on the other hand, would prefer to roam free and investigate at my leisure. To each his own.


Tom

  
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What a scam!
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