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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?

 
juicedownload
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Feb 26, 2013 19:33 |  #1

Found this video on another forum. It's a bit old, but still relevant.

Here's the link to the video:


Harrisburg Wedding Photographer (external link)

  
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Curtis ­ N
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Feb 26, 2013 22:17 |  #2

Ok, I'm not gonna watch some stinkin' video.

Cheap photogs are everywhere. They are people who
a) Have minimal overhead (paid for), minimal training, minimal experience, a craigslist marketing plan, no backup equipment, no professional liability insurance, no accountant, no lawyer, and no clue about what it takes to run a real business.
b) They don't keep track of, or even think about, the amount of time they're really spending on their "business." Also, they value their time based on the wages they make at their day job.
c) They have a day job that provides health insurance and a 40l(k) plan. Every dime they make shooting is gravy (in their eyes).
d) They eventually burn out and realize it's not worth the effort, but there's always a new GWC to take their place.

Trying to compete and truly make a profit in the bargain-basement-budget market segment is pretty brutal. You need to rise above that and demonstrate some real value for what you charge.


"If you're not having fun, your pictures will reflect that." - Joe McNally
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samsen
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Feb 26, 2013 22:36 |  #3

Most of times "You get what you paid for".
BTW This reminds me that I might still be paying monthly fee to Xtranormal because of account I made with the for one time making and publishing a clip. I better go and check my CC. Thanks for reminding.


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Samsen
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Paulstw
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Feb 27, 2013 06:12 as a reply to  @ samsen's post |  #4

Whether we like it or not, the cheap photog is here to stay for as long as cheap DSLR's come onto the market. The majority of people who are looking for a well respected, time served and professional photographer, will be able to pick them out of the pond scum at the bottom.

I just started out in photography, and wouldn't dream of selling my pics just yet, but when I do it won't be for buttons. If I do a photoshoot for someone, they'll get the professional service I would expect from someone else.

If a client is quite happy with a cheap photog to come out, do a shoot, charge a small rate to just own a CD half full of OOF SOOC pics then so be it.

Unfortunately some of those photogs will be on here, crying to everyone about how their business model is failing, or they don't get phone calls, or that a customer was unhappy, or they have serious questions about printing but don't know anything about it.




  
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StevePhoto
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Feb 28, 2013 11:57 |  #5

Curtis N wrote in post #15656270 (external link)
Ok, I'm not gonna watch some stinkin' video.

Cheap photogs are everywhere. They are people who
a) Have minimal overhead (paid for), minimal training, minimal experience, a craigslist marketing plan, no backup equipment, no professional liability insurance, no accountant, no lawyer, and no clue about what it takes to run a real business.
b) They don't keep track of, or even think about, the amount of time they're really spending on their "business." Also, they value their time based on the wages they make at their day job.
c) They have a day job that provides health insurance and a 40l(k) plan. Every dime they make shooting is gravy (in their eyes).
d) They eventually burn out and realize it's not worth the effort, but there's always a new GWC to take their place.

Add these to your list:

e) They have a spouse with a real job that supports them and enables them to sell their photography for little to nothing.

f) They have money from elsewhere (a pension, inheritance, legal settlement, etc.) that puts food on the table and enables them to sell their photography for little to nothing.

They are not going away and in fact, their numbers continue to increase over time. For every idiot willing to work for free there's a predator willing to take advantage of that. If you want to earn a living as a photographer you need to clearly distinguish yourself from the amateurs-pretending-to-be-professionals.


Richard Prince
http://www.rprincephot​o.com (external link)

  
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veritasimg
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Feb 28, 2013 13:58 |  #6

I don't think having another day job, rich spouse, large inheritance etc has much to do with people charging low. There are tons of retired or part-time home contractors and accountants that charge a lot for their services. Most of the time photographers that are charging low is because of lack of confidence. Instead of thinking hard on what makes their work/service valuable, price is used instead.

I have no problem with photographers charging $80 a session or whatever. The clients that go with them are not the clients that would fit us anyway. Sooner or later these photographers that are charging way under will come to a point whether the entire operation is worth it or not.


Vancouver Portrait Photographer (external link) | Our latest Works @ Veritas Images (external link) | Let's Get Social! (external link)

  
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Luckless
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Feb 28, 2013 14:37 |  #7

Don't forget the option of simply failing as a business! I've known a few people who 'made a go' of photography as something to put food on the table, and then ended up having to pawn the table to buy food because they didn't have the first clue about the expense of running a business.


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samsen
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Feb 28, 2013 17:02 |  #8

Paulstw wrote in post #15657091 (external link)
Whether we like it or not, the cheap photog is here to stay for as long as cheap DSLR's come onto the market.

And not to forget, To replace many genius ones.


Weak retaliates,
Strong Forgives,
Intelligent Ignores!
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Curtis ­ N
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Feb 28, 2013 22:16 |  #9

samsen wrote in post #15662464 (external link)
And not to forget, To replace many genius ones.

Genius in the art world is subjective. Success in the business world is determined by the market.

For artistic geniuses to have difficulty earning a living - That's nothing new. Many who we now consider masters of their craft died broke.


"If you're not having fun, your pictures will reflect that." - Joe McNally
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Flash Photography 101 | The EOS Flash Bible  (external link)| Techniques for Better On-Camera Flash (external link) | How to Use Flash Outdoors| Excel-based DOF Calculator (external link)

  
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memoriesoftomorrow
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Mar 01, 2013 00:12 |  #10

Curtis N wrote in post #15663441 (external link)
Many who we now consider masters of their craft died broke.

Dying is almost a guaranteed way to increase the value of their work too.


Peter

  
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j-dogg
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Mar 01, 2013 00:23 |  #11

samsen wrote in post #15662464 (external link)
And not to forget, To replace many genius ones.

Intelligence, is like moral outrage and chaos, it solely depends upon comparison for its very existence.

That being said, I do not worry about cheap fauxtogs. I charge a premium for my work. If you want cheap ****ty photos, go hire some guy on Craigslist. My work speaks for itself.


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Edward ­ Moss
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Mar 01, 2013 02:12 as a reply to  @ j-dogg's post |  #12

There were loads of £50 a job photographers in the market a few years ago, don't see that many now, maybe they realised they can't pay their tax bill, replace equipment or afford to work at that rate.


Birmingham photographer shooting commercial and editorial photography (external link)

  
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thepz
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Mar 01, 2013 22:20 as a reply to  @ Edward Moss's post |  #13

The barriers to entry for the photography market are almost non-existent. Anyone with a camera is able to provide photography services (regardless of skill, experience, etc). Of course insurance, back up equipment, studio, etc. is important, but they are not necessary to provide the service. All you need is a camera, computer, and maybe a printer. In today's day and age, almost everyone has a computer and printer in their home. Once you have a camera, you have the basic necessities to offer photographic services. You may not be able to provide the same quality images as the pros, but nonetheless you can still provide pictures.

But then say you want to get out of the market. Well, just stop offering the services. Simple. You get to keep the camera that you probably purchased for yourself as a gift with lenses and other accessories. And you move on with your life.

The barriers to entry are non-existent and the risk is LOW.

It's my observation that many new photographers are itching to learn to become like professionals. Becoming a good photographer doesn't happen overnight, you have to practice. What better way to get practice and experience than to offer free sessions.

I hear many stories about new photographers wanting to become assistants or second shooters, yet they get turned away because they are one of many asking. By this time, they may have already started to look at doing photography for a business. But if they can't get their break by working with professionals, then it'd be really easy to start a business to get the experience and exposure they're looking for.

So why do they offer cheap prices? That's because their initial investment into the business is very low. They probably didn't have to get loans for their startup costs. They had already purchased the equipment they are going to use. So each dollar they make going forward can be pure profit (especially if they're doing this as a side business). But lastly, with such an overcrowded market, many will undercut their competitor's pricing to get a competitive edge. So if you get 10 sessions at $50 per session, you make out $500. At least you're not in the negatives.




  
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CoPhotoGuy
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Mar 01, 2013 22:21 |  #14

They deliver an inferior product.




  
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Luckless
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Mar 02, 2013 08:11 |  #15

CoPhotoGuy wrote in post #15667135 (external link)
They deliver an inferior product.

Not always. Can't remember the guy's name, but I met one wedding photographer here on PEI that has been described as "one of the best". Dude is a retired engineer, and shots select weddings and other events for next to nothing. Why? Because he can. His gear is paid for, his house is paid for, and he is already retired. Photography is a hobby, and he charges enough to cover costs and a meal or two with nothing more.

I've also seen the results of a few photographers who charged an arm and a leg for their services, had a great portfolio, and then returned shots that even I would be embarrassed to share. (And I'm fairly willing to share 'alright' photos with friends that I honestly would rather just keep to the deleted files folder, but friends nag to see something, then declare it is great no matter what.) Completely under/over exposed shots, missed focus, poor composition and framing, etc.

Price alone is a very poor indicator of service these days.


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Cheap Competitors - How do they do it?
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