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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?

 
AlanMura
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Mar 06, 2013 13:07 |  #46

Only thing I know is I started out as a cheap photographer once. Now Im not. I mean, you cant just start out expensive you have to create the demand for your product first. People complain about this all the time but work on increasing your demand and the rest follows suit.


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PhotogYogi
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Mar 06, 2013 13:46 |  #47

I by no means consider myself a professional. But the clients I deal with know this put of the gate. I askthem to review my portfolio. For me , photography will forever and always be a learning process for all of us. You will never know everything.
Bottom line, ill never advertise myself as something I'm not, and if clients like my work and like my price then im happy to provide a service that I passionatley love. I'm always looking to shadow more experienced photogs and tag along for those higher paid jobs to get a look into their world.


In My Bag: Rebel XS (just sold for a 7D!!), Speedlite 430 ex ii, couple of kit lenses, 50mm 1.8

  
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orionz06
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Mar 06, 2013 13:54 |  #48

RDKirk wrote in post #15682972 (external link)
Are there really any other businesses that get started in such a manner?

Yes. Quite a few hobby oriented businesses out there that tend to undercut with a sub-par product.


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Hogloff
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Mar 06, 2013 14:06 |  #49
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kevalb wrote in post #15683971 (external link)
True. I feel I might need to elaborate a bit here.....

To stay on topic, I think I need to say again... When I first bought a camera, I thought of starting a business and giving it a whirl without doing the research. Now I'm not trying to be that guy.

What I mean is, I don't even KNOW if I want to EVER go professional. So, does that put me in a different category than what's described in the original topic here? I'm not posting ads in Craigslist or building a website and 'selling' myself, but I would like to earn some extra cash to fund my hobby. So, it's like.... where is the line drawn between stepping on professional toes and just making a little cash to get new equipment?

I agree, if you intend to make this a business for good. But I don't even know if I have what it takes to photography products, pets, landscapes, people... let alone important once-in-a-lifetime events, regardless of the expecation of a return.

This is why I think it's OK to offer free shoots on things for practice. I think it will help me determine if I have the skills, desire, and commitment mentality to take it to that next level.

So, I mean... you guys are all giving good information, and I thank you for that. I like the differences of opinion too. I mean, I plan to photograph as much and as many things as I can in the next few months to see how my style/skill develops. If all things line up, perhaps I'll join PPA and make a go of it. For now, I think I'll challenge myself by doing a little bit of everything and spend time to learn how to use my equipment and generate work worthy of charging a good price for.

Bottom line here is you got to look after your own needs and let other photographers in your area look after theirs. If you want to shoot for the fun of it and give your images away...go for it. You don't have to ask anyone's permission to do this. If you enjoy photography as a hobby, and want to make a few bucks from it, but still not ruin the enjoyment aspect, I say why not?




  
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Hogloff
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Mar 06, 2013 14:08 |  #50
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orionz06 wrote in post #15684174 (external link)
Yes. Quite a few hobby oriented businesses out there that tend to undercut with a sub-par product.

Many of the hobby oriented businesses deliver outstanding products as well. Being a hobby business and the quality of delivered products are not totally correlated.




  
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orionz06
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Mar 06, 2013 15:24 |  #51

Hogloff wrote in post #15684237 (external link)
Many of the hobby oriented businesses deliver outstanding products as well. Being a hobby business and the quality of delivered products are not totally correlated.

Correct. Many of the ones I am thinking of are superior to their non-hobby counterparts in every way.


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Curtis ­ N
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Mar 06, 2013 20:12 |  #52

This 6 x 11 glossy piece came in the mail today. The studio is located in a big, high rent shopping mall.
2 - 10x13
2 - 8x10
4 - 5x7
4 - 3x5
32 - Wallet
5 - 5x7 cards
... and a tote bag,
all for $16.99 !

IMAGE: http://performancephoto.smugmug.com/photos/i-XhLvhMB/0/L/i-XhLvhMB-L.jpg

"If you're not having fun, your pictures will reflect that." - Joe McNally
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RDKirk
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Mar 06, 2013 21:29 |  #53

orionz06 wrote in post #15684174 (external link)
Yes. Quite a few hobby oriented businesses out there that tend to undercut with a sub-par product.

Way to take a statement out of context.

I meant regarding what I had quoted and bolded: Providing a product with no expectation of anything in return. I didn't say anything about a "sub-par" product or anything about the quality of the product.

And then I went on to talk about making sure one gets word of mouth, if that's what one expects in return.

But I see lots of hobby craftspeople who most certainly do expect something in return, even for "sub-par products," especially those who are establishing businesses.

I didn't say anything about the quality level of products.


TANSTAAFL--The Only Unbreakable Rule in Photography

  
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snapshot2011
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Mar 25, 2013 11:10 |  #54

I am experiencing this at the moment. Heaps of overnighters appearing who take photos, run through a few Nik plugins and everyone on facebook types, OMG, YOU ARE AMAZING, YOU HAVE TO SHOOT OUR WEDDING, blah blah blah.

They have degraded the price and value of a photographer these days. It farken hurts after putting in some hard effort in training and study to have a youtubed, overnighter sell their soul for $80

I find it very hard to get a photo job anymore as the cheapy photogs seem to be snapping up all the opportunities. Has photography arrived at an all time low?

I know there are photogs on this forum that claim to have non stop work and they are working pros. I congratulate you on your efforts but there is a crapload of others out there who are doing it tough and its quite stressful.

I understand that a lot of you guys will say that the consumer gets what they pay for as far as the cheapos go, but the crazy thing is......the consumers are happy with what they are getting!!!!!!!!!!!!

There is one person here who I swear takes every photo and throws them into a nik plugin and calls it a day.

Do we hunt them down? Do we lock them up on an island and let them loose on themselves?


Who else is finding it hard?

Chest is aching while typing this....and I am not kidding!!!!




  
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snapshot2011
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Mar 25, 2013 11:18 |  #55

Curtis N wrote in post #15685547 (external link)
This 6 x 11 glossy piece came in the mail today. The studio is located in a big, high rent shopping mall.
2 - 10x13
2 - 8x10
4 - 5x7
4 - 3x5
32 - Wallet
5 - 5x7 cards
... and a tote bag,
all for $16.99 !

QUOTED IMAGE

Holy cow, talk about cutting one's throat for a $

Hopefully apple learns something and sells imacs for $50

This is sad, very sad.




  
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orionz06
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Mar 25, 2013 11:29 |  #56

RDKirk wrote in post #15685787 (external link)
Way to take a statement out of context.

I meant regarding what I had quoted and bolded: Providing a product with no expectation of anything in return. I didn't say anything about a "sub-par" product or anything about the quality of the product.

And then I went on to talk about making sure one gets word of mouth, if that's what one expects in return.

But I see lots of hobby craftspeople who most certainly do expect something in return, even for "sub-par products," especially those who are establishing businesses.

I didn't say anything about the quality level of products.

I was not taking anything you said out of context.


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snapshot2011
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Mar 25, 2013 11:34 |  #57

I appreciate that hobbiests want to take photos and are willing to do it for next to nothing.


If photography is suffering at the hands of these people, what other trades are next?




  
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abbypanda
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Mar 25, 2013 11:45 |  #58

snapshot2011 wrote in post #15753446 (external link)
I appreciate that hobbiests want to take photos and are willing to do it for next to nothing.


If photography is suffering at the hands of these people, what other trades are next?

In my opinion any trade without a barrier to entry suffers from this phenomenon. We deal with the same thing in martial arts. I've done martial arts my whole life... started age 7 now age 31, competed all over the world, etc etc. Every day some guy with less than 2 years of training who needs to make some "extra $" opens a gym. They need $ and think it's a great easy way to strike it rich. Not to mention they quit training at this time so they offer a crappy service, have no business expertise, and worse, dont keep up with their own education. Since there's no barrier to entry, anyone can do it and no one questions it. Nothing stops anyone from saying they are a photographer, pro photographer, just like anyone can buy a black belt off ebay or jump in the cage and be an mma fighter with no training and 1 loss. It is what it is.

I used to worry about such thing, but do not any longer. Our gym membership is by far the most expensive in the area, it might be the most expensive in the state idk, and I have no problem getting my price.

The same is true for photography. while I havent started actively marketing my business outside of a few friends, I know I'll be in the same boat there, as I dont want to be the "underpriced" guy. I think it's fine to take a job or 2 for a lower rate in exchange for a testimonial, or other trade that you can use to your advantage in the future. But it's not a sustainable long term model.

Sure, we have folks come in the gym asking why we are so much sometimes. There's a variety of answers but it amounts to this: I do it full time. This is my life. I'm not some fly by night hobbyist who is trying to make extra $ b/c his job doesnt pay enough and I dont wanna cut people's lawn on the side anymore. I'm not trying to pay for equipment for a hobby. This is my life. For that reason, I devote all my time to it. I am experienced, educated and knowledgeable far beyond these hobbyists. Most importantly, my prices ensure I will stay around and be in business longer. There's no chance of me shutting down or getting evicted b/c I cant pay the bills. Quite simply, not only can the customer count on me for a far superior product, but they can count on me to be around in the future as well, and not just hit the road, take their $ and leave them high and dry. In addition, my prices also ensure I can afford proper insurance and such, as well as afford continued education (things hobbyists do not have).

Ultimately, one person told it to me best (no offense to anyone in MS) but he always said "someone has to be your mississippi". Lowpriced fly by night businesses are good for you, if you use it to your advantage. They make you look really good and professional. The only thing you need is a good sales system to communicate the differences. I dont mind "lowballers" at all....it's proven not to be a sustainable model, and they suck up most all the customers who cant afford me anyway.




  
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snapshot2011
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Mar 25, 2013 11:53 |  #59

Great response Abbypanda. Can I ask you to roundhouse kick the cheapos out of my neck of the woods for me?




  
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Curtis ­ N
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Mar 25, 2013 12:22 |  #60

snapshot2011 wrote in post #15753365 (external link)
I understand that a lot of you guys will say that the consumer gets what they pay for as far as the cheapos go, but the crazy thing is......the consumers are happy with what they are getting!

In a free market, if everyone is satisfied with a cheap product and don't feel a need for a more expensive product, then there's no need for anyone to produce an expensive product. The market determines whether or not there is a need for your services. If someone told you it was easy to start and establish a successful business then you were sadly misinformed. It has never been easy.

Some of you struggling upstarts would do well to study a little history. In 1900, Kodak introduced their Brownie camera. It was the first camera to make photography affordable for the masses, and for the first time in history, people could make their own images without the services of a professional.

To be sure, it changed the industry of professional photography, and some of the working pros of the day folded, some survived and some thrived. If internet forums had existed then, certainly some of them would have spent their time whining about how amateurs were destroying their business.


"If you're not having fun, your pictures will reflect that." - Joe McNally
Chicago area POTN events (external link)
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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