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FORUMS Post Processing, Marketing & Presenting Photos The Business of Photography 
Thread started 06 Feb 2018 (Tuesday) 09:35
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My business idea, need your professional opinion

 
Scatterbrained
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Feb 12, 2018 23:06 |  #16

-Duck- wrote in post #18562144 (external link)
And I bet she doesn't get anyone saying, "nah, your land has been over-photographed. I'd rather find my own that other photographers haven't photographed to death." Which s my point.

As another example... let's talk wedding venues.

How many bridal parties have been photographed at 'The Wedding Palace', your local favorite wedding hall? Do photographers moan and groan that the supplied amenities (staircase, trellis, fountain...) have been over photographed by every local wedding photographer? Nope. It's all part of the job. While a location may seem common to the photographer that uses it every other weekend, it's still a beautiful one-of-a-kind for the client. Clients don't get together your with other clients to compare backgrounds and throw a hissy fit if you used the same one as theirs.

How about the portrait photographers that have their favorite backdrop because it makes everyone look great? That gets used over and over. Are those of you complaining about "repetition" and "uniqueness" changing out your backdrops and buying new ones after each client in order to "stay competitive?" I don't think so.

It's a weak argument in my opinion.

While I agree with your sentiment here, I think from a business perspective it just wouldn't work. You'd need to be in or very near an urban location to have any chance of making money. You'd need a fair bit of land, and would have a decent landscaping overhead to maintain, as well a the requisite insurance. Meanwhile, you'd be competing with local gardens. When I was living in Va there were several historical homes with large, elaborate gardens perfect for portrait or outdoor fashion/lifestyle shoots. They had permits that you could buy as a retail or commercial photographer allowing you permission to shoot in their gardens. One of them even had an option to book out their garden so you could shoot uninterrupted. There were similar options when I was in Fl too. I couldn't imagine trying to compete with that and make money at it.


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Scatterbrained
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Feb 12, 2018 23:16 |  #17

Tom Reichner wrote in post #18562464 (external link)
Actually, myself and other wildlife photographers often pass up opportunities to photograph wildlife because too many other people photograph the same animals at the same place.

Many of us wildlife photographers highly value originality, and try not to replicate photos that others have already taken. . There have been many occasions when I have passed up opportunities to make some really great wildlife photos because there were already several people shooting the animal. . The world certainly didn't need more photos of the same subject in the same exact place, did it?

.

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If I photographed people, then I would not use a backdrop over and over again. . Why? . Because I would want each portrait that I turned out to be unique, and not look like other portraits that I took of other people.

Look at the work of POTN member LisaJH:
http://ljhollowayphoto​graphy.com/ (external link)

She photographs people, and her work is genuinely creative. . She doesn't just copycat herself over and over and over again with the same (ugh) backdrops being used again and again. . When people hire her to take their portraits, they know that they are going to get something special and wonderfully creative. . She actually cares enough to continually seek out new and different venues for her shoots.

This is what I think a true photographer/artist does. . I just don't see how one would get this same degree of creativity and uniqueness if one went to the same place over and over and over ..... especially if a bunch of other local photographers were also using the same area for most of their shoots.

If a portrait photographer is really using the same backdrops over and over and over again, then he/she should ask him/herself, "Shouldn't I be setting the bar much, much higher?"

.

With regards to using the same background over and over, the background shouldn't be the subject, so using the same one over and over shouldn't matter. If your background stands out you're not doing it right. The person sitting for a studio portrait should be where all the attention is; the pose, lighting and wardrobe are where the creativity should lie. Of course, if you're shooting commercial portraits it's entirely likely that having the same background for every subject is rather important, but those clients won't be traveling to a farm for their portraits.

Using Lisa Holloway as an example of what portrait shooters should all be doing is a bit disingenuous. She is a very high end natural light photographer. I'd imagine she is at or near the top of the price spectrum for retail photography. For the photographer who is trying to shoot, edit and deliver several sessions each week having reliable locations is key. Finding new and exotic locations is great (and easier in some areas than others) but for the average shooter you need a location that is both pleasing and easily attainable by clients traveling during rush hour.


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-Duck-
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Feb 13, 2018 12:39 |  #18

With all due respect, Lisa does use the same backdrops all the time in and around her home. If you look at her images she tends to prefer about three different styles; a field of flowers, a meadow with woods in the distance or a path or clearing in the woods. As been pointed out, it's all about the photographer's creativity to make each one unique from the last and she does that beautifully.

As I mentioned before, our local waterfall is a popular backdrop for local wedding photographers. It remains a popular spot because of its natural beauty even though every local photographer knows all their competitors uses the same location. Why? Because it is readily available, easily accessed, offers a variety of possibilities (too many to exhaust on a single client) and makes for a beautiful image. The fact that everyone uses it is really low on the list of cons.

I know several portrait photographers who only have a limited number of backdrops in their studio. Most all of them have at least one white backdrop and most have a gray of some type, me included (and a black one). Does that mean we should get rid of these redundant backdrops because everyone else has them? Absolutely not, since each has a purpose and a time when it is needed. Do these same backdrops diminish the value of our work because everyone else uses them? Absolutely not, because (as been pointed out) it is up to the photographer to instill their image with their own vision. One master portraitist I know of tends to favor a hand painted classic brown vignette backdrop that's got to be at least forty years old. It is part of his very recognizable style and each of his portraits look fantastic. No one's ever complained that he keeps using the same backdrop.

Backdrops, whether store bought, handmade or location scouted serve a purpose to fit or enhance the mood of the story being told by the subject matter. That's why most photos of (as an example) deer or bears or foxes use woods. Seagulls are shot against a beach backdrop. Birds are shot against a sky or on a tree branch...

Even you, Tom, use the same backdrops over and over. Here are a couple examples of deer on grass;

https://photography-on-the.net …hp?p=18549168&i​=i37395910
https://photography-on-the.net …p?p=18167690&i=​i105301859
https://photography-on-the.net …hp?p=17477774&i​=i66020598

You even borrow straight out of Lisa Holloway's book of settings with this image of a subject in a field of flowers with beautiful autumn colors; ;-)a

https://photography-on-the.net …p?p=18209215&i=​i234564713

But the one I love the most is this backdrop of the same mountain you used twice here;

https://photography-on-the.net …p?p=18243572&i=​i264912134
https://photography-on-the.net …hp?p=17488780&i​=i71747531

Before you get all riled up defending your stance, realize that we all do it. Why? Because we understand it will make for a beautiful image. When you photographed the bison did you think to yourself, "gee, I've done the 'deer against that mountain' photo before. Maybe I should change it up?" Of course not. Because it wasn't all about the backdrop. It was about how the subject looked in that setting at that time. I bet you didn't even stop to think how many other photos of animals against those very same mountains there are. Because it did not, and does not, matter.

Everything's been photographed. There is nothing new. We all copy and mimik and steal ideas from each other. Why would backdrop choices be any different?


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Tom ­ Reichner
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Feb 13, 2018 13:00 as a reply to  @ -Duck-'s post |  #19

By "backdrop" I thought you were referring to the things that portrait photographers hang up and have their clients stand in front of. . . I had no idea that you were using the word "backdrop" in a different sense. . . The second part of my post was written on an inaccurate understanding of what you were referring to when you said, "backdrop".


.


"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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Tom ­ Reichner
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Feb 13, 2018 13:22 |  #20

-Duck- wrote in post #18562887 (external link)
When you photographed the bison did you think to yourself, "gee, I've done the 'deer against that mountain' photo before. Maybe I should change it up?" Of course not.

Of course I thought about having photographed other wildlife against those mountains before. . That is part of the reason for photographing the bison there - to have a photo essay of different species of big game that live in the same mountain range. . When this happens naturally, it is a positive, not a negative. . Now if I were taking those tame "wildlife models" out to shoot, of course I wouldn't want to shoot them all in the same areas.

.

-Duck- wrote in post #18562887 (external link)
Because it wasn't all about the backdrop. It was about how the subject looked in that setting at that time.

Actually, it is about the backdrop - a lot more than you may realize.

When I see a wonderful backdrop, I think, "this would be a great place to photograph wildlife", and then I wait there or keep returning every hour or so, trying to find an animal right there where I can align it with the backdrop that I want. . Much of my wildlife photography is context-driven, more than subject-driven.

.

-Duck- wrote in post #18562887 (external link)
I bet you didn't even stop to think how many other photos of animals against those very same mountains there are. Because it did not, and does not, matter.

Actually, it does matter, very much.

Years ago, I would photograph set-ups at bird feeders. . I would set up perches and backgrounds to get the look that I wanted. . But the problem was, that once I shot two or three species at a given set-up, then, well, then it seemed "done" to me - like, "ok, now I've done that and there's nothing new or fresh or exciting or creative about doing this anymore." . So then I would have to come up with an all-new set up for the next day's shoot. . I stopped shooting set-ups because after a little while, it got old and didn't seem original anymore.

Not only are the things that we photograph important, but the history of similar things that ourselves and other people have photographed is also important.

Before I go somewhere new to photograph wildlife, I spend an enormous amount of time on the internet researching the way that other wildlife photographers have photographed wildlife in that area. . I do this so that I know what has been over-done, and also so that I can know what has not been done yet (or has not been done well), in those areas.

.

-Duck- wrote in post #18562887 (external link)
Everything's been photographed. There is nothing new. We all copy and mimik and steal ideas from each other. Why would backdrop choices be any different?

That is a very sad and fatalistic set of feelings to have.

In photography and other art, there is so much that has never yet been done! . In fact, I have an idea for a sculpture that I'd like to make, and I guarantee that no one has ever made a sculpture like the one in my mind's eye. . No way, no how!

And I also have loads and loads of ideas in my mind's eye of new wildlife photos that I have never seen before, and have not even had the opportunity to photograph yet myself.

There is always something completely new, and those not-yet-done things are what should drive us to keep shooting and to keep creating!


.


"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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welshwizard1971
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Post edited 6 months ago by welshwizard1971.
     
Feb 13, 2018 13:51 |  #21

I think people are focusing too much on the professional, or high end fine art type of client, for every one of those, there are a 1000 amateurs, and lot of them are wealthy but time poor, or time rich and have a good disposable income, ever noticed how many retired people have cameras? And these people are very often unsure, lack confidence, need a little help, basic guidance, reasurance, want to short cut the learning curve, putting it bluntly, they want someone to hold their hand, and lots have the disposable income to achieve that. I do a lot of fly fishing guiding, and invariably, my clients are awful. Nothing against them, it's not their fault, it's very technical, like photography, and it's very hard to be good at anything they only do two or three times a year, so they pay me to show them where to go, what to do, we act as guides, that's what we're called, you can do the same, so where is your added value, why should they give you money?

Want landscapes, I got them!

When you're here, lets do macro!

Need help with your camera, I can do that!

Wheelchair? We have level access!

No mobility, we can drive you to the location!

Need flashes, filters, we can lend them!

Dietary issues, we can provide the food!

Issues 'downstairs' ( not that uncommon for older people who have the disposable income ) we 're close to a loo!

Not sure how to post process, let us show you how!

Not sure where to stay, stay at this hotel, it's 5 minutes away and easy to find, we've already negotiated a 20% discount for you! Here's the zip code, just ask for Bob!

Want to take a picture of a naked lady under waterfall holding a framed picture of Bill Clinton riding a bike backwards down Pennsylvania Avenue whilst wearing a clown outfit? Here's Sally, here every Wednesday!

Etc etc etc.

Most of what you'll be providing isn't about photography, that's guiding, it's about making it easy and accessible, and crucially an enjoyable relaxed day out, but it pays the bills. Best tip I ever got guiding was an American professor over from an Ivy League university, head of medicine so very well paid, and he was useless, so bad for safety reasons we had to stop. So instead I gave him a guided tour of the area, the river valley, the thatched cottages, old hamlets, took him to a 16th century coaching inn for dinner, Winchester Cathedral to see Isaac Waltons Grave ( Very famous fisherman ), Arthur Conan Doyles grave ( Sherlock Holmes ), he reckoned it was the best days holiday he'd every had, and nothing to do with fly fishing.....

You can help them take the photographs they want to take, the ones they see other people take ( sometimes, exactly the picture they've seen so repetition is hardly an issue, seen the queues at Antelope Valley recently? Being managed by, guides ). You just need to demonstrate with a very good website that you can help them achieve just that, for not a lot of money, and then they can go away and repeat it. And I can't stress how important the site is, I know amazing guides that do very little work, and others who are unqualified, inexperienced, and quite frankly rubbish, and they're swamped with work, because their shop window is better than the other guys. They spent money on a website, not on qualifications, insurance, trade bodies, licences etc. Scarily unprofessional, but they're getting paid, the professional guys, not so much, so do both, have a great website and be professional....

A friend of mine has a great phrase, to be a success at anything, absolutely anything, no matter what, all you have to be, is better than average.....


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