Is professional photography dying out?

Started Mar 27, 2013 | Discussions thread
PenguinPhotoCo
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BUSINESS vs Hobby is THE difference
In reply to deleted080512, Mar 27, 2013

Machine Gun Kelly wrote:

Aha. Even you are joining the flood of photographers seeking other employment. I'm pretty much at the point where I'm going to start selling the gear I don't want for my own personal use and just doing photography for my own pleasure.

I own a BUSINESS. The business happens to be photography - but I also sell invitations, wedding planning and coordination services, invitations for seniors/babies, websites for brides - none are directly photographic in nature.

See, when you open a BUSINESS the rules change. As a hobby what is your objective? To make pretty pictures, to have fun, to relax, to make pics to please yourself. Perhaps to get your ego fed from folks making comments about your pics.
Like playing a guitar. Many people play - for fun, relaxation, etc.
Now you want to make money with your pictures. The objective has changed. What YOU want is MONEY. Everything else is secondary.  I'm going to shoot some 800+ kids in april for sports pics. Not one sinlgle picture will be 'art'. Not a one. I know this. I'm not going to hang a single one of those pictures on a wall. Not one. Nothing bigger than 8x10 will be sold and prolly 20 of those in total. While I think my sports pics are good, 'the best' is harder to judge - they all look a lot a like from all the photogs in the area for this type of thing. What works is a well run picture day and fast delivery, and a commission for the league.

I'm going to shoot a senior friday. She's 'making' mom (to use mom's words) come to me. Here, my style, my vision is driving the client to come here. Here product matters. Price is very secondary as I'm not cheap. If they want cheap there are other options. I have something to 'say', to 'sell' as a senior photographer - the experience, the image, the post processing, the products - variety, good lighting, posing add up to set me apart.

Weddings...I find it harder to set myself apart. What do brides want? In general I know - but 70% of my brides are over 30...half are probably over 45! Not what most of us think of as a typical bride, huh? My friend in the city that I shot for over the weekend spends 'too much' by his own admission on marketing but he needs to get 35 weddings to pay the bills. He's DOUBLED what he's spending from 3 years ago to get the same number of weddings. He has a style and thinks hes making progress. If nothing else he's been around long enough to have a reputation wiht venues and that helsp sell him.
As for expanding to DJ or landscaping or babysitting - I run a business. My goal is to make money - HOW is a secondary concern really.  I could expand my framing operation, add videography, do church directories, go get a school, do yearbooks - lots of options out there yet to be tried.
I"ve not gone 'risky' on weddings because it was 1/3 of my business. This year...it's looking to be pitiful - so I may take a risk - show ONLY black and white wedding images, change the name, double the price - I have nothing much to lose - but it would make me standout in the marketplace. Being stupid expensive means 'status' to many people. A lexus does nothing a toyota won't do - but it costs three times as much and they sell a lot of them. STATUS. "You can't have it" because I'm rich indeed sells a lot of things!

Trouble is I paid good money for a lot of the studio stuff and probably won't see much of it back. If I get $10 per $100 that'll be more than I expected. I won't be too surprised if I just have to throw some unused and expensive stuff in the dumpster. Things like background stands I can't really see shipping working to advantage in an ebay sale - the shipping would be more than the cost of the stand.

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