A conversation

Started Apr 11, 2013 | Discussions
deleted080512
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Re: A conversation
In reply to Biggs23, Apr 11, 2013

That's pretty much what I am doing. I cannot see any viable market for photography. I got scammed into starting the business by somebody I trusted. Without that pressure I would have just bought the kit I wanted for myself and kept it as an interest. I don't see any point in selling the cameras but hell, the. Studio stuff, most of the lenses and the flashes, hell yes and good riddance.

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Hulamike
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Right
In reply to deleted080512, Apr 11, 2013

I see. The guy who complains about how he can't make a dime in photography wants to keep the titles of his two photo books secret on a photo chat list. That makes sense.

looks like my first guess about you was accurate. This is all a charade, a little troll theater. Your name wouldn't be Doug would it? LakeMary? You've used so many around here.

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CraigBennett
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Re: A conversation
In reply to deleted080512, Apr 11, 2013

At my other job I had a conversation with somebody. I knew them as they are a photographer. The last time we spoke, which was a week or two back, he was fairly chipper and said that there was money in photography if you were any good at it. Today he came in, a bit down at the mouth having completed moving house. Apparently the bank had repossessed his home.

Now, what does that tell you about the market? He has a very nice website with lots of very nice photos. He's capable and has an eye for a photo plus years and years of experience.

Photography does not make money any more. It's dead!

I have read most of your posts and I must say, you are one of the most negative persons I have come a cross. I am sure your attitude comes out loud and clear to your clients.

Business might be dead for you, but it is alive and well for me. Perhaps it is time you stop trying to convince all of us and just sell off your equipment and get out of this business.

Enough of this doom and gloom.

Craig Bennett
http://www.craigbennettphotography.com

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Marques Lamont
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Re: Books
In reply to Hulamike, Apr 11, 2013

Where exactly is your location MGK? That's probably more interesting than anything.

It'll say a lot.

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deleted080512
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Re: Right
In reply to Hulamike, Apr 11, 2013

I will ignore the nasty accusations.

Because my actuality does not reflect the online fantasy is no reason to make accusations. God knows, I have tried everything to make photography pay and it just will not.

As I have said, I joined th chamber of commerce and laughter echoed around the room when I said photography. Everybody except me knew it didn't have a snowflakes chance of making money.

I know there are a few sensible people here. Those that agree quietly and have done so, that there's increasingly less money in photography for example. However it,s dressed up, its a dying trade just like hand weaving died out.

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Hulamike
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Welcome back Doug
In reply to deleted080512, Apr 11, 2013

I'd start ignoring you but your little campaigns are always so entertaining. Welcome back Doug!

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JoannaR
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Re: A conversation
In reply to deleted080512, Apr 11, 2013

I wouldn't say it's dead.  I'd say old ways of marketing and sales techniques are possibly dead.

I know a portrait/wedding photographer who went from a "disc and session, all for $150" to "$200 session fee + in-person sales + $700-$3,000 per session in products" in the last 2 years.  Yes her work is good, at the level it should be to run a business.  But it's not the best thing I've ever seen.  Yes her website is attractive.  But it's not the best thing I've ever seen.

I would say without hesitation that she found techniques that do work.  Photography is not dead for her.

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deleted080512
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Re: Books
In reply to Marques Lamont, Apr 11, 2013

Southern US

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PenguinPhotoCo
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Best us of capital?
In reply to deleted080512, Apr 12, 2013

I started out decades ago as an auto mechanic. You needed your own tools to get any worthwhile jobs (plus skills, knowledge, etc). $20k in tools or more was needed to be 'fully equipped'. You would make that in a year.  Today you can make more - but then tools cost more these days too.

Photography..sure, you can do some work with a mediocre body and one lens...but if you want to make a living you need multiple pro bodies good glass, flash, a studio even if it's in your garage. $30k? 40K? You can make that in a year as income.

But what if you could do something else with that $40k? You could open a pizza shop maybe, lawncare, snow removal business, maybe a hair salon. My wife opened her psychotherapy biz for under $3500 (that includes the rent and marketing before any income started coming). She's only doing it part time and since the OH is $500/month and her time she's gonna make back her investment within 5 months of opening (as opposed to a year in the above scenarios). Now she's got 60k invested in an education...

Yes, it's great to follow your passion, turn your hobby into your career - but what if that won't pay enough to live on, in the style you'd like to? I guess people can be passionate about accounting or working at a toll booth...

You can invest in the stock market, a savings account or yourself. Self employment means self determination.

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PenguinPhotoCo
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construction is dead?
In reply to deleted080512, Apr 12, 2013

I know many many people that were out of work, out of business, over the past few years because the housing market crashed.

A friend made a ton of building houses, so much that he had all the fun photo gear (it was his hobby). I"m talking canon 500 F4 lens, 1d bodies, etc. He had a small side biz doing painting, that's what got him into building houses.  Market dies - he lost a lot of money on a couple of unsold houses that he had to dump on the market.

He's back to painting and does some photography - landscape/wildlife, PR and commercial stuff. Not a living's worth, but over 20k a year in our small market which I think is pretty good.

But now construction is coming back here - 5 years ago they started a new plan across the road from me, built 5 of 69 planned houses and then nothing for nearly 3 years. Not one house. Now they're back at it - put up 6 or 7 since last fall. A house, any house, comes on the market here and it's gone in 30 days or less. I had friends begging on FB for a house to buy as everything they saw listed was gone before they could even call on it.  Another friend sold her house - to a buyer that mass mailed everyone in town looking to buy!  A condo plan that went under and stood for 3 years as just foundations and a big big for sale sign is again building like mad.

I think photography will come back - still way too many PT folks out there trying to steal buck from unsuspecting folks, and this year weddings have vanished - but I'm having my best year yet. The economy is improving (see above) so I'm hopeful this will trickle down and the MWACs will go back to working their day jobs.

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Graham Snook
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Re: A conversation
In reply to RhysM, Apr 12, 2013

RhysM wrote:

You're just wasting your breath!

Yup, true! Because what they are saying it's not worth listening to... This is supposed to be a forum for professional photographers Not for people with friends' who can't run a photography business. Oh harsh... I know

Anyone with a brain knows what you're saying is true,

I have a brain and what yer sayin is tosh! May be because I am one of the best in my field...who knows, I've only been doing it professionally for 14 years.

I work in finance  .

I work in photography. Now remind me again what forum this is? Oh yes it's a professional photography forum. And you work in finance you say? Wow, I'll think of you working behind your computer when I'm drinking gin and tonics as the sun sets over the harbour where my next job is....

You stick to finance, I will stick to photography. And we'll both stick to what we know, and what we are good at

This might sound bitchy, but it's my honest opinion. How would you like it I said finance was dead! Just cos my mate who works in a bank lost their job?

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deleted080512
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Re: A conversation
In reply to Graham Snook, Apr 12, 2013

It doesn't really matter. I've decided to get out of photography anyway. I the several years I tried (and I tried everything) I couldn't make it pay. I hear people claiming online that it does. I have no proof of this - you could all be genuine or you could all be 12 year olds having a laugh. It is the internet after all. I'm just going to write it all down as a bad job and move on with my life. I don't need people telling me "oh but it would have worked if". That's not ever going to be anything more than snake oil. There's always "this would have worked if" and it never will work - not even if. Photography was just a very bad thing to attempt to get into. The only plus is that my books are selling and making money.

I tried for about 7 years to make it pay, having been fandangled into opening a photography business against all common sense. The facts were there before I started but somebody dangled enough juicy carrots for me to move forward and then the carrots vanished. Where I was living before, there was money to be made occasionally from photography but that had pretty much all dried up before I came to where I now live.

I'm rather sad to have bought all my kit new as opposed to second hand as I'm going to take a massive hit on selling it. It is largely unused but the secondhand market doesn't see it like that. So I have two thousand dollar bodies worth maybe two hundred dollars for the pair. I have all the lenses, flashes and studio stuff. What I'm going to do is to sell off the stuff I don't think I will use for myself. I'll probably keep the kit lens and two marque lenses but all the Tamron junk I'll sell. I'll sell the flashes too - I just don't need them. And, of course the studio kit. All I need is one body and a couple of lenses but since there's no sense in taking a 90% reduction on a body, I'll keep both bodies. The rest can all get the hell out of my space.

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Vegasluvr
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Re: You Can Either Adapt Or...
In reply to Ohnostudio, Apr 12, 2013

Me? I never posted Doom and Gloom threads. Are you speaking about the original poster?

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Biggs23
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Re: A conversation
In reply to deleted080512, Apr 12, 2013

Machine Gun Kelly wrote:

ToddSC wrote:

I'd say that the business side of the equation has gotten a lot more competitive and those photographers that were not very good businessmen are the fatalities.

Competitive equals too many newbie photographers and too few clients.

Agreed. If you're (obviously) among the newbies you're (obviously) struggling. You've made it clear that you are so I'm not particularly surprised that you're posting about it. Don't confuse your situation with everyone's though!

There are a myriad of reasons for not being successful.  The fact that most of these friends are working other jobs indicates that they do not have enough sustaining work/revenue to continue to market their business.  And if you are waiting for work to fall in your lap then you have already given up.  Sure there are some that have that luxury but not many.  Chances are they put in the hard work building a client list years earlier.

For a myriad of reasons people just don't want to pay money for photography any more. It's too easy to do it yourself. The only hard bit any more is lighting and there are easily obtainable books on that.

Do people ever want to spend money on anything? I mean really, who wants to spend money? People want what their money gets them and there's still plenty of people who want good photography.

Also I have seen a number of folks that think they need to have the latest/greatest in equipment to be a pro, so they spend a lions share of their profits on gear.  The equipment is a tool and needs to be used as an end to a means.  I still shoot with older gear but it still works and produces "sellable" images.

Excellent. This is what I do. I shoot with an XT - it produces 8 megapixels which will do excellent 16 x 24 prints. Most people only want 10 x 8 though. No real need to go bigger.

Alrighty then.

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Biggs23
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Re: Books
In reply to deleted080512, Apr 12, 2013

Machine Gun Kelly wrote:

I do not wish to self identify on the internet. I prefer to remain anonymous.

Of course not, because allowing someone to evaluate your books would actually prove something. It would prevent you from pretending.

Meanwhile, I figure if this topic is aired enough, it might stop a few people following the idea that somehow just magically there might be a market for photography.

What I thought all along, attempting to scare potential competition.

When it gets down to people saying "ah but you needed to do this" we are into snake oil territory as I found with SEO. Now that was a waste of time, effort and money. There's no point in being on whatever page of google if nobody is going to click on your website.

Bwahaha, one of the most funny things I've heard in a long time! Thanks for the laugh!

I can lead a horse to water. I cannot make him drink. I can put an optimised website out there on page 1 of google. I cannot make people visit. I can show people my work and get gasps of admiration and questions on how I achieved various effects. I can't make people buy prints nor can I make people hire me.

If they aren't hiring you there is a reason. Price too high for the quality, products/services insufficient, something. Or could be multiple things. Regardless, it's on YOU, not them.

The fact I have found is nobody wants to pay for photography no matter how badly they do it themselves.

False.

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Biggs23
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Re: A conversation
In reply to deleted080512, Apr 12, 2013

Machine Gun Kelly wrote:

It doesn't really matter. I've decided to get out of photography anyway.

Oh good, then you will stop posting in this subforum, right?

The only plus is that my books are selling and making money.

What books are those? What titles? I may wish to purchase one.

I'm rather sad to have bought all my kit new as opposed to second hand as I'm going to take a massive hit on selling it. It is largely unused but the secondhand market doesn't see it like that.

So you're selling your gear at cut rate prices? Do be sure to post everything in the 'For Sale' forum here as soon as possible!

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echelon2004
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Re: Books
In reply to deleted080512, Apr 12, 2013

Machine Gun Kelly wrote:

The fact I have found is nobody wants to pay for photography no matter how badly they do it themselves.

I don't get that statement. Are you implying that the rest of us, who have 100% of our income from photography and are even doing better each consecutive year, are mistaken? Are we just imagining things?

I can't understand how you can even consider it possible that any of the people that belong in here will agree with you?

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Teila Day
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Re: A conversation
In reply to deleted080512, Apr 12, 2013

Machine Gun Kelly wrote:

Exactly. A photography business is worth only the resale value of the equipment.

I think you have a better understanding of where the market is and where it's going than many professional photographers that have had their heads in the sand for the last decade.  The writing has been on the wall for well over 10 years.

The truth is that the traditional model of running a photography business is sorely outdated and generally speaking, ridiculous if your aim is to make a good amount of money quickly, repetitively.

Traditional wedding photography (excluding the Tier I market) is one of the largest money pits in photography, and it's getting worse, but it is a great deal for young (pretty competent) newbie photographer who wants to make a quick $1,500 via turn-n-burn business model shooting clients who couldn't care less about a $400-600 photo album.  18k per annum is decent money for a kid living at home saving for college. It sure beats slinging burgers or waitressing.  Universities routinely hire amateur photographers as well- $150 here, $300 there... basically 2 hours of easy work for students living off loans and student aid = a good gig.  That's a common reality today in photography- the little guy being hired instead of the seasoned professional for such work because the results are commonly too close to quibble over or care about.

There is money to be made though.  You have to think of photography as a business and not some fluffy rainbows and unicorn exercise of "art".   People paying good money for photography often don't want art, they want a great price + utility and results.   Let the MFA (master of fine art) grads worry about "art".  The good money is mostly simply about business.  Period.

You find a business model that works, change it, adapt it, and wring it for all it's worth while everyone else is still marching to a drum beat (business model) from the 1980's.

Buy only what you need to photograph your niche and make money while investing in something else.  There are not rules.  The only rules you have to abide by are whatever rules you can live with.

Separate business from your private life (socially and legally) and unless you're dealing with a corporate entity, always get your money up front!

Take a photograph and be able to use that shot over and over again.  If your business model doesn't at least include that element, then (as far as I'm concerned) it's a dying or dead end business model. Example: "Photography Instruction" via books, audio and or video is ok.  Photography instruction in person (unless you're famous, etc.) isn't ideal because you spend too much time and work for a small return.   Again, that's just how I see it through my eyes.

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Ohnostudio
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Re: You Can Either Adapt Or...
In reply to Vegasluvr, Apr 12, 2013

Vegasluvr wrote:

Me? I never posted Doom and Gloom threads. Are you speaking about the original poster?

Yes was referencing the OP. Every day it's a new round of whining with this guy.

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Terrence Mahanna
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Re: A conversation
In reply to deleted080512, Apr 12, 2013

I will refrain from personal statements.

Just for the record I am a working professional with 30+ years of photography and video experience. Admitedly the video portion is new in the last year. In that regard I am a video newbie. At 56 years old I am still learning and refining my  skills. I am constantly looking for new opportunities. I knock on a few new doors every week.

Yes, the economy in the last 7 or so years has taken a toll on the income of photographers. Some of my peers have gone on to do other things and the rest of us work harder for less money. Most of the ones who have gone away did not love their craft. It was just a job. Those that have stayed are just like me. Working smarter for less money. That isn't so different from the population at large.

What I can't figure out is threads like this that bemoan the demise of a fabulous craft such as image making. Frankly I can't believe I get paid to do what I love. If you don't love this business it will never be what you want. If you do love it then work harder, invest in more clients and do some pro bono work in the community. I promise you will get a return on your investment on all three counts. Will it be enough?  Hard to say. If you don't do those things then you have no right to suggest that the business is dying.

Personally I like to shoot stuff that doesn't talk back. I have added a couple clients that need portraits and even though it isn't my specialty or that I particularly like doing portraits. I do it because it furthers all my opportunities.

I could be negative like some. My income is less than in the first 5-6 years of this decade yet I am growing my business at a rate of 3-4% a year. Nothing to write home about but in this economy I'll take it. I have added some skills and taken back some of my photoshop work from a contract worker. I do a bit more in QUick Books than before because I have the time.

I try not to look back except for context. I am looking forward to what is to come. Imaging is changing and you need to re-invent yourself every few years. I don't want to be a dinosaur.

My 2 cents worth! With inflation that works out to be 1.72%.

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