What is YOUR market like?

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PenguinPhotoCo
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Re: Answering
In reply to photoreddi, 7 months ago

walmart moves into a town. bringing lower prices and more selection, more hours to be open and jobs, taxes, etc.

yet people fight them. why? I like to save money, don't you?

So lower prices are bad? Must be if communities try to pass laws to keep them out.

https://www.facebook.com/KeepWalMartOutOfWhitehallAndMontague

Walmart as been accused of coming into a town and operating at loss to drive other businesses out of business. Remove the competition.

http://www.academia.edu/1511858/The_Effect_of_Wal-Mart_on_Small_Towns

JoePhotobiz isn't any different IMO. He's not a faceless billion dollar corportation, but what he's doing is having the same effect for the same reasons.

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BrianYarvin
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Re: I answer your questions.
In reply to PenguinPhotoCo, 7 months ago

and if every one of those book buyers had to come, physically to you in NJ, what affect do you think that would have on sales?
Ok, if someone bought 100 books you could go to them. How far would you be willing to go for the profit on 100 books?

Penguin:

I have to travel to create the books, but once they're sent off to the publisher (no easy task in itself, check out that delivery thread for more), my traveling is pretty much done. Most of my books are sold in chain stores, retail websites and book clubs. There's no need to go to any of them. Stock photo sales are the same way. Even if they're done half way around the world, I stay home.

See, I do portraiture. I can't do that over the net (ok sally, get really close to your webscam and smile!) or use fedex (just send yourselves over here by fedex for your eSession, ok?).

This is the part of your career that I don't get. After you did all that market research, you came up with a specialty that's limited to your small area and very possibly shrinking. When I moved into my area twelve years ago, I had to do market research and choose a specialty too. I deliberately chose something with a national audience (it turned out to be global, but I didn't yet know it) based on the data I collected.

If - as you say - people line up at gun shops in your area - why aren't you shooting for the hunting industry instead? People in my town make the seven hour drive to your area for just that reason. (they also go for whitewater, mountain biking, backpacking and antiques - it's a pretty vibrant rural place)

I don't think that small-town retail photography is a bad thing. Indeed, I love the way people like you create a record of their communities. I'm just saying that I made a very different set of decisions and that made me see the marketplace in a very different way.

I probably just have to accept that the business is as large as it's likely to get.

It sounds like it and I feel for you. However, should you ever wish to change specialties - and this is one of the great things about a photography career - I invite you to ask questions on this very board which you yourself moderate. I for one am here for you.

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PenguinPhotoCo
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Re: I answer your questions.
In reply to BrianYarvin, 7 months ago

BrianYarvin wrote:

and if every one of those book buyers had to come, physically to you in NJ, what affect do you think that would have on sales?
Ok, if someone bought 100 books you could go to them. How far would you be willing to go for the profit on 100 books?

Penguin:

I have to travel to create the books, but once they're sent off to the publisher (no easy task in itself, check out that delivery thread for more), my traveling is pretty much done. Most of my books are sold in chain stores, retail websites and book clubs. There's no need to go to any of them. Stock photo sales are the same way. Even if they're done half way around the world, I stay home.

You don't have to travel to sell books. Your market is worldwide. Potentially billions of people. My market is limited by how far people will travel to get to me (or me to them)

My point, which you apparently missed, was if you had to sell your books with the same condition - you had to hand over each and every sold issue in person - your market wouldn't be billions any longer, but a circle an hour or two around your physical location.

See, I do portraiture. I can't do that over the net (ok sally, get really close to your webscam and smile!) or use fedex (just send yourselves over here by fedex for your eSession, ok?).

This is the part of your career that I don't get. After you did all that market research, you came up with a specialty that's limited to your small area and very possibly shrinking. When I moved into my area twelve years ago, I had to do market research and choose a specialty too. I deliberately chose something with a national audience (it turned out to be global, but I didn't yet know it) based on the data I collected.

I have a portrait and wedding studio. That is my business. Of course I could change my business...and if so then the world of possibilities opens up. Usually people choose a business based on what they like to do as much as anything else. Most I know that do it for the money (or go to college to a get a degree to get a 'good job' but don't have much interest in it) don't end up happy long term.

If - as you say - people line up at gun shops in your area - why aren't you shooting for the hunting industry instead? People in my town make the seven hour drive to your area for just that reason. (they also go for whitewater, mountain biking, backpacking and antiques - it's a pretty vibrant rural place)

I don't hunt. Went hunting once, last fall, for 5 hours. Total in my life and that was only because my son is interested. I'm into competitive shooting. And it's 99% men...and men don't buy pictures.
I have had some images published in national magazines...it pays crap.

I probably just have to accept that the business is as large as it's likely to get.

It sounds like it and I feel for you. However, should you ever wish to change specialties - and this is one of the great things about a photography career - I invite you to ask questions on this very board which you yourself moderate. I for one am here for you.

I stated with just weddings. Not enough business so added seniors..again, not enough, so I added sports leagues. Tried adding baby/family but can't get more than a handful of customers combined.
I've not tried church directories, dance schools but have done some proms and first communions.
Get the odd call for all sorts of other things - reunions, headshots, grand openings, grip and grin events, anniversaries, sweet 16s, pet photos, car photos, product shots, restorations, etc.
I lived in the city and it suburbs for years and then moved here in the late 90s...went from being a parts guy/mechanic in a motorcycle dealership with 50 employes...to one where there was me, the owner and his mom did the books.
That is a pretty good example of how much, um, slower paced, the lifestyle is here.
Had a night out with my 'city photog' friends and they attend PUG meets (pictage user group) and other meetings of a similar nature. At one 'workshop' there were 36 photogs there, 2 guys, 34 women. He said maybe 5 of them were over the age of 30/35.  The PUG groups are more than half 'momma-razzi' as he calls them.

He chatted with one - she was complaining how busy she was...doing 40 weddings a year. $1700 each, and that includes 5 meetings to help plan the wedding, pick vendors, time the day, etc. He asked her if she's selling herself as a wedding planner/coordinator and she said, no, she just LOVES weddings! But it's soooo much work she was saying. He asked if she had insurance for planning and she looked at him and said "What do I need insurance for?" along with a dirty look..the same look about 1/2 the other women gave him and then nobody spoke to him the rest of the day.

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PenguinPhotoCo
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Re: Here's the deal, Penguin
In reply to FriscoRon, 7 months ago

FriscoRon wrote:

PenguinPhotoCo wrote:

And why are you so obsessed with me? Looking to date or something?

1. You're like an act at a circus that defies our imagination.

2. You're a contradiction, constantly crying out about the sky falling, yet claiming that you're having a very successful year.

Yes, I'm doing OK. I'm not doing as good as I want to be doing. I've posted elsewhere on this thread the good and the bad.
Lost a baseball league this week from last year - not a great league, but business none the less.
Just booked a 50th HS reunions for june - they want 'the works' - group shot, ind/couples, candids and a booklet of the event. Should be a $3k evening for me. Replaced the lost income of the sports league.
good? bad? status quo.

So you go into your day job and ask for a raise, a promotion maybe, cause you're doing a great job. The boss says, no raise, no promo, but you still have your job!
So you come home and take the Mrs out to celebrate right? No, you come home and complain the boss didn't give you a raise or promotion. Human nature my friend.

3. You have so much advice to scare off newbies, yet you heed none of the advice given to you when you complain about your business not doing well. Yes, I know, you also say you're very successful this year. Please note No. 2.

Make a plan, survey the market...basic business stuff. If that scares them off as 'too hard, too much like work' then good.

4. You're like a Kardashian reality show. It's amazing how successful they are, given the lack of talent they have.

5. But I think most importantly, you seem to be on a mission to scare off any newbies considering getting into the field of pro photography, and I think many of us feel a need to balance your negativity toward them. We know, you feel threatened by them because their low prices are cutting into your target market.

Not really. I'm hitting them with a reality check. Most of what they year is 'follow your passion and you'll be successful!' Nobody wants to mention the little details...yes, you WILL be marketing, cleaning you gear, doing computer maintenance and backup, accounting and no, unlike every 'day job' you've had in your life you don't get paid for doing any of that.

I'm trying to save them from investing time and money to later find out no, it's not all rainbows and unicorns and they end up quitting because nobody told them what it would really be like.

All I see and hear is the 'sales pitch' about how great it is to be a photographer. Yep, I"m saying the emperor has no clothes...and nobody likes to hear that.

A good example is being a teacher. Summer off, christmas and spring break. Can't be fired or laid off or transferred. In most communities around here teachers are better paid than the avg household income, so it even pays well.
That is the sales pitch...
the reality is more like http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/53430985

6. It also amazes me, given your success or lack of success, how much time you waste on this forum repeating the same spiel ad nauseum, and really offering nothing to the community besides your entertainment value. (I know, you'll say: Look, you just responded to me. But please count the number of daily responses you have, and their length. You waste a lot of time here, and that cuts into the time you should be spending building up your business.) Sorry, forgot, you're being immensely successful again this year. I keep forgetting with all your whining.

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Ron
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nikoboivin
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Re: I answer your questions.
In reply to PenguinPhotoCo, 7 months ago

If I dare ask, what are people hunting in your area? Because while men typically won't pay to have their photo taken, that ain't true when it comes to being photographed with their "trophies".  In Quebec, to hunt a moose, you need three permits.  That means three hunters.  You also need to rent a spot.  In a good place like Anticosti Island or Gaspesia, you're looking at 3 guys spending a week of their time and a total of around 6-7k to have a chance of shooting a giant beast and bringing its head back.

I can tell you these guys usually have enough money to spare to get a portrait of them with the buck's head once it's been naturalized (not a cheap task either) taken, enlarged and framed to put on display next to said head.

Of course, if you're talking duck hunters, that may be a different ballgame, but if hunting is such a big thing in your area, I would talk to a local taxidermist and see what volume he has and if there's something to be done with it...

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FriscoRon
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Re: Here's the deal, Penguin
In reply to PenguinPhotoCo, 7 months ago

I think it's funny that you responded to me when you thought/knew I couldn't respond (for some reason).

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FriscoRon
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Re: Answering
In reply to photoreddi, 7 months ago

photoreddi wrote:

PenguinPhotoCo wrote:

yes, running an illegal business is ECONOMIC TERRORISM.

If you're gonna quote me please do so accurately.

I did, with 100% accuracy.

I think it's very telling that Penguin did not respond to this, and instead went off on another tangent.

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BrianYarvin
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Re: I answer your questions.
In reply to PenguinPhotoCo, 7 months ago
I have a portrait and wedding studio. That is my business. Of course I could change my business...and if so then the world of possibilities opens up

Penguin:

This right here is the part I find most frightening. In the 42 years I've been doing professional photography, I've made very big changes a couple of times. There is a certain jumping off a cliff aspect to it. I appreciate your reticence.

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robertfel
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The world is your market.
In reply to PenguinPhotoCo, 7 months ago

When are you going to realize that?

If I commercial client offered you $15,000 plus expenses to get on a plane and shoot in an exotic location for 3 days, would you take it?

It's enough money to bring the wife and kids and a nanny.

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PenguinPhotoCo
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Re: I answer your questions.
In reply to nikoboivin, 7 months ago

Deer mostly. Rifle season is 12 days just before christmas, muzzle loader and archery are longer but not nearly as popular.
Where I"m at there are lot of deer but few trophy types.

Last year they started a goose hunt in the local park, one weekend only. A lady that works for me, her husband and kids are big hunters.

Most people just take iPhone pics with their kill while still in the woods.

Next year I'll make up a few flyers and post them at processors and taxidermists and see if anyone has interest.

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PenguinPhotoCo
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change...?
In reply to BrianYarvin, 7 months ago

All businesses need to change..don't they?

Times change, technology changes, competition changes, etc.

But the challenge is what to change? Coke did a change, all indicators and all their MBA experts had it right...yet "new coke" was a collossal flop.
JCPenney was having difficulty...so they got a new CEO, new ideas...and lost billions on their change and are changing back to what it was before.

Some 'change' by changing what they do - buying other companies, dropping lines (IBM doesn't make PCs anymore).

Some don't change and it kills them- blockbuster video being a recent one.

Some I don't know what to say..domono's pizza was big here 30 years ago and then vanished. A new store opened about a year ago and is doing well.
Pizza Hut is always trying new things - yet I never see them get busier, or busy really. Some sell beer, wings, delivery, etc. I've seen salad bars, pizza bars, spaghetti/italian food on the menu. They're stil around but as i said, never see them busy (here and when traveling we stop in and it's the same everywhere)

Radio Shack has tried to change..they're changing again..will they survive?

Of course there is an alternative - go do something else. I've considered many options. gun store - they are busy here all the time, a bit less so than 2 years ago nearer the election. But if you can't inventory..it's hard to run a business. And delay..and you may lose. A guy owned one store across the state line, got some partners and opened 5 stores in 3 states in the past 6 months. He managed to get inventory (of guns and accessories..no ammo).
Considered other business as well. I think the time is right to open a restaurant. Non-Chain restaurants dominate here and with 3 new hotels going up and the impending $2.5Billion shell refinery to be built there is a new market coming.
But then I was out with friends last night, in the city. A burger there was $11, beer $4 draft, craft beers $6-12.  Here the food cost would be the same, rent I think a bit less, labor and utitlies similar (since waitresses work on tips). But bars here get $6 for a burger and fries, beer is typically $2 and craft beers $3-8.
And the investment wouldn't be nickels and dimes. Not sure which is more stressful...what I deal with now or dealing with that? LOL

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RhysM
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Re: What is YOUR market like?
In reply to PenguinPhotoCo, 7 months ago

A question:

When deciding what direction you're gonna take your business in, do you guys prioritise:

a) staying in your comfort zone, having an easy life, doing what you enjoy?

or

b) doing whatever makes you the most amount of money even if it means continually learning new skills, experimenting and taking an element of risk?

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PenguinPhotoCo
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Re: What is YOUR market like?
In reply to RhysM, 7 months ago

Have had a few 'resets' in life - think starting over from nothing or near to it. Some people find such experiences freeing - if they can start from nothing once, twice why not a third time?
Those experience have had the opposite effect on me -[ I"m not a big risk taker. Never been 'rich' - always had to work too hard for what I have.

yes, risk=reward. But if the 'risk' fails..how far back does it set you?
I've known people to take risks and win..and others to do so and lose. As in their houses and the biz so their job too. Most seem to try to hang on to the dream to the end..so they end up nearly penniless liiving with family.

And not risks pan out, even if you have all the brains and expertise money can buy - just ask Coke circa 1984, or more recently JCPenney. Chrysler over the years have put it all on the line at times too..and they're a long way (ownership wise) from where they were.

Like your investment portfolio should be a mix of low risk, high risk and you shouldn't invest more than you can afford to lose I feel business is the same way.

You gotta try new things, but you have to weigh the worse case scenario (the idea flops) with the projected outcome.

Advertising increases sales. So why not go spend $25,000 on advertisnig your photography? You WILL get more sales. Enough sales? that's the risk, isn't it?

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tcg550
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Re: What is YOUR market like?
In reply to RhysM, 7 months ago

RhysM wrote:

A question:

When deciding what direction you're gonna take your business in, do you guys prioritise:

a) staying in your comfort zone, having an easy life, doing what you enjoy?

or

b) doing whatever makes you the most amount of money even if it means continually learning new skills, experimenting and taking an element of risk?

Photography is not my main business but in my main service business I still do most of my work in the comfort zone but if someone asks me to do something and they are willing to pay me, I'm in.

I've come home many times after meeting with a customer and told my wife what we are going to do and she says "how in the hell are going to do that?" I say "I have no idea but we start tomorrow"

It has always worked out.

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BrianYarvin
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Re: What is YOUR market like?
In reply to RhysM, 7 months ago

Rhys:

I never think about either a or b. I think of myself as a storyteller and try to seek out stories that I think people will want to hear, then try to figure out how to get those stories out there.

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Kirk Tuck
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Re: What is YOUR market like?
In reply to RhysM, 7 months ago

I definitely vote for the risk. It's a hell of a lot more fun! The money thing just follows.

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RhysM
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Re: What is YOUR market like?
In reply to tcg550, 7 months ago

tcg550 wrote:

RhysM wrote:

A question:

When deciding what direction you're gonna take your business in, do you guys prioritise:

a) staying in your comfort zone, having an easy life, doing what you enjoy?

or

b) doing whatever makes you the most amount of money even if it means continually learning new skills, experimenting and taking an element of risk?

Photography is not my main business but in my main service business I still do most of my work in the comfort zone but if someone asks me to do something and they are willing to pay me, I'm in.

I've come home many times after meeting with a customer and told my wife what we are going to do and she says "how in the hell are going to do that?" I say "I have no idea but we start tomorrow"

It has always worked out.

I think this is the best attitude for business! It's the "we've put a man on the moon, i'm sure we can do this..." mentality that gets things done!

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RhysM
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Re: What is YOUR market like?
In reply to Kirk Tuck, 7 months ago

Kirk Tuck wrote:

I definitely vote for the risk. It's a hell of a lot more fun! The money thing just follows.

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Austin based advertising and portrait photographer, and author of the book series, Minimalist Lighting, and the books: Commercial Photographers Handbook, Photographic Lighting Equipment, and, LED Lighting for Digital Photographers. www.kirktuck.com

Yeah exactly! You'll win some and lose some, but it all levels out and as you say is a lot more entertaining, plus there's the old saying "he who doesn't take risks does not drink champagne".

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PenguinPhotoCo
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Re: What is YOUR market like?
In reply to RhysM, 7 months ago

It's usually a successful attitude. As business owners we are often problem solvers as much anything else we do.

But we've all see the posts from usually newbies, one recently was "booked a wedding. bride wants formals outside after sunset. I've never used a flash"

I've hired contractors that have told me "same stuff, only bigger job, no problem' only to find they are in over they heads...

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photoreddi
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Re: Answering
In reply to FriscoRon, 7 months ago

FriscoRon wrote:

photoreddi wrote:

PenguinPhotoCo wrote:

yes, running an illegal business is ECONOMIC TERRORISM.

If you're gonna quote me please do so accurately.

I did, with 100% accuracy.

I think it's very telling that Penguin did not respond to this, and instead went off on another tangent.

Indeed. An apology was warranted, even one that was weak and semi-sincere, but that's the way of the Penguin. Most people aren't dummies. They can often pick up on personal traits that might influence their purchasing decisions, like an overwhelmingly NEGATIVE ATTITUDE that finds so many ways to explain why business isn't as good as desired and uses that to blame others for it.

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