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Archive 2013 · Reality of today's photography market
  
 
Skarkowtsky
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p.2 #1 · Reality of today's photography market


Hear hear, Mickey. I spend an equal amount of time cold calling as I do making photographs. As in edgy, I didn't mean gimmicky, I meant it as in staying alert to the shifts in culture.



Jan 14, 2013 at 12:16 AM
RustyBug
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p.2 #2 · Reality of today's photography market


As to BS on the 10:90 (it is a really old adage) ... it was only an illustration that many people who want to enter the professional ranks of photography as a business do not give sufficient credence to the business side of the the equation as others have also indicated a need to be concerned with (ratio not withstanding).

10:90 wasn't meant to be taken literally (hence the indication that it was an over-exaggeration). Whether it is a 10:90 or 50:50 or 90:10 isn't the point of 10:90 ... just that without a diligent recognition of the business demands that accompany the photographic talent, the photography alone won't always carry the day long term.



Jan 14, 2013 at 12:17 AM
misty23
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p.2 #3 · Reality of today's photography market


RustyBug wrote:
As to BS on the 10:90 (it is a really old adage) ... it was only an illustration that many people who want to enter the professional ranks of photography as a business do not give sufficient credence to the business side of the the equation as others have also indicated a need to be concerned with (ratio not withstanding).

10:90 wasn't meant to be taken literally (hence the indication that it was an over-exaggeration). Whether it is a 10:90 or 50:50 or 90:10 isn't the point of 10:90 ... just that without a diligent recognition of the business demands
...Show more

Exactly true. I came into the profession thinking that if one had great work it would sell itself.......HUGE mistake. It's better to be an excellent business person and a mediocre photographer than an excellent photographer and a mediocre business man.



Jan 14, 2013 at 01:02 AM
Micky Bill
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p.2 #4 · Reality of today's photography market


I know RBug but i think it's just one of those things that some old drunk photographer said in a bar in 1961 complaining to his brother in law the accountant who thought he had a glamorous job.


Jan 14, 2013 at 01:04 AM
RustyBug
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p.2 #5 · Reality of today's photography market


misty23 wrote:
I came into the profession thinking that if one had great work it would sell itself.......HUGE mistake.


This was my point ... it is classic.

The "saying" @ 10:90 isn't meant to be an accurate assessment ... but it is intended to cause someone to consider that they may need to give more credence to something (10% inspiration, 90% perspiration) than they have previously given.

There are a zillion good photographers and a zillion people out there with great ideas. But without the business effort / hard work ... talent and a brilliant idea alone typically aren't sufficient for most endeavors to sustain success. Imo, the question that new entries should be asking themselves isn't if the water is fine, but if they are strong enough to swim well against opposing currents, riptides and large swells when the occur.

One thing about asking others if the water is fine ... it depends on which water they are operating, turbulent surf, open seas or a calm lake. Which waters were you most interested in?



Edited on Jan 14, 2013 at 02:57 AM · View previous versions



Jan 14, 2013 at 02:45 AM
Skarkowtsky
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p.2 #6 · Reality of today's photography market


Did you make, or do you still make a living as a working photographer, Rusty?


Jan 14, 2013 at 02:54 AM
RustyBug
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p.2 #7 · Reality of today's photography market


100% of my income in 2012 year came from photography business endeavors.

Lesser endeavors in the late 80's and early 90's while serving our country full time.

Edited on Jan 14, 2013 at 03:04 AM · View previous versions



Jan 14, 2013 at 03:00 AM
Skarkowtsky
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p.2 #8 · Reality of today's photography market


Awesome. I never asked you before, was just curious.


Jan 14, 2013 at 03:04 AM
Micky Bill
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p.2 #9 · Reality of today's photography market


RustyBug wrote:
This was my point ... it is classic.

The "saying" @ 10:90 isn't meant to be an accurate assessment ... but it is intended to cause someone to consider that they may need to give more credence to something (10% inspiration, 90% perspiration) than they have previously given.

There are a zillion good photographers and a zillion people out there with great ideas. But without the business effort / hard work ... talent and a brilliant idea alone typically aren't sufficient for most endeavors to sustain success. Imo, the question that new entries should be asking themselves isn't if the water
...Show more





Jan 14, 2013 at 03:15 AM
RustyBug
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p.2 #10 · Reality of today's photography market


No worries ... I've had my lunch handed to me by lesser talented photographers that had better business acumen, work ethic and were "hungrier" than I was at various times along the way. I've also retained business over competition because of my professionalism and responsiveness and ability to "save the day" ... so it cuts both ways.

The issue of "talent" isn't always the only necessary catalyst to secure or prevent getting the work. That's a tough pill to swallow sometimes when you've underestimated the business elements involved and have a pride in your workmanship / talent such that you think your imagery is the main thing it takes to succeed in photography business.



Jan 14, 2013 at 03:16 AM
 

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misty23
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p.2 #11 · Reality of today's photography market


I think that it's more difficult to stay relavent in some disciplines as in others. Weddings are mostly a young persons world. Brides want current, trendy, young, for the most part. Not entirely, but generally. They don't want grandpa shooting their wedding.

I have found that in business, commercial, grads and family portraits it doesn't matter as long as your work is good. WHO you are is less important than in weddings. Just my observations.



Jan 14, 2013 at 03:22 PM
cineski
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p.2 #12 · Reality of today's photography market


Micky, I'm taking into consideration the whole market beyond but including commercial/advertising/editorial. Of course this is all anecdotal because there is no data where you can get an accurate number aside from just taking a step back and looking at the market. My initial comments were aimed at the photo industry as a whole in LA but also touch on your lop-sided comment. There's a lot of different photo markets (weddings leading the pack in terms of shear numbers of photographers) as well as headshots, seniors, baby, pregnancy, real estate, architectural, corporate, food, heck porn is an industry full of photographers. Ad to that the interesting phenomenon that editorial photographers are now dabbling in weddings because their industry has collapsed, wedding photographers dabbling in editorial, advertising photographers are starting to do pregnancy/baby, actors are becoming wedding and headshot photographers, San Diego photographers are going after San Francisco clients, Santa Barbara photographers going after San Diego clients and a very bad economy spawning a lot of unemployed people claiming to be photographers that have taken work away from real pros. LA photographers are leaving LA to continue being an LA photographer from out of city or state. Out of state photographers are vying and successfully getting LA jobs (often times at the cost of travel just to have an LA wedding on their portfolio. Conversely, a lot of LA photographers are doing work in other states. Anyway, this is simply what I see, hear and read from people I know in all kinds of photo industries. Hundreds of thousands seems pretty accurate to me!

For some reason, the NY photo market seems to have much less of this chatter and as a whole seems to be doing better. I wonder what the differences are aside from economy issues?

Micky Bill wrote:
IMHO (this is about the commercial/advertising/editorial market)
First of all there are not "literally hundreds of thousands of amazing photographers in LA vying for hundreds of jobs" it may seem like it, but thru-ought history the number of photographers has vastly outnumbered the available jobs. Not as bad as actors:acting jobs but close.
LA has a lopsided market, there is a lot of production done here but many of the jobs originate elsewhere. The weather and production support still brings clients in to shoot when the weather sucks in NY or Detroit or London or Frankfort.
There is always room
...Show more



Jan 14, 2013 at 05:55 PM
Skarkowtsky
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p.2 #13 · Reality of today's photography market


Cineski,

I'm a part of the NYC photo market. Work here is slow, accounts are being held close to the chest, and tapping in is as difficult as ever. The primary money-makers here are eCommerce, magazines and Ad agency accounts. I think because there is a constant influx of new product in these two arenas, NYers tend to stay busy. Either working, or vying for it.

eComm pays decently, and you can secure 2-4 days a week with some of the major retailers as a freelancer, week in and week out. Some magazines pay next to nothing, but you'll keep busy shooting and build new portfolios. TIME owns quite a few magazines, and has a studio on-site. Lots of freelance in and out of there.

Advertising is advertising: we all want in, and it's difficult to catch the eye of an AD or buyer that already has a tried and true black book of photographers. The best we can do is keep hammering out promotionals and honing the craft.

I spend most of my month reaching out to agencies, and spreading my work.



Jan 14, 2013 at 07:37 PM
markperez
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p.2 #14 · Reality of today's photography market


misty23 wrote:
I think that it's more difficult to stay relavent in some disciplines as in others. Weddings are mostly a young persons world. Brides want current, trendy, young, for the most part. Not entirely, but generally. They don't want grandpa shooting their wedding.

I have found that in business, commercial, grads and family portraits it doesn't matter as long as your work is good. WHO you are is less important than in weddings. Just my observations.


sure you have



Jan 15, 2013 at 04:48 PM
cineski
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p.2 #15 · Reality of today's photography market


This is a perception in the world where buzz is king. People in LA (and facebook) absolutely love to tell you how insanely busy they are . The people I know who are the tops of their game in LA are not young. A few are in their 30's at the youngest and the busiest of the busies are early to mid 40's. You won't see these people telling other photographers how amazing they'll be if they buy into their teachings. They're too busy shooting big weddings.

misty23 wrote:
I think that it's more difficult to stay relavent in some disciplines as in others. Weddings are mostly a young persons world. Brides want current, trendy, young, for the most part. Not entirely, but generally. They don't want grandpa shooting their wedding.

I have found that in business, commercial, grads and family portraits it doesn't matter as long as your work is good. WHO you are is less important than in weddings. Just my observations.




Jan 15, 2013 at 08:16 PM
cgardner
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p.2 #16 · Reality of today's photography market


misty23 wrote:
As much as the industry has changed and the public's perception of photography has changed, is it still a viable profession to get into and make a living, or merely a part time endeavor at best ?

There are still traditional markets like weddings around. Changes in technology like $20 custom printed photo books have also created new markets.

My advice to someone wanting to enter the market today? If you know people with kids in your social circle market yourself as family photo-journalist and sell "Day in the Life" digitally printed photo albums. A "heirloom" book on the mantle with the 100 shots you'd take anyway hoping to sell a few 8x10s has more perceived value. You can charge more for the shooting time and if you know how to sell when delivering the book they contracted for suggest copies would make a great surprise Christmas gift for the grandparents instead of the usual sweater and tie. They were going to spend that money anyway and you solve the problem of what to buy.

Next year who will pay to shoot little Johnny's 1st. grade adventure book? Grandma. Marketing 101 - target the market with the most money to spend and have a strategy for up-selling beyond what the customer thinks they need.

misty23 wrote:

I personally see so many potential clients who just don't want to pay decent prices for photography work. They think that all photographers over charge, that any high school kid can do the same thing with photoshop and the perception and how they think affects their spending decisions.


Find some a way to get a foothold into the next rung in the market and get referrals from people with more disposable income. Who in your market makes the most money? What country club do they belong to? Where do they shop? Where do their kids get married? Board their horses?

Visit the stable. Hire a model and rent horse. Take a nice backlight photo of them on a hill at sunset. Get a 40 x 60 print made and give it to the owner in return for displaying it... you can write it off as a marketing expense.

The calls you get won't be from someone quibbling about the price of your 8x10s. People who can afford a horse might still flinch at the $5,000 price for the 40 x 60 but think the 30 x 40 print is a bargain at $2,000. You''ll sell a 40 x 60 when one of their friends see the 30 x40 over the mantle and want to one-up them with a bigger one.

The lesson there? It's always been and will always be a word-of-mouth referral business, especially on the high end. As you get nearer the top of the market the product becomes less important than the comfort level in dealing with the provider and it's exclusiveness.

Rich people shop at Nordstrom rather than K-Mart because they like being fawned over by people who are well dressed and well mannered. So when you do get a job from the sample don't show up in cut-offs and flip-flops. You want to look the part. That's part of marketing too. Take a shopping trip to Nordstrom Rack (It's the same stuff the rich people wear but return after wearing once, discounted 90%) Later when you are established as the "must have" photographer of the horsey set you'll be able to show up in the cut-offs and flip-flops











Jan 16, 2013 at 01:39 AM
misty23
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p.2 #17 · Reality of today's photography market


markperez wrote:
sure you have


God bless you young man.



Jan 16, 2013 at 02:11 AM
friscoron
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p.2 #18 · Reality of today's photography market



Hey marti.g3, it's good to see you back.



Jan 16, 2013 at 03:39 AM
markperez
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p.2 #19 · Reality of today's photography market


friscoron wrote:
Hey marti.g3, it's good to see you back.


+1



Jan 16, 2013 at 03:40 PM
Micky Bill
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p.2 #20 · Reality of today's photography market


(IMO about the commercial/adv/edit not the consumer market)
Does it matter how many "photographers" there are in given market?
I am only concerned about my field. I don;t give a hoot how many people are taking pictures of babies or little leagues or weddings. I don;t compete in those specialities. If there a million wedding photographers in California (1 in every 36 people doesnt seem too far off the mark ) good for them and I wish you luck but it doesn;t affect me or my work.
OTOH there is a generational thing that inevitably happens. There are IMO 3 stages of a career. The first is very exciting when you are learning all bout the business and yourself, the second is when you have found your groove and know how the game is played (for the most part) for most the peak earning years and you feel sorry for the geezers who can't keep up with your hipness, and the third is becoming the geezer trying to hold onto something that either makes you happy or makes you money. At this stage many are kicked to the curb and hopefully have a Plan B...
Some of this can be "blamed" on factors such as the young people at agencies want to work with other young people not their dad. Or the clients move up the corp ladder and become CDs or VPs or move over to doing TV, or go out on their own and end up designing menus for the local diner and they cant afford to work with you anymore.
I have been working with a client for 9 years and they count for 80%+ of my billing...what happens when they want to make a change

But it's not all gloomy and doomy. There's alot more flexibilty these days, you can be a specialist in more than one thing. It's a lot cheaper to promote yourself to anyone in the world.




cineski wrote:
Micky, I'm taking into consideration the whole market beyond but including commercial/advertising/editorial. Of course this is all anecdotal because there is no data where you can get an accurate number aside from just taking a step back and looking at the market. My initial comments were aimed at the photo industry as a whole in LA but also touch on your lop-sided comment. There's a lot of different photo markets (weddings leading the pack in terms of shear numbers of photographers) as well as headshots, seniors, baby, pregnancy, real estate, architectural, corporate, food, heck porn is an industry full of
...Show more



Jan 16, 2013 at 04:03 PM
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