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Hobby photographers eroding value of professional work?
  
 
secondclaw
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Hobby photographers eroding value of professional work?


As a hobbyist, I pretty much take photos for fun, even though I have what many would consider Pro grade equipment. I have tried - generally unsuccessfully - to sell any prints - even at 'face' value, so I don't really bother anymore. So when a local Toronto newspaper asked to print my photo from Toronto Pan Am Games 2015 (where I was a volunteer) I gladly consented - and have a nice souvenir of my photo on the front page of their paper. The photo was not from any of the events, just from public celebration by City Hall.

A while ago I and a fellow hobby photographer were approached by a Pro who complained about our attitude of giving away prints for free - as it erodes value of work that a professional photographer would try to sell. I can see the point of it, as for some this is a way to make a living, while to me it doesn't really matter. It does give me pause, yet to me, as a hobbyist, it is pretty flattering that a publication would choose my photo over a professional one.

So what do professional photographers here think?



Jul 10, 2017 at 01:15 AM
dhachey
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Hobby photographers eroding value of professional work?


secondclaw wrote:
As a hobbyist, I pretty much take photos for fun,

[Snip, snip...]

So what do professional photographers here think?


You probably don't want to know... They consider you (and me) to be the scum of the earth. I won't give (or even allow) my work to be published by commercial entities without compensation, but I freely give it away to friends and family. Twice I've had to salvage family weddings when the hired photographer botched the job or backed out at the last minute. I sometimes sense that when I show up at a wedding with better gear than the photographer, they feel threatened.



Jul 10, 2017 at 01:31 AM
Mikehit
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Hobby photographers eroding value of professional work?


I am not a professional but IMO what is happening is that this is weeding out the good professional from the excellent ones. Having done the usual guest thing of taking photos at several friends' weddings over the years (as a guest, not as a replacement for a pro), I reckon that anyone can take a good set of photos at some time. But when I hire a pro I am expecting them to be able to take a good set in any conditions (adverse weather, unexpected change of venue, shepherding uncooperative guests etc etc) and improve chances of an acceptable product.


Jul 10, 2017 at 07:53 AM
chez
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Hobby photographers eroding value of professional work?


Part of being a professional is being better than the hobbyist and if the professional is threatened by someone taking photos for fun and cannot differentiate themselves or their services from a guy-with-a-camera...then maybe it's time for the pro to move on.

I've had my bad experiences with so called pro photographers ( 1 wedding and 1 portrait ) to know not all pro's are equal and maybe weeding out the bottom feeders is not a bad thing.



Jul 10, 2017 at 12:52 PM
rstoddard11
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Hobby photographers eroding value of professional work?


Are people who know how to cook a mean pot of spaghetti eroding the value of professional chefs?

Just because you have a funny hat on your head and an apron doesn't mean that my grandma can't bake cookies better than you.

Life goes on.



Jul 10, 2017 at 01:44 PM
ksmmike
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Hobby photographers eroding value of professional work?


I am not a professional photographer, however I'm becoming more convinced just because you're paid, doesn't make you one either.

I had 3 kids get married recently (so much for the new lenses budget) and I'd say I could have done a better job than 2/3 of the wedding photographers. The lighting was bad, the compositions weren't the best.

In some of the group photos, people were cut off at the ankles. ugh. On the other side, I've seen some incredible commercial photos that I would have no idea how they made the image. For me, their understanding of light and composition and the creative process makes them a top pro.

I've sold several of my images through MaxPreps and other sources. I will give a few away to friends or family, but never beyond a small circle. I've been published by the local papers a few times and I always collected a fee, even if it was small. I also publish books and when people ask if they can have one, I politely let them know that Amazon or the local book store have plenty of them. I worked too hard in the learning process, not to mention the costs involved to cheapen my own work. I can consider myself a hobbyist in photography, but that doesn't mean I have to give my work away. However, I can still enjoy the process and not fret over the money.




Jul 10, 2017 at 02:13 PM
glort
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Hobby photographers eroding value of professional work?


ksmmike wrote:
I am not a professional photographer, however I'm becoming more convinced just because you're paid, doesn't make you one either.


AS a professional photographer ( Like as in full time, no other job, all my money comes from photography, on my tax return) for over 30 years now, I completely agree.

People like to get into semantics over what professional is but to me it goes beyond getting paid.

I had 3 kids get married recently (so much for the new lenses budget) and I'd say I could have done a better job than 2/3 of the wedding photographers. The lighting was bad, the compositions weren't the best.

Yeah, seen that myself a Million times as well. I have mates that just take pics of their kids I rather pay to shoot things for me than so many of the self called pros work I see.

I will give a few away to friends or family, but never beyond a small circle. I've been published by the local papers a few times and I always collected a fee, even if it was small.

Many wanna be pros bitch about people giving images away to family and friends and even plenty of full timers think they should charge family and Friends but I neither think nor do it.
Certainly close family I never charge although some insist I take payment. When it comes to things like Friends weddings, I usually make the pics our gift to them.


I can consider myself a hobbyist in photography, but that doesn't mean I have to give my work away. However, I can still enjoy the process and not fret over the money.


As a full time pro, I have a LOT of problems with amateurs.
Don't give a damn about people giving away pics to family and friends, I'd pretty much expect it.
The ones I could strangle however are the ones like I have read countless time of on these boards that say something moronic and ignorant like " I don't care about the money because I love taking Pictures" and are undermining an opportunity for a Pro ( or other part timer) by undercharging for their work and screwing that market and the whole industry.

If you are a weekend warrior competing with me to win work and you are charging a proper and sensible price, I have no issue with you what so ever. If you are some dumb self centered moron giving your images away for $2 for a 6x4 ( as I have seen people do on this forum) and I get fact to face with you, seriously, watch out. At best you'll get ripped a new one, try and argue back and I won't be responsible for what I do.

I am fed up with this industry being Fked over by idiots that undermine the industry and screw it over for EVERYONE. I have heard the excuses about if you are good and your work is better and other BS but these ignorant people never actually tried getting out in teh event market for one and tried showing organizers superior work and still getting shafted because the other guys work wasn't as good but he only charges $2 per image and yours is $30.

Like I say, you charge a decent and sustainable price and I have NO issue with anyone. Try and compete with me undercutting price to the point you are subsidizing the work because you are obviously are without talent or brains enough to charge a real market price and I will come after you.
Yes, I do feel that strongly because I have seen market after market go down the drain because of these crawling parasites.

The sports market is all but finished, events much the same with certain high end exceptions and a lot of other market have gone to the pack as well because of the self centered twats that " Just want to make enough to cover their gear" and other such pathetic excuses for their lack of skills and brains. I have called people out on it before and I'll do so every time.

These people come along, use price as an excuse to shaft the guys charging a proper amount and after they have had their fun or realise it's not as much fun as they thought doing it over and over, they take off and leave the market Ruined for the next guy.

And before anyone jumps in with the old crap excuse about there being no set or proper price, if you can't work out that $2 for an image as a starting price in any size, use or whatever is bastardising and ruining opportunities for all real and serious shooters, then you need to pull your head out your nether regions and smell the death of so many markets this crap is causing.
These low end pricing models are costing shooters that are doing it and the ones that could make proper income and returns for their investment in time, effort and equipment they have invested.

It's not about if $20 or $25 is the right price, it's the guys charging stupid lowball amounts that are the problem and screwing this industry over. If people want to go out on the weeken and play tiddly winks taking pretty pictures, terrific. Do not have a problem with that. Start calling it a business because you charge some idiotic low ball price and I won't even try to be polite when you screw so many others over.

And to any that fit this bill and feel offended at my rant, GOOD! Wake the hell up to yourself. I don't have a problem with parents giving pics to their kids team members. Been there, done that, it's a part of being in a team or having your child on one.
People ( reasonable People) know why they are getting these images for free and don't expect it from strangers and if they are Naive or tight arsed enough to, well these people are too stupid to be concerned about.

If you are going to take ANY money for your work, make it a proper and reasonable amount the same as the people really earning money in the market charge. Not hard to look up the fulltimers or leaders in your area price list. You'll soon know what the going rate is and in my experience, it seems to be similar most of the world over.

If you want to give your work away, Fine. do not charge a cent for it.
If you want to get financial reward, charge a proper and appropriate price that does not Fk the industry for everyone .


/rant







Jul 10, 2017 at 05:38 PM
secondclaw
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Hobby photographers eroding value of professional work?


glort wrote:
If you are going to take ANY money for your work, make it a proper and reasonable amount the same as the people really earning money in the market charge. Not hard to look up the fulltimers or leaders in your area price list. You'll soon know what the going rate is and in my experience, it seems to be similar most of the world over.

If you want to give your work away, Fine. do not charge a cent for it.
If you want to get financial reward, charge a proper and appropriate price that does not Fk the
...Show more

Thanks, this is my own thinking as well - and why I gave the newspaper permission to print the photo for free (well - aside from them shipping a copy of their paper to me). If it's free, there is hopefully understanding no actual value was assigned to the work, and does not affect going prices.



Jul 10, 2017 at 06:13 PM
chez
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Hobby photographers eroding value of professional work?


In a free market people can charge whatever they want for their service and if someone does not like it then go win that customer over. I personally am just as tired hearing pros whine about low ballers undercutting their business. Everyone can choose whatever price they feel comfortable with and if a pro would try getting into my face for not charging what they think I should...that would be the last face they would try butting with.

I've never heard so much whining from a profession than I hear in photography. Rather than whine about it, go out and act like a professional and let your clients know why they are better off using your services rather than the free ones.



Jul 10, 2017 at 10:07 PM
leethecam
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Hobby photographers eroding value of professional work?


I'm a working pro and the amateur competitor issue has just hit my bank balance.

A local council holds a number of big summer festival events and they found my details via Facebook. "oooh we love your work" they said.

BUT, they also know this amateur who will shoot it for a fraction of what I will. They acknowledge that his images will not be as good as mine. They agree he will not have backups. They admit that he will be unlikely to have any sort of insurance. They also admit that even for an amateur, the price is very low.

Then they offer me the job, IF I can match the amateur price - but they still want my full professional service.

I offer a discount as a measure of good will. Nope, they just want cheap and nothing else counts. (These are events that pull people in from all over London, UK and have a decent entry fee for paying visitors).

So they say they'll think about it (but don't and they don't call back). Since then I've seen some of the images - they're washed out, underexposed, dull and lazy compositions... might as well have used an i-Phone.

I've shot events like these and my shots scream atmosphere and vibe. It's like night and day between mine and what they had done. My rates aren't overly high and I'd offered a deal to bring something in and start the ball rolling, but I'm not going to slash my wrists to get a gig.

Nowadays, even for profit making ventures, the amateur competition is fast dissolving the pro market, often by offering inferior images, inferior service, no insurance and I'll wager they're pocketing the cash without paying the tax.

It comes to something when even the government councils are party to this.

I used to say that nowadays "good enough is good enough," but it seems that no good is now good enough.

And if we drop our prices to amateur levels, (no I'm not stooping that low), then the amateur will just do it even cheaper because it's just pocket money anyway.

Technology is great, but with photography it has reduced the price of entry so low that yes - everyone is a photographer, and the clients don't care half the time.



Jul 10, 2017 at 10:21 PM
 

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leethecam
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Hobby photographers eroding value of professional work?


chez wrote:
In a free market people can charge whatever they want for their service and if someone does not like it then go win that customer over. I personally am just as tired hearing pros whine about low ballers undercutting their business. Everyone can choose whatever price they feel comfortable with and if a pro would try getting into my face for not charging what they think I should...that would be the last face they would try butting with.

I've never heard so much whining from a profession than I hear in photography. Rather than whine about it, go out and act
...Show more

I'm guessing you are not a pro photographer... Now imagine someone pops to your place of work, tells your boss they'll do your job for 1/3 the salary, and the next day you are out.

Remember not to "whine" as the door slams behind you.



Jul 10, 2017 at 10:24 PM
leethecam
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Hobby photographers eroding value of professional work?


secondclaw wrote:
Thanks, this is my own thinking as well - and why I gave the newspaper permission to print the photo for free (well - aside from them shipping a copy of their paper to me). If it's free, there is hopefully understanding no actual value was assigned to the work, and does not affect going prices.


Nope. The newspaper has just had it confirmed that they can get ever more images for free. Whilst they can get free pics, they'll not want to pay for them. Maybe not intentioned, but alas your actions have contributed directly to the loss of work for professionals.

It's a free market and people can do what they want, but at some point there will be no pros, and at that point we'll all be asking what happened to all those lovely pictures. Magazines and publications are already offering us lower quality images and I'm guessing it will get worse.

No one owes me a living, but aren't the amateurs relieved that people aren't coming along and doing their jobs for a fraction of their salaries.



Jul 10, 2017 at 10:31 PM
JohnC
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Hobby photographers eroding value of professional work?


leethecam wrote:
I'm guessing you are not a pro photographer... Now imagine someone pops to your place of work, tells your boss they'll do your job for 1/3 the salary, and the next day you are out.

Remember not to "whine" as the door slams behind you.


If you were a maker of buggy whips you had to reinvent yourself when the automobile came along.
I know somebody who spent his life savings on a taxi medallion before Uber came along.

I took up photogragphy in high school 1972, apprenticed as an assistant after college and worked as a full time pro from 1978 to 1987. I was a member of ASMP and had a White House and DC press pass. I saw the writing on the wall and gave it up as a profession then but never stopped shooting. Nowadays you can still have this as a career but you have to be able to deliver something the hobbyist cannot, whether it is leading workshops or logistics in handling an event etc.



Jul 10, 2017 at 11:03 PM
secondclaw
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Hobby photographers eroding value of professional work?


leethecam wrote:
I'm guessing you are not a pro photographer... Now imagine someone pops to your place of work, tells your boss they'll do your job for 1/3 the salary, and the next day you are out.

Remember not to "whine" as the door slams behind you.


I'm a software developer - this happened in my company (and in countless other companies) with outsourcing to India - half of my team was gone in first wave. While I got upset at my company, I didn't and wouldn't blame Indian team members for an opportunity - either to make a living or to add something to their resume. And they did it for 1/5th of our salaries.



Jul 10, 2017 at 11:32 PM
chez
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Hobby photographers eroding value of professional work?


leethecam wrote:
I'm guessing you are not a pro photographer... Now imagine someone pops to your place of work, tells your boss they'll do your job for 1/3 the salary, and the next day you are out.

Remember not to "whine" as the door slams behind you.


Been there doing be that long ago when a lot of software was farmed off to foreign countries with cheap labor. Do you really think your situation is unique...talk to some who used to be in the clothes making business or the furniture making business. Don't come looking for sympathy my way bud.




Jul 11, 2017 at 12:41 AM
glort
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Hobby photographers eroding value of professional work?


chez wrote:
In a free market people can charge whatever they want for their service and if someone does not like it then go win that customer over.


I'm happy to win customers over and I'd say I'm a lot better at marketing and sales than most shooters ON AN EVEN PLAYING FIELD. Trying to get a contract when someone is Charging maybe 5x less than you is far from the simple matter of " Going and winning them over" and it is clear that your position is based on theory only and not practical experience.
Lots of things seem really simple when you take away reality and actual practical application in the real world.

Yep, Just like that, walk up and say look at my work, you can see how much better it is. Then give them that other parroted speil I have heard about how much your gear costs and how much you have pent on training and computers and soft ware and the wear and tear on shoe leather and how much after shave you go through when on job and all the other concocted drivel about why you charge 5x higher ( or more) prices than the lowballer and see how far you get.

To assume this is just a matter of winning people over because your work is superior is ignorant in the extreme.

I personally am just as tired hearing pros whine about low ballers undercutting their business. Everyone can choose whatever price they feel comfortable with and if a pro would try getting into my face for not charging what they think I should...that would be the last face they would try butting with.

Really? How old are you? 70's? Last posts of yours I read you were complaining that the weight difference between carrying an slr and a mirrorless camera made a big difference to you. Better hope they guy in your face is not in their 30's or 40's because I think your policy on that is going to take a real fast revision.

Your theory is flawed because it's not a matter of people choosing a price they feel comfortable with, it's a price designed to put the other guy out of contention because they know they don't have any of the skills to compete on any other creditable assett.

Tell me, do you also get tired of hearing Shooters pissing and moaning about equipment and always wanting more features and never satisfied with the amazing things camera's these days will already do and instead of just getting on with taking pictures they get on forums and constantly bitch about nitpicking things they don't like about the gear on offer?

It's that kind of candy arsed mentality that drives me nuts let me tell you.

I've never heard so much whining from a profession than I hear in photography.

Yep, I hear you!
All the whining about an SLR is 5 Grams too heavy and such a burden to carry or the extreme edge sharpness of a lens when magnified 50X has some fall off or having a sook because teh new model coming out still won't blow their nose and wipe their arse and all the other crap people go on with always wanting more and better that essentially takes away from the skills of being a shooter in the first place.

My other favorite is " How much should I charge?" which is the unanswerable question just like the 1000 before it but still shooters refuse and dismiss the need for basic learning of business skills and sales knowledge.

Lamenting being undercut by Unprofessionals is far more more creditable and understandable and people aggravation at those with no present experience in the current market going on like it's all about the quality of your work is a far different thing to me.


Rather than whine about it, go out and act like a professional and let your clients know why they are better off using your services rather than the free ones.

Great idea!
Could you enlightens and inspire us with details on how you won over a deal against someone grossly undercutting your price and what you did as a professional to get that job. Also when this was and in what market would be helpful.
I'm sure it would be very educational and inspiring to a lot of people here to read of a first hand account or 3 of what a professional did to overcome this and how they applied their position of letting their clients know why they were better off and how you justified the much higher price. Don't forget to let us know what your price was and what the flybynighter was charging and how you addressed that specifically.




Jul 11, 2017 at 01:57 AM
glort
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Hobby photographers eroding value of professional work?


JohnC wrote:
If you were a maker of buggy whips you had to reinvent yourself when the automobile came along


Heard this one before!

The Car was not given away. It created jobs the leather craftsman could still do within their trade and probably more of those jobs.
It was not a case of other whip makers and giving their work away by virtue of unrealistic prices that they were subsidizing that put the whip makers out of business.
The advent of of cars created opportunities, new jobs etc.

Tell me what openings or opportunities these parasites bastardizing once profitable Photo markets have created that a displaced shooter can migrate to?



Jul 11, 2017 at 02:06 AM
glort
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Hobby photographers eroding value of professional work?


chez wrote:
Don't come looking for sympathy my way bud.



I don't see where anyone did ask for your sympathy or anything else here other than my asking for you to relate some anecdotes of how you yourself have over come this problem by acting like a professional as you espouse is the soloution.
What makes you think anyone wants your sympathy? I'd like to hear your real world examples of what you did to overcome the problem so we can learn from that.

If you don't like the discussion, no one is forcing you to participate if it aggrieves you so or wants your pity.




Jul 11, 2017 at 02:11 AM
gipper53
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Hobby photographers eroding value of professional work?


I really do feel empathy for the working pros these days. The industry's demise has been a perfect storm; a combination of technology where image making is easier than ever (I didn't say 'quality' image making), and a shift in cultural mindset to settling for lesser quality at the cheapest price. Let's face it, photography is nothing special any more to average consumers, and we can thank digital imaging for that.

There is also the issue that there may be no other profession with a lower barrier-to-entry than "professional photographer". No licensing, no certifications, no education requirements. Buy a camera and anybody can call themselves a "pro". Doesn't mean you are one, but the real pros have to compete against these posers Almost every other profession has standards that must be met before you can call yourself a professional, and if you don't meet them while calling yourself a "pro" it's swiftly met with legal action.

Education, training, and certification...all things photography as a profession lacks. This industry has done nothing to protect itself from the bottom feeders...not sure what it could have done anyway.



Jul 11, 2017 at 02:55 AM
Mikehit
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · Hobby photographers eroding value of professional work?


JohnC wrote:
Nowadays you can still have this as a career but you have to be able to deliver something the hobbyist cannot, whether it is leading workshops or logistics in handling an event etc.


I read an interview with a wildlife pro where he said there is no money in photographs any more, my sales and my website are a way to get people on my courses and photography holidays.
One door closes, another opens.



Jul 11, 2017 at 07:17 AM
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