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Do you share all your techniques to stranger/competitors?
  
 
level1photog
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Do you share all your techniques to stranger/competitors?


I've been getting alot of Facebook message asking me how I shoot and edit certain pictures. I try to give them some general information but some want all the information from lens, lighting, editing techniques. The few time I shared, they just disappeared once they got what they need. Even doing PT, I feel protective of some secret because there are so many PT/FT that undercharge me.

Do you guys help strangers/competitors with this info?



Oct 28, 2017 at 06:11 PM
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Do you share all your techniques to stranger/competitors?


Since nobody asks me, I don't. If they did, I might.


Oct 28, 2017 at 06:13 PM
pasblues
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Do you share all your techniques to stranger/competitors?


I got burned by a photographer I thought was a friendly colleague one time when we were both interviewed with the same couple. The guy in the couple contacted me and said that my colleague indicated that he could get me as a second shooter for $1500. I was dumbfounded. My colleague had never consulted me about any of that before volunteering it to the couple. I immediately phoned him to verify since I didn't think that had really happened and that maybe the client was just playing me. The colleague fessed up and I somehow pulled out my professional self enough to politely get through the conversation honestly but forthrightly: that was not okay and it would be best if that never happened again. Unfortunately, it was the end of any trust with that colleague.

I was also a member of a forum for many years that shared tons of great professional tips and tricks with other professional colleagues. Unfortunately, after several years of maintaining a set of professional standards for membership, the moderator decided to open the forum up to just about anybody - and all of the professional information that had been shared for all those years was suddenly open to anybody who wanted to pay for the access to it and the moderator got rich and sold the forum. Over the next period of years, the professionals jumped ship from giving out free information to an overwhelming majority of newbies wanting advice everyday for free. The forum died.

So many professionals have decades of experience and, frankly, there are aspects of that experience that are worthy of compensation.

For me, I paid for a number of seminars with world-class photographers because I respected their time and expertise. I even paid one photographer a healthy sum to come shoot with her for a day - traveling to her location my own dime and on her terms. I probably went to about a dozen seminars over the years back in the day and, while I feel like peer-to-peer (meaning a pro of similar level) relationships can exchange ideas freely, asking someone who has a greater knowledge how to do something is asking for something of value. To my way of thinking, it's respectful to pay a person for knowledge in that circumstance.

It may be that you could compile a list of questions and answers and offer to provide a booklet of copyrighted information for a fee. A lot of photographers are in the business of selling information, tips and tricks to newer photographers and I see that as a win-win situation.



Oct 28, 2017 at 07:13 PM
level1photog
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Do you share all your techniques to stranger/competitors?


pasblues wrote:
I got burned by a photographer I thought was a friendly colleague one time when we were both interviewed with the same couple. The guy in the couple contacted me and said that my colleague indicated that he could get me as a second shooter for $1500. I was dumbfounded. My colleague had never consulted me about any of that before volunteering it to the couple. I immediately phoned him to verify since I didn't think that had really happened and that maybe the client was just playing me. The colleague fessed up and I somehow pulled out my professional
...Show more

Thanks for your detail respond. I have been asked many time to do a wedding workshop, but because of my full time job and family duty, and weddings/engagement/portraits, I don't have time.

I've learned and continue to gained alot of experiences because I learned on so many great photographers who have paid workshop/tutorials not tidbits on You Tube. I just point them to that photographers I learned the techniques from instead of sharing everything for free.

I don't mind sharing information with some colleague I trust, but people just want A-Z and undercharge me. Eventually they are become my competitors.




Oct 28, 2017 at 08:11 PM
TheyCallMeJ
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Do you share all your techniques to stranger/competitors?


level1photog, what are the techniques that are so earth shattering that must be protected to run a successful business? If you can learn it from someone else, they can also learn it from someone else. The knowledge gap is significantly reduced in recent years, with the focus of selling workshops, courses and various training materials. Photographers don't even shoot anymore, they teach. A lot of money can be made there but don't complain when a newbie attempts to copy at a fraction of the price.

Having that said, you cannot teach someone how to see, or your vision for compelling imagery. They don't have your eyes, nor your mind. It is also difficult to teach how to build relationships, because that takes time. Such skills are essential for any creative but often ignored by newbies.

Newbies in general want shortcuts, formulas and the easy way out. They don't want to spend time learning the craft, nor their subjects, again essential in my opinion when taking your imagery to the next level. They acknowledge the importance in standing out, yet they buy the same presets and website themes as everyone else. They all raise their hands on Creative Live when asked if they want "high end clients" but they are also the cheapest individuals who are constantly looking for free resources (free websites, free themes, free advertisement opportunities, etc).

They don't understand that high end clients don't like to associate themselves with cheap people, and they smell you from a mile away. I am about to open a can of worms here so I rather stop.

Sometimes you gotta pay to play.

Sharing is a two way street, if they refuse to contribute then it is clear that they don't value your relationship. You can't expect to keep receiving without ever giving.

There will always be someone new that tries to undercut in price. I am guilty of that too when starting. Those who are in this business for a while already know that competing on price alone is basically suicidal, given the amount of work involved. Why worry about them when they all bankrupt themselves in a year or two? You don't even compete in the sub $500 market. Whatever happens there is just noise.



Oct 28, 2017 at 08:34 PM
LeeSimms
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Do you share all your techniques to stranger/competitors?


> Do you share all your techniques to stranger/competitors?

No. Not that anything I know is genius, or proprietary.



Oct 28, 2017 at 09:30 PM
level1photog
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Do you share all your techniques to stranger/competitors?


TheyCallMeJ wrote:
level1photog, what are the techniques that are so earth shattering that must be protected to run a successful business? If you can learn it from someone else, they can also learn it from someone else. The knowledge gap is significantly reduced in recent years, with the focus of selling workshops, courses and various training materials. Photographers don't even shoot anymore, they teach. A lot of money can be made there but don't complain when a newbie attempts to copy at a fraction of the price.

Having that said, you cannot teach someone how to see, or your vision for compelling imagery.
...Show more

I don't think my techniques are earth shattering but it's enough to set my works apart. They can learn from someone else, but it's only through paid workshops/tutorials.

You are completely right that the knowledge gap have significant reduce between the Pros and hobbyists with the available education resources. I should know since I'm the benefactor. However people just rub me the wrong way asking how I do everything from A to Z and just bounce while never bother to cultivate any relationship. I rather just have them pay the people I learn it from.



Oct 28, 2017 at 09:39 PM
amonline
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Do you share all your techniques to stranger/competitors?


I share knowledge and educate those that seem trustworthy, new and interested, and students of photography... NOT competition.

I do share things I think other professionals can benefit from, that would not have an impact on my business. (non-photography techniques... business related and delivery-type techniques)



Oct 28, 2017 at 10:06 PM
engardeknave
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Do you share all your techniques to stranger/competitors?


I enjoy telling people who ask exactly what equipment I use and at what settings. None of this information can serve to replicate what I do. Even if they could afford the equipment. (They can't.)

I have trained several photographers to cover my smaller projects. I generally equip them with an incredible amount of hard-earned knowledge, and they always become much better photographers within a short period. However, I don't disclose precise post-processing methodology because much of it is of considerable value if published.



Oct 28, 2017 at 10:20 PM
level1photog
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Do you share all your techniques to stranger/competitors?


engardeknave wrote:
I enjoy telling people who ask exactly what equipment I use and at what settings. None of this information can serve to replicate what I do. Even if they could afford the equipment. (They can't.)

I have trained several photographers to cover my smaller projects. I generally equip them with an incredible amount of hard-earned knowledge, and they always become much better photographers within a short period. However, I don't disclose precise post-processing methodology because much of it is of considerable value if published.


I agree. I don't mind telling them all the exif and lighting details. Some people want to know how I post process it too.




Oct 28, 2017 at 10:28 PM
 

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mikethevilla
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Do you share all your techniques to stranger/competitors?


I'm an open book. A lot of us OC wedding photographers are super communal and big believers in community over competition. I know I wouldn't be half the photographer I am today without other pros sharing their knowledge with me over coffee or lunch. It seems only right to pass it along.

If your entire business strategy depends on a couple of easily teachable techniques, it's probably not a great business strategy. There are entire web forums out there dedicated to photography techniques! Who would've thought?! With that whole "google" fad blowing up, your secrets won't stay secrets for long. So might as well make some friends along the way.

As a side note, any given year 10-20% of my business comes from other photographer friends sending referrals my way.



Oct 28, 2017 at 10:37 PM
engardeknave
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Do you share all your techniques to stranger/competitors?


level1photog wrote:
Some people want to know how I post process it too.


Answer all their questions; they'll never ask the right ones.

In fact, even if you were to volunteer your best techniques and describe them in great detail, not one in a hundred will follow.

Edit: That said, you definitely shouldn't post this information in a place where hundreds of people are going to see it, and you shouldn't tell anyone who is smart, because they might actually be able to implement it.



Oct 28, 2017 at 11:08 PM
TheyCallMeJ
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Do you share all your techniques to stranger/competitors?


I will play the devil's advocate and argue from the other side.

What can they possibly contribute or share such that it will benefit your business in any meaningful way? Perhaps your skills and experience set you so far apart already, all they can do is learn from you. They might have forgotten to say thanks, but besides that, they need you more than you need them.

If you are looking for a second or assistant, then yes see that person as an apprentice and teach everything you know. Hopefully this develops into a longer term relationship, encouraging them to become their own brand one day.

However this is definitely a one to one relationship and not some open forum on social media.

Otherwise try hanging out with people similar to your level of skillset and experience. The sharing would become mutual.

I personally don't mind if a newbie comes to me with questions but I am really tired of stupid, meaningless ones such as "what lens did you use" or "what is your ISO"?

Let's say I have taken the shot with a 70-200mm, now what? What was the intent behind the question anyway?

Or are you trying to say you can tell the difference between ISO 1000 and 1250? Seriously, who cares?

Newbies are so lost that they don't even know what they don't know, therefore preventing them in asking the right questions.


level1photog wrote:
I don't think my techniques are earth shattering but it's enough to set my works apart. They can learn from someone else, but it's only through paid workshops/tutorials.

You are completely right that the knowledge gap have significant reduce between the Pros and hobbyists with the available education resources. I should know since I'm the benefactor. However people just rub me the wrong way asking how I do everything from A to Z and just bounce while never bother to cultivate any relationship. I rather just have them pay the people I learn it from.




Oct 28, 2017 at 11:45 PM
level1photog
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Do you share all your techniques to stranger/competitors?


mikethevilla wrote:
I'm an open book. A lot of us OC wedding photographers are super communal and big believers in community over competition. I know I wouldn't be half the photographer I am today without other pros sharing their knowledge with me over coffee or lunch. It seems only right to pass it along.

If your entire business strategy depends on a couple of easily teachable techniques, it's probably not a great business strategy. There are entire web forums out there dedicated to photography techniques! Who would've thought?! With that whole "google" fad blowing up, your secrets won't stay secrets for long. So
...Show more

I do believe in community over competitions both in business and art side. I have send referrals to other photographers, vendors etc. I do contribute and give back to new photographers who have build relationship with me. I am also on the recipient end of it as well. I do cultivate with other photographers who are on similiar level as me.

However I find it hard when total stranger asking for everything A-Z and bounce especially I've paid alot of money to gain from world class photographers.

My entire business strategy isn't base on easily teachable techniques. You have to give more credit than that. Yes I am aware of how of deep the internet is.



Oct 28, 2017 at 11:55 PM
Mark_L
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Do you share all your techniques to stranger/competitors?


No but only because I don't have the time or inclination to spoon feed people.

I don't believe there any any super secret techniques that give any business advantage even if individual photogs think that they have some. It made me laugh when there was a story here about some second shooting "stealing" a photog's post technique and blamed this on him losing his business.



Oct 29, 2017 at 10:33 AM
engardeknave
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Do you share all your techniques to stranger/competitors?


Mark_L wrote:
I don't believe there any any super secret techniques that give any business advantage


"I have never taken any sort of professional course by a photographer who charges many times the industry average. I have no unique service proposition."



Oct 29, 2017 at 12:27 PM
glort
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Do you share all your techniques to stranger/competitors?



I was told early in my career, people who will share info with you are the ones that know something worth learning.
The ones that won't talk to you and are secretive don't have anything of value to share anyway.

I have found that to be pretty right over the years.

Not that I would ever go asking someone about how to take a pic or settings or crap like that. I used to go to seminars and there was always Some complete and utter Fkwit that would ask the presenter " What was the aperture and shutter speed you used for that picture? " Who gives a FK? What, you going to set your camera to that next time you go to take a pic because that happened to be the right exposure at the time for that guys image?? AGGGHHH!

Ask me about technicalities or techniques and you won't get much of a response.
Get off your lazy arse and use the endless resources available to everyone now and teach yourself the basic ship. I taught myself and there wasn't near the learning opportunities there is now. If you have to ask me how to set a camera, Light or edit something, I'm not the right person to help you.

Ask me what I think of your business structure, tell me about objections you are getting from clients, how to approach a referal business or increase your profit margin or enquiry hit rate, I'll give you everything I know.

Happy to help those that have proven they want to help themselves, not going to potty train anyone though.

Second thing, You want my help, you commit to it 100%. No half arse, did it a bit different, couldn't put prices up that much, whatever. I'm a one trick pony and I only know one way to make things work. Do it different and I'm lost and can't help you. Sure, lets talk about YOUR business before hand and take things into account but after that, If you don't like my way, fine do it your way or some one elses and i'll put my time and effort into sitting on my fat, broad backside.

If what you were doing was so great, then you wouldn't be asking for my help in the first place would you?

If someone won't invest the time to help themselves, then it's more than fair they pay and invest in someone elses time to show them what they could have learned themselves but were too freaking lazy.



Oct 29, 2017 at 12:44 PM
heikoM
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Do you share all your techniques to stranger/competitors?


of course I do

when you are as a photographer not more then the secrets of some "special" technics...
who you are as an artist then?


heiko



Oct 29, 2017 at 01:03 PM
level1photog
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Do you share all your techniques to stranger/competitors?


heikoM wrote:
of course I do

when you are as a photographer not more then the secrets of some "special" technics...
who you are as an artist then?

heiko


Tell that to all the photographers with paid tutorial around $300. They are selling their knowledge, experience and workflow "secrets". There are alot of paid workshops from world class photographers that charges even more than that.

There is a difference between telling someone I've been friend with for a while and spoon feeding complete strangers. It seems like I encounter alot of complete strangers asking me how to do things. Do you think our time and experience should be free? I don't mind telling all the exifs info but my complete workflow?



Oct 29, 2017 at 02:47 PM
ZachOly
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · Do you share all your techniques to stranger/competitors?


I honestly can't see a reason why I would for free.

No different than someone asking for a free family session because they "just need one good photo, it'll only take a few minutes"



Oct 29, 2017 at 03:06 PM
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