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Thread: Ability V skill V customer satisfaction

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    Ability V skill V customer satisfaction

    Over the past few weeks i have posted my first 2 attempts at shooting people, 1 corporate in nature and 1 more fashion in style, i asked for serious critique. I was rewarded with well thought and honest responses to the photos.
    I did wonder though, where does technical ability meet customer satisfaction, value for money, end result and general satisfaction .

    Both of my people shoots were done for free but both clients would have been happy to pay ( after seeing the end result ) for the photos.
    I was, to be honest very proud of the shots for my first efforts, but the reality was they were flawed in many ways, in the eyes of other photographers. I don't doubt this as true and strive to better myself in future, but what of the future of the industry.
    If i were to hang a shingle and sell myself as a photographer, i am thinking that there would well be a market for me, cheap, not perfect but good enough, photographer. Would i be a threat, not at all, my point being where is the regulation within the industry.
    I see many shots on this site i aspire to, i also see many photographers selling cut price packages with sub standard product on the web.

    So what for the future of photography, there will always be shots that make you go wow, but given the proliferation of images via apps and Facebook are we dumbing down peoples expectation of a great capture. Is the daily commentary of life through these sources making the mediocre more mainstream, thus average becomes better. The ability to enhance a simple shot from a phone makes an artist of us all, but is it good enough.

    I respect that great photographers will always be in demand, my concern lies in the middle ground and where this all will lead.

    Just my thoughts but interested in any other opinions.

    Many thanks for reading.
    I've done so many things I'm not proud of...and the things I am proud of are disgusting. ~Moe, The Simpsons

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    canon 5dmk 2, some lenses, a couple of sticks to hold them up, a thing that make sun at night, and a sense of adventure

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    I'm having difficulty trying to figure out in my own mind the difference in ability and skill regarding Photography. In my opinion, they are the same. If you have the ability to shoot and acheive the desired effect, then you are skilled. So therefore, I think it could be broken down to "Customer Satisfaction vs. Ability" to which I would say;

    Customer Satisfaction > Ability

    The regulation of the industry I suppose is the segregation of economy. Everyone is willing to pay for a Photographer if they need one, it depends on the level of Customer Satisfaction you are looking to give consistently.

    Think of it like going for a haircut (yes I am making this up as I go along now with this analogy, bear with me on this haha). You can go to a local suburban shop with others around it, wait in queue, get a haircut you want with a little friendly chat, radio in background, no bells and whistles, yet you only pay $20 because that is what you deem reasonable and are happy.

    The other end could be a place in a leafy, quiet street that is appointent only. You are offered a coffee or water, have your hair washed with lots of nice smelling shampoos, get a head massage, then a cut tailored exactly to what you want, with product added. The place has photos up of different haircuts and products on offer and the surrounds relax you, yet you are happy to pay $120 for this.

    So, the two places offer the same service yet one offers more extras which adds further value for those willing to pay the price, even though the extra value from the other place may not cost them a great deal in expenses!

    Hope that analogy makes sense.

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    Account Closed Wayne's Avatar
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    There is no regulation of the photography industry, and there is not likely to be anytime remotely soon, although I'm sure many professionals would like to see it happen. Mass uptake made available through cheap and easy access to a DSLR and the improvement in image quality from very portable devices like the iPhone has seen the value many place on photography diminish enormously.
    The cameras are smarter than they ever were, digital gives the opportunity to take a shot and see the result straight away and then permits you to fine tune or correct, having another go until you get it right where in film days no such luxury existed, so many people left the photography to someone who knew what they were doing. People will simply not want to pay someone to do something they believe they can do themselves if that saving is significant, and if you are hiring a ft professional photographer, the saving will most always be significant, but the DIY quality will with almost equal certainty not match.

    Financial pressures these days see many people looking for the best deal they can get whenever they spend some cash, and photography is no different to buying a lounge at Hardly Normal, we try to get the best deal we can. The explosion of the internet in the past 15 years has given "photographers" the ability to market their services quickly,cheaply or free in many cases and easily via online portals to a huge audience in every corner of the globe, where once upon a time to have any sort of reach you would need to advertise on TV, radio or take out a Yellow Pages advert costing many thousands of dollars. There were, in those days gone by far fewer photographers on offer to potential clients because there was little scope or need to market outside a the area close to home, so clients simply saw the local guys and got a couple of quotes before choosing the provider because that was the only choice the consumer had to easily find someone in their area.

    Fast forward to now, and you only have to look at places like Gumtree, Craigslist et al and there are many many people who advertise their photography services, and often they are students, stay at home single mums etc all vying for a slice of the photo pie and often they are equipped with cheap, entry level gear with skills to match, but their price for such service is almost always much less than hiring the local professional who runs a studio, or even a work from home pro (not many maintain studios these days due to cost) and this is where the desire to save $ often outweighs the desire for image perfection. If you are happy with a reasonable photo for a wedding, you could hire any number of Gumtree advertisers to shoot the full wedding day for between $500-$1000, and some will even offer to do it free of charge!
    The quality varies a great deal, but in fairness some are quite good based on viewing their portfolios and those few would offer a savvy shopper a great saving over the $2500-$5000 professional.

    I think like most things in todays world, we as consumers will strike a balance between quality and cost, and we will pay someone else where the job is too hard, we are time poor or where it is cheap to do so, and we will accept a lesser standard for non-essential things in return for a saving. Whilst there will always be a need for professional photographers to shoot weddings, commercial stuff for magazines, advertisements etc, I believe they are already working in many cases for alot less than they were on an hourly basis in the past because even advertising agencies etc seek to save money, and if someone has the skills yet costs much less, they too will use them. I personally have done a couple of small projects for advertising agencies and govt clients, and I have no doubt that whilst my skills may not be ideal, my pricing was and thus I got the work. The interesting thing is that I never marketed to them, they came to me simply from my website and from one verbal referral, so they are out there actively seeking cheaper alternatives.

    The days of making a killing from family portrait work are all but dead, and I think as time goes on more and more professionals will be closing the doors and doing something else because it is a very tough way to make a living these days. I have all pro gear including lighting, and maintain a studio, but I don't make anywhere near enough cash from photography to cover those costs but I have an appreciation for what it costs each week to maintain the equipment that a professional would require. You could probably flip burgers on the weekend nightshift at your local M establishment and make as much as you might in a week of running a portrait studio after the costs are counted. At least flipping the burgers will see you earn enough to buy a few a week, every week.

    In a nutshell, the professional photography industry is dying a quick death. Professionals who have been in the game many years are closing the doors weekly and it will continue in that manner until all but the biggest and best are gone, or until they begin to accept that the profits they may have enjoyed for many years are not more than a pipe dream for many.
    Like any industry under pressure, they need to reduce overheads, seek efficiencies, diversify and learn to compete if they want to survive.

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    ^^ that


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    Darren
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    Constructive Critique of my images always appreciated

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    Interesting question that I often wonder myself. I see photographers critiquing work in ways that regular people (at least the ones that I know) do not.

    I saw a horrid bunch of wedding photos last month that the bride loved... I cringed but she loved them. I think clients must have on a different set of goggles. They want to see their personality shine and that overrides bad lighting and composition (to some extent).
    Cass
    I switched my camera off auto in November 2012, and I have been busy reading and learning and practicing ever since.
    My kit is basic: Canon 1000D (two kit lenses) + 50mm f/1.8 + a tripod/monopod + Lightroom4

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    Quote Originally Posted by AVALANCHE View Post
    The other end could be a place in a leafy, quiet street that is appointent only. You are offered a coffee or water, have your hair washed with lots of nice smelling shampoos, get a head massage, then a cut tailored exactly to what you want, with product added. The place has photos up of different haircuts and products on offer and the surrounds relax you, yet you are happy to pay $120 for this.
    Mmmm. Two hours of indulgance, including a massuer who would come give all the ladies hand massages while we waited. Walking out of the salon feeling like a million dollars, compare to buying a pair of scissors and getting my sister to do it in my kitchen..... Done both and you are right, it is a great example of choice. Both have pros/cons.

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    It's fast becoming a weekend warrior dominated business. Have a real job, and make enough money to pay for your hobby, and that's about it.

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    Ausphotography irregular Mark L's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AVALANCHE View Post

    Think of it like going for a haircut (yes I am making this up as I go along now with this analogy, bear with me on this haha). You can go to a local suburban shop with others around it, wait in queue, get a haircut you want with a little friendly chat, radio in background, no bells and whistles, yet you only pay $20 because that is what you deem reasonable and are happy.

    The other end could be a place in a leafy, quiet street that is appointent only. You are offered a coffee or water, have your hair washed with lots of nice smelling shampoos, get a head massage, then a cut tailored exactly to what you want, with product added. The place has photos up of different haircuts and products on offer and the surrounds relax you, yet you are happy to pay $120 for this.

    So, the two places offer the same service yet one offers more extras which adds further value for those willing to pay the price, even though the extra value from the other place may not cost them a great deal in expenses!

    Hope that analogy makes sense.
    I make an appointment, pay $18, have a friendly chat, and am out of there in less than 15 minutes.
    The coffee, water, smelling shampoos, head massage and added product are available in my house on the quiet street I live in.

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