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Thread: Just an observation.

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    Member Tracy68's Avatar
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    Just an observation.

    Recently I have witnessed what seems to be quite a few photographers behaving in an almost paranoid manner regarding their work.
    People making allegations of being bullied by other photographers both face to face and online in an attempt it seems to knock them out of business.
    People deleting everyone except friends and family from FB because they feel they could be sabotaged or have their work ideas "stolen".
    Photographers with stories of being ripped off by clients and having to draw up long detailed contracts just to ensure they get paid...something.
    It seems like a messy business fraught with legal complications, financial losses and a lot of ego damage.

    I'd love to make money from doing what I enjoy.
    But.... this doesn't appear to be enjoyable?

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    Sounds pretty normal to me but if you're good at what you do (not just general photography) you will survive and prosper.
    To do good business you need lots of skills and unfortunately photography is not one of them. Creative arts have always been on the fringe of sound business
    and it has always been the case that a good business person will always prosper whereas a good photographer often fails.
    The age of electronic communication simply adds another element.
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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    You will see this more and more as Photography doesn't require a degree or certificate to call yourself a professional photographer. There are a ridiculous number of photographer pages on facebook, and to be blunt, a lot of them should not be calling themselves photographers. They buy a camera, get told by a few friends that they take good photos, setup a facebook page and start asking for payments.

    Running a successful business, any business, is not about being mediocre and unfortunately sites like FB allow anyone to create a page and setting themselves up a 'business'.

    Having contracts is part of offering a service, whether that be photography, gardening, house sitting, pet transport, or more. If you go and see a surgeon these days, they provide you with a detailed plan for the procedure, along with a quote, you agree, and then you are booked in for surgery. Photography business should be the same. A meeting, discuss requirements, a written quote, before the work is done. If you get a landscaper in, they look at what you want, and give you a quote, including a timeframe for the work to be done etc

    You will find the true professional photographers do all this. Simply, they run their business both professionally and as a business.

    Most of the people you are talking about are probably not professional, not superb photographers and not business people. It has been an ongoing discussion point in the photography industry for years. Yet when something goes wrong in their business, it is everyone else's fault. If they had created a professional business to start with, it would not have gone wrong!

    As for having work ideas stolen..that is part an parcel of being in an artistic business. People copy each other. A few years back it was selective colour, more recently it was low contrast. Trash the dress..everyone doing weddings was trying to get clients to do it at one stage. Babies naked in wicker baskets? Chances are that those claiming their work ideas were stolen, had actually stolen the idea from another photographer themselves, in the first place.

    If photography interests you as a business, then firstly develop your photography skills, whilst doing some small business workshops, photography workshops. Find a great successful photographer and talk to them, see if they will mentor you. But have a long term plan. As I said, getting a camera and being told by aunt Mabel on facebook that you are good at taking images does not a professional photographer make. Sadly to many assume it does.
    Last edited by ricktas; 11-03-2015 at 9:46pm.
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    Moderately Underexposed I @ M's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tracy68 View Post
    ----- FB -----
    There is your answer and common denominator right there.

    Sadly, that much beloved spreader of social awareness has become the de facto home of those who can't get the attention they crave, images of theirs that would hardly rise a flicker of pulse from a more discerning audience garner one billion likes from the vacuous masses who appear to have absolutely no clue to that which actually constitutes a good photograph in 30 seconds flat to be forgotten in the next 30 seconds and from there the jealousy and malaise spreads almost like a cancerous growth ----
    Last edited by I @ M; 11-03-2015 at 9:34pm.
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    Ausphotography irregular Mark L's Avatar
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    ^ sounds good.
    Maybe I should start posting some stuff on that FB thing.
    Now, how do I get people to look and like??
    mmmm, back to that AP thing then I 'spose. (says Mark humbly craving)

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    I've been dying of the flu...just saw these posts.
    All good food for thought I guess. Definitely agree that you need a business head. That I do not have as mine is off with the fairies most of the time.
    I do agree that the level of professionalism out there and the quality of work is quite...sub par in many instances.
    I am not at the level yet of feeling confident of starting a business and I know what I would NOT want to do.
    I wouldn't want to take wedding photos. I think I'd rather watch paint dry....and I wouldn't have the patience to photograph children.
    Probably the two main money spinners. Told you I don't have a business head
    I want to make art....expressive images that really make people FEEL something.
    There's my fairy head.
    Re facebook...I would have thought it is a good alternate way, besides having a great set out professional website (I think that is important) to spread the word.
    I dislike facebook in general, but like a disease it has spread throughout our worlds.
    Last edited by Tracy68; 12-03-2015 at 1:09pm.

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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tracy68 View Post
    Re facebook...I would have thought it is a good alternate way, besides having a great set out professional website (I think that is important) to spread the word.
    Consider this. Facebook announces that it is going to charge everyone for their business pages, along with requiring each business page to provide their ABN. Say the fees for business pages were going to be $25.00 per month (under 1000 likers).. up to $300.00 per month (1 million likers or more). After all Facebook is advertising. If you advertised your business on TV or radio it would cost you. How many photography business pages do you think would disappear in the first month because (a) they did not have an ABN and (b) they did not want to pay cause essentially they are not a fully fledged professional business.

    How many of them have a gmail contact email address, rather than a @businessname.com (.au) address. Every good photographer who is running a successful business has a website in their business name, but again, this costs money to create, run, maintain. Most of the FB photographer business pages are simply there cause it is easy to create one and it is free.

    A good business will have a FB page as an adjunct to their website, and other business advertising plan. It would not be their primary/only advertising. Their business plan would include in the budget an allocation for advertising and promotion.

    The vast majority of FB photographer pages are not owned by true professional photographers.
    Last edited by ricktas; 12-03-2015 at 2:04pm.

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    http://steveaxford.smugmug.com/ Steve Axford's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ricktas View Post
    Consider this. Facebook announces that it is going to charge everyone for their business pages, along with requiring each business page to provide their ABN. Say the fees for business pages were going to be $25.00 per month (under 1000 likers).. up to $300.00 per month (1 million likers or more). After all Facebook is advertising. If you advertised your business on TV or radio it would cost you. How many photography business pages do you think would disappear in the first month because (a) they did not have an ABN and (b) they did not want to pay cause essentially they are not a fully fledged professional business.

    How many of them have a gmail contact email address, rather than a @businessname.com (.au) address. Every good photographer who is running a successful business has a website in their business name, but again, this costs money to create, run, maintain. Most of the FB photographer business pages are simply there cause it is easy to create one and it is free.

    A good business will have a FB page as an adjunct to their website, and other business advertising plan. It would not be their primary/only advertising. Their business plan would include in the budget an allocation for advertising and promotion.

    The vast majority of FB photographer pages are not owned by true professional photographers.
    I think you are trying to stuff all "true professional photographers" into an old model of the guy who used to own the photography shop in the local shopping centre. That world has gone. To just transfer that model into the new world isn't going to work. Many people do build a business starting with FB or the like. They may end up with their own website, but only when they have generated enough interest by things like FB. Sure, many FB pages end up dying because "likes", by themselves, aren't worth a thing. But, if they are backed by a product that people really are willing to pay for, then "likes" can translate into dollars, and that is how a business can start. I have to laugh at the hatred for FB on this site. It's a classic "shoot the messenger" type of reaction. FB is has arisen because people like it.

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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Axford View Post
    I think you are trying to stuff all "true professional photographers" into an old model of the guy who used to own the photography shop in the local shopping centre. That world has gone. To just transfer that model into the new world isn't going to work. Many people do build a business starting with FB or the like. They may end up with their own website, but only when they have generated enough interest by things like FB. Sure, many FB pages end up dying because "likes", by themselves, aren't worth a thing. But, if they are backed by a product that people really are willing to pay for, then "likes" can translate into dollars, and that is how a business can start. I have to laugh at the hatred for FB on this site. It's a classic "shoot the messenger" type of reaction. FB is has arisen because people like it.
    1. I agree that the shop on the street photographer is gone.
    2. Yes people do start a business on facebook, but doing so does not guarantee that you are a good photographer or professional. Way to many are not.
    3. FB pages do not die cause of lack of likes. FB pages die cause the quality/cost of services offered are not comparable, same as any other business, be it bricks and mortar or online.
    4. You seem to think many of us hate FB, I have never said I hate FB, just that being realistic, it is not the be all and end all of setting up a business. It is not a classic shoot the messenger, it is an observation that I have made. There are a huge number of photographer pages on facebook that are neither photographers (quality ones) or professional. So laugh at the hatred for FB as much as you like, cause you have no idea what my opinion of FB as a whole is.
    5. The OP raised the issue of likes and pages shutting down, online bullying, etc. My replies were merely my observation and opinion on what the OP herself was experiencing/noticing.
    Last edited by ricktas; 12-03-2015 at 4:06pm.

  10. #10
    http://steveaxford.smugmug.com/ Steve Axford's Avatar
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    1. We agree
    2. Starting a business in any way does not guarantee that you are any good at photography. To quote Redgum "To do good business you need lots of skills and unfortunately photography is not one of them"
    3. I agree - and I didn't say that FB pages died from lack of "likes". They usually die because there is no substance behind them and people lose interest.
    4. Of course FB isn't the be all and end all of anything. I don't recall anyone here or anywhere else making such a claim. But, FB is useful for many people. Same as Youtube, Twitter, etc, etc. If you want to communicate with people, then you need to use the media that the most people use. A lot of people use FB.

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    Ausphotography Regular MissionMan's Avatar
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    The issue with Facebook is that it doesn't necessarily guarantee you business. In many cases, it simply gets you fans from amateur photographers who admire your work.

    A lot of people I know selected their photographers from events like the wedding events they have at the Melbourne convention centre because they had an opportunity to view a number of photographers work and compare pricing.
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    http://steveaxford.smugmug.com/ Steve Axford's Avatar
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    Why would you think that FB does guarantee business? Does anything? I personally don't know any photographer who has made it through FB, but I do see it as a useful place to start, if that is your inclination. For me, I never really thought I would start at all, but events seem to have proved me wrong. I haven't followed any conventional path and I have no business plan, though I do have an ABN. People just want the stuff I do and I got it out there through the internet. They wouldn't have even known about it if I hadn't put it out there, and that's a sure fire way to fail at business - if your potential customers don't know that you exist.

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    After reading the additional comments I think I'm a bit on the fence now that we seem to be discussing Facebook.
    I see the pro's and the cons.
    I suppose my argument would be that there are some really talented people out there who aren't necessarily loaded with money and there are some pretty rich flashy folk with all the bells and whistles websites- top of the line camera gear etc who aren't necessarily the best photographers.
    The proof lies in examples of their work, doesn't it and what your specific need is?

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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tracy68 View Post
    After reading the additional comments I think I'm a bit on the fence now that we seem to be discussing Facebook.
    I see the pro's and the cons.
    I suppose my argument would be that there are some really talented people out there who aren't necessarily loaded with money and there are some pretty rich flashy folk with all the bells and whistles websites- top of the line camera gear etc who aren't necessarily the best photographers.
    The proof lies in examples of their work, doesn't it and what your specific need is?
    Yes. And in most cases the only difference between a photographer who is very well skilled up and has the gear charging $5000 to shoot a wedding as opposed to $15000 is marketing. The $15k one markets themselves as being the best, offering the best, they push towards the upper end of the wedding market, etc. I have a friend in the UK who charges 100,000.00 Pound to shoot a wedding. He does between 5-10 weddings a year. That is it! That is his job. He markets himself to the upper class, and does this so very well. Is his photography great? it sure is! Is it better than a 20,000 pound wedding photographer, not really! So why can he charge as he does...marketing! He has his entire business plan based around marketing to one demographic..the wealthy!

    Part of your decision to go professional is working our who your clients will be. People from the suburbs generally will not pay $100K for a wedding, some will pay $5-$10K, yet others are looking for someone for $1k. Once a wedding photographer knows which demographic they want as their customers, they then can start looking at best way to market to this demographic. And work out how many weddings a year they need to do to meet their income targets etc.

    Now I know you did say you did not want to shoot weddings etc, but it is a good example to use. Whatever genres you choose, you need to know who will be buying your work, what their incomes might be, so how much they would pay, and then you use that as part of your budget planning, when working out what to charge, how to get people to become your clients/buyers. No use advertising in "Country Estates" magazine, if your target clients read "Who". You need to know who your clients will be and market to them.

    As Steve says above " If you want to communicate with people, then you need to use the media that the most people use". This is part and parcel of working out what you want your business to be, and who your clients will be. And then making them aware you exist.

  15. #15
    http://steveaxford.smugmug.com/ Steve Axford's Avatar
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    I've no idea what sort of photography business you want to get into, Tracy, but I wouldn't let the very occasional fracas on the internet put you off. You can get into an argument with someone on a bus, but that doesn't stop most of us from travelling by bus. I had a quick look at some of your posts and it strikes me that you might like http://1x.com/ It is a European site that specialises in some of the types of photography that you like. It won't help you create a business, but it may provide some inspiration. My only suggestion is to enjoy your photography and don't be tempted to try and make a business from photography that you don't like. That's a sure path to hating photography, and failing at business.

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    Thanks so much Ricktas and Steve.
    Some very good things to consider have been said here.
    I will have a look at that link Steve, thanks.
    Truth is, I don't really know what sort of photography business I want to get into either.

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