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Thread: The last two editions of Capture Magazine

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    The last two editions of Capture Magazine

    I just read the last two editions of Capture Magazine. Some prominent Australian Portraiture Photographers were interviewed at length about the industry. Without fail all of these professional photographers took the opportunity to derogatory put the boot into "shoot & burn photographers", "Shopping Mall photographers", "Weekend Warriors", "Newbies with cameras" etc etc etc ad naseum.

    It became to me extremely tiresome, yet an interesting insight to a group or genre of professional photographers desperate to be able to keep charging, what to me, seemed like exorbitant fees for their work.

    The bemoaning of them being undercut by the cheek of "mere amateurs" (anyone who charged less than them) having the audacity to charge less was repeated often.

    It was as I have mentioned very interesting reading and an insight into the psyche of at least these professional portrait photographers who were interviewed for the magazine article.

    There were lots of examples of their work. To be honest there was nothing absolutely extraordinarily above what I have seen posted by "amateurs" on this Aussie forum and others.

    It all just really smacked of elitism and a justification of their pricing structure.

    Interested to hear anyones views who may have read the articles or just in general about pro's versus "weekend warriors" et al.
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    Moderately Underexposed I @ M's Avatar
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    And it isn't even fire season in the Southern half of the country yet but be prepared seems a good motto at the moment.
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    The industry is under change.
    Low cost easy to use photography means many more people will take photos.
    Some of them will learn from experience and the 'net (sites like AP) and produce some damn fine photos.
    Some will spend lots on gear and shoot cr*p.
    Either way the market is diluted (supply/demand) and the income stream changes as a result.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kym View Post
    The industry is under change.
    It certainly is and thats what these photographers who were interviewed oft mentioned.

    But then again all industries have always been under change. Anything to do with paying customers and a supply and demand business is dynamic and ever changing.

    It seemed to me after reading these articles that these photographers can see and are sad that the writing is on the wall and the "good days" of exhorbitant charging may well and truly be coming to and end and all because of other photographers undercutting them.

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    You know what go to any industry and you will here the same thing about being under cut, any area where technology makes your job easier means you become less valuable, they should get over themselves and realize the market is what it is.
    They should try making furniture for a living and start competing with China, or they could even try Crash repairs.
    They could even go into retail and compete with Kamart BigW and the rest.
    Will they get sympathy from the paying public because they have competition, I doubt it, will they get sympathy from other photogs yes but not from the ones trying to get into the market. Tell me what options do you have to get into a market be it photography or anything else. One that comes to my mind is offer better value for money.
    Last edited by atky; 07-09-2010 at 4:50pm.
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    I too read the article youre talking of Jim .. and I agree there seemed to be a distinct amount of condescension in the tone of the contributors.

    There was one very amusing quote from our very own Longshots, about assistants enjoying touching corporate subjects, which gave me a bit of a chuckle though
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    Who let the rabble in? Lance B's Avatar
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    To be quite honest, I don't really care what the "pro" photogs think. Yes, what they are saying smacks of elitism, but we all do that from time to time in any walk of life or situation. On the one hand I think they are getting very worried about their livlihoods but on the other, I think they are also concerned about cowboys taking people for a ride, especially those horrid "I'm a wedding photographer, trust me" type charlatons etc.

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    I would like to also hear direct from these photographers rather than via a magazine that has probably seen the article go through a reporter, sub-editors and editors before it got to the printing press.

    Unfortunately the reputation of print media (magazines and newspapers) has declined rapidly in my books. I have seen articles put to print that are at an almost 90 degree angle to that really stated by the person being interviewed, where the text is edited to fit what the newspaper/magazine want it to for the article they are presenting, rather than factual text based on what the person really said.
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    I chuckle about those talking of "exorbitant" fees. Might explain all the ferraris lined up at the pma......not
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigdazzler View Post
    I too read the article youre talking of Jim .. and I agree there seemed to be a distinct amount of condescension in the tone of the contributors.
    There really was an enormous amount of derision in those articles directed at other photographers who are either new, part-time or charging less.

    @Rick, I'm not sure (anyway I would hope not from such a well known Australain photography mag) that these articles portrayed the photographers words out of context. The format being that they were asked a set of questions and the photographers gave their answers.

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    I agree .. it did seem to be a direct Q&A interview type article.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JimD View Post
    There really was an enormous amount of derision in those articles directed at other photographers who are either new, part-time or charging less.
    Remember (and I could be wrong here) Capture Magazine is provided free to AIPP members, it is part of their membership package. So it is in the interest of the magazine and its owner(s) to promote professional photography above 'others'. Whilst I have not seen the magazine or article, which is why I will not comment on specifics, but I may be overly cautious, but why would a magazine that is directed at professional photographers include an article about how great it is that weekend warriors are entering the market? I would find that highly unlikely, considering the repercussions to its membership and reader base, based in its target market.

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    Rick, these articles seemed to be aimed at professional portrait photographers because thats what genre these interviewed photographers practiced and they made many mentions of how they hoped that professional portrait photography is being hurt and hoped that it wouldn't go the way of wedding photography and be totally undercut by weekend warriors etc.

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    Quote Originally Posted by atky View Post
    You know what go to any industry and you will here the same thing about being under cut, any area where technology makes your job easier means you become less valuable, they should get over themselves and realize the market is what it is.
    They should try making furniture for a living and start competing with China, or they could even try Crash repairs.
    One of the main things that struck me when I read the articles is that the pro's are trying to sell something that well.......just isn't unique. They're selling something that can be produced just as well by an "amateur". I'd hate to be paying a mortgage and working in an industry like that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JimD View Post
    Rick, these articles seemed to be aimed at professional portrait photographers because thats what genre these interviewed photographers practiced and they made many mentions of how they hoped that professional portrait photography is being hurt and hoped that it wouldn't go the way of wedding photography and be totally undercut by weekend warriors etc.
    I think you have found the crux of the issue, maybe without even realising. Why are they 'specialising' and focusing on such a slim part of the market. If you want to be a professional photographer these days, I don't think you can limit your customer base just to weddings, or families, or pets, etc, You need to be able to do a cross-section of photography. I wonder how many of these photographers may have turned down work in the past as it wasn't their "field of focus". I know several who shoot portaits but won't shoot weddings cause they are to stressful. I think some of these Pro's need to accept the industry is changing and move with it. Fighting it is not going to do them any favours in the long term. All industries change, evolve and morph, it is those that roll along with those changes who are the winners.

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    If I was a pro tog, I'd be worried about the back yarders coming in too. On the most part, the back yarders undercut themselves on pre-production, equipment and post production usually because they haven't realised how much time/cost a job takes, and the level of real overheads it takes to run an 'ongoing' business.
    There are plenty of back yarders that know how to cost a one-off job.
    Whenever there is a thread started in here, and elsewhere, about how to go pro, all the usual info get's chipped in about how to make sure you're covering your costs and funding an ongoing business. That's all they're doing, and making their complaints known about the short sightedness of back yarders.
    I don't see what the problem with their commentary is.

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    It's called "progress".

    I was a lawyer in private practice when the internet became a popular source of information, and thus people could find out things for themselves, needing me a lot less.

    I also did not moan when the Australian Will Kit became available for $30 in newsagents meaning that I could not charge $200 or whatever to prepare a simple will for someone. I just educated myself on creating charitable trusts (something that no-one other than a highly trained lawyer can do), and got to charge a whole lot more than $200 for those.

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    I'm not sure if its worth saying too much here, because if I present the case of the full time photographers, I have a strong feeling that explaining about the simple economics of running a business etc, isnt going to offer much of the alternative point of view.


    I've read the articles and I think its an interesting position to claim every pro is elitist, and charging exorbitant prices. Perhaps have some understanding that there is some genuine cause for concern. Yes the market has and is changing. Always has been for the 3 decades I've been involved. I know many, like myself started my photographic career, while doing another entirely different career. I never forget that. And many who are FT photgraphers (earn their sole income from photography and photographic related areas), often start that way.

    As as a suggestion to you Jim, I dont really see why you think that something that is recognised by the industry as something to adapt with and to, as tiresome ? Its a fact that most people understand has been around for 30 odd years and longer.



    Perhaps now its easier for people to set themselves up as a photographer with a website, that can and occasionally does contain images that have not even been shot by that photographer (ie sourced from a stock/image library), with no ABN, possibly no public liability insurance, and just a mobile phone number, if you're lucky.

    Sure there are plenty of great part time shooters. They're also some fantastic enthusiasts who regularly produce top quality images that any pro would be proud of if they'd shot them. And there is - without debate - a small element who are in the cowboy league.

    Exactly the same can be said of full time professionals who may work to earn a full time living from this industry

    I'd suggest that a less abrasive approach to this subject, without the antagonistic generalisations that all pros charge exorbitant fees, would illicit something more productive

    FYI people always seem to complain about each other - pro or amateur - that not enough fees are being charged - frankly I think thats riduclous.

    And again as a personal view, I think that more of the problem with the industry is that in all honesty, the majority of photographic buyers, simply do not know the difference between a good shot and a bad shot. And that lack of vision/education goes right to the top of leading marketing managers, in leading companies.

    And thanks Big Dazzler for reading my piece
    Last edited by Longshots; 08-09-2010 at 11:44am. Reason: nearly forgot to thank Big Dazzler for reading :)
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    If you read their arguments it went along the route (IMO) of price fixing. They were asking the newer upcoming photographers et al to charge more in line with what they are charging. Thus they wouldn't have to continuously 1. Explain why their pricing seemed so outrageously high compared to the cheaper photographers and 2. They would stop losing customers.

    One pro complained that he charged on average a client $2800 for a portrait shoot and down the road a "shoot & burn" was advertising portrait shoots for $250 including the files.

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