Discussion in 'Business of Photography' started by hjoseph7, Feb 20, 2021.
Too late. I already made a deal with them.
I think the expression is, A fool and his money are soon parted.
That's good advice even for industries with less competition. Finding a niche to separate yourself from everyone else, ups the money you can make and available customers who need your skill. Often the main skill isn't photography-related. It's business-related. Like knowing how to make contacts and socializing better than others to help find clients. Learning how to handle cash flow. Take business courses. Learn on-line social marketing. The pictures will take care of themselves. It's the other aspects of the business that will separate you from the pack.
Here is an example: A few years ago, well more than a few years ago I worked for a company that shot Marathon Races. The way the company worked is that it had a map of all the marathon races going on around the country then it would bid for a contract to shoot the race. Depending on the size of the race the company would then hire the closest photographers to that location to shoot the race. it could be 2 photographers or 10 even 20. The idea was to shoot portraits of the runners that could sell. Then depending on how many portraits the company sold you would get a cut. Unfortunately you didn't get a percentage of the sales for your hard work, there were only 2 payment options: stages #1 $150, or stage #2 $250. So if they did really well, you they would cut you a check for $250 otherwise $150 ! Fine and dandy.
The thing is, I was so desperate to get my foot into the photography field that I fell for this scam hook-line -and-sinker. I didn't think about gas expenses meaning getting to the race in the first place, which sometimes was more that 100 miles away. I also didn't think about wear and tear on my equipment. The job required that you have at least a 70-200 mm lens, preferably f2.8 and 'preferably' a full frame camera.
I had just barely removed the styrofoam from my precious Canon 5D and my Canon 70-200 f2.8 IS, that I had to put them to work shooting 2000+ images per race. Keep in mind that 10(races) X 2000(clicks) = 20,000(Shutter count) . Some might say the 5D has a 150,000 shutter count limit so what ! So what , is when when you need to upgrade and the shutter count is so high on your camera that you have to lower the price. Is that a way to make a living ?
A few years later I had to sell my Canon 70-200 f2.8 IS for only $800 because the folks at KEH found condensation inside the lens elements ! Condensation was the result of shooting Marathon races in the rain. The lens cost me $2200 back then and was mostly used to take marathon races up till then.
There are a lot of scams going on like this where so-called photography companies want you to use you most treasured equipment to make a buck. One such company wanted me to take head-shots of couples you met in the street, then give the couples a business card with a link to a website where they could purchase the images NO EXPERIENCE necessary just a camera. That one sounded too Paparazzi for me so I turned it down.
Another such gig that I stayed on for about 3 months, wanted me to take individual, or group portraits at the Base Ball Game(NO EXPERIENCE necessary). The good thing about this job is that you got to see FREE baseball games. The bad is that you had to make a complete nuisance out of yourself, begging people to have their pictures taken. Some who didn't want their pictures taken because they were supposed to be at their job, some because they were not supposed to be with such and such a person....
Then there is the real-estate photographer gig. I'm not even going to get into that one.
Now is this what I spent years in school studying ? Buying books and equipment until my bank account was glowing red ? I'm not saying that the photography industry is corrupt. There are a lot of ways of making good money if you are lucky or talented, but sometimes you got to think twice before you jump head first into
something that is not going to be beneficial to your career, or your photography skills in the long run...
Luck and talent only get you so far, though they're a good start. I think you also need common sense, business savvy, the intelligence to avoid obvious scams, confidence, and honed skill. Also, probably easier to succeed in many businesses if one doesn't adopt a victim mentality.
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