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  1. #11
    tomalophicon's Avatar
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    How to make money with your MF kit: Sell it!...

  2. #12
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    It has nothing to do with MF, or any format, but how your execute your skill and knowledge of subjec to bring it out in the best possible way on the format you are using, and that format can be 35mm, MF, LF, ULF, anything. Too many photographers spend a King's fortune on cameras and lenses but produce just mediochre images that pepper Flickr, Tumbler et al. Scant few invest time, money and energy in printing and producing a finished image for presentation or exhibition — even as a hobby. It is wanton waste. Besides which, remember the camera (any camera) is just a tool for holding the film: how/if it makes money depends on how you put your skill to knowledge: the camera is just there to record time and place. I did OK producing images to the Ilfochrome process from 1994 to just recently. There were lean times as well as good, and the small client base was built up by word of mouth — not by the web. The money coming in allowed me to continue doing it (squeezed, as usual, by frequent price increases pursued by Ilford) and periodically re-invest in new equipment based on merit and use, not "WOW!" factor. Now it's pano format that has attracted the attention of some of my old clients who have seen recent work. And I'm moving into MF (initially B&W) but have no real anticipation of making serious money with colour production being all-digital now. It's much harder to make a beautiful, inspiring print through digital than it is in Ilfochrome. I think it's much, much harder to make money as a photographer now with so damn many thinking the latest and greatest DSLR maketh the pro.
    .::Gary Rowan Higgins

    A comfort zone is a wonderful place. But nothing ever grows there.
    —Anon.






  3. #13

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    Like others have said, I think it depends on your business plan.

    If you know your system like the back of your hand and can produce the results clients want, then definitely use your MF. I couldn't do it. I *do* make money with photography, but I do it with a Nikon D3s, fast lenses, a high frame rate and high ISOs. I couldn't do my commercial photography with my manual focus, 10 frames per hope-you-got-the-shot RZ67/120 roll of film. Others can, have, and do.

  4. #14

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    I think digital captured photos are about 2 or 3% of my selling images. Mostly it is rush-orders for newspapers. In the rest of my photo buisness i sell photography and i make the terms. The customer, a magazine, commercial client, ad bureau or a private customer buys images from me beacause the want what i can deliver. I findt the format that suits the assignment. 6x4,5 or 6x6 or 4x5" oer some times Tri-X in 35mm. Shooting film for me is even faster than using electronic capturing on a CMOS. I have my own lab and have the contacts from C41 or BW in 25-35 minutes. Som analouge photo is 98% of my income. I live in one of the most expensive contries in the world and i live very good.

    In this Master set, two images is captured digital. Guess who: http://www.tmax100.com/photo/pdf/showcasekompressor.pdf

  5. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Nadvornick View Post
    That's a pretty devastating summation. And one not to be taken lightly. However, there are other outcomes, Ric...

    I know of someone, a youngish single mom, who spent the $300 (actually a bit more, it IS digital after all) and started up a photo business on the side. Baby portraits. Yeah... And yet, she's doing well enough to have quit her day job.

    Is she extremely talented? Probably no more so than all the rest of us who hang around here thinking we are. But her business model revolves around the truism that no portrait of a baby is not gorgeous to that baby's mother. And when the photogapher is another mom similar in age with her own baby, also similar in age, there is often an instant bond formed that goes beyond merely making and selling photographs. They are Moms. They are in this adventure together.

    That model seems to get her virtually unlimited word-of-mouth recommendations. I don't even think she advertises. And photo sessions usually end up morphing into afternoon teas with lots of chit chat, combined with defacto play dates for the babies. Oh yes, and as long as the kids are happy right now, how about I take out the camera and make some photos as well? Sounds good. Oh, and did you hear there's a new restaurant in town? Click. Why yes, I did. Click, click...

    So again, is she talented? You betcha. Shrewed as hell, if you ask me.

    Ken
    That's right, Ken. Which again brings me again to the the undeniable truth that format (or cameras) have absolutely nothing to do with commercial success. Yes, there needs to be talent but it's mostly about marketing and finding one's niche. It's a lot harder now because digital has brought a dilution of talent (meaning that it is a lot tougher to stand out simply by originality and quality of images) and therefore marketing and carving one's spot is 99.99% of the battle. It is certainly not about whether MF is better than 35mm or digital at the quality level. The question one has to ask him/herself is 1) does anyone care and 2) how do I market myself, successfully, to those who do, if that's the route one choses to take.
    I personally feel that most don't care, therefore, the choice of format or a particular camera is simply a choice for the photographer and nothing more. It is not going to make or break anyone, unless of course one feels that portraying an aura of elitism by shooting a MF film camera will add to sales.
    Let's take prints for example: I have printed fabulous inkjets from digital and scanned negatives and the same images in the darkroom. Most people couldn't tell a damn difference, nor they cared to find differences. This is not to say that some people would not appreciate how the image was captured and printed but many just don't. I personally shoot film and mostly print in the darkroom because I enjoy it. I don't feel that my 35mm, MF or LF sets me apart at a commercial level from the guy using a cheap digital and strictly printing inkjet. Heck, in my small world I probably sell more prints from my $20 piece of crap Holga than anything else. That says something.

  6. #16

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    Interesting answers.

    I didn't intend that question to be only about MF, but rather about film being used to make money. I only went with MF as I figured most would at least work with it or LF. I was surprised that no one said they did fine art work with film, as that is probably the last hold out because time is not all that important. As for those pictures on Flickr, I don't go there much as people will upload 20 pictures of the same girl in the same position and you have to look close to see that she moved her finger in some of them. I suppose that a person can still make sales with film but it will be getting harder. I guess with film you have to present the finished print to the buyer and then hope they buy it.

    Here is something to think about, when film cameras ride off into the sunset, it will have to be a film camera that captures the scene. If you point a digital at the sun, you can hurt the CMOS from what I hear. With film you just burn a hole in the film. Thanks for the replies. Ric.

  7. #17
    tomalophicon's Avatar
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    Phillip Blenkinsop is a journalit who makes his living with film.
    http://www.noorimages.com/photograph...lipblenkinsop/
    http://www.fototv.com/philip_blenkinsop
    Last edited by tomalophicon; 11-24-2011 at 10:13 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  8. #18
    ic-racer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ric Trexell View Post
    toys to take family pictures with or what?
    Sounds about right. In fact, I'm currently working on a series of 20x24 enlargements from 8x10 of each of my kids.

  9. #19
    Poisson Du Jour's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ric Trexell View Post
    [...]I was surprised that no one said they did fine art work with film, as that is probably the last hold out because time is not all that important. [...] I guess with film you have to present the finished print to the buyer and then hope they buy it.
    .

    I feel sure that there are many members here on APUG around the world that do produce work to fine art standard from film (e.g. especially B&W). And doubtless they make money from it in whatever way happens by.

    The production I undertook over the years certainly qualified as fine art in the sense of very high quality finished work (printed, matted and framed) or it would not have had a following by a small number of loyal clients, only two of which remain sticking by me as we navigate the often fraught and testy waters of digital production. Many, many studio photographers are producing fine art predominantly B&W work from MF and LF, often with obscure media e.g. lith, xray, composite media etc. It's not always professionals making the money, but students and amateurs, particularly those in final year university studies or folio presentations, and those working to old methods. There will always be rebel elements in tertiary education that cheerfully thumb their noses at the current vogue (e.g. digital) and explore creative pathways with film. A case in point is at a Christmas alternative lifestyle festsival: amidst a sea of mud-covered bodies in a clapped out dusty farmer's paddock, a woman completing a Masters by research (fine art) wandered about the teeming, seething mass of humanity hauling a monster Linhof on a tripod over her shoulders. All around here people carelessly wielded digital, but not her. And the work she produced from that camera was so breathtakingly simple and beautiful that the lot sold out at exhibition, at a mean price of $900 per framed image. Don't get the impression you need a Linhof to make a stratospheric income. The skill was in her composition, technical grasp, energy and highly refined, engaging people skills.

    On your second observation, clients are more likely to take an interest in photographers who have been sticking to the same thing over many years and have consistently produced to the same high standard, without variation, polemic or rhetoric. All I did was landscape and scenics on 35mm and it sold — I often hoped it would sell, but never pressed it. Others doubtless overtook me over the yearrs and made a fortune with the larger formats in all their crippling detail-rich beauty.
    Getting talking with people and showing them a folio of your best work, is one of the tricks I used repeatedly, packing APs in a viewing folder and 'introducing' people to my work in anything from campsites to outback cafés.

    Saturday morning markets that put your best works on display are a good springboard to earning a bit of income. Friends doing this prints-from-film market hop in the coastal markets near my home lament that for all the cost of producing the work, stall costs, materials etc., they will be very lucky to come away with $40 for all the money and labour invested, and it goes toward set up costs. Often they come home with nothing.
    .::Gary Rowan Higgins

    A comfort zone is a wonderful place. But nothing ever grows there.
    —Anon.






  10. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by chriscrawfordphoto View Post
    You have to be someone with no other marketable skills or interests in life to want to dedicate to it what you need to do to succeed.
    Gee Chris - you're a cheery guy ;-) Life's not that bad is it?

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