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  1. #1

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    How do you make money with your medium format camera?

    I suppose this question could be put in any of the forums on APUG but since I'm thinking of my RB67 I'm posting it here. I have looked on Flickr and entered 'taken with a Mamiya Rb67' to see photos that people took using an RB. Ofcourse you could do this with any camera so if you have a Rollie or Hassy you might wish to try it. Anyway, the photos that are posted, which ofcourse are scanned, usually with a flat bed look great. The colors just jump out at you and being that the shots are usually shown at about the size of a 5X7 (once you click on the thumbnail) look as good as any of the digital shots. So my question is to you, do you use a medium format camera (or any other film format for that matter) to make money with your photography? I know it is hard to compete with digital in speed, or should film cameras be just seen as toys to take family pictures with or what? I would love to create some great shots with my medium format camera and make some money, but I'm wondering if that is not doable any more. If you are using a film camera to make money, would you mind telling me how? Thanks. Ric.

  2. #2
    chriscrawfordphoto's Avatar
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    Just making money with any camera is a nearly impossible dream. Unless you're willing to dedicate years of having virtually no income spending far more than you earn on film and gear, while working 18 hours a day at nothing but your photography to get to where you have enough of a clientele to make money off it, don't bother. If you aren't willing to do that, you'll be competing against guys like me who did and will. I sell mine off my website, some as prints some licensed to commercial users. It took me 10 years and badly damaged my health from going days at a time with no food at all, and I have been homeless twice. I do make a decent living now, but like I said, the life I had to live to get me here badly damaged my health, permanently. The market is just to small and every fool with the $300 it takes to buy a digital SLR or a used film camera thinks he can be a pro. 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.
    Chris Crawford
    Fine Art Photography of Indiana and other places no one else photographs.

    http://www.chriscrawfordphoto.com

    My Tested Developing Times with the films and developers I use

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    Fort Wayne, Indiana

  3. #3
    Sirius Glass's Avatar
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    Does this count?

    I have an arrangement, I send mounted an framed photographs to an off-road supplier and he sends me off-roading equipment. Neither bills or money is exchanged.
    Warning!! Handling a Hasselblad can be harmful to your financial well being!

    Nothing beats a great piece of glass!

    I leave the digital work for the urologists and proctologists.

  4. #4
    MaximusM3's Avatar
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    Making money or making a living off of it? Good luck with the latter, as Chris pointed out. I make some money with photography but I'm certainly not ready to quit my day job As far as medium format, I don't know how that would set anyone apart from everyone else using a 35mm well, and digital. Format is irrelevant for the most part, at this point.

  5. #5

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    I'm hoping to make some when I sell it but it will have to start appreciating as right now I'm not sure I could recover 10% of my investment.

    I think it is possibly to make money with it but not like in the old days when it was the only system around. I see it most possible in studio use for portraits and still life as the buyer is loonking for the art and not concerned how it was done. In this day and age where fast turnaround is mandated, that other capture system does make more sense as a business tool.

  6. #6
    MattKing's Avatar
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    If you feel inspired when you use your medium format equipment, it can help. If it gives you confidence, it can help.

    Otherwise, it really doesn't seem to make much of a difference in what I understand to be the current market.
    Matt

    “Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”

    Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2

  7. #7
    kminov's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MattKing View Post
    If you feel inspired when you use your medium format equipment, it can help. If it gives you confidence, it can help.

    Otherwise, it really doesn't seem to make much of a difference in what I understand to be the current market.

    you most certainly do not try to say that the tonal range and the quality of the prints are the same at 35/digital as they are in MF film.

  8. #8
    MattKing's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kminov View Post
    you most certainly do not try to say that the tonal range and the quality of the prints are the same at 35/digital as they are in MF film.
    I'm not trying to say that at all. I'm saying that the market doesn't value those benefits as much as it should.
    Matt

    “Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”

    Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2

  9. #9

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    Pros get paid. FlickR posters are giving their stuff away. Feel free to ignore the latter if you like.

    So go sell an assignment e.g. ask someone for their business, and close the deal. Get a 50% deposit up front. Get paid the remainder upon delivery of prints. That's one scenario where it doesn't much matter if you're using film instead digital.
    In fact, wedding pros used MF for the longest time because print film does a fantastic job with white balance and deep shadows all on the same exposure with a lot of latitude. IOW, film is hard to screw up too bad. And MF film has terrific resolution. (BTW, it wasn't any perceived lack of quality that drove wedding photographers to digital, it was recurring costs).
    There are doubtless a number of instances MF film will be actually easier to get better print results in an hour or two if you've still got a decent 1hr lab to whom you can hand off film-- most can do a great job with MF print film-- and hand you a CD with scans to boot.

  10. #10
    Ken Nadvornick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chriscrawfordphoto View Post
    Just making money with any camera is a nearly impossible dream. Unless you're willing to dedicate years of having virtually no income spending far more than you earn on film and gear, while working 18 hours a day at nothing but your photography to get to where you have enough of a clientele to make money off it, don't bother. If you aren't willing to do that, you'll be competing against guys like me who did and will. I sell mine off my website, some as prints some licensed to commercial users. It took me 10 years and badly damaged my health from going days at a time with no food at all, and I have been homeless twice. I do make a decent living now, but like I said, the life I had to live to get me here badly damaged my health, permanently. The market is just to small and every fool with the $300 it takes to buy a digital SLR or a used film camera thinks he can be a pro. 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.
    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
    "They are the proof that something was there and no longer is. Like a stain. And the stillness of them is boggling. You can turn away but when you come back they’ll still be there looking at you."

    — Diane Arbus, March 15, 1971, in response to a request for a brief statement about photographs

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