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How's Business ?

  1. theseasideartist
    So- hows business?

    How is the economy in your area?

    I heard the other day a GWC was photographing a wedding - for $50.00 -[digital]
    The bride paid $100.00 for a beautiful wedding dress in a thrift store.

    I am shifting gears back into long-term documentary projects.
    Self funded- and then self pub books-from the projects.
    Silver gel prints sets.

    Anyone else making changes?
  2. SteveR
    Well, I guess we can take the radio silence in one of two ways, either business is fantastic, and everyone's out working their butts off with no time to play on the internet... or, business is very, very bad, and everyone in the group, apart from you and I, have had to sell of ftheir computers to feed the kids! :P

    I saw a similar thing the other day, an A4 flier taped to a power-pole advertising 'memorable wedding packages' from $150... I didn't know whether to pull it down or just cry in the street. I don't want to turn this into a rant, so I'll try to be brief, but what frustrates me the most with photography as a vocation is the accesibility these days. Yes, it's good to get new people interested, but with the glamourisation of the industry the market is just flooded. It would be okay if it was flooded with competent, talented artists who were genuine competitionfor each other, and all on a level playing field, but as soon as someone starts undercutting all their competitiors dramatically, they've taken the game off of the playing field, and are kicking the ball around in the carpark... the problem is, while the 'descerning' public know better, the 'majority' generally don't, so when they see 'memorable wedding for $150', they think "Fantastic, that's more money to go towards the honeymoon!' and not 'hmmm... what sort of quality is that going to get me?'

    My sister-in-law got married early last year, they found a 'reasonably' priced photographer, ie, he wasn't dirt cheap, but definitely not top shelf either. I have to say, the quality of the prints leave a LOT to be desired... now I don't pretend to know everything about weddings, they're not my thing (I've shot about half a dozen, only for couple who knew and appreciated my personal 'flavour', and most had purchased my work before), but I had to bite my tongue and let him do his job on the day (I'd hate it if someone messed with my 'flow' when working...) but, tell me, would you line a family up for portraits in front of a plastic walled marque when you're surrounded by beautiful gardens glowing in the light of an almost setting sun? ...maybe that's just because I appreciate landscapes... perhaps there's a very good reason why I generally don't do weddings but still, never mind methods, the proof is in the pudding, it's the final product that counts. So, how was the final product? Soft, but not in a flattering way, soft in a "I'm shooting in RAW because that's what I read on a forum, yo ucan just print them straight up like jpg's, right?" kind of way, I won't mention any of the fundamentals of the art that were missing... ie, all of the things a camera set to auto can't do for you (framing, composition etc etc).

    I'm sorry, I said I wouldn't let it turn into a rant, but I'm not going to lie, it does get me riled up. I don't know if it's because of my own insecuritues surrounding my work and feeling 'threatened', or perhaps I just feel it's an injustice to all of us who put in the years to learn the craft (and those before us who put in much, much more). I often think of some of Lewis Carols writings on photography and how frustrated he felt once it became more 'accesible' (ie, dry plates?)... I don't doubt for a second that he's look at me and think "...bloody hack, who does he think he is...?"

    Aaaaaaanyway... ahem, now that I've got that off my chest (and I have to say, it is very nice to be able to verbalise that and be a little un-PC for a moment), how's my business going? Well, not too bad, not fantastic, but not too bad. This year is going to be a bit of a big one with family stuff, so to be honest, I'm not complaining about a bit of a reprieve. I have some flow-on business from the annual calendar sales (reproduced prints from the calendar), I teamed up with a writer to create a collaborative effort this year, so that opened up a new potential client base which I'm hoping will tide me over through any lulls. 'Business' wise, I haven't altered any of my pricing, being an artist my pricing is based on the 'perceived value in the work', which I don't believe has dropped. Maybe if all these 'GWC's (I had to google that one!) get into offering traditional prints and old fashioned personal attention, then I might have a problem on my hands...
  3. bighilt
    This is probably old and late by now but I have basically dropped out of the photographic business. The truth is, I am selling more paintings than photographs. Despite plenty of local advertising for wedding photography the few calls I get always start with: "What's your cheapest price?"
    I figure I'm flogging a dead horse...selling buggy whips to Mazda drivers etc and it's time to move on.
    For me, photography will now be something for my own pleasure and enjoyment.
  4. SteveR
    "For me, photography will now be something for my own pleasure and enjoyment."

    ...you'll probably start to actually enjoy it a whole lot more again too! One fellow I work with regularly has been running his studio for just over 30 years now, business has dropped off, but he's still sticking in there, HOWEVER, the idea of pulling a camera out in his personal time is now abhorrent. On the way home from a job together recently we took the ferry. I pulled out my little Olympus XA and snapped a few shots of the storms rolling in across the bay. He mocked, snorted, and stood out of the wind.
  5. theseasideartist
    BIG BUMP !!
    Well here we are almost 2 years later --to the date- of my first post.


    I worked retail for several years and have made some major changes in my life back in Aug 2012- so that I can jump back into photography full time in Jan-

    Online and technology has changed so many things- I am a bit behind the curve with post prodution via Photoshop- but that is for the photojournalism I'm doing
    Have no fear I have collected several vintage film cameras that still work great- and I have been shooting film for for the past 2 years- so I almost have a workflow down for that.

    Wet lab darkroom in the works for the new year. I am leaning more towards self funded documentary
    projects as well as sports.

    I am pondering keeping things offline and seeing if that creats any type of niche...as in " No Sir , you cannot order it online, only directly from the artist and only by custom order". "Come by and see me at the Studio. I'll be in the darkroom till noon handcrafting some silver gel photographs".

    Just wondering what you think of that business model?
  6. theseasideartist
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