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Author Topic: Photography Profitibility  (Read 9751 times)
robertvine
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« on: April 14, 2007, 01:19:05 AM »
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Hello all, first time poster, long time fan of this site. I have recently started downloading the video journals, they have been very interesting and a great help. What I have noticed in the videos and from this site is the huge expense that the authors of the videos go to in order to have the best equipment and to travel to exotic places to photograph.

The question this left me asking was weather this is all funded by the sale of prints and money earnt by other photography related endeavours or is it fuelled by another profession?

I am currently a 'semi-professional' photographer and still have a regular job. While I am not trying to leave my job (which I actually like) to live off photography, I would love to be able to pay for all my photographic equipment desires with the profit. Problem is, with my experience of the demand for fine art photography I cannot see a way that it can be decently profitable. Or am I missing out on some market that can make this business profitable?
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Rob C
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« Reply #1 on: April 14, 2007, 03:29:23 AM »
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Hello all, first time poster, long time fan of this site. I have recently started downloading the video journals, they have been very interesting and a great help. What I have noticed in the videos and from this site is the huge expense that the authors of the videos go to in order to have the best equipment and to travel to exotic places to photograph.

The question this left me asking was weather this is all funded by the sale of prints and money earnt by other photography related endeavours or is it fuelled by another profession?

I am currently a 'semi-professional' photographer and still have a regular job. While I am not trying to leave my job (which I actually like) to live off photography, I would love to be able to pay for all my photographic equipment desires with the profit. Problem is, with my experience of the demand for fine art photography I cannot see a way that it can be decently profitable. Or am I missing out on some market that can make this business profitable?
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=112315\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

You have a 'regular' job; you do, presumably, earn enough from it to buy exotica like VJs, so why do you want to eff up the livelihood of those whose 'regular' job is photography?

Just wondered...

Rob C
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mahleu
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« Reply #2 on: April 14, 2007, 03:29:43 AM »
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There are many lucrative markets. Small framed prints are cheap to produce and easy to sell, weddings/pet portraits and other things you might not normally do can make enough money to support what you want to do.
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Sheldon N
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« Reply #3 on: April 14, 2007, 12:14:54 PM »
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Michael's business is essentially photography consulting and teaching. His target market is other photographers (primarily affluent hobbiests) who are looking for ways to advance their craft.

His primary revenue is the sales of his Video Journal and the fees for attending his workshops which travel to exotic locations (at a cost of $5-15k per person) and allow him to provide one on one instruction.

The workshops afford him the personal opportunity to shoot in exotic locales and create beautiful images. These images further his reputation as a fine art landscape photographer and also generates some print sales (a good portion of which I'd bet are bought by the same target market of hobbiest photographers).

It's a wonderful business plan - based upon his skills as a writer, photographer, and teacher. It's also not easily duplicated.
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61Dynamic
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« Reply #4 on: April 14, 2007, 12:55:07 PM »
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He's also mentioned a few times in his articles doing architectural photography. In the past he's also done editorial, commercial and advertising photography.
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Rob C
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« Reply #5 on: April 15, 2007, 06:30:23 AM »
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In other words, a seasoned pro, much as it should be if you want to drink from the fountain. You sure have to pay your bloody dues to get there!

Ciao - Rob C
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Robert Roaldi
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« Reply #6 on: April 15, 2007, 07:21:36 AM »
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You have a 'regular' job; you do, presumably, earn enough from it to buy exotica like VJs, so why do you want to eff up the livelihood of those whose 'regular' job is photography?

This may be needlessly antagonistic. Neither MR, nor you, nor me for that matter, have any more or less right to make a living (or partial living) out of photography than does "robertvine", the starter of this thread. There are thousands and thousands of people in our society with part-time second jobs to make extra cash. They don't need anyone's permission to do so.
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kikashi
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« Reply #7 on: April 15, 2007, 08:16:41 AM »
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You have a 'regular' job; you do, presumably, earn enough from it to buy exotica like VJs, so why do you want to eff up the livelihood of those whose 'regular' job is photography?

Just wondered...

Rob C
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=112319\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

What an extraordinary attitude!

I can think of only two explanations: you are so insecure in your profession that you worry that  a newly-arrived part-timer would post a real threat to your livelihood, or you consider that the paying public should be deprived of the opportunity of employing someone who could do a good job. Neither seems particularly commendable.

In any event, purchase of the video journals ("exotica"?) at a few dollars a time is hardly evidence of affluence.

Jeremy
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boku
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« Reply #8 on: April 15, 2007, 04:55:10 PM »
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This may be needlessly antagonistic. Neither MR, nor you, nor me for that matter, have any more or less right to make a living (or partial living) out of photography than does "robertvine", the starter of this thread. There are thousands and thousands of people in our society with part-time second jobs to make extra cash. They don't need anyone's permission to do so.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=112480\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I agree 100% with that statement.
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Ray
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« Reply #9 on: April 15, 2007, 08:19:10 PM »
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To get back to the OP's question and concerns, the problem as I see it is, running a business is not easy. Running a photography/fine art business is not the same as taking good photos. They are two separate skills. I sell the occasional photo, which pleases me somewhat, but I'm certainly glad that I don't have to sell photos to make a living.

I believe that running a restaurant is one type of business that so many people think they can do because there's someone in the family who can cook tasty food.

However, restaurant enterprises seem to fold faster than any other type of business because there's much more to running a successful restaurant than being able to cook a tasty meal.

For me, time spent trying to sell photos is time that cannot be spent taking photos, processing photos, trying new techniques, experimenting, travelling and generally having a good time pursuing my hobby   .
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Eric Myrvaagnes
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« Reply #10 on: April 15, 2007, 08:24:47 PM »
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To get back to the OP's question and concerns, the problem as I see it is, running a business is not easy. Running a photography/fine art business is not the same as taking good photos. They are two separate skills. I sell the occasional photo, which pleases me somewhat, but I'm certainly glad that I don't have to sell photos to make a living.

I believe that running a restaurant is one type of business that so many people think they can do because there's someone in the family who can cook tasty food.

However, restaurant enterprises seem to fold faster than any other type of business because there's much more to running a successful restaurant than being able to cook a tasty meal.

For me, time spent trying to sell photos is time that cannot be spent taking photos, processing photos, trying new techniques, experimenting, travelling and generally having a good time pursuing my hobby   .
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Amen!!!
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Rob C
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« Reply #11 on: April 16, 2007, 06:58:49 AM »
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What an extraordinary attitude!

I can think of only two explanations: you are so insecure in your profession that you worry that  a newly-arrived part-timer would post a real threat to your livelihood, or you consider that the paying public should be deprived of the opportunity of employing someone who could do a good job. Neither seems particularly commendable.

In any event, purchase of the video journals ("exotica"?) at a few dollars a time is hardly evidence of affluence.

Jeremy
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=112487\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


How sweet, Jerry, how literal and how predictable! Never thought much of shamateurs, but then, not a lot of the general public either. On that basis, perhaps they deserve one another...

Ciao - Insecure Rob C  (Yeah, right!)
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Jonathan Wienke
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« Reply #12 on: April 17, 2007, 02:03:33 AM »
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How sweet, Jerry, how literal and how predictable! Never thought much of shamateurs, but then, not a lot of the general public either. On that basis, perhaps they deserve one another...

Ciao - Insecure Rob C  (Yeah, right!)

Perhaps not insecure, but certainly arrogant.
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Ray
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« Reply #13 on: April 17, 2007, 03:38:40 AM »
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There's an interesting issue here. I've got photos of my great grandfather and family taken by a professional photographer in the 19th century. I'm sure these photos are much better than any amateur of the day could take. I haven't got the negatives; just  5x8" contact prints (or something close to those dimensions).

I'm pleased that when I scan these faded prints they make reasonably sharp large prints. I sometimes wonder if 35mm film could do much better.

It seems we are now in an era of 'photography for everyone'. Painstakingly learned skills are now becoming automated functions which allow the complete novice to take reasonably good photos, from the technical point of view.

The professional photographer who has to earn a living from selling his photos is perhaps under siege.

I wonder, if I were a kid considering career options, would I opt for photography in such a climate.
« Last Edit: April 17, 2007, 03:41:01 AM by Ray » Logged
robertvine
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« Reply #14 on: April 17, 2007, 07:30:18 AM »
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This is all interesting discussion but I don't think I have a definitive answer - does anyone actually make a profit from selling fine art prints? I don't think so, there is certainly profit to be made from portrait and fashion photography but not from purely selling fine art prints.

Everyone goes on about how it's not enough to just take good photos, you need to be good at business to succeed and that's true of course but how well can your business get if you do not produce a good product?

We don't have photography for everyone just yet, we still do not have the 'magic' camera that takes great shots no matter how inept the photographer is. The difference is that the technical skills that are required to take great photos have changed and become more accessible to certain people. Those skills are still inaccessible to plenty! Besides, if the technical skills become easier to acquire then you start to compete more on an artistic base. No amount of darkroom of photshop can cure a lack of artistic vision.
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James Godman
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« Reply #15 on: April 17, 2007, 09:49:06 AM »
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Its an exciting time to be a professional photographer.  Also, its cool that more people are taking pictures than ever before.  Amateurs and Pros basically have access to the same tools, but its how one uses them that makes the difference.  This is not an easy business to be in, but it is incredibly rewarding and fun.
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61Dynamic
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« Reply #16 on: April 17, 2007, 10:50:05 AM »
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It seems we are now in an era of 'photography for everyone'. Painstakingly learned skills are now becoming automated functions which allow the complete novice to take reasonably good photos, from the technical point of view.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=112809\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
A phrase that makes me laugh and cringe at the same time is, "'P' for 'Professional!'" I hear that more from practicing professional photographers than amateurs. They use that phrase to brush off the fact they haven't bothered to learn how their camera works yet.

And on that note, you can be a complete hack with no knowledge of the art or craft of photography yet still be successful in the field if you are good at business (I do know of some "photographers" like this with very profitable businesses). This applies to selling fine-art work too. If you are good at business, you can make a very good profit at it.
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61Dynamic
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« Reply #17 on: April 17, 2007, 10:57:22 AM »
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Amateurs and Pros basically have access to the same tools, but its how one uses them that makes the difference.
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Yes, I love the fact that this is the case as it puts pressure on those who claim to be professionals to improve their craft or lose business. As much as many (though no one on these forums) may not like the idea of competing with amateurs, it benefits everyone. The more non-photographers there are shooting the more people will appreciate the complexities of good photography and be willing to pay for it.
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Bobtrips
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« Reply #18 on: April 17, 2007, 11:03:56 AM »
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This is all interesting discussion but I don't think I have a definitive answer - does anyone actually make a profit from selling fine art prints? I don't think so, there is certainly profit to be made from portrait and fashion photography but not from purely selling fine art prints.


[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=112827\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

You might not think so.

But I think you'd be wrong.

Go to the front page and read some of Alain Briot's postings.
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James Godman
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« Reply #19 on: April 17, 2007, 02:54:14 PM »
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Yes, I love the fact that this is the case as it puts pressure on those who claim to be professionals to improve their craft or lose business. As much as many (though no one on these forums) may not like the idea of competing with amateurs, it benefits everyone. The more non-photographers there are shooting the more people will appreciate the complexities of good photography and be willing to pay for it.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=112874\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

But I also don't consider myself to be competing with amateurs.
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