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Author Topic: How to get around on-staff photographers?  (Read 4552 times)
JoeKitchen
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« on: September 20, 2010, 10:50:53 AM »
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I recently sent a few promo pieces to a nearby luxury hotel and golf resort that I felt would do much better if they used images that where actually lit and composed well instead of what they are using now (shot hand held with nothing more then a flash).  When I called I was surprised to hear that they have an on-staff photographer (kind of odd today) and they never go outside for their photography needs. 

Of course critiquing the images would just be viewed as an insult and trying to sell to someone so adamant about not buying never works, but I do not want to just quit here.  I was thinking about sending a thank you letter for at least talking to me, should I do anything else? 
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Kirk Gittings
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« Reply #1 on: September 20, 2010, 10:59:28 AM »
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When I have encountered such a response and investigated more (politely!), I have always found that the "staff" photographer was actually a hobbiest who worked there in some other capacity or a relative or friend of somebody important there. The most recent one was the local staff IT guy of the developer. The owners/developers (the local reps for a big national developer) and the contractor were very happy with the images he had made, but the architect thought they stunk. I shot the building complex for the architect and then the national office of the developer and contractor ended up buying stock from me.
« Last Edit: September 20, 2010, 11:01:06 AM by Kirk Gittings » Logged

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PeterAit
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« Reply #2 on: September 20, 2010, 11:24:58 AM »
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I don't know anything about this kind of photography, but what comes to mind is for you to take, on your own time, some photos of their facilities, and send them prints. If they can see, with their own eyes, how your photos are better than the ones they are getting now, you may get some work.
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Peter
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Rob C
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« Reply #3 on: September 20, 2010, 01:24:02 PM »
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Peter, I think there's a danger to that sort of approach: it makes photography seem cheap/disposable, or otherwise, how could the shooter afford to do spec work like that?

Rob C
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Dick Roadnight
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« Reply #4 on: September 20, 2010, 02:19:44 PM »
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When I was a Test/Development Engineer I took all the company's photographs, including a calender shot (Farm Contractor, 1980) with a Hasselblad three lens kit... (I upgraded from a Mamiya C330 when they wanted everything in monochrome and colour).

Unfortunately, when the Company changed it's name they threw all my work away!... but I do have some copies of the brochures and calender.
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JoeKitchen
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« Reply #5 on: September 20, 2010, 02:30:46 PM »
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Well Dick, I think any company would like to have a photographer such as yourself as an on-staff guy, unfortunately this person has no idea what he is doing.  The images are horrible.  Hand held with bright foregrounds, dim off color backgrounds with it seems little or no PS work, really bad and that is why I reached out.  

I will never understand why someone selling a high end luxury item would use bad photography to sell it.  And this is even more puzzling when, while eating Sunday brunch there with my family, they where complaining that sales for the hotel are down further then they want.

As for work on spec, exteriors would work maybe, but interiors would be impossible.  I would need to get permission to not only show up with my camera and tripod, but all of the lights and my crew, impossible unless they wanted to commission the job.  

I was thinking I would send a letter with a couple of prints and leave it at that (until maybe the spring).  
« Last Edit: September 20, 2010, 02:40:26 PM by JoeKitchen » Logged

Joe Kitchen
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"Photography is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent moving furniture."  Arnold Newman
"Try not to be just better than your rivals and contemporaries, try to be better than yourself."  William Faulkner
feppe
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« Reply #6 on: September 20, 2010, 02:38:24 PM »
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A thought: show up with your portfolio, compare and contrast with the photos they have of their establishment, and gently imply to them that lagging sales might in part be a product of poor quality of their marketing material. If they were going on vacation, would they pick a hotel with pictures from your portfolio, or the ones in theirs?
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Dick Roadnight
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« Reply #7 on: September 20, 2010, 02:49:02 PM »
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A thought: show up with your portfolio, compare and contrast with the photos they have of their establishment, and gently imply to them that lagging sales might in part be a product of poor quality of their marketing material. If they were going on vacation, would they pick a hotel with pictures from your portfolio, or the ones in theirs?
Or take/send a brochure you have done for a similar establishment.
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fredjeang
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« Reply #8 on: September 21, 2010, 08:53:20 AM »
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Here in Spain, in many arquitedcture agency, there is a photopgrapher from the agency staff, wich is generally a designer who know about photography.
No need to say that there is no tech cams, mfd, tilt-shift or whatever pro arquitecture photographer would work with.
Curiously, I realised that this is not specially a question of cost, but more of lack of proximity with a specialist.
There is somthing very weird about that, I don't know how is the reality in the US.
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Dick Roadnight
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« Reply #9 on: September 21, 2010, 09:47:29 AM »
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Quote
Here in Spain, in many architecture agencies, there is a photographer from the agency staff, who is generally a designer who knows about photography.
I heard that, in some university, they thought that it would be a good idea for the arch students to do a bit of photography... and they produced better arch photos than the photogs...

¿Perhaps it helps to understand what you are photographing? (as if we all lived in caves!)
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JonathanBenoit
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« Reply #10 on: September 22, 2010, 09:22:19 AM »
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I come from a background of historic preservation, so I've been keeping an eye out for historic renovations, and firms that have a nice portfolio of such. Recently, I had contact with a marketing person at the firm and they said they were blessed to have a graphic designer that doubles as a very talented photographer. Even though I was basically giving away my services she could not see the value it would bring to their marketing. I have to note, they didn't have any professionally done photographs on their website and this graphic designer's photographs were not fit to print. It's very frustrating dealing with some firms, while others who excel see the value of great photographs of their work.
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TomSmalling
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« Reply #11 on: September 23, 2010, 11:49:13 AM »
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Personally, I wouldn't spend too much time trying to convince them.  Irregardless of the quality, they are happy, and it will be a long road to get them to buy into your services.  Put the effort towards several other potentials and come back to them at another time.  Maybe with something that shows before your services and after your services to help them understand.
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Kirk Gittings
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« Reply #12 on: October 06, 2010, 10:30:41 AM »
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I come from a background of historic preservation, so I've been keeping an eye out for historic renovations, and firms that have a nice portfolio of such. Recently, I had contact with a marketing person at the firm and they said they were blessed to have a graphic designer that doubles as a very talented photographer. Even though I was basically giving away my services she could not see the value it would bring to their marketing. I have to note, they didn't have any professionally done photographs on their website and this graphic designer's photographs were not fit to print. It's very frustrating dealing with some firms, while others who excel see the value of great photographs of their work.

Just curious, as an established photograher, what were the circumstances where you were "basically giving away my services"?
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Imaginara
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« Reply #13 on: October 08, 2010, 09:27:00 AM »
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If they can't see the difference between well lit and professional photos and badly done snapshots, they wont see the value in paying your invoice either. I say stay away from those clients and concentrate on the clients that actually know the value of good photography.

I never bid myself out of business to please a client, if they know quality they know it cost. And if they dont, i really dont want them as clients. Sure the client may want to haggle the price, but i wont do it for them =)
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JonathanBenoit
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« Reply #14 on: October 09, 2010, 07:53:19 AM »
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Just curious, as an established photograher, what were the circumstances where you were "basically giving away my services"?

The situation was that I've been looking for possible side projects photographing historic preservation in New England. Beyond the huge importance of preserving architecture from the past, I love photographing it more than anything else. So the idea is to photograph these works and possibly work with the firm to publish a book. Similar to what Brian Vanden Brink has been doing up in Maine. http://www.brianvandenbrink.com/news.html
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