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Author Topic: How much does it cost?  (Read 7142 times)
Rob C
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« Reply #20 on: October 16, 2010, 03:46:14 AM »
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Greed will always outdo common sense. The working classes are there to be exploited, they always have been and always will be unless there is a revolution and that won't be next week?


Stamper, just reread Animal Farm.

Rob C
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Graham Mitchell
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« Reply #21 on: October 16, 2010, 11:24:20 AM »
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At the end of the day, there will always be a balance. Some clients will take advantage of higher quality photography to gain an advantage over competitors, which will force the competitors to keep up, to an extent. Where the balance lies will depend partly on the bean counters, and that's why we are suffering at the moment.

Estonia has always been about price over quality, but it keeps getting worse. Some recent examples:

1) A hotel chain which owns 70 buildings in Estonia wanted me to shoot their newest hotel building, freshly renovated. They said they appreciated the value of good photography when it came to clients selecting a hotel online etc but then tried to tell me that they could only afford $120 for the whole job. Hmm, even if they are making only 5% per annum return on the capital investment of the buildings, they have an income of $35 million or so. What a joke... I told them that they were offering less than it would cost just to hire my equipment for the day and that I would be happy to work with them another day when they were offering a realistic budget. I heard that they found a photojournalist with zero lighting gear to do it. What they did makes no sense. If higher quality photos would entice just one more group booking over the next few years, they would pay off the investment.

2) A photographer friend who does weddings pays her assistant $20 per hour to assist at the weddings. She just found out that he is offering a special deal online to shoot an entire wedding for $20. She got so mad at him for doing that - not because he's not allowed to promote his own business, but because he was committing financial suicide and dragging the whole industry down at the same time. I agree with her! He thinks he's making money but he isn't even covering the depreciation on a decent camera, never mind making a profit.

3) I was just asked to pitch for a spring/summer clothing campaign to be shot in November (usage in 6 countries) but was told the maximum budget would be $9,500, preferably lower. I tried to tell them that flying 2 top level models over to Estonia would already blow their budget, before we even started shooting, never mind flying them and a whole team to hotter weather somewhere. So I pitched an idea which was 100% over budget, which is what I thought it would take to achieve a minimum standard. I don't expect to win that one.

One poster here advised us to 'keep shooting quality and you'll win in the end'. Problem with that comes when the client budgets don't even cover a minimum standard of production.
« Last Edit: October 16, 2010, 12:22:54 PM by Graham Mitchell » Logged

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Ben Rubinstein
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« Reply #22 on: October 16, 2010, 12:05:58 PM »
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I don't work in the fashion industry but...

Friend of mine, shoots the music industry, very very good. Friday he told me that his assistant (whose work is appalling) was just offered one of his biggest clients next contract. Reason: cost.

PJ, the market has shifted away from pros to stringers, usually students or part timers, my mentor whose been a PJ his whole life, is published every week in two big UK national papers (Independant and Guardian) and is doing a lot of work for the BBC at present, is starting to look for a new career. At 55 years old.

My corner of the industry, wedding photography. The part timers have already mostly taken over. For someone artistic and intelligent with talent all it takes is about $12,000 investment in equipment, 2 years of studying the current trends and technique and they are as good or better than anyone current. Seen it happen again and again. Lots of talented people out there. Huge pool or resources for learning the trade without moving from the computer. When you're a part timer and have your insurance, mortgage, bills already paid you can afford to undercut an industry while still making good 'bonus' money and providing a great service. Us full timers moan about the undercutting of the industry but we only need to charge more because we need it to pay for more.

My personal belief is that aside from a very few, photography in a particular genre as a full time career will be history within the decade. I'd be glad to be proven wrong but I'm not waiting as I see my business wane, looking for a part time job at present, annoyingly I find that I'm not qualified for anything other than what I've done my entire working life - photography.
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JoeKitchen
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« Reply #23 on: October 16, 2010, 12:20:02 PM »
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All this talk makes me think of Kodak, "just click it, and we'll do the rest."  When was that, 100+ years ago? 
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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 #24 on: October 16, 2010, 12:51:33 PM »
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My personal belief is that aside from a very few, photography in a particular genre as a full time career will be history within the decade. I'd be glad to be proven wrong but I'm not waiting as I see my business wane, looking for a part time job at present, annoyingly I find that I'm not qualified for anything other than what I've done my entire working life - photography.

Part time doesn't necessarily have to be non-photography, and you can leverage your skills in peripheral activities. Many established, successful and very good photographers teach workshops and write books.

While most say how fun it is to do so, I'm pretty sure most of them would drop those activities if they could earn as much shooting. I'm sure some of them enjoy the chance of pace and variety, though.

Having a heavy hitter like Joe McNally teaching workshops is a travesty on one side - it's time away from him producing more photographs -, but at the same time I'm thrilled that I could attend a workshop from someone who's shot for NG, and has shot many AAA celebrities.
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Dennis Carbo
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« Reply #25 on: October 16, 2010, 12:52:17 PM »
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As far as "Photography being gone in a decade as a Viable career" ?

I started my Photography business in 2003 and have steadily increased revenue every year - I came from a career in sales and I can tell you perception IS reality end of story. I have beaten out photographers I know are better than me (without question lol)  and charged more...how ? By building value in what I am offering and selling excitement and vision about the project to the client. Sell on price and you will fail - I think sales skills are as valuable as photography skills if you plan on making a living at it !

If "all it takes is 2 years and $12,000 to be as good or better than current pros" then we are all screwed ...lol

I would hope to be 1/2 as good as many of the photographers on this board - some are truly outstanding !  All the money and web surfing for online tech training won't help you if you can't SEE the shot.  Competition ? I say bring it.....there always have been low balling hacks and there always will be in any field - learn to sell properly and you will be unstoppable!

Stay on target...stay on target  (channeling star wars) Grin Grin
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Rob C
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« Reply #26 on: November 11, 2010, 08:14:43 AM »
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Just rediscovered this thread.

Had another look at Fred's link to Peter Lindbergh's video and the truth is staring you right in the face: without the natural talent that those girls have, nothing works very well. You can see it in the easy, probaby not even thinking, way in which she runs along the beach, pulling up the hem of her skirt a bit, pulling it down again, playing with her shoulder straps, twirling around and giving the shooter a million opportunities to catch femininity, which is the essence of it all. Some very pretty girls have none of that. I have had to use them; I had a trip to Mallorca with one such once, beautiful but dead. Guess what I thought of my pix!

And that's where the cost, but also client stupidity come into play.

I had a similar disaster to the Mallorcan one with a calendar client: the chap running the projects used to be the Marketing Director but, one fateful year, he had better to do and handed over control to the PR man. It killed me. Instead of buying the talent in London as I'd done for them for years, he decided on a stroke of great local politics by using the home-grown ones. So I travelled the world with people that should never have left the fucking airport, even on holiday.

I think it was partly down to the cost of talent, thought with that client I doubt they would have noticed - but who can ever really know? Perhaps personal fringe benefits were involved - it's a stinking business at best.

Rob C
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fredjeang
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« Reply #27 on: November 11, 2010, 12:52:50 PM »
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Just rediscovered this thread.

Had another look at Fred's link to Peter Lindbergh's video and the truth is staring you right in the face: without the natural talent that those girls have, nothing works very well. You can see it in the easy, probaby not even thinking, way in which she runs along the beach, pulling up the hem of her skirt a bit, pulling it down again, playing with her shoulder straps, twirling around and giving the shooter a million opportunities to catch femininity, which is the essence of it all. Some very pretty girls have none of that. I have had to use them; I had a trip to Mallorca with one such once, beautiful but dead. Guess what I thought of my pix!

And that's where the cost, but also client stupidity come into play.

I had a similar disaster to the Mallorcan one with a calendar client: the chap running the projects used to be the Marketing Director but, one fateful year, he had better to do and handed over control to the PR man. It killed me. Instead of buying the talent in London as I'd done for them for years, he decided on a stroke of great local politics by using the home-grown ones. So I travelled the world with people that should never have left the fucking airport, even on holiday.

I think it was partly down to the cost of talent, thought with that client I doubt they would have noticed - but who can ever really know? Perhaps personal fringe benefits were involved - it's a stinking business at best.

Rob C
Lindberg has the bests, la crème de la crème des modèles. Yes these girls and boys are not just posing, that's another story. I had an experience with the dead model you are talking about last month.  Beautifull girl, She just won a price and even the stylist who is very experienced almost lost his nerves but he transformed that wisedly into helping her. I didn't notice first that she was "dead" but Pepe immediatly yes (you can see the difference of experience there) and he said to me me "we're going to be there until the night and if we got good picture in the end we are lucky".
There is very little to do if what the model has is just beauty. No doubt that Lindberg work is not Linberg's work, it's Lindberg talent+the model's talent and experience. And this has a cost.
« Last Edit: November 11, 2010, 12:55:08 PM by fredjeang » Logged
LiamStrain
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« Reply #28 on: November 11, 2010, 02:25:20 PM »
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It's rough out there. No doubt.

Neilson and the NY Times posted a blog entry the other day that may help us. Tracking user views and habits, generic photographs on websites are almost entirely ignored by users. Which is a good argument for custom, specific, appropriate photography. The kind we can provide.

http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/11/02/study-shows-people-ignore-generic-photos-online/?src=tptw

I don't have a solution. But I'm not giving up.
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Dansk
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« Reply #29 on: November 17, 2010, 02:35:49 PM »
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 Aint nothing new if your talking about business... Its ALWAYS changing and good business change and grow with the market. Photography is not going anywhere it is more viable than ever but there is a massive disparity in whats "accepted" vs whats actually good work these days. Its mainly due to the shift in mediums to online priorities superseding all other destinations. The problem is the content is so weak in terms of what "works" at drawing in an audience the actual quality of the creative is waaaaaay down the list of value vs the quality of destination function and/or environment. In short Facebook is the single biggest growing audience in the world right now and its not because the photography on there is produced at pristine levels its simply because the features and draw of the environment are enough to draw in droves of people at never before seen numbers.

So right now the world of Marketing is a LOT like it was in the early days of print. Its scattered, unfocused, and very difficult to predict. So getting companies to invest many thousands in creative campaigns related to still imaging that may or may not get an audience is a hard sell. This doesnt make the value of the work any less impacting its just so hard to drop in in the laps of the correct market a sure thing. Its fickle and unpredictable so its in limbo as a result.

Now I know a lot of people think that video is the future etc. but last I chekced video didnt kill the radio star nor did TV kill the print business nor will youtube kill photography. What has changed radically is how the viewer actually finds the work and for the most part its still functioning at an extremely viral level.

So why should clients pour boat loads of money into marketing if its not going to be seen by enough people to justify the work? This is a delicate order of operations to say the least. The "trend" right now is almost a gonzo style where TMZ and Paparazzi quality ( As if one can actually use quality and paparazzi in the same sentence ) is garnering enough hits to draw in the crowds of viewers but its only a trend and will not last in my opinion. Nothing is new its just history repeating itself. Think of Television shows when TV was a new thing. The content was mostly crap and the growth of market was staggering. Same thing is happening now and the intelligent brand focused companies will not turn their backs on the real talent for long. Retaining brand quality and image stature is as important as anything when it comes to the bottom line. Large scale brands like Vogue, and Gucci and TAG etc. will not render the high level stature of their status wither or they too will simply wither and a new outfit will simply take over the high end market. I could go on in this manner long enough to create a TED lecture but I think this covers enough for now.

Couple the above with the fact that we are in a Global economic meltdown based on over extensions and its no wonder the bottom line drives the game right now no one has the dough to spend! But this too wont last forever its merely the time where the tree is shaken and the half dead apples will fall away and after its all said and done the people who survive and stay fresh and focused will come out of this as busy as ever.
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Rob C
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« Reply #30 on: November 17, 2010, 03:49:49 PM »
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For today's shooters, I hope you're right!

Rob C
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