Ad
Ad
Ad
Pages: [1]   Bottom of Page
Print
Author Topic: Signs of the Times  (Read 3337 times)
Rob C
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 12213


« on: May 27, 2011, 08:40:26 AM »
ReplyReply

I bumped into a travel agent friend at lunch today; a résumé of our brief conversation:

"Hi Rob, was thinking about you the other day."
"Oh? Why's that?"
"Do you know Jim, who waitered here, and then in a few other places, a couple of years ago?"
"No, why?"
"Well, I saw him in the street and asked him where he was working these days; was he still doing tables? No, he said, I'm a photographer now. I work nine to one and then two to five for some estate agents... much better than the tables."

My friend put his hands to his face, smiled, and made a clicking motion...

No further comment needed from me.

Rob C
Logged

Kirk Gittings
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1550


WWW
« Reply #1 on: May 27, 2011, 09:08:50 AM »
ReplyReply

Hmmm......I think she was misinformed-I think he was likely pulling her chain. Two things strike me as fishy here. First, real estate agents pay PEANUTS-the worst in the industry for architectural photography (unless he is shooting mansions in one of the major markets, but there would be serious established competition there) and second in 95% of the the country the real estate market SUCKS. He may be TRYING to make a living as a "leisurely" real estate photographer, but as they say "you shouldn't give up your day job".

On the other side of the coin. A very fine waiter at my favorite local restaurant, used to talk to me about launching an AP career when I was in there for dinner. This discussion went on for a couple of years.........and he did it and is well established now-but that was before the recession.
« Last Edit: May 27, 2011, 10:41:39 AM by Kirk Gittings » Logged

Thanks,
Kirk

Kirk Gittings
Architecture and Landscape Photography
WWW.GITTINGSPHOTO.COM

LIGHT+SPACE+STRUCTURE (blog)
Rob C
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 12213


« Reply #2 on: May 27, 2011, 02:40:25 PM »
ReplyReply

Hmmm......I think she was misinformed-I think he was likely pulling her chain. Two things strike me as fishy here. First, real estate agents pay PEANUTS-the worst in the industry for architectural photography (unless he is shooting mansions in one of the major markets, but there would be serious established competition there) and second in 95% of the the country the real estate market SUCKS. He may be TRYING to make a living as a "leisurely" real estate photographer, but as they say "you shouldn't give up your day job".

On the other side of the coin. A very fine waiter at my favorite local restaurant, used to talk to me about launching an AP career when I was in there for dinner. This discussion went on for a couple of years.........and he did it and is well established now-but that was before the recession.




Yes, it is a bad market here, too.

A guy I met at a new artist group that I’ve been invited into told me that he had built up a very good client-base shooting houses for estate agents, and that after working with most of them on the island, the recession bit and prices and need for pictures fell, and so his way out was to use his agency contacts to create a huge list of rental properties which he now uses as a business – he says.

Whatever the truth is – it’s no longer photography for him. Other than as within this art group.

As a filler between calendars, years ago, I used to do work for tour operators, covering hotels and villas and providing atmospheric stock images too. The prices there also shrank until I called off, and that was in the 80s! I did a few estate agent things as well, but that was for top-end places and the last one of those came to me because the agent knew we were friends of the late owner whose kids in Britain were selling up. That was a spooky, unpleasant job with shadows and memories.

I believe that the future is going to be one with fewer pros: some very well paid ones, with the rest surviving and little more. I guess the tops of most markets will always either need or simply enjoy working with the top dogs.

Actually, I think it will work itself out because people will discover that they can do much better staying amateur and earning their bread elsewhere. After all, where are the people that once inspired so many kids to take it up in the first place, their minds on the excitement and imagined glamour and seldom on the money? I know of nobody practising today who would inspire me the way Bert Stern, Peter Gowland, Peter Basch and John French did. Yep, the web is full of agents and their flocks of stars, but to my eye, they are interchangeable. The Sarah Moons, Lindberghs and Feurers, as well as the David Hamiltons and Sam Haskins are/were more or less my generation – too late to serve as inspiration to start in a career, but highly encouraging to remain in it and try harder once I was in it.    

Rob C
« Last Edit: May 27, 2011, 02:42:44 PM by Rob C » Logged

David Eichler
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 340


WWW
« Reply #3 on: May 27, 2011, 04:21:38 PM »
ReplyReply

Hmmm......I think she was misinformed-I think he was likely pulling her chain. Two things strike me as fishy here. First, real estate agents pay PEANUTS-the worst in the industry for architectural photography (unless he is shooting mansions in one of the major markets, but there would be serious established competition there) and second in 95% of the the country the real estate market SUCKS. He may be TRYING to make a living as a "leisurely" real estate photographer, but as they say "you shouldn't give up your day job".

On the other side of the coin. A very fine waiter at my favorite local restaurant, used to talk to me about launching an AP career when I was in there for dinner. This discussion went on for a couple of years.........and he did it and is well established now-but that was before the recession.

Kirk, there is a reasonable number of people earning a large part, or all, of their living doing real estate photography, and not only in the major markets or with mansions. In fact, most of it is shooting routine mid-range properties, where hiring a real architectural photographer would be overkill. As commonly practiced, real estate photography is not architectural photography, although these genres share the same subject matter. Some of the techniques and visual conventions are the same, but the compositional and lighting requirements tend to be different for mainstream real estate photography, compared with most architectural photography. True, most real estate agents are not willing to pay anywhere near standard architectural photography rates.  However, they tend to be a lot less demanding in terms of image quality than architects and art directors. So, photographers don't need to spend as much time per job, or use as much expensive equipment, as they would for architectural photography. Real estate photography is therefore typically more of a volume business. Although the pay per job tends to be relatively low for real estate photography, if you hook up with a very active listing agent, that tends to result in a fairly reliable stream of business, which has some advantages, especially in tough economic times. Also, some of these kinds of agents use the listing photos, not only to market a listing itself, but also as way to market themselves; consequently, these agents will tend to be more interested in image quality than most of their competitors, and to be willing to pay more for that quality, even for routine homes, although these will more likely be in the more desirable areas of the better performing metro markets.
« Last Edit: May 27, 2011, 05:04:31 PM by David Eichler » Logged

Graham Mitchell
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 2282



WWW
« Reply #4 on: May 29, 2011, 05:45:41 AM »
ReplyReply

I have a friend in Australia who told me he is grossing $2m a year, mostly in real estate photography. He has five photographers working for him. It's a big market but not appealing to most of us I suppose as it is to photography what McDonalds is to haute cuisine.
Logged

Graham Mitchell - www.graham-mitchell.com
JoeKitchen
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 728



« Reply #5 on: May 29, 2011, 09:24:54 AM »
ReplyReply

Once again we are making long term decisions off of short term problems.  Recessions happen, but so do recoveries, which we are in right now.  As for all of the high end work?  Two things are going on (in my market anyway: architecture and interiors).  Many of the existing projects have already been shot, and, since there was such a long hiatus in building, many of the projects that need to be shot are just now going into construction.  Also, many of the clients who respect photography and are willing to pay for great work do not have the budgets and are not commissioning any photography.  This is creating a void that is being filled by cheap people. 

Personally I am finding there is a lot of pent up demand out there for good photography, and most of the people I am meeting with feel my rates (which are not cheap) are fine, just they have nothing to shoot right now.  You need to stop throwing pity parties for yourself and start meeting people.  Create the connections now so when the market returns you will be in the front of the line.  

Actually though, I hope you dont listen since that means there will be less noise for my name to compete with.  

« Last Edit: May 29, 2011, 09:28:00 AM by JoeKitchen » Logged

Joe Kitchen
www.josephmkitchen.com

"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
Kirk Gittings
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1550


WWW
« Reply #6 on: May 29, 2011, 01:49:46 PM »
ReplyReply

I have a friend in Australia who told me he is grossing $2m a year, mostly in real estate photography. He has five photographers working for him. It's a big market but not appealing to most of us I suppose as it is to photography what McDonalds is to haute cuisine.

IME.....FWIW......having been in business for nearly 40 years.....I have learned to not take very seriously statements by photographers about what they are making or listen to their chest pounding about rights. How many times have I heard from someone how fabulous they are doing only to get a glimpse of their next proposal where they are giving away the farm for peanuts?
Logged

Thanks,
Kirk

Kirk Gittings
Architecture and Landscape Photography
WWW.GITTINGSPHOTO.COM

LIGHT+SPACE+STRUCTURE (blog)
Kirk Gittings
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1550


WWW
« Reply #7 on: May 29, 2011, 01:53:27 PM »
ReplyReply

Quote
Once again we are making long term decisions off of short term problems
.
Where are you seeing that in this thread?

Quote
Many of the existing projects have already been shot, and, since there was such a long hiatus in building, many of the projects that need to be shot are just now going into construction.
Many of the huge commercial and institutional buildings that have been keeping me busy in the SW the last couple of years were in the pipeline for from 3-9 years. Most of my clients have little or nothing on the drawing boards right now. This means even if they did get busy this summer it could be years before there was anything to shoot for them. High end housing of course has a much quicker turn around but the Home Builders Association here is not predicting a turn around till 2014-16.

At least in this area, I think the AP market is finally going to bottom out later this year.
« Last Edit: May 29, 2011, 02:03:42 PM by Kirk Gittings » Logged

Thanks,
Kirk

Kirk Gittings
Architecture and Landscape Photography
WWW.GITTINGSPHOTO.COM

LIGHT+SPACE+STRUCTURE (blog)
JoeKitchen
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 728



« Reply #8 on: May 30, 2011, 10:04:42 AM »
ReplyReply


Where are you seeing that in this thread?

Sorry about this, I guess I wrote this without really thinking about it.  I just get annoyed by photographer (and other business people) when they complain about the recession as if this is the new norm and we will never get out of it. 

On the side of large projects, in the Northeast, I am starting to hear about much more activity; many of the firms I talk to are being inundated with RFPs.  Nothing in terms of new commercial construction, but a good deal of interior office fit outs and adaptive reuse.  I just put together a 13 project RFP for a large architect in my area, along with quite a few other estimates; so things are looking up.  I'm thinking we have another year of this; if we're lucky, maybe this fall. 
Logged

Joe Kitchen
www.josephmkitchen.com

"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
Craig Lamson
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 773



WWW
« Reply #9 on: May 31, 2011, 05:30:28 AM »
ReplyReply

I know its a different market but "mobile architectural photography"...RV's... has been picking up for the last year.  I don't know how the current range of gas prices will effect the retail side of the picture, but currently the manufacturers are asking for a decent amount of photography.  Rates are down from the 2007 levels ( pre-crash) but the workload is solid. 

My current business model allow me more net income even with the reduced rates.

My hope is that we have seen the worst of thee recession.

We must remember that even at 10% unemployment, 90% are still working.
Logged

Craig Lamson Photo
www.craiglamson.com
Rob C
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 12213


« Reply #10 on: May 31, 2011, 03:33:03 PM »
ReplyReply

I know its a different market but "mobile architectural photography"...RV's... has been picking up for the last year.  I don't know how the current range of gas prices will effect the retail side of the picture, but currently the manufacturers are asking for a decent amount of photography.  Rates are down from the 2007 levels ( pre-crash) but the workload is solid. 

My current business model allow me more net income even with the reduced rates.

My hope is that we have seen the worst of thee recession.

We must remember that even at 10% unemployment, 90% are still working.




Always seemed to me that the guys worth chasing were in the very elite niches of working life; not only could they spend, but they could also give you a decision right away.

That leads me to believe that the actual employment ratios don't make all that much difference, it's just that they impact upon the levels of confidence, and then, if too many move the critical mass the wrong way, the guys with money to burn don't! So, in a circular sort of way, everything affects everything else. But as to whether there's any direct ratio between employment figure upturns and business recovery - that's something else.

Rob C
Logged

David Eichler
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 340


WWW
« Reply #11 on: May 31, 2011, 11:25:03 PM »
ReplyReply




Always seemed to me that the guys worth chasing were in the very elite niches of working life; not only could they spend, but they could also give you a decision right away.

That leads me to believe that the actual employment ratios don't make all that much difference, it's just that they impact upon the levels of confidence, and then, if too many move the critical mass the wrong way, the guys with money to burn don't! So, in a circular sort of way, everything affects everything else. But as to whether there's any direct ratio between employment figure upturns and business recovery - that's something else.

Rob C


That 10% of the unemployed is largely lower skilled people, and a lot of those were involved in single family construction, which won't be rebounding any time soon. The only single family construction going on these days is in some of the more well-heeled areas. As for higher skilled workers and the industries that employ them, it would seem that that part of the economy is doing at least okay; and, barring some catastrophe, it would seem that that will continue to improve somewhat, depending of course upon what part of the country you are working in.
Logged

Craig Lamson
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 773



WWW
« Reply #12 on: June 01, 2011, 07:57:49 AM »
ReplyReply

That 10% of the unemployed is largely lower skilled people, and a lot of those were involved in single family construction, which won't be rebounding any time soon.

(snip)

 As for higher skilled workers and the industries that employ them, it would seem that that part of the economy is doing at least okay; and, barring some catastrophe, it would seem that that will continue to improve somewhat, depending of course upon what part of the country you are working in.

I know more than a few "higher skilled",  some former 6 figure workers that have been out of work for a year or more.  Most are 50 or older and no one wants to talk to them...no one.

That's a bit off topic, but I think you have over simplified the situation.
Logged

Craig Lamson Photo
www.craiglamson.com
David Eichler
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 340


WWW
« Reply #13 on: June 01, 2011, 07:06:25 PM »
ReplyReply

I know more than a few "higher skilled",  some former 6 figure workers that have been out of work for a year or more.  Most are 50 or older and no one wants to talk to them...no one.

That's a bit off topic, but I think you have over simplified the situation.

Craig, I think it is you who are oversimplifying by extrapolating based solely on your own personal experience, which represents a very narrow sampling. I did not say that all of the unemployed are low-skilled workers, just a large percentage. Even if those workers represent a significant majority of the unemployed, in an economy as large as that of the United States, there is still likely to be a pretty large number of higher skilled workers who are unemployed.

Do not forget that about 5% unemployment is generally considered to represent a relatively stable economy, and that 5% will tend to comprise people of all sorts of skill levels. In the current situation, the additional 5% of unemployment comprises a high percentage of lower skilled workers, particularly those involved in construction.
« Last Edit: June 01, 2011, 09:19:28 PM by David Eichler » Logged

Craig Lamson
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 773



WWW
« Reply #14 on: June 01, 2011, 09:10:06 PM »
ReplyReply

Craig, I think it is you who are oversimplifying by extrapolating base soley on your own personal experience, which represents a very narrow sampling. I did not say that all of the unemployed are low-skilled workers, just a large percentage. Even if those workers represent a significant majority of the unemployed, in an economy as large as that of the United States, there is still likely to be a pretty large number of higher skilled workers who are unemployed.

Do not forget that about 5% unemployment is generally considered to represent a relatively stable economy, and that 5% will tend to comprise people of all sorts of skill levels. In the current situation, the additional 5% of unemployment comprises a high percentage of lower skilled workers, particularly those involved in construction.

It not only my personal experience, I can read and the stories are quite easy to find. 

I'm not interested in arguing the point with you, as it's clear you can't decide what it is you believe, so lets just leave it at I think your are wrong, you think I'm wrong and move on.
Logged

Craig Lamson Photo
www.craiglamson.com
Pages: [1]   Top of Page
Print
Jump to:  

Ad
Ad
Ad