[editor’s note: So, you have some time… Clients are not coming in. Instead of pouring your heart into social media, how about you do something. Here are three ideas that can kickstart a photography business. Will they work? I don’t know, but any of those sure bits sitting on your bottoms complaining about the state of the industry on social media.]
Are we entering photography’s “Golden Age”?
[This article is for commercial photographers and not intended for consumer shooters]
Shoot, I don’t know. Seemed like a good headline made to interest someone enough to engage. A headline that asks a question, a provocative question seems to be the way to get clicks and saves and ‘likes’… all that really important stuff.
And there is a bit of controversy as well. There is a large group of people for whom the word photography means visual connection and a group for whom it means “my business” – although the second group is far smaller than the first.
There will be some photographers who will come to this column ready to fight that statement of “golden age” filled with wonderful stories of how it used to be. Legendary poems will be offered to film and darkroom trays and exclusive access to the joy of making an image. They immediately seque into how the current climate sucks for photographers. The whining may indeed be epic.
And some will come wondering just what a “golden age’ looks like. What will that mean for them?
This simple invoice shows the real reasons why professional photographers charge more
We’ve all seen the memes on Facebook in response to the question “Why do photographers charge so much?”. They usually talk about the cost of gear, and other things that your client doesn’t care about. Sure, equipment, insurance, and all the rest of it are expenses you need to earn it back. But, your expenses are your choice. It doesn’t really make difference to most clients whether you’re shooting a 10 year old DSLR or a $30k Hasselblad.
The only thing that matters to your client are the things that benefit them. Your costs are irrelevant. Photographer Don Giannatti at Lighting Essentials has put together a more realistic invoice. It shows things your clients, at least commercial ones, really should care about. Things that help them and their business.
TAINTED LOVE: why photographers fail
Recently there has been a spate of very sad, and ultimately defeatist articles decrying the “death of photography”. We have no shortage of examples. Seriously.
In all their pain and detailed examples of how the art and business of photography have been “ruined” (their words), I can find little to no examples of the basic, most important reason that photographers are falling behind.
And that is;
Photographers are wildly devotedly, happily, and ecstatically in LOVE with the processes of photography. Like any devoted partner, they see the relationship as sacrosanct, and the most important in their lives.
And they are totally, 100% wrong to be so.
Three Actionable Things You Can Do Today to Find Commercial Photography Clients
I teach and write about commercial photography. Not babies and weddings and senior photography – that is consumer focus and I happily admit I am not involved in that end of the business.
My focus is on commercial. Business to business – imagery for commerce is what gets my attention focused.
I am often asked how to find commercial photography clients by photographers who are intrigued, but haven’t a clue as where they can actually find a gig.
I have a lot of advice for them, but the top three items are these:
Photographer pokes Photography Workshops by Teasing trivial Camera Lessons
With so many photography workshops around, I guess photographer Donald Giannatti felt there was a need to fill in the blanks for some beginners out there. Donald came up with a series of short tutorials on the basic skills needed from photographers such as How to open a camera bag (with a bonus about closing it too) and Lens Caps for Film Photography.
Donald hinted that many more tutorials will come on this series. (Hit the jump for teasers from his first three workshops)
An Open Letter to People Who Write Open Letters
Last week an open letter dispute erupted on social media. That could be said of just about any week on social media, but this time it was about a photographer and a band who wanted to use a photograph.
I found myself intrigued but after reading both letters I felt more confused and chagrined at the situation than angry. It was a minor tempest in a teapot… one of those very small kids teapots because, let’s face it, not too many people even care about such things as this.
The photographer fired off a note after being contacted by the band for the free use of an image in a book they were doing.
Ten Things to Remember As You Begin Your Photography Odyssey
[Editor’s note: When I asked Don Giannatti of Lighting Essentials to be a guest blogger, I knew that the piece would be good and honest (he tells it straight). I did not anticipate how honest he would tell it this time. If you are a long time photographer, I am sure you can relate to the writing below, if you are struggling now, it would be a great inspiration and if you are considering if a professional photography business is the thing for you, know that it is not always a rosy road, you may wanna wait with this post till you are further down the path. All Don from here…]
One day I simply stopped doing what I was doing and began to be a photographer. I had been around photographers, but I didn’t have any clue what being a “professional” really meant. I simply started out as a photographer, then learned that I needed to assist first, then hit it again as a photographer. I made a lot of mistakes. I went to the School of Hard Knocks for undergraduate and “Mean Streets, U” for upper grad work. I learned from the seat of my pants, and took a lot of risks… some paid off kinda good, some didn’t work out at all, and a few hit big time for me.
But when I talk to a lot of photographers who are starting out, they have a false idea of the business. They don’t understand the focus needed, or that it may be kinda damn tough for a while. Sacrifice means they may cut back on cable channels, or get a 15″ MacBookPro instead of a 17″.
I have ten principals that will keep you going when you start out. I wish I had known about them when I started out. I know they work for me now as I start yet another company in a down economy… heh.
Here we go…
Ten Beliefs That Suck the Life out of Photographers
What if I told you it was not the industry, the bad economy, where you live, what camera you shoot with, how many lights you have or how small your Facebook following is that is holding you back. None of those are truly capable of stopping you, they are only challenges for you to meet.
The same challenges everyone who creates art or starts a business has to meet and beat.
The things that are truly holding you back are your own beliefs. Belief that it IS one of those reasons above. Believing that it is a geography thing that keeps you from excelling, or what gear you use or how many lights you take with you is more damaging than any REAL challenge you will ever have to meet.
Because they have no substance, these limiting beliefs can grow to fit any size needed to keep you from moving forward.
If it was simply a wall in front of you, there would be many different ways to move on. Scale it, go around it, blow it up… all sorts of ways to get it done.
But if the wall is a creation inside your mind, there is no way around it, it will grow higher than any ladder you have and it becomes impervious to any and all attempts to blow it up. It does this insidiousness because we want it to. We control its size and power.
So lets look at ten beliefs and maybe offer a suggestion on how they may be more in our heads than in our reality.
5 Photographers Chat ‘Working For Free’
‘Working for free’ is a charged topic for creatives and for photographers specifically. One side of the discussion claims that getting your name out there, getting exposure and creating contacts and networking is worth working for free, while the other side says that no work should be unpaid and that ‘working for free’ is essentially the industry’s way of ripping photographers of their well deserved compensation, while devaluing the entire market for everyone.
It is interesting to see the take on this questions from some of the world’s high-profiles and now-successful photographers. Of course, they were not always high-profile and successful so they can share a view going from their early trying-to-get-out-there days all the way to their current state.
InMyBag magazine asked 5 photographers what they thought about working for free: Jasmine Star, Tim Wallace, Don Giannatti, David Talley and Simon Bolz:
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