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Thread: Photo business: what it takes

  1. #21

    Default Re: Photo business: what it takes

    If anyone would really read the past threads, the formula has always been freely shared, just that people don't listen, because its different from what they want to hear.

    There are way too many people all too willing to spend $6000 on a camera to get paid $60 per day of shoot. If only these photographers can convert that attraction to cameras into their client's attraction to their services. Sadly, while they are very willing to go into debt to buy and fondle that $6000 camera, almost all their clients are very unwilling to pay them even $60 and will go all out to make things difficult.

    Once again on equipment, you will notice almost everyone on this thread so far had advised similarly, the less you spend on equipment, the more you are in the real business of photography. Otherwise, you are just another gear fondling hobbyist to our eyes. Sometimes I see photographers listing their equipment here and there, and if I am a client I will wonder if I am hiring a craftsman or renting his equipment. By doing that they took away their own respect and credibility. The same thing you don't trust that heart surgeon who actually bought his certificate, nobody will trust a craftsman who think skills are 'bought' in form of equipment.

    The challenge should actually be to earn (net, not gross) the same as you will be as an company employee in 2 years time using minimum gear. If you can do it, it means your skills in marketing and selling yourself is somewhat present, and then you can think about indulging in better gear as a means to take their business even further.

    Otherwise, it is just day dreaming and self deceit, NOT 'living your dream'. No such thing. Too many are guilty of it and in denial.

  2. #22

    Default Re: Photo business: what it takes

    Quote Originally Posted by Agetan View Post
    Hahaha...
    Not too difficult lar... at least I am still enjoying what I love doing... Money is not everything... Happy can already lar...
    but seriously...
    Perhaps it's a matter of perspective, but when I hear the words "I want to do something I love for a living", I wonder if the person really knows what they'll REALLY be doing when they start a business.
    If you LOVE photography, perhaps it's best to work for an employer, as a photographer. I certainly did far more writing and creative work when I worked at my previous agency, far less since I struck out on my own (I'm primarily a copywriter).

    Start your own business, and you'll spend MOST of your time on BUSINESS, not photography per se. Marketing, networking, planning, accounting, public relations etc. And oh yeah, some photography. If you enjoy all those tasks, or can at least tolerate them, then maybe you're ready

    Hart, I get the impression you're pretty happy doing all those tasks (or better yet, have someone do it for you!), and I'm sure Benjamin has long since worked out his entire business flow. Many enthusiastic amateurs take a while to learn those lessons, if at all.

    Then again, it's good to explore these options when you're young (I'm assuming the TS is young here!) and before you have family responsibilities and debts to service

    TS, the reason you're not getting much response about equipment is because all these guys know you're placing emphasis on the wrong things. Don't spend tons of money on gear. Buy minimal (2nd hand if feasible, as many have said), rent what you'll only need occasionally. Budget the funds you have, and set aside enough for marketing (then double it, because you're probably underestimating), and don't commit to fixed costs until you have a reasonably steady flow of business. Fund further purchases only from your income from the business - make sure you know how much you're REALLY making (that's revenue minus COSTS -- don't ignore those).

    AND, know when to call it quits. If it's not working, move on before you get seriously burnt! You'll have learned some valuable lessons along the way. I registered my own business over 20 years ago -- it sank without a trace. I learned from that episode, and from the next 18 years working for others, before starting out on my own again 4 years ago. Am still learning, but it's a lot more rewarding now

  3. #23

    Default Re: Photo business: what it takes

    I wonder if you read this thread yet:

    http://www.clubsnap.com/forums/photo...ring-pros.html

    I did not touch on studio lights back then, but I say; RENT.

  4. #24

    Default Re: Photo business: what it takes

    Quote Originally Posted by JasonB View Post
    I wonder if you read this thread yet:

    http://www.clubsnap.com/forums/photo...ring-pros.html

    I did not touch on studio lights back then, but I say; RENT.
    Loads of wisdom in that thread. Also reposting post #29 from that thread:

    Quote Originally Posted by kandinsky View Post
    Here's Zack Arias in a webinar, talking about “If I had to start my photo business today”, from the business perspective. Sounds like very practical stuff, thought might be suitable for this thread.


  5. #25

    Default Re: Photo business: what it takes

    Quote Originally Posted by Edwin Francis View Post
    Perhaps it's a matter of perspective, but when I hear the words "I want to do something I love for a living", I wonder if the person really knows what they'll REALLY be doing when they start a business.
    If you LOVE photography, perhaps it's best to work for an employer, as a photographer. I certainly did far more writing and creative work when I worked at my previous agency, far less since I struck out on my own (I'm primarily a copywriter).

    Start your own business, and you'll spend MOST of your time on BUSINESS, not photography per se. Marketing, networking, planning, accounting, public relations etc. And oh yeah, some photography. If you enjoy all those tasks, or can at least tolerate them, then maybe you're ready

    Hart, I get the impression you're pretty happy doing all those tasks (or better yet, have someone do it for you!), and I'm sure Benjamin has long since worked out his entire business flow. Many enthusiastic amateurs take a while to learn those lessons, if at all.

    Then again, it's good to explore these options when you're young (I'm assuming the TS is young here!) and before you have family responsibilities and debts to service

    TS, the reason you're not getting much response about equipment is because all these guys know you're placing emphasis on the wrong things. Don't spend tons of money on gear. Buy minimal (2nd hand if feasible, as many have said), rent what you'll only need occasionally. Budget the funds you have, and set aside enough for marketing (then double it, because you're probably underestimating), and don't commit to fixed costs until you have a reasonably steady flow of business. Fund further purchases only from your income from the business - make sure you know how much you're REALLY making (that's revenue minus COSTS -- don't ignore those).

    AND, know when to call it quits. If it's not working, move on before you get seriously burnt! You'll have learned some valuable lessons along the way. I registered my own business over 20 years ago -- it sank without a trace. I learned from that episode, and from the next 18 years working for others, before starting out on my own again 4 years ago. Am still learning, but it's a lot more rewarding now
    I am really happy doing the business and photography... because I don't do as much these days... enough to keep me going but still have time for my children and family. I love the free time...

    I still do everything that is in Tomato Photo... except the account (hired an accountant) and doing album layout (hired an album designer, who do better job and faster). I do what I love and let others do things things that I dreaded doing.

    I mentor my photographers for my subsidiary and create direction for them to pursue but I don't do anything except to offer my opinion. I am inspired by helping them become better and better each time... this is what I love doing nowadays...

    Yes, now I can call it Living my dream...

    It is never be about the equipment... but I still love buying equipment just for the record. Have too many white elephants.

    Anyway, agree with Jason, people don't listen or choose to listen to what they like to listen.

    Regards,

    Hart

  6. #26

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Confaderal View Post
    To do something I love for a living
    Quoting Catbert, the evil HR Director, from the comic strip "Dilbert"

    "I love to eat candy and poop emeralds. The difference is that I have half successful."

    I am not here to discourage you, but I hope you know that a business does not solely run on passion and air.

    We all love to do something we love for a living. But here is a tip - it's called "work" because it really is work! Satisfying clients, overcoming photographic, personal and business related issues, dealing with sleepless nights and tight deadlines are all challenges that you must overcome. And doing so does not assure you of any success!

    Having said that, starting a business is generally easy in Singapore. I really do not see why you would need too much help in doing so. However, to actually plough through the early years, now that needs some determination, brains and, ideally, some guidance.

    If it is this guidance you are seeking, you have to know that it does not always come free. You may pick up a tip here and there, but nothing beats actually knowing and seeing how a pro photographer runs his business. This may be through an apprenticeship, a dedicated course, or even a cup of coffee to learn. Certain members here can offer some advice, but I would think it is still just the tip of the iceberg.
    KF Photography
    Thanks for viewing!

  7. #27
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    Default Re: Photo business: what it takes

    It may be a good idea for you to first ask yourself if you're ready to start a photography business.
    Do you know what kind of photography business you want to go into ie; event, weddings, portrait, commercial, etc.
    How good are you compared to those already in the market, and are you able to sell your service at your price point compared to them?

    These are just some basic questions you should ask yourself before you consider starting any business.
    From the many young photographers I spoke to when buying their gear when they are closing shop/down sizing, most did not have a clear direction or proper business plan and did not realized that the market is already flooded with photographer with their same level of skills with some even better than them and selling below their price point.

    Not trying to burst your bubble but if you're new to the photography business, unless you have exceptional skills, a good business plan/connections and loads of money to back you up (at least for the first year) it may be better for you to work for an established photographer first.
    I get paid more shooting part time ...... damn, I should find more time to shoot part time

  8. #28

    Default Re: Photo business: what it takes

    Ok so in short. Plan,plan and plan. Perservere and always learn new things. It's not about the equipments. am i right to say that?
    fadlywychowvski.blogspot.com; where filmmakers and media creators grow and learn together

  9. #29
    Moderator catchlights's Avatar
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    Default Re: Photo business: what it takes

    In short, Yes.

    but you can always try the other way to prove we are wrong.
    Shoot to Live, Live to Shoot
    www.benjaminloo.com | iStock portfolio

  10. #30

    Default Re: Photo business: what it takes

    I don't mind give you a long list of camera gears I wish I could own.

    Say in 1 or 2 years later you decided you've had enough and wanted to move onto something that really put food on the table , I shall pick these up at below half price... but condition must be mint !

    Thanks in advance.
    Last edited by Volks; 19th July 2013 at 02:15 PM.

  11. #31

    Default Re: Photo business: what it takes

    Quote Originally Posted by catchlights View Post
    In short, Yes.

    but you can always try the other way to prove we are wrong.
    Joke aside, I think when we are in business, there isn't anything to prove... the biggest problem with photography business is this, we let our ego get to the better side of us. Though I am still learning how to manage my emotion when it comes to business running. It proof to be challenging for me.

    So take this as a word of advise if you are going to run your business.

    Hart

  12. #32

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Confaderal View Post
    Ok so in short. Plan,plan and plan. Perservere and always learn new things. It's not about the equipments. am i right to say that?
    Equipment is important. However, until you answer all the questions raised earlier, the equipment you purchased may be unnecessary or even fatal to your business, if you are on a tight budget.
    KF Photography
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  13. #33

    Default Re: Photo business: what it takes

    u just need the right equipment

    the rest is dealing with people and business

  14. #34
    Moderator catchlights's Avatar
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    Default Re: Photo business: what it takes

    I see many workshops, seminars, webinars on the subjects of photography business practice, marketing, selling technique are charging a few hundreds and it sells like hot cake.

    but I notice all the gears/equipments demonstration, reviews, road shows are free to attend and it is sponsored by manufactures or product agents or camera stores.

    so what does this imply?
    Shoot to Live, Live to Shoot
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  15. #35
    Senior Member oracle0711's Avatar
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    Default Re: Photo business: what it takes

    It is okay to fail. Especially so in business. The lessons gained are valuable and it might serves as a reflection point to see if you are really cut out for business. Words of wisdom and guidance for those who been through before are like the words in your business textbooks. They serve little good unless you experience it yourself. However, do it when you are young and when you have the energy and resources to start all over again. Else, there will be many things to regret.

  16. #36

    Default Re: Photo business: what it takes

    Quote Originally Posted by oracle0711 View Post
    It is okay to fail. Especially so in business. The lessons gained are valuable and it might serves as a reflection point to see if you are really cut out for business. Words of wisdom and guidance for those who been through before are like the words in your business textbooks. They serve little good unless you experience it yourself. However, do it when you are young and when you have the energy and resources to start all over again. Else, there will be many things to regret.
    True in other trades, but in Photography too many jumps into the wagon with misconception and the big blame should go to those 'business sharing' sessions conducted by some who so think they are siting on the Pedestals of the Gurus. As always, young guns can't wait to shoot after some highly energized talk. Pyramid , Direct Sales, Ponzi , Insurance & Photography Business How to , all same same . Please, don't tell me these are sincere good intend 'sharing'.

    I've at least 5 counts of young chaps who put their passion way before their family happiness. Many parents hard slogging away to see them graduated from Uni for the hope that they take part in bread & butter issue only to find these selfish juniors insisted on taking the path in Photography totally ignoring the family financial constraint.

    I think I am doing charity to let them know quickly they are sinking into abyss. It is such a waste of human resource in this country for so many to be in this trade anyway.

    Sorry if I sound offensive.
    Last edited by Volks; 22nd July 2013 at 11:21 AM.

  17. #37

    Default Re: Photo business: what it takes

    Quote Originally Posted by Volks View Post
    True in other trades, but in Photography too many jumps into the wagon with misconception and the big blame should go to those 'business sharing' sessions conducted by some who so think they are siting on the Pedestals of the Gurus. As always, young guns can't wait to shoot after some highly energized talk. Pyramid , Direct Sales, Ponzi , Insurance & Photography Business How to , all same same . Please, don't tell me these are sincere good intend 'sharing'.

    I've at least 5 counts of young chaps who put their passion way before their family happiness. Many parents hard slogging away to see them graduated from Uni for the hope that they take part in bread & butter issue only to find these selfish juniors insisted on taking the path in Photography totally ignoring the family financial constraint.

    I think I am doing charity to let them know quickly they are sinking into abyss. It is such a waste of human resource in this country for so many to be in this trade anyway.

    Sorry if I sound offensive.
    No problem. Its true that many people think photography earns big money. They see a commercial photographer charges $5K per day and assumes he earns $100,000.00/- a month. But when they themselves comes into the industry they charges $10 per hour or sometimes even less. I always tell people, this is a sunset industry and very soon the sun will really set. We are seeing the last golden rays which is beautiful but not for the industry but for the camera manufacturers and their main customers; consumers, NOT professionals. But if they choose this path it is their own free will, and most people had put behind the traditional feudalism thinking of study for a good job, but for parents who chose the wrong path themselves and want to see their next generation succeed in life, it rings true and totally understand-able. The same way people can be tempted by good money to pursuing an occupation of a banker, lawyer or a doctor, the same way people can be tempted to pursue passions in the arts, like photography, singing and acting.

    For those who really wants to be in this line, point is, better do it right, or get your cancerous S out of the industry. I too heard of young boys fresh out of NS want to take money from their mama to buy the latest camera and be a cool photographer, or else he throw tantrums. Is anyone of your young readers like him?
    Last edited by JasonB; 22nd July 2013 at 12:14 PM.

  18. #38
    Senior Member Sion's Avatar
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    Default Re: Photo business: what it takes

    Quote Originally Posted by catchlights View Post
    I see many workshops, seminars, webinars on the subjects of photography business practice, marketing, selling technique are charging a few hundreds and it sells like hot cake.

    but I notice all the gears/equipments demonstration, reviews, road shows are free to attend and it is sponsored by manufactures or product agents or camera stores.

    so what does this imply?
    That means you should start your own workshop and seminar too.

  19. #39
    Senior Member oracle0711's Avatar
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    Default Re: Photo business: what it takes

    No worries. Not offensive at all Volks. What you have written is a reality in today's context. Again in all things, some will fail and some will make it. Look at it from a broader perspective, it is all about a journey of living it and learning it (for the wiser ones).

    Quote Originally Posted by Volks View Post
    True in other trades, but in Photography too many jumps into the wagon with misconception and the big blame should go to those 'business sharing' sessions conducted by some who so think they are siting on the Pedestals of the Gurus. As always, young guns can't wait to shoot after some highly energized talk. Pyramid , Direct Sales, Ponzi , Insurance & Photography Business How to , all same same . Please, don't tell me these are sincere good intend 'sharing'.

    I've at least 5 counts of young chaps who put their passion way before their family happiness. Many parents hard slogging away to see them graduated from Uni for the hope that they take part in bread & butter issue only to find these selfish juniors insisted on taking the path in Photography totally ignoring the family financial constraint.

    I think I am doing charity to let them know quickly they are sinking into abyss. It is such a waste of human resource in this country for so many to be in this trade anyway.

    Sorry if I sound offensive.

  20. #40

    Default Re: Photo business: what it takes

    Quote Originally Posted by Volks View Post
    True in other trades, but in Photography too many jumps into the wagon with misconception and the big blame should go to those 'business sharing' sessions conducted by some who so think they are siting on the Pedestals of the Gurus. As always, young guns can't wait to shoot after some highly energized talk. Pyramid , Direct Sales, Ponzi , Insurance & Photography Business How to , all same same . Please, don't tell me these are sincere good intend 'sharing'.

    I've at least 5 counts of young chaps who put their passion way before their family happiness. Many parents hard slogging away to see them graduated from Uni for the hope that they take part in bread & butter issue only to find these selfish juniors insisted on taking the path in Photography totally ignoring the family financial constraint.

    I think I am doing charity to let them know quickly they are sinking into abyss. It is such a waste of human resource in this country for so many to be in this trade anyway.

    Sorry if I sound offensive.
    I have been organising a few "business sharing" over the years for people who is considering the trade. Sometimes I ask myself, why do I put myself in this? because I care.

    It is easier not to do it... at least, I have 3 extra hours a month to spend with people who I love.

    I do what I believe, and I believe if people are arm with some basic knowledge, they should use it and think for themselves how to use it. BUT they have to think and process what they know and be honest with themselves.

    By all means, more than 90% of business fail, for various reason. Amongst a lot of them, the lack of drive and the ability to cope with changes for life.

    It is darn easy to sit on the fence and blame every single f***ing things that is wrong with everyone else (government, economy, blah blah blah), but never look at themselves and know the problem lies on themselves. People who just live in their self denial stage need to wake up.

    Sadly, photography isn't always about producing the best work nor the best equipment in order to survive in today's environment. It is more than that. Time has changed... the question is, can you keep up?

    I believe, ANYONE, can be successful in their own way IF and it is a big IF... they LEAVE THE NEGATIVITY on one side and CHANGE their MINDSET to think LONG TERM and start to be HONEST with themselves and work really really HARD to improve what they have.

    Unfortunately, loser (I don't mean you, just in general) always think they should just blame everyone and everything else because it is easy to do so... while winner spend time figuring out what need to be change. It takes a lot of hardwork and courage.

    However, I never say the road to success is always smooth and easy... it is a matter of fact, the road is full of pot holes and temptation.

    Just look at our personal circumstances, are we better of now then 3 or 5 years ago? If yes, how to make it better? if not, why? Stop putting the blame game and grow up.

    We are constantly making a choice in life... what say you? Think and act like a LOSER or think and act like a WINNER? GO and look at yourself in the mirror and tell it to yourself what you want to do... the only person in the world that you need to answer to is yourself.


    Regards,

    Hart

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