Are architect students taught the business of running a architecture firm? Are engineering students taught to run a business?
Or is it more likely that the new architects and engineers are expected to be attached to some firms and learn the rope on running a business?
Last edited by student; 20th October 2006 at 05:24 PM.
Actually yes, an increasing number of universities [in the states, don't know aobut singapore] do now include business classes in their professional courses. As mentioned, the Brookes institute is one of them.
The uni i went to made it mandatory for students to take business classes on their respective degress as well as graduate level law classes and I'm glad i took them now.
The difference between NAFA, LA Salle etc, from Objectifs is that they are awarding their students "professional diplomas/degres" but only teaching photography. Difficult to the a pro based on that alone.
Personally, if you uni/school is not including some business classes in your course/degree, i'd be very very very worried. It's my opinion that the new economy requires everyone to wear quite a few hats no matter what your field or work or study.
It's kindda tricky to comment on education, but with what little I know, one of the things that distinguishes an educational institution from being able to bestow a diploma versus a degree would be a well-drawn programme to map and prepare for the student's employability, or rather, the ability to generate income and carve a career with the equipped knowledge gained from the educational institution (I know this is perfectly arguable, but I'm just relaying what some of the 'pros' in education told me); in that respect, I'm inclined towards agreeing with Kuang. Well it certainly won't hurt.
Last edited by shinken; 25th October 2006 at 02:55 PM.
I love big car, big house, big lenses, but small apertures.
Just to add to this useful thread, sharing my experiences from freelancing as a graphic designer:
Its not just about dollars and cents when it comes to earning money from any freelancing job. I guess a lot of aspiring photographers missed out on an important fact: Opportunity. Your skills, business development will only come to play when there's a business opportunity. Shinken has mentioned a lot of good things about how to run your business and even broke it down very nicely. Kudos to him.
Time after time, I have to remind all friends to always keep a lookout for business opportunities and keep up to date with current issues. You'll need more than just your camera to start a business. Monitor your clients and costs carefully, I am sure your business will do just fine.
Most of the time, I noticed photographers sit and wait for business to fall onto their laps. They invest a huge sum of money on equipment hoping to reap in more money but instead they should be investing their time going out meeting new and possible clients.
A good start for aspiring photographer would be to pitch jobs with small event companies. Offer your services at good rate and work you way through. There's isnt any short cut to this unless your relatives have 'connections' with wealthy 'datoks' or ministers... I am sure life would be much easier.
I gave up the freelancing world because I couldnt keep up with the pace and I ran out of patience. Hope that shed some light to those who are looking for answers. Cheers!
But back in the days when I started shooting, I went through the whole apprenticeship with a real pro (I was lucky to follow a good master) and he taught me everything the hard way... which I appreciate later in life. Many students are not so lucky or they are simply filled with beautiful idealistic thoughts when they buy their first camera thinking that they are going to be the next (fill in name of superstar photographer) just because they have started to take some good pictures.
But reality will soon catch up. People grow up over time. And you are right... the education system plays a part in teaching them the business aspects of art. Whether is it designing or photography or music or dance... I think schools should include some form of business education and business ethics in their syllabus.
It beats the "I'm here to learn some techniques and maybe some experts with passion will meet up and share with me" syndrome.
The thread starter posed many interesting points for discussion. In every business, there exists many different segments, and every segment has the kind of photographer going for the kind of job.
As a photographer, the most important aspect of the craft is ART. Business is a matter of common sense, and a mix of trial and error. Without the appreciation of the meaning of ART, and being able to relate to the subject how is one going to produce a good picture? In my limited understanding, commercial photography is more than just snapping a pretty face and editing it in Photoshop. I wish it is that simple.
You play many roles, from attempting to coordinate the colors and lightings for a fashion runway shoot, and for that you will need to understand how to appreciate colors and the significant of those colors and how to use them to maximize the effect of your shoot. At another situation, your tool might be the video camera and not the DSLR. At another situation, you could be just using the old point and shoot camera and the same expectation of the effect which you are reliant on must be created as well. I can go on and on about the other areas that photography can be applied in but I think I'll just stop here.
It is a constant journey of being aware of the surrounding.
Business is about relationship and credibility. The basic of which is your cost. But in order to develop your business, you must be prepare to spend some money to gain that credibility and build that relationship. It is easy to assume that everyone wants to do for big names. However, not everyone has an eye for the art. So in the process, in order to sustain the business one should start to get in customers, starting from a base price.
Your margin should be low in order to gain that credibility through an increase number of customers. Its not exploitation, but a matter of sustainability. Its your choice to take 6 projects of $300 for 6hrs or 1 project of $1000 per week, if you are not in a position to bargain.
After the usual word of mouth, and a series of references, you can start to increase your markup using the famous term (fees revision). Its up to you how often you revised your fees, but it should be at an acceptable level of between 6mths to 1yr before you revise your fees. At the same time, substantial relationships with customers would have been established by now. This is what you guys probably call "reputation".
Contrary to popular believes, one does not need expensive equipment to start off with some simple wedding shoot photos. A 2nd hand point and shoot camera with a 35mm lens or 50mm lens is probably sufficient to get you started. Film is cheap and you can always convert to CD later if you want. Later, though its not neccessary, if you want you can upgrade into the Dslr if you want. Given all the consideration about cost, and all the expensive storage cards and memory space is eliminated and all your cost to incur is film which is cheap ,durable and has much richer detail that digital. A 2nd hand camera these days cost almost nothing.
Every commercial photographer has a workflow that he follows. He will also have an equipment framework that is interchangeable to support this pipeline. All equipment are modular and can be increase or decrease at will. This manages resources efficiently and you do not need to buy unnneccesary equipment or equipment that can't fit into your pipeline.
"As with all paid services, the payer has certain demands and expectations. These expectations could be straightforward and explicit. But some demands could be tacit and only surface when 'things go wrong'. I'll go into this list of 'things gone wrong' later. The demands can be in terms of the number of shots. The angles of shots, the colours, digital enhancements, prints, print sizes, form of presentation, punctuality, time-extension, change indates. It would be good to come up with an exhaustive list as far as possible on what is expected of the deal, as well as agreed clauses to defend your interests, and allow your client to add on. Please add on the list of obligation from here."
re: Its a basic normality to itemize everything as part of the contract. A contract will need to be fair to both parties. And every photographer should maintain a level of professionalism from understanding the specific needs of the customer and fulfilling them above and beyond their expectations. There are probably many good lawyers out there who can assist those who want to draft a proper contract.
Consequences of not fulfilling obligation:
"I'll let 'pros' like vince fill in the legal obligations, or the lack of here. One of the other consequence is reputation. This is applicable to those who are more serious who want to consistently take on more assignments. For not fulfilling the obligation or expectation of the payer, the degree of hurt can vary. It can hurt very badly for wedding photography. The word gets circulated amongst brides faster than an expensive ad in the magazine. And the bad reputation can last for a long time. It wouldn't bother you if you're just in for a quick thrill and quick buck. But if you're serious about making it your part time job, or even full time career, it is extremely difficult to rebuild a hurt reputation. At least for wedding photography. Feel free to add on other consequences from here."
re: From the least of all, one lose credibility. That is worse that any amount of monetary compensation that the failure to fulfil obligation. If the photographs are relating to certain coverage or events, and the photographer is the direct cause of the lost of business, you can be claimed for the loss of profit and of course the legal fees.
Right of the Photograph/Artwork
Most photographers probably do not know that if one cover events , fashion or even wedding shoot for any media, press, organization or person, the rights to the photograph even though the photographer took the shot, it actually belongs to the organization and if one want to display it in public, permission need to be seek. Imagine in a wedding dinner, there are some celebrities, some politicians among others, and you snap a photo of those people. By proper ethics, permission would need to be seek with either the organize or with the person in the picture. If not, there might have some legal implications should the person take offense at where the portfolio is displayed or published.
Last edited by firepingo; 28th October 2006 at 10:04 AM.
i 2nd tat.. biz is abt network... tho i am in the video industry and photo is just for hobby. but i think it applied the same theory. network will bring biz.. and biz will bring network.
but.. but.. i think we shd also have to know our own value... i wont accept job which below my worth. tat will not oni spoilt the whole mkt, but will oso spoilt your own value too.
we are not selling a particular product tat u can buy in different shop of different price..
jus my tot
just some advice..
Photography is different in business or career, and sometimes it is not as fun as like in hobby stage.
When u are doing it as a full-time pro-photographer, u may think your photos were very well taken. However, your clients may have different taste or certain preferences ! Your creative director or editor may have other opinions very different from yours ! and since you are paid to do the job, you have to follow their instructions to produce what kind of results they want, not what you want or like.
Doing a business in photography requires much more about just skills and talents.
Wow... This thread is kind of like an eye opener, esp to a newb like me.
Never realised all these implicit costs and implications only those in the trade can tell you of. Thx to TS and everyone else who shared their views.
This is a good piece of information to have as a sticky. Some people have great creative skills and don't know what they're about to get into. I say to them, research before you jump in because it can get scary yet it can also be extremely rewarding.
When I was starting (9 months ago) I found this article and it helped a little. It wasn't the be all and end all but it did get me thinking. I then read another article from the same place that told me why I shouldn't start up my own photography business (that was tongue in cheek though). I've included the links to both articles below and I hope they help someone.
starting a photography business
why you shouldn't start a photography business
I applaud to this thread.
This will educate those who will accept assignment at exceptionally low fee and willing to be exploited.
Photography business is not as simple as some may think.
Charge low fee, Hurt yourself, hurt the industry, hurt your fellow photographers.
Poor people will not go ard asking for people to feed them abalone, neither they will go ard looking for good photographers at a low fee.
Btw, I am a middle income person and my wedding I never hire any photographer cos I can't afford it, I just ask my friends to help.
Learnt new things !
I am NOT a PROfessional photographer and photography is NOT my hobby
Don't think in any way I was belittling his idea. On the contrary, I am praising his ingenuity. The LSP does what the omni-bounce was doing, just that the omni-bounce neglected the front-fill when flash is tilted upwards. Even if there is, its too little light to fill due to the small area when flash is tilted upwards.
I believe many pros knows of this short-coming, and hence used a bounce card. But improvising it and marketing it to become a sucessful product, you need a businessman to do it, and this is where photographers might fall short.