January 24, 2014 at 8:48 pm #16268EyeDocPhotogParticipant
As a casual observer, it is my experience that the market has shifted. I’m a hobbyist, i but it is patently clear that since everyone today owns a camera (at least in their phone) coupled with the overwhelming abundance of sites offering free editing with sepia filters and bold vignettes, standards of “photography” have come down dramatically. Typical consumers today will not pony up for perfect exposures or L glass gear in a dark church if they are barely used to any images better than an iphone.
They don’t see the value.
Come talk to me in 10 years and tell me that you haven’t given into the vignettes and the sepias because that’s what most of your clients want and you can’t sell what you are touting on this site as “talent” because, sadly, no one cares any longer.
Photographer as a career reached it’s peak years back, and now is on the down-swing. That’s why I say get what you can from client now because that’s all you’re going to see. Sad, but true.January 24, 2014 at 10:20 pm #16272IHFParticipant
Typical consumers don’t see the value.
Exactly, fauxtography clients don’t see the value. They just know that the experience is more personal, more fun, and more convenient for them to purchase over Sears or walmart studios like in the past. Even smarter consumers like the OP and hundreds of thousands of others come to the realization that DIY is even better. Some Fauxtographers even hold portrait parties and the like to take pictures of each other. Kind of like Tupperware or pampered chef, or avon, only the top of the pyramid isn’t a company like the above mentioned. Instead it’s the companies that sell the dream, and all the wares to fauxtographers to “help” run their “businesses”.
Eye doc, I don’t think you understand that the OP (and those like her) are NOT making money. She’s losing money, while pretending to be in business. They price like walmart or sears, but aren’t in a financial position to do so successfully, and offer so much more than a chain studio can. The only reason they are able is because they are supported by a spouse or another full time income. They work more, pay more (if they are legit. That’s a big ol IF) all for WAY less money. A part time job at mc Donald’s pays more. They (fauxtography businesses) competed so hard against these chains that they put them out of business. How? They either don’t care, or are unable to understand that they do not make a profit working the way they do. No business can compete with people who work for nothing or next to nothing and don’t see the value in what they do, and since they market to the same demographic blammo! Out of business they go.
Custom portraiture and/or event photography are a luxury item. Always has been, always will be. This is what small businesses like the fauxtographers are pretending to be while mistakenly being priced like chains. There is overhead, a lot of time, work, and effort go into these businesses (I’m not going to take the time to list).
An independent portrait tog starting a LEGIT profitable part time business with your average overhead and average expenses (yes, it varies from tog to tog, but not wildly) needs to charge aprox $200 per session plus product sales just to cover minimum wage. Minimum wage, part time! These are just start up prices, with the hopes of one day having a good full time business that can actually support them very modestly. Can color selection, bad vingnettes, unfocused, technically incorrect, badly lit, badly posed, kit lens garbage pull in $200 or more a session?! Even IF it’s what the customer wants (which is so freakin highly unlikely. Just ex walmart studio patrons are willing to put up with that crap)
Fauxtographers come and go they happily lose money or maybe even break even for their time spent away from their family. I don’t know why this is, but they do it even when family arguments ensue. Some wake up and smell the coffee and either quit altogether, or they take a break to learn and hone so they can come back legitimately and give it a better go.
It’s a tough tough over saturated market that ONLY the best of the best will make it in, and even then it is iffy.
You may think “what the hell!? Let her go at it. Why bother telling her otherwise, she won’t make it anyway”, but I can’t do that. Like I said before, she came here and asked, and if I can help her or someone reading, get a better understanding and help them out of fauxville so they have the best shot possible at this, it’s worth my time. You see eye doc, I give a shit about this industry, I have respect for it and I want to give the OP the advice she needs to have a chance to succeed, not continue to fail.January 25, 2014 at 2:19 am #16276CoastalTogParticipant
^^^^^ This may be single handedly the best post I’ve read on this forum in over a year. You’ve said it much better than I could. I find myself putting the same amount of effort into giving advice as the faux’s do into their education – minimal.
I’ll touch on something that nobody ever wants to bring up on the internet but one that I’ve had conversations with in various photography circles with working professionals. Fauxtographers typically live in the lower end of the economic class. They tend to see this as a get rich quick type of employment rather than a long term educational process. After all, how hard can it be to actuate a shutter? After 3 years when their clientele has dried up, they’re off to another at home project.January 25, 2014 at 12:08 pm #16279IHFParticipant
Exactly coastal tog. I’m right there with them. Lower income that is. I can’t afford the luxury of personalized custom portraiture. I’m also unwilling to support illegal businesses, or perpetuate a talented photographer’s failure to make a profit while he or she works their ass off for me. I also don’t want to be a part of their continued photography debt that they are creating. So I fall in with the DIY crowd unless some sort of cookie cutter type chain or established studio runs a high volume deal that suits my wants. No biggy. It is what it is. I think I heard it be said that pro photographers in this genre usually can’t afford to hire themselves. But, most consumers don’t know any of this. They don’t know the harm in it. They think “I’m paying $50 and the photographer is making $50. I helped them, they helped me”.
A while back a fauxtographer that posted here, and I kind of kept an eye on her (come on! It’s entertaining. Admit it! We all do it from time to time) well, she actually won an award from her county “best photographer in…”. According to their website, they started the awards program to help promote the small businesses in their area, and boost their local economy. Not only was her work sub par (not that it matters), but she is also not a profitable business, doesn’t collect sales tax, isn’t registered/licensed, uninsured, the whole nine. They just assumed they were helping an actual small business that helps generate revenue for their area because she advertises as one. I think eye doc assumes the same. Why wouldn’t they? Who the hell would go in debt, or settle for a couple dimes, or not making a penny at all working so hard for people?! I mean we have minimum wage laws these days. No one would be that self destructive or that inclined to undervalue themselves and their work! But, yes pho/fauxtographers do this very thing all the time. So strange. I don’t think I will ever completely understand it.January 26, 2014 at 7:41 pm #16287photogs12dParticipant
All I have to say is that editing a photo doesn’t make it good.
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