How low can you go to make money?

Discussion in 'Photographic Discussions' started by tecboy, May 22, 2017.

  1. 480sparky

    480sparky Chief Free Electron Relocator Supporting Member

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    Which still, unfortunately, costs money. And that money has to come from somewhere. Either in the form of increasing the cost to other customers, or choosing to live under a bridge and eat ramen noodles every day.


     
  2. waday

    waday Do one thing every day that scares you Supporting Member

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    The third option is living within your means while providing a free service for the public good. All volunteer work costs time, effort, and yes, sometimes, money, but believe it or not, some people enjoy giving back to the community.

    My wife works pro bono occasionally, and we don't live under a bridge (but we live close to several) and we don't eat ramen noodles every day (but do enjoy going out to eat ramen every now and then).
     
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  3. smoke665

    smoke665 TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    Don't disagree with you, assuming you have some form of "means" that provides the basic necessities. All of us have a responsibility to give back our time and talents to others, in whatever manner we can. Over the years, I've spent literally thousands of unpaid hours as a VF and First Responder, and continue to serve in the department as an adviser and board member, but I was fortunate like you I've always had sufficient income to provide for the necessities. I suspect that was the basis of the earlier comment.
     
  4. waday

    waday Do one thing every day that scares you Supporting Member

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    Understand and appreciate your response. I agree that to do pro bono work, one needs at least some financial security to pay the bills. However, pro bono work is not strictly made up by charging others more.

    I'm not trying to get snarky, so please don't misunderstand. Pro bono work is essentially voluntarily taking on work for free. We all know this.

    What I'm saying is that when it was stated in this thread, it was alongside a definition that indicated that the "free work" was then explicitly made up by charging others extra. If you charge others more as a direct result of "free work", that's not pro bono, at least not to me.

    For example, if I were to volunteer for my local community, and I had to take a day off work, I am personally responsible for that time. I make the time up by working four 10 hour days (to get to 40 hours full-time), or I just don't get paid for that day and choose to take the loss. I don't turnaround and charge my clients extra for that time off for increased overhead. I don't raise my multiplier to get more money. I would be volunteering for the public good, so I freely give up that time, which I see as a benefit to the community. If I can't do it financially, then I may choose to volunteer on weekends when I'm not "on-the-clock".

    Rather than donating money explicitly, one would be donating time and effort. Yes, that is "equal" to money, but some people enjoy helping out physically rather than financially. An attorney can do things for free that they may normally charge thousands of dollars for (because they have the expertise and the license). Given the right circumstances and the right clients, an attorney may be very willing to help out for free.
     
  5. pixmedic

    pixmedic The Mustached Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    what ive always found odd is the stigma often placed on people by the photography community for having a "part time" photography business.
    people dont seem to bat an eye at other part time cottage industries. selling baked goods on the weekend? sure. art pieces in your spare time? no problem.
    building computers on the side? hey, everyone's got a friend that does that...
    but mention you do photography part time and suddenly it's an issue. you can't possibly be a professional if photography doesn't pay for the house, the car, and all other major expenses.

    oh no, someone works part time while their significant other works full time and pays more of the bills....guess they don't count.

    as for defining "professional", just give up. thats a pointless and utterly meaningless debate.
    i'll say one thing though, the tax office sure considered us "professional" four times a year, regardless of how much money we did or did not make, or what % of the bills were paid by photography work.


    my point is...
    if you are considering or already using photography as a part time/supplemental means of income....good for you!
    absolutely no reason not to make money with something if you have the means to.
    as long as you are properly set up to do so within state and county regulations.
     
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  6. JPI

    JPI TPF Noob!

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    Yep, like that last paragraph
     
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  7. Vtec44

    Vtec44 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I don't think the issue is about being a "professional photographer". The issue is that that people who do it part time are often under charging, which then flood the market with low cost photographers and have an advantage over the high volume photography business model.

    I personally don't care what people charge or call themselves. Aint nobody got time for that.
     
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  8. bluewanders

    bluewanders TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    The barrier of entry is low and the products of the work are entirely subjective. Those products are also being sold to a population that has things other than education on the subject to inform their preferences. Sounds like excellent conditions for elitism to rise. Especially when there's money involved to muddle hopes and dreams. People will either blame their success or lack thereof on other people, or themselves. That's when derogatory terms like "mom with a camera" start getting created and bandied about to put people in their place.

    I honestly wouldn't be surprised if you hung out in communities of bakers or computer builders you might see some elitism there too... but you hang out in a photography community, so it will stand out prominently to you as a regular part of your experience.
     
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  9. weepete

    weepete TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    I Dunno, I saw a photography "studio" in the town where I work offering a 1/2 hour familly session with an 8x10 print for £14.99

    Seemed crazy low to me. Makes me glad I'm an engineer and not trying to make a living at this photography lark.
     
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  10. dennybeall

    dennybeall No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Someone said you have to show a profit to be able to deduct business losses. That is not exactly true. You can spend a couple of years working to build a business , not make a profit, and deduct the losses from your other income. After that you can deduct the business costs from any business gains and if an overall loss you show zero for the business. It's still a viable, real business, just not a profitable one by IRS standards....
     
  11. Dean_Gretsch

    Dean_Gretsch TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    All this talk about making profits and covering costs makes me happy I just do this because I enjoy what I experience and see while in the pursuit.
     
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  12. jaomul

    jaomul Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    There is also the type of photographer issue. Most enthusiast photographers know that there are a few types of photography and being good at one type does not always make one good at another.

    A professional photographer did my cousins wedding very badly. The same guy is a paid photographer, but not a paid wedding photographer (except for jobs on the side). If you asked 95% of people I know, a photographer is a photographer. They would probably think a great landscape guy/girl would automatically be good at events.

    But then again, we have professional cameras and professional lenses, often high cost units. Stands to reason the term can be thrown about for a photographer irrelevant of said persons status
     

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