Pros Opinion on a Newbie...

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Lynnzora, Mar 4, 2009.

  1. Lynnzora

    Lynnzora TPF Noob!

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    This isn't a big deal at all either way but I'm just curious about people's opinion on the subject.

    I've seen repeatedly on this site, a newby get on here EXTREMELY excited because a friend or someone may have seen their photos and asked them to shoot a wedding or party or portraits. There's alway the couple of people who try to talk them out of it or discourage by saying that as a newbie they have no business taking a photography job. Obviously more than a few people feel this way. I'm just interested in finding out why. Not interested in arguing but just some honest (yet tactful) opinions.

    As I mentioned in my other thread, there's going to be those people who can't afford to afford that $2,000 wedding package from a seasoned pro... So they're going to find someone who they can afford. Usually they'll turn to someone just starting off., friends, and family. I just don't get what's wrong with that as long as the consumer is happy with the end result.
     
  2. blash

    blash TPF Noob!

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    If you read the relevant topics, its because it devalues photography as a profession. Have enough people willing to do weddings for $200, and suddenly no one's willing to pay $2,000 for a professional with formal training and past experience. Offering to work for free / favors / a pittance is extremely disrespectful to people who depend on what seems to be an expensive pay and the profession that those people represent.

    Edit: After reading the other thread, I'm going to stick with my answer above - it devalues the profession. It leads people to expect less, both in price AND in quality. This isn't about capitalism, with the whos-got-the-best-price, but rather, people need to get good quality photos - if the only thing anybody saw were bad photos, then people would end up just shooting their own events with point-and-shoots.
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2009
  3. Lynnzora

    Lynnzora TPF Noob!

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    OK, thanks for bringing light to the topic. It makes since. However looking at it from a slightly different point of view... I'm the founder of a very popular after school program. Sometimes I'll shoot pics of select students for those who show up with their parents wanting them. These are disadvantaged families who definitely don't have the means to purchase anything... clothes, sometimes food, let alone photos... This isn't taking away business from another photographer because there's no way these could ever afford something like that. I donate food, clothes, and my services to a select few deserving people. Now I don't go out of my way and do an elaborate set up... spending hours... But the pictures are nice and they may get one or two photos. It's something nice that they can dress up for... And something that makes them feel good about themselves, even if only for a day.

    Then you have newbie who comes on here asking about how they get started in the business. The consensus is do research on digital photography, attend classes, ask questions, and get out there and shoot. Volunteer to shoot for free to build up your portfolio and experience. As you can see from the last post that not all people are thrilled about when you shoot for free regardless to your reason. It's like a catch 22. You're gonna piss someone off no matter what.

    Then I've heard people on here say to find a mentor or an experienced photographer to shadow and learn from. How many people do you know who are generous enough to mentor an up and coming photographer? Not many... people tend to look at that person as a threat.

    Before I decided to take on photography, I was friends with a lot of photographers because I did a lot of modeling. I can honestly tell you that the SECOND one of them found out I was picking up photography, it was like he didn't know me anymore lol... He even deleted me from his MySpace. Are we talking about an adult? Heck yeah. lol on one hand it was funny and on another it was sad. People feel so threatened by the next... Anyway, that was one photographer. Another friend of mine congratulated me. He's a very famous in the LA area now. He shoots some big names. He went to college with me and started doing the very same thing that I'm doing now owns his own two story studio in LA. And guess what... Let’s say that someone needed something done that I couldn't deliver because of lack of experience or because of my schedule. I would so recommend him to anyone in a minute and I have. Shoot I have a baby at home and can only do so much. So I may send him the model that is looking for a 5 hour photo shoot and video clip for her website. Unlimited changes... with hair and make-up artist, etc... I don't have time for all of that right now. And he'll send me the quick jobs... family portraits, parties, etc... And when I get my model body back in the next couple of months... (Recently had a baby ) He'll be the one that I'll be going to get updated portfolio pics. After all I can't really shoot myself.

    People need to realize that they're not going to lose their clientele just because someone new comes around offering something a tad cheaper... That's IF you've established a good professional and dependable relationship with your clients... AND if they've come to see and expect the quality you offer in your product, they won't be going anywhere... That's the reason why I've gone to the same beautician for over the past 7 years. Although he charges about $100 every two weeks, I know I can trust him, that he'll make time for me, and that I'm going to leave looking great. Yep I can probably find someone who offers $40 every two weeks but my beautician is what I know and trust... get what I'm saying... Shoot it's late. I hope I'm making sense. lol I need to go to sleep.
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2009
  4. bjorkfiend

    bjorkfiend TPF Noob!

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    ...
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2009
  5. manaheim

    manaheim Jedi Bunnywabbit Staff Member Supporting Member

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    It's basically survival instinct.

    This may get a bit too philisophical for some people, but by and large the people who are railing against you are doing so because they feel you are somehow treading on their established turf.

    They have established (or are trying to establish) themselves as a photographer, and it frustrates the heck out of them to see someone else pick up a camera and start calling themselves a photographer... particularly if they start selling their services for 1/2 the price.

    Why? Because if you "devalue" the practice, then you bring everyone's prices down. If you bring everyone's prices down, that means eventually they lose money. If they lose money, then they are able to buy less goods and services. If they are able to buy less goods and services, then they die. If they die, then their genes won't survive because they won't be able to spread as much. Etc.

    Unfortunately, market economics dictates that as long as someone is willing to charge a little less, and as long as someone is ok with that level of quality, then the prices will come down. Unfortunately, there are very few things where you can charge a bit less and some group of the economy won't be totally a-ok with that.

    In fact, the one thing I can think of off the top of my head where you cannot really get away with that is airplanes. Airplanes are stupidly expensive because they must adhere to insanely tough standards on safety. Why? Because saving you 10% could get you (and everyone you crash into) killed.

    What a lot of people forget, however, is a few very key things:

    1. People will still pay for experience and quality. Certainly not everyone is going to do like I did and pay nearly $5,000 for their wedding photographer, but I know the difference between experienced and non-experienced, and I know what happens if you don't pay for it... so I did. (and you don't have to be a photographer to make this choice... at the time I did this, I was not a photographer.) And btw, a very easy way to learn this lesson is to try to go on the cheap even once or twice and get burned by it. How many of you on this list see a price 1/10th of what the competitors are quoting and immediately become very suspicious? Guess why?

    2. This sort of market economics engine is what allows people to get started. I consider myself pretty decent in my field of photography. Not amazing, but definitely good quality. How did I get started? By selling myself as slightly cheaper and better than my competitors. Do a survey of the people on this list and ask how many of them started their first wedding charging what they charge today? I bet the numbers would be very very few.

    3. Markets level out. (don't tell the US Gvt! :lol:) If you're very good, you're going to be in demand. If you have one scrap of a brain cell in your head and you find you're super busy... what are you going to do? Raise your prices. In fact, you'll keep raising them until the point where you start making less money because you will have hit the point where your quality is about at match with what people are willing to pay for it. Then you'll look around you and realize that your work is probably on-par with others around you who are charging about as much. (and everyone else who is threatened by you can relax)

    However, even if people have all of this in mind they're STILL going to rail against you. As I said... it's survival.

    There is a whole layer on top of that for weddings, btw, but I won't get into that. :lol:
     
  6. stsinner

    stsinner TPF Noob!

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    Since I work nights, I get to see all the wonderful brain-dead court shows on TV all day with all the losers suing each other in our disgustingly litigious society.

    More than a few cases have been over bad wedding photographs. The most recent was a lady who paid $800 to a guy who was a friend of a relative who worked in a call-center by day and just had photography as a hobby on the side..

    Her complaint was that every picture he took of her she had a beer in her hand, so he told the court that it was impossible to get a picture of her without a beer in her hand-the beer was cans of beer, and they were all over the tables and in every picture.. He took over 600 pictures and should couldn't find 40 that she liked to fill the included photo album with..

    The judge chastised the lady for hiring an amateur, but she still awarded her the $800 back...

    That's why I would never shoot a wedding!
     
  7. Dao

    Dao No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I am not a professional photographer nor going to be a primary photographer in a wedding event. This is what I understand by reading posts in here in the past year.

    1. Yes, not everyone can afford the $2000 wedding photos.
    2. It is fine to shoot wedding for free or low cost as a friends or relatives as long as the other party understand the quality of the photos may not be as good as the professional photographer.
    3. The main reason why a lot of people against it since that could be once in a life time event and if a inexperience photographer take the challenge and come back with a lot of bad photos or even zero photo (due to many reasons such as equipment failure, lost film or flash cards ..). That will be a disaster for the couple. You know what I mean. You will find that if you want to have a photo shoot for your friend free of charge, nobody seems to care too much. Worst come to worst, you can do it again.

    So as long as the wedding couple know about all the facts especially there is a chance that they will get low quality photos or no photos at all, I do not see the problem as long as everyone feel comfortable.

    I agree different people have different expectation. Someone will spend less than a buck for a burger from a fast food restaurant and feel good. But some others may only eat a burger that cost 5 bucks or more, anything that cost less than that are junk. However, at the end they both feel good.
     
  8. andrew99

    andrew99 TPF Noob!

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    It's not just about devaluing photography. There is the aspect of an amateur screwing up one of the most important days in a couples lives, and respecting how important a wedding is. Shooting a wedding is a huge responsibility that shouldn't be taken lightly.
     
  9. Stilltime

    Stilltime TPF Noob!

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    Anyone who has a problem with me doing favors for my friends can take a long walk off a short pier. Seriously. That is the biggest load of hooey. I can understand the logic of an amateur claiming to be a "professional" and undercutting those who deserve to charge more based on their experience and skill, but taking photos for FRIENDS is devaluing the profession?

    No, devaluing the profession is taking out an ad in the yellow pages as a wedding photographer and showing up with my rebel and a kit lens and charging enough to barely cover my gas. THAT is devaluing the profession. And 9 out of the 10 "professional" photographers that I know of do exactly that.

    I could post a link right now to a gallery I came across the other day where not one photo was in focus, and the person was charging for their services. My photos are a hundred times better and I've only had my camera for 3 months and don't charge a cent nor advertise my services (or have even thought of doing so). I wouldn't hesitate to TRY taking photos for friends or family with them fully aware of my limitations, yet in my mind, it's not me who's devaluing the profession. It's the umpteen joke photographers with their crappy homemade websites with price listings on the front page next to their crappy out of focus pictures. So tell me, who is really devaluing the profession?
     
  10. Lynnzora

    Lynnzora TPF Noob!

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    My parents hired a professional for the renewing of their vowels. They saw his portfolio which was lovely... but he does so many different jobs that they STILL haven't received their pictures a year later.

    As a model I decided to go with more experienced photographer for my updated modeling pics. The photographer was phenominal. I payed almost $1000 for the photoshoot which included a make-up artist and stylist. Yes every two seconds you see someone on craigslist offering a photosession for $40 bucks but I was willing to pay for quality. Pictures turned out great but it did take 6 months for me to get them back. :(

    My point is that with an amature you're not always going to get trash and with a pro you're not automatically guaranteed the best of service. The consumer needs to do research. But if love what they're getting, who is another person to tell them that they're wrong for it... I'm an amature and I will break my neck making sure a customer gets something that they absolutely love. But before i even booked a job, I'd ask them to look at my work and see if it's something they liked. I understand not every newbie is like that...

    But what is a newbie to do in order to get that experience? Like someone said earlier... pros who charge $1000 for different packages... most likely didn't start off setting their prices that high. The prices raised with their experience.
     
  11. manaheim

    manaheim Jedi Bunnywabbit Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Guys, she wasn't ONLY speaking to wedding photography.
     
  12. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I know there are some who feel threatened by others starting in the profession and charging very little.

    However I belive that there are many who are not in such a position, but do issue a big cautionary warning to those looking to jump into the deep end of the swimming pool. Yes some people are going to swim well and come out on tops - but more are going to flounder and possibly drown (fail) in the attempt.
    Fact is that a professional job (be it a wedding or a modeling shoot or product photography) has certain requirements of both photographer and their kit to get things to come out right. When you take something like a wedding - a one off event - there is huge pressure on the photographer to perform above and beyond their best to get all the required shots. Starting from scratch because you can take some good profile shots is a very big risk - ignoring the chances of kit failure - there is the whole topic of lighting, weather, space, time and more at the wedding. I think many try to impart this warning on newer photographers to discourage them from making a fool of themselves and ruining the day for a new couple.
    That can lead to friction and loss of friends as well as (at the worst end) lead to legal action being taken.
     

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