Sharing your knowledge for a fee - is this done at all??

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by photographyJeane, Jul 11, 2008.

  1. photographyJeane

    photographyJeane TPF Noob!

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    A friend of mine who really loves my photos keeps asking me to teach him what I do so he can take better photos (both photography techniques and what I do in photoshop). He wants a quick lesson where I can download everything I know and my process into his head so he can do the exact same thing, and wants to pay for it. I think he knows the basics but wants to get to my level quickly (and wants to pay me to quickly teach him what took tons of practice and research and learning for me to learn on my own)

    I haven't ever really heard of such requests, but one thing I do know is that the photographers I've delt with in my area are very private and avoid sharing their knowledge. I've noticed that they become very vague when I discuss photo techniques, even accidentally. Maybe obviously, because they don't want others to know how they do what they do and lose business cause now everyone can do it.

    I am torn because on one hand I've always been happy and eager to share knowledge and photography is a favorite subject of mine, yet on the other hand I can't even imagine slapping together a lesson of everything I know that took lots of time to learn to give to someone in one afternoon.

    It may seem ridiculous, but have any of you ever received such requests or similar? I don't exactly know what to say to his constant request on this. I've pointed him to great resources where he can learn (they sure are abundant!) Should I just try to put together a lesson instead, since he is a friend?
     
  2. kellylindseyphotography

    kellylindseyphotography TPF Noob!

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    Well, the information is out there if he wants to learn it. There are so many websites now that can teach just about anyone to be a great photographer.

    There are pro's who hold workshops and charge tons of money for them just to share their knowledge.

    Knowledge is power, power is money. If you feel you are good enough and he thinks your good enough, and you WANT to do it for him, then do it.
     
  3. Xandria Gallery

    Xandria Gallery TPF Noob!

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    I am new here but thought I would just dive right in!

    I have never been approached to teach someone for pay, but I do on occasion pay people to teach me certain things! As the above poster points out, workshops are held all over the place and many are not that expensive. I don't attend many workshops anymore but when I do I pay between $100-$300. They usually last between 4 and 8 hours.

    You have to pay for education in college, technical school, everywhere. Why would this be different?

    Another thing to keep in mind is that sometimes the best way to learn is hands on, get out there and experiment! What does this F/Stop combined with this Shutter Speed give me? What if I go the other way?

    Good luck to you!
    Jeff
     
  4. *Mike*

    *Mike* TPF Noob!

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    As was already said, this isn't unusual at all. My studio teaches classes on camera use for my city's Department of Recreation once or twice a year. Those are for people that happened to buy a nice camera and decide they want to know how to use it. We usually do four weeks, an hour a week, and charge about $75 a person. But, that's b/c the class is just hobbyists, if that, that want some basic info.

    We also teach professional workshops, which are much more in-depth. Topics vary from "dramatic lighting" to marketing. Then you're looking at $200-$700 for 3-6 hours. This is for people that are looking to invest in their business - they learn much more advanced, marketable, material.

    To have someone come in to do something one-on-one instead of going to a workshop, it's around $800+ a day. We've had videographers do it... They want to expand into photography, so they come in and we do an intensive one-on-one about photography and the photography business.

    Finally, I'm guessing at least once or twice a year we'll have someone randomly call the studio and ask for "tutoring" on how to use their camera. I'll usually just refer them to the city class... But, we'll also have staff photogs work with them once in a while. Then it's around $25 an hour, on whatever schedule we set up...

    Don't be afraid of teaching people. Just realize what you're passing on, and value it appropriately. Mom wanting nicer shots of the kids in the backyard? No problem... basic stuff, low cost, generate some goodwill. Someone wanting to get into the business, or expand their business? That's valuable info, so price it accordingly.
     
  5. kundalini

    kundalini Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Consider this:

    Sit down with pen and paper and begin an outline of what it has taken YOU to get to the point where you are now. Figure the time, costs, how many pictures you've taken, how many were thrown away. The books you've bought, read, checked out from the library, school courses taken. The mileage on your vehicles. The peripheal equipment, your photography gear. How many tutorials, discussion threads and browsing have you done.

    This is just a short list, but you get the idea. Show/discuss the results with your potential student. What would make him think that anything less is required of him?

    Offering him your tutelage would be good and worth it's cost. But spoon feeding the knowledge is actually a disservice to your student IMO. The thoughts of an overnight success should soundly be dismissed. Ain't gonna happen because it takes blood, sweat and tears.
     
  6. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Many of the most successful photographers offer workshops, write book etc. I would think that it would be a lot more profitable than actually shooting photos...so if you can get someone to pay you for your knowledge, good for you.

    On the other hand, there is something to be said about being generous with your knowledge. I know that the Professional Photographers of Canada, have a mandate for giving back and educating others.
     
  7. photographyJeane

    photographyJeane TPF Noob!

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    thank you for the feedback.

    I do and did share many tips - just conversationally and for free.
    I wanted people's take on this because what I think he wants is once again that "friend's" rate to become professionally good in a couple of hours. Namely, I think what he wants is a "use that exact setting in this condition and then apply this technique in photoshop". I think its mainly to take photos of his kid (and have them look like the ones pros take), but it could also be for business ideas. I have asked but haven't gotten a solid answer.

    I've worked with Photoshop since version 4. So some things that are intuitive to me may not be to someone else - once again I don't know his exact skill level.

    I may consider doing it, but once again I just need to truly figure out my time and price things in order to be fair to myself. As many readers here have already gleaned from my first post, I've been burned by giving away too many freebies. And I think my main apprehension is to once again falling into that friend trap.
     
  8. Easy_Target

    Easy_Target TPF Noob!

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    My take on it is if it's just basic level to get them interested and started, that's freebies all the way. It's a way to spread the art. After that point, occasional problems that are perplexing to them might get a nudge in the right direction, but aside from that, everything is fair game.

    Explain to them that it's not something that can be made into a powerpoint tutorial, it's largely from experience that you gained over time that just comes to you. It seems that you may be a semi-pro or pro, so your time definitely is valuable.
     
  9. PhilGarber

    PhilGarber TPF Noob!

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    Agreed. In my view of business, if someone wants a lesson,if it's possible, and they're willing to pay, and your willing to charge, go for it.:)
     
  10. RyanLilly

    RyanLilly No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I'll teach him every thing I know, for a nickel. :mrgreen:
    If it were me, and just a friend who wanted to do this just for fun, I'd tell him to bring a pizza and some beer. Give him the basics, and see how it goes, If he wants a lot more in depth, then consider charging for your time.
     
  11. Jedo_03

    Jedo_03 TPF Noob!

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    Well... I don't know... but could this 'friend' be endeavouring to flatter you with his adoration of your photographic and PP skills..?
    Why don't you direct him to "thephotoforum.com" and advise him that there is a collective wealth of photographic and PS information available here that he can learn from...?
    But like KellyLindsey says - if the guy has so much residual income to spare to PAY for 1:1 info - then here comes your new lens...
    Jedo
     
  12. photographyJeane

    photographyJeane TPF Noob!

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    thanks for all the advice. As much as I'd like to make the kind of money that might be worth the time I know that there is no way he's imagining anything in the range of the $800 one-on-one training out there, so I probably will not be getting a new lens :(

    I do love sharing knowledge so will probably consider just doing what I can for free (that way there is no more demands on my time than I can give)

    I just don't want to end up with yet another favor trap as I've been becoming so burned by this.
     

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