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Does anyone else feel like just stopping? I've had my web site for 3 years now for the cycling photography and it's been ok. But there are so many people out there now with their cameras, setting up websites & some who just go out and then email round free shots to the competitors. Most don't bother with accounts and tax etc & sell really cheaply. And most people if offered a free shot will not buy one from the same race, even if the free shot is not any good.
This weekend, I went out to the National 10, 3 hour round trip and 8 hours at the side of the road, 2 days to process and name the shots and for 4 orders, totalling about £40.00.
It's just not worth it anymore, maybe I'm just a bit down at the moment, but does anyone else feel this way?
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Not certain what to say except you have my sympathy. An EPZ member of old put this on his web site. Reading it may help as it is interesting and not all bad news. But I think that photography is increasingly a vocational item, more hobby than commercial enterprise. I know musicians who are bemoaning the same thing, but they tend to get a bit more for turning up for a gig. Many of them will be happy to walk away from a night with £50.
And in music there is a parallel. There was a period when there was money to be made from music bit it was a transition or blimp. Yes the top artists will still rake it in, but the middle and lower end? And that is true for photography. People have come to think that a lot of content is free, even if it is not. For that look to newspapers and magazines loosing out to web sites. Will people pay for content???
So ironically while the use of images is rising all around us, the effort involved in taking an image falls, more people join, and the price paid falls. That is not to say that taking beautifully constructed images etc is less skilful, but you have a better chance of pointing the camera at a scene and it turning in a decent effort. And for many that is all they want.
well I'm in a band that mainly plays pubs and the cash from that is pitiful really - £30-£70 each for most pubs.
we can do weddings and get more - but don't really advertise, just do friends so that ends up being probably £100 each, but for that you may be travelling several hours, setting up for 2 hours - playing 2 hours, waiting to the end of the party (i.e. disco) then packing up for an hour.... so it all works out at "not a lot".
that said, it's really good fun most times!
If anyone's interested, we're playing the Fleece in Allerton, a suburb of Bradford, tomorrow night.
As for photography paying... I'll tell you in 6 months what I think! "niche" sounds the way to go
Thanks and wise words from the member of old I think it's time I just enjoyed photography for me and I'm lucky that it was a part time business that just about covered a bit of gear every year, I'll finish off the season and races I have booked and then maybe just call it quits if there is no improvement.
I get told by people that my cycling shots are the ones they look at on the web as they like them the most, but if that doesn't translate into sales I'm just supporting a website for people to look at themselves & then in one case was later asking on the forums for the email address of the bloke that emails them to you free. Heyho.
Sarah, it is i'm afraid the nature of all business be it photography, design, print, whatever.
There's always someone down the line ready to cut their own throats to make a bit of money, for example i used to (and note the used to) do a load of design work for a holiday company, they were always very happy and impressed at how fast and accurately i produced their fliers, adverts and brochures etc.
Out of the blue i got a call from the holiday company, asking for all a disc with all of the work i had done for them, i thought that's odd, so called the owner/MD.
Apparently a company had come along and said we'll do all your design and print work for free "absolutely no charge" if you let us do your website....!! Sometimes you just can't compete, especially when you have companies like this floating around.
You need another angle and or a different niche in any sort of business today.
I think everyone has their up days and down days, its unfortunate that so many people think they're a photographer because they have a £100 10 megapixel camera and just point and shoot. I have a friend who everytime I see her insists I look through the pics she has taken with her Sony Ericsson phone and she thinks they are amazing.
Have you thought about attending different sporting events? I run with a club and there are rarely good pics available for the competitors at major events, obviously you will face the same problems with the point and shoot crew but the more events you go to the better the chance of making a few pounds?
Money is tight everywhere at the moment but keep pushing on, it'll work out right in the end.
Thanks both. I have been booked for a running event this year in June, so you never know, I'll see how that goes.
I also know what you mean about the friend with the camera phone
I think these days it's all about having a wide range of products and services and expecting a trickle income from each. There's always going to be someone who outcompetes you in narrow niches at any one time but spread your talents around and you can just about get by.
Hello Sarah, I can sympathise with you about the lack of sales especially when you have put a lot of time and effort into getting the shots.
I occasionally photograph a fellrace and put all the images up on Flickr for anyone to peruse, I don't do this to make any money but rather because it is my sport I love and I want to share the images. I do advertise to fellow runners via a dedicated fellrunning site and my images get a lot of views (I think?). There has been the odd one who email me for a print and I oblige but I get the distinct impression that many folk just copy the lo res image and are satisfied with just viewing it on their PC without the need to actually have a print.
This doesn't bother me personally but I wonder if having a low resolution digital image on their PC is becoming more desireable than paying money to get a good quality print?
I think you've hit the nail on the head there John. I think that is all people want now. A high proportion of the sales I get are for email files, not prints as people want them for their computers & never print them. Again, like you cycling is my sport and I love it.
I think you are right about going back to doing it for your pleasure Sarah (and be happy that your skill has allowed you to buy the kit that you now have in addition to getting admiration for the quality of your work)
A friend of mine still rides competitively as a veteran and also does some event shooting for a local paper but they refuse to pay him a penny for it! (I keep asking why he does it but his only response is that its something he enjoys )
So many people have no appreciation of the work that goes into shooting and producing decent quality images and I keep hearing the "I wouldn't pay money for a picture like that - I can do it myself on my phone etc" - it can get very depressing. I often ask these characters (usually 30 something males) where they are exhibiting / selling their work and get the "I only do it to show my mates on Facebook etc" response before they shuffle off to irritate someone else.
Good luck however you decide to move forward.
Quote: ....but I wonder if having a low resolution digital image on their PC is becoming more desireable than paying money to get a good quality print?
Succinctly put John.
I have recently joined the 'Smartphone Owners Lot' ('SOL'..?? ) and am now able to do the usual stuff with a phone but can now include emailing, web browsing, 'Tweeting', etc etc and - more importantly - carry around images that I love - in very high quality (albeit no larger than 3" on the longest side).
I quit my photography business at the end of 2009, and am enjoying freedom!
But I am loving doing photography for myself now.
In the past two years all these 'experienced' wedding photographers have appeared in the local papers/magazines.
Good luck to them all, I'm out of it!
not only "experienced" wedding photographers but also "award winning"; I would love to know what awards lol.
As for me I have enjoyed diversifying away from weddings though they are still the core of my business; after two years stock photography Alamy is just beginning to pay; I enjoy training other photographers ( beginners and improvers not the skilled epziner) and now have started baby photography with some success.
If photography is starting to get jaded for you why not try other avenues and maybe renew your enthusiasm?
Photography is like any business - it keeps moving forward and people need to change with it or get left behind. Too many photographers offer exactly the same service so it's difficult for customers to choose between them and it therefore all comes down to price. To get ahead photographers need to have something that makes them distinct (a unique selling point as it's called in marketing). There's also the choice between specialisation and diversification. If you specialise you hone your skills and become known as an expert in that field and can legitimately charge higher prices. If you diversify then you have lots of plates spinning and a greater network of contacts. Of course once you've built up a good number of customers and contacts a lot of the business should come through recommendation, particularly if you offer incentives. It's all about marketing these days - which is handy for me because I'm better at marketing than I am at photography!
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