December 21, 2014, 07:34:58 AM

Author Topic: Trying to start a Photography Business but surrounded by amateurs!  (Read 16902 times)

AcutancePhotography

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Re: Trying to start a Photography Business but surrounded by amateurs!
« Reply #105 on: June 18, 2014, 11:53:11 AM »
HDR is a lot like a woman wearing makeup -- it should not be immediately obvious it is being used.

If you look at a woman and the first thought is "wow, she is wearing a lot of make up"  She is doin it wrong.
If you look at a photograph and the first thought is "wow, that's some HDR" you is doin it wrong.

It should be difficult to tell if an photograph was or was not HDR, if it is done well.  All the viewer should notice is "wow that's a pretty photograph/woman."

 ;D
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Re: Trying to start a Photography Business but surrounded by amateurs!
« Reply #105 on: June 18, 2014, 11:53:11 AM »

Orangutan

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Re: Trying to start a Photography Business but surrounded by amateurs!
« Reply #106 on: June 18, 2014, 11:59:08 AM »
HDR is a lot like a woman wearing makeup -- it should not be immediately obvious it is being used.

If you look at a woman and the first thought is "wow, she is wearing a lot of make up"  She is doin it wrong.
If you look at a photograph and the first thought is "wow, that's some HDR" you is doin it wrong.

It should be difficult to tell if an photograph was or was not HDR, if it is done well.  All the viewer should notice is "wow that's a pretty photograph/woman."

 ;D

In both cases you must add "unless it's being done for dramatic effect."  Some women (and a few men) wear heavy makeup for dramatic effect, like wearing bright, colorful clothes.  Likewise, some do HDR for the express purpose of a slightly surreal, dramatic effect.  Both are personal choices.  I'm not a huge fan of either in most cases, though I've seen a few examples that were quite well done.

mackguyver

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Re: Trying to start a Photography Business but surrounded by amateurs!
« Reply #107 on: June 18, 2014, 12:30:00 PM »
HDR is a lot like a woman wearing makeup -- it should not be immediately obvious it is being used.

If you look at a woman and the first thought is "wow, she is wearing a lot of make up"  She is doin it wrong.
If you look at a photograph and the first thought is "wow, that's some HDR" you is doin it wrong.

It should be difficult to tell if an photograph was or was not HDR, if it is done well.  All the viewer should notice is "wow that's a pretty photograph/woman."

 ;D

In both cases you must add "unless it's being done for dramatic effect."  Some women (and a few men) wear heavy makeup for dramatic effect, like wearing bright, colorful clothes.  Likewise, some do HDR for the express purpose of a slightly surreal, dramatic effect.  Both are personal choices.  I'm not a huge fan of either in most cases, though I've seen a few examples that were quite well done.
HDR is often used to make a crap photo better and it ends up being a psychedelic crap photo.  I'm not a huge fan of the "HDR look", but some photographers who take good photos AND use HDR have impressed me.  RC Concepcion (Site) is one of those people.  I don't love all his stuff, but he really seems to have a knack for taking nice HDR shots and a lot of his work is excellent. 

jdramirez

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Re: Trying to start a Photography Business but surrounded by amateurs!
« Reply #108 on: June 18, 2014, 01:05:04 PM »
I salvaged a friend's photo where the subject was to dark... I did the one image, the exposures hdr effect and the results were satisfactory. 

Hdr is my shame... and that I liked it at one time... but... you live... you learn... and hopefully that leads to improvement.

HDR is a lot like a woman wearing makeup -- it should not be immediately obvious it is being used.

If you look at a woman and the first thought is "wow, she is wearing a lot of make up"  She is doin it wrong.
If you look at a photograph and the first thought is "wow, that's some HDR" you is doin it wrong.

It should be difficult to tell if an photograph was or was not HDR, if it is done well.  All the viewer should notice is "wow that's a pretty photograph/woman."

 ;D

In both cases you must add "unless it's being done for dramatic effect."  Some women (and a few men) wear heavy makeup for dramatic effect, like wearing bright, colorful clothes.  Likewise, some do HDR for the express purpose of a slightly surreal, dramatic effect.  Both are personal choices.  I'm not a huge fan of either in most cases, though I've seen a few examples that were quite well done.
HDR is often used to make a crap photo better and it ends up being a psychedelic crap photo.  I'm not a huge fan of the "HDR look", but some photographers who take good photos AND use HDR have impressed me.  RC Concepcion (Site) is one of those people.  I don't love all his stuff, but he really seems to have a knack for taking nice HDR shots and a lot of his work is excellent.
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Mika

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Re: Trying to start a Photography Business but surrounded by amateurs!
« Reply #109 on: June 18, 2014, 04:02:08 PM »
Hi Scott,

Having looked a bit through your Flickr and homepage, I'll have to concur with others being critical. You'll need to improve the home page, others have already posted a lot of things that could be done.

Now, that being said, I'm definitely not a professional - but do design lenses as my day job so I'll have to keep myself informed how people are actually using the objectives. However, I do note that I could've done better some of the things, while some of the others not which is not something I like if I'm contacting a pro. So, instead of thinking being surrounded by amateurs, you'll need to ask what could you do to push yourself above the amateur level.

From the Flickr it looks like you're at your best at photographing mechanical stuff, airplanes and so on - though cars do need a bit more practise (I find them difficult to photograph). I personally liked the air show photos where planes are in the air against colorful sunsets, but planes on the ground not as much. Take a look on the posted Snappy vs. Crappy page (great find whoever did that!), where a photographer has found his niche in mining industry. His work clearly stands out from the rest.

So I'd advice to develop your strongest area in a public way, but keep the areas where you need practise out of the page. This pretty much mirrors what others have said.

Also, avoid mixing OK pictures with great pictures, like some of the airplanes taxing on overcast day with those colorful and dynamic airshow photos. Overcast weather makes it darn difficult to shoot in natural light, so until you get really (and I mean REALLY) good at it, try to keep them away from the portfolio. Or just start controlling the light at overcast days, but that's something you just can't do with airport photos. I find that unless I can find a good subject, a photo taken in overcast day is a photo that I could probably do better on some other day and look to do that then. As somebody else said, less is better in this case.

On the other hand, shooting airplanes on a clear day can be equally difficult if there isn't a distinct subject. This ejection photo is an example of a more direct sunlight photo but the pilot ejection itself makes it more interesting.

A bit of criticism towards the family photos, I find taking group shots of standing people tends to lead into a mediocre photo, especially if the camera is facing directly the people. This is an area where I think you need to improve if you'd like to advertise families on your page. Family to me is a much more intricate matter, and it's more about those private (not THAT kind of private) moments together.

You may see what I mean from Elena Shumilova's work, a Russian mother who mainly photographs her family. She's probably one of the most talented non-professionals (as far as I know, it's nothing short of amazing that she isn't a pro already) I've ever seen. There's a bit of animals there too. She mainly uses natural light and has been educated as a painter. Though, taking these sort of pictures at occasions like birthdays would be extremely difficult. That's when knowing the local weather and how it works in the pictures helps!

For model shots, Katerina Plotnikova is a source of inspiration. Don't worry, when it says "Adult content", it just means model's skin is visible, but she succeeds walking a very thin line on not being offensive of any way. Those beds in the trees are NOT photoshopped, but really there. Don't ask me what sort of persuasion skills she has to have to get the model to agree to go there, or dance with a bear! She occasionally does explain how the shots were taken.

I think some of your architectural shots would need to be improved, but this is an area I don't know much about. Ultrawide perspective does make buildings look funny, and while OK with friends, I think it's not something that professional can afford to do too often. Perhaps tilt/shift could help here?

Landscapes with ultra-wides is a different subject entirely. I don't find doing that very easy, and it often requires me to switch from ultra-wide to just wide to get rid of the perspective distortion. Also I need to know at what times and where the light becomes good, so on weather forecasts, I'm looking for sunny days today and rainy days tomorrow. That often means that the extra humidity may turn the evening sky red, and at that time I want to be somewhere photogenic. That may not be your area, though. Additionally, shooting landscapes tend to force me to go there very early or very late with the additional challenge that this city is very flat, leading to little depth in the images.

Just some commentary from me, tried to be constructive

benperrin

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Re: Trying to start a Photography Business but surrounded by amateurs!
« Reply #110 on: June 18, 2014, 08:06:46 PM »
Yeah, I'm tending to agree with the previous critiques posted. Basically make your website look a bit more professional and remove some of your weaker images that are bringing the stronger images down.

Quote
I have looked at local photographers too and I really don't see how one of my studio shots perfectly exposed (metered) using a Lastolite Hilite box and four Elinchrom guns can be compared to someone who is using, basically, a sheet and a light.

Don't get too caught up in correct exposure. Correct exposure is an artistic choice defined by the photographers vision not by a tool like a light meter. Joel Grimes has some really good knowledge that he shares about this subject in his videos on youtube.

I also agree with the others when they say it's more about marketing and people skills than it is about talent. This is one of the reasons I don't think I could ever go professional. So I'm just booking gigs now to pay off my expensive hobby.
« Last Edit: June 18, 2014, 08:14:35 PM by benperrin »

SoullessPolack

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Re: Trying to start a Photography Business but surrounded by amateurs!
« Reply #111 on: June 18, 2014, 09:32:04 PM »
Hey Scott, after reading through the responses here, I have a website you may want to visit that may help you:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_burn_centers_in_the_United_States

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Re: Trying to start a Photography Business but surrounded by amateurs!
« Reply #111 on: June 18, 2014, 09:32:04 PM »

wickidwombat

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Re: Trying to start a Photography Business but surrounded by amateurs!
« Reply #112 on: June 18, 2014, 11:58:40 PM »
but do design lenses as my day job

really? Awesome!

going WAYYYY OT here but whats stopping anyone making a 35-85 f1.4 with IS
size be damned to me it should not be to complicated right? since its not going to deep into the wide end
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Re: Trying to start a Photography Business but surrounded by amateurs!
« Reply #113 on: June 19, 2014, 07:05:07 AM »
Have to agree with all the others, if I was you I would consider:

1. Less kinds of work shown, don't try to be a jack of all trades, or set up another website for commercial work.
2. Specialise in kids portraits as they look the most professional to me
3. Don't include glamour photos on the website, set up another website for it. Would you send your kids to a photographer that shoots glamour work in your style?
4. The models, clothes and makeup (and the models expressions) on the glamour shots look like an out of date style. Have a look at work like Damien Lovegrove's website for a more modern look - he also shares a lot of his techniques.
5. Make your website name more personal - there is a reason most photographers use their name on their website.
6. Study tutorials on everything - creativelive has very good stuff and it's free if you can free up the time when the workshops are on.
7. It's hard to avoid taking criticism personally but people on this forum are taking their own time and effort to give their opinions so they are doing it to be helpful to your business not to make you feel bad. So take a hit on the ego, take the objective criticisms on board and you should have a much better website and more business very soon.

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Mika

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Re: Trying to start a Photography Business but surrounded by amateurs!
« Reply #114 on: June 19, 2014, 07:45:08 PM »
but do design lenses as my day job

really? Awesome!

going WAYYYY OT here but whats stopping anyone making a 35-85 f1.4 with IS
size be damned to me it should not be to complicated right? since its not going to deep into the wide end

Well, I have not tried to do that yet, but I think the biggest thing there would be to control the element positions accurately enough during zooming - F/1.4 primes already require quite accurate element positioning, and I suppose it would only get more complicated with movements in the barrels (that also have their tolerances).

The other factor would then be the cost and market for such objective.

benperrin

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Re: Trying to start a Photography Business but surrounded by amateurs!
« Reply #115 on: June 19, 2014, 08:19:55 PM »
I think we might have scared him off.

Don't take the advice given here as an attack on you or your photography. Take it as an opportunity to learn and to grow your business and skills. You'll be setting yourself apart from your competition and you won't be worrying about them anymore. It's all about perception. You can perceive everything written to be an attack on you, get defensive/hurt and nothing will be done to help grow your business. Or you can take the advice given and implement some changes that will make you stand out.

In the end I suppose that's what people are saying. You need to elevate everything you do so that you aren't competing in the same market as the amateur. As you've found out most people just want the cheapest prices and don't have an eye for the art. Don't market to those people.

Hope this helps and doesn't hinder you.

Cheers,
Ben

jdramirez

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Re: Trying to start a Photography Business but surrounded by amateurs!
« Reply #116 on: June 19, 2014, 08:35:32 PM »
True.  With my first daughter I was in the el cheapo group.  I brought in my coupon... give me the package, no more, no less.  The funny thing is that I now have offer $10,000 in gear for a product I am reluctant to pay more than $30 for.  Strange world.

I think we might have scared him off.

Don't take the advice given here as an attack on you or your photography. Take it as an opportunity to learn and to grow your business and skills. You'll be setting yourself apart from your competition and you won't be worrying about them anymore. It's all about perception. You can perceive everything written to be an attack on you, get defensive/hurt and nothing will be done to help grow your business. Or you can take the advice given and implement some changes that will make you stand out.

In the end I suppose that's what people are saying. You need to elevate everything you do so that you aren't competing in the same market as the amateur. As you've found out most people just want the cheapest prices and don't have an eye for the art. Don't market to those people.

Hope this helps and doesn't hinder you.

Cheers,
Ben
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dolina

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Re: Trying to start a Photography Business but surrounded by amateurs!
« Reply #117 on: June 24, 2014, 11:42:03 AM »
Creating a brand for your photography is critical to allow you to price yourself to a respective degree. There are too many photographers who are willing to work for free just because they can or for the purpose of practice.
Visit my Flickr, Facebook & 500px and see my photos. :)

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Re: Trying to start a Photography Business but surrounded by amateurs!
« Reply #117 on: June 24, 2014, 11:42:03 AM »

eninja

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Re: Trying to start a Photography Business but surrounded by amateurs!
« Reply #118 on: July 18, 2014, 03:22:02 AM »
I guess this was a wrong move for him to post this thread. Amateur his referring to may read this thread and follow all the advise you guys gave.

Thanks to this thread I learned few fundamentals.. Thanks for the input guys. I'm 30, just like most, I don't know where I'm headed, you never know what business idea works, might as well give it a try.

Vossie

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Re: Trying to start a Photography Business but surrounded by amateurs!
« Reply #119 on: July 18, 2014, 07:28:46 AM »
Hey Scott, after reading through the responses here, I have a website you may want to visit that may help you:

unappropriate link

You probably try to be funny, but I think this reply is quite inappropriate. Although I agree with most of the criticism being given here, we have to give kudos to Scott for his courage to provide a link to his Flickr after having received such strong feedback. He doesn’t walk away from his critics, which –in my view– is a brave thing. He also tries not to take it personally, but to learn from the feedback. With your reply, you are making it personal.

Furthermore, I would not see how he would be helped with addresses in the US, as he lives in the Scotland, which is in the UK (not sure if you are aware of that).

I would speak for you, if you would edit your comment.
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Re: Trying to start a Photography Business but surrounded by amateurs!
« Reply #119 on: July 18, 2014, 07:28:46 AM »