Friday, October 19, 2007

Real Life Photography

So I've been reduced to reading three photography sites almost every day:

  1. Strobist
  2. DPChallenge (mostly the forums)
  3. Photo Business News & Forum (by John Harrington)
Well, it turns out that Harrington has started a separate blog called Assignment Construct based around his assignments, and he's already got over a 100 posted. From what I've seen, I'll be checking back often, because he gives great overviews of the jobs he does and there are a ton of little things you can learn from the (seemingly shallow) posts.

My big take home message: his photos aren't really that sexy, but he gets paid well to make them. Really, his clients are paying for his professionalism and experience.

To be honest, I've pretty much given up the idea of a part time photography business. It just won't be worth it, because we need cash RIGHT NOW and I can make over $25/hr teaching and tutoring the SAT. Businesses have lots of upfront costs, losts of time involved for advertising, equipment, insurance, etc. It'd be unlikely I'd even be breaking even in the next month, so the idea has pretty much been shelved and photography is back in solid hobby territory. Of course, I've been lazy, I haven't updated my welcome page here yet...

I think a lot of photographers getting in the business probably want to be making the sexy photos and living the sexy photographer lifestyle. If anything, very few photographers can have success in that area, like Dave Hill and Joey Lawrence (god, that guy's been everywhere lately, including a bunch of posts on Strobist and in the DPC forums where he's been a member for three years). But it's great to see what goes into the average photographer's job (if you can call John Harrington average) -- great customer service and professional results.

This idea has been hammered home in my tutoring job too; fostering customer relationships can go far when it comes to getting later business and resolving conflicts smoothly if something goes wrong. The actual tutoring isn't as important as the rest, at least once you've had some experience. If I ever start up a photography business, that will be my goal; focus on customer relationships and professionalism first. The photography should be easy in comparison.

Not everybody can be a world-famous photographer. Most of us have to focus on the customers in our local area and be happy just pleasing them. After all, they write our paychecks!


As a side note, browsing through Technorati I rediscovered That Photo Over There. While Aidan hasn't written much lately (about once a month!), his reviews are generally above the typical photography blogger. In particular, he's got a good description of running a Canon 400D tethered, something I've been meaning to do with my camera for a while but haven't gotten around to it. His info/walkthrough seems really useful and I hope to try it out in the near future.

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