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Old 30-09-2007, 12:07   #1 (permalink)
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When does money become top priority?

Today I would say.

I am still wondering if I made the right call but I'm sure I did.

Went along at the last minute to this XC event but by 11.30 the max was 6 horses boxes and not many more competitors so called it a day, the money even from the mag wouldnt cover my petrol and a day spent there so even though before I took jobs because I wanted to get noticed now Im not working I cant afford to just use my time poorly like that.

Did I make the right decision hmm , considering it was only a small club show I think so, will they ask me back not sure, however its not financially viable so would I want to go back , No probably not but it is the end of season.

Anyone had to make that decision? or do you think I was wrong? lol
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Old 30-09-2007, 12:14   #2 (permalink)
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Re: When does money become top priority?

Nope! You're bound to get the occasional knockback - and like all things, experience gained.

As it's quiet at the mo', now is the time to get the time wasters - better than later when taking on a job which is a waste of time and there's other jobs you could've done. Onward and upward!
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Old 30-09-2007, 12:26   #3 (permalink)
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Re: When does money become top priority?

I agree with Mark. You have to take the rough with the smooth, and it depends on whether you actually enjoy it. From little acorns.....
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Old 30-09-2007, 13:37   #4 (permalink)
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Re: When does money become top priority?

I had to make that same decision on Friday night. A band called the red hot chilli pipers(not peppers) were playing Caird Hall in Dundee, Scotland. I called IS! (a magazine i do some work for), asking if they wanted me to go down and check it out. They said yes, phoned Caird and reserved me a press pass. Only afterwards did i realise that I had no money to get there...I walked, but then again it's only 2 miles. Had it been another town, i would have passed and moved on to the next job. I think you made the right decision.
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Old 30-09-2007, 15:13   #5 (permalink)
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Re: When does money become top priority?

Had the magazine booked you to take this event? If they had I would probably have stayed, mainly to build reputation, a magazine may think twice if they book somebody who goes home without taking shots, and you were already there, so could look upon it as practice, if you stayed a while, you could have got 1 or 2 shots for them.
However, I can understand where you are coming from. I've just had an email from a guy who runs a coaching business, charging what is not a small amount for coaching cyclists. He wanted 3 digital images, which I sell for £7.50 each (I put a print and web file on the disc), this being just under what others charge, I also stated that I keep copyright and that if the images were used on the web, my name should be with them, but I would link to his site. He complained about the cost and thought he should have a large discount for ordering 3 photo's!!! I sent him an email back, detailing the costs of the event for me, ie, travelling 200 miles to and from the event, spending 2 days sorting through 1800 images, plus the equipment I need to do my job. His charges for coaching are £80.00 per month and an extra £20.00 per hour for personal coaching sessions. Some people think photography is free!
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Old 30-09-2007, 15:35   #6 (permalink)
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Re: When does money become top priority?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Whipspeed View Post
I've just had an email from a guy who runs a coaching business, charging what is not a small amount for coaching cyclists. He wanted 3 digital images, which I sell for £7.50 each (I put a print and web file on the disc), this being just under what others charge, I also stated that I keep copyright and that if the images were used on the web, my name should be with them, but I would link to his site. He complained about the cost and thought he should have a large discount for ordering 3 photo's!!! I sent him an email back, detailing the costs of the event for me, ie, travelling 200 miles to and from the event, spending 2 days sorting through 1800 images, plus the equipment I need to do my job. His charges for coaching are £80.00 per month and an extra £20.00 per hour for personal coaching sessions. Some people think photography is free!
some people are p*ic*s and need to be told when to sod off.

Last edited by traer; 30-09-2007 at 15:38. Reason: ...
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Old 30-09-2007, 15:57   #7 (permalink)
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Re: When does money become top priority?

I know where your coming from Whipspeed and I did consider it but due to the low amount of competitors and the magazine pay little per photograph I would have come out with £15 if that and twice before I have stayed on at events that were poorly attended and made large losse's so I really had to draw the line otherwise I might aswell give out everything for free. Anyway I ve made the call now If its wrong its wrong and I will learn from it .
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Old 30-09-2007, 16:05   #8 (permalink)
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Re: When does money become top priority?

although i understand where you are coming from regarding the expense, i would definately have stayed, i dont think u can put a price on reputation and the simple fact that you carried out the job would ahve given you plenty brownie points, i would have stayed anyway just to get some shots even if it was for my own use rather than the magazines.
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Old 30-09-2007, 16:30   #9 (permalink)

PLEASE NOTE

I TYPE USING CAPITALS DUE TO A DISABILTY

THANKS FOR YOUR UNDERSTANDING
 
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Re: When does money become top priority?

As You Were There , You Might As Well Have Stayed, What Ever You Made
Would Have Been A Bonus, Rather Than Go Home With Nothing.

Maybe The Competitors Or Their Families, Might Have Wanted Some Shots
Taken. Remember If You Are Freelance You Can Work For Anyone, Not Just
The Magazine You Went There For.
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Old 30-09-2007, 16:58   #10 (permalink)
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Re: When does money become top priority?

Last 2 events I've covered have made £0. So probably would have stayed for £15.00, you'd driven there, so used the petrol anyway.
Fiona has made some very good points, you can't put a price on reputation.
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Old 30-09-2007, 17:45   #11 (permalink)
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Re: When does money become top priority?

Quote:
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Fiona has made some very good points, you can't put a price on reputation.
Depends what sort of reputation you want to have. Yes, I know we all want a good reputation but what we want and what we end up with are often very different. I will now bore you with Les'...

TWO LIST THEORY
Everyone, and I mean everyone, has two lists for everything. Let's call them List 'A' and 'B' (thats original eh?). List 'A' contains your perceptions of quality, List 'B' the rest. So, you want some trousers to slob around the house in where do you look? You look at shops on your 'B' list because they are just to slob around in and you don't want to pay much for them, right? Then, you are going to a posh do and decide to wear a trouser suit. Where do you look? Shops on your 'A' list right? Shops that sell quality clothes and you are willing to pay the prices.

This also applies to freelancers and clients. ALL clients have two lists, 'A' and 'B', and your 'reputation' will put you on one or other list. Of course, you MUST be on list 'A' or you will always get the cr*p jobs are the lowest fees. How do you get on list 'A', you earn respect by having respect for yourself, your talent/knowledge, your fees (charge the right price for the job NOT the price to get the job!), respect for clients and most of all have the self-confidence to show clients YOU are the boss even though they pay the bills. Of course, all done with diplomacy!

Once you are on list 'B' you have had it, time to move to another client. How do you know which list you are on? Easy, by the way clients treat you and the money they offer you!

And in response to the original message...

This is always a difficult situation but I personally think you did the right thing. You are a freelance and you have to know when your time would be better spent doing something else. I would have contacted the mag editor as soon as convenient and explained that there was simply not enough going on to get shots that the mag could use (photographers bullsh*t, something you need to be adept at) and it wasn't worth your time staying longer than you did. This shows the mag that you prioritize and don't waste their's or your own time unnecessarily. If you handle the chat in the right way you will improve your reputation rather than diminish it.

An important skill for any pro photographer (or any freelance come to that) to learn is when to show clients that YOU are the one in control of the photography and that they (the client) has to learn to trust your professional judgment when on assignment. In my long time experience I have found that this usually improves relations with the client and gains you respect (something many folks don't have for photographers and need to be taught pronto!). Once you have their respect things improve, if you don't get their respect drop them and find another client (trust me, there's ALWAYS another client somewhere).

Slightly off topic but important for young pro photographers is...

Learn the Pareto Principle (the 80/20 rule), 80% of your business will come from only 20% of your total clients. This is often very true and one thing you need to learn is to ask yourself the question "How important is this client to my overall business?". This will often help decide whether to drop a 'bad' client (because usually bad clients are bad for business and bad for the soul).

Another off topic piece of Les' advice is...LEARN TO SAY THANKS BUT NO THANKS!!

Have a good day

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Old 30-09-2007, 18:05   #12 (permalink)
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Re: When does money become top priority?

Quote:
respect for clients and most of all have the self-confidence to show clients YOU are the boss even though they pay the bills. Of course, all done with diplomacy!
Agree with that Les and a few other pointers, which is why I told the potential client wanting a large discount for a very small order to very politely, go away. He didn't want my name on the shot on his website either, as, and I quote "I usually charge for advertising"

I am also not taking bookings for very small events any more, it isn't worth it for me to go, however, I have always been to an event I have been booked for and stayed, however small in the past, in cycling some clubs may have small events every year, and then get to host something presigious like the time trial championships, which is how I've got the booking for 2009.
Luckily, I know that I can supply a quality product and so do the people who have bought from me and they pass the work around and have now started to sell a few shots to manufacturers who sponsor the riders.
And yes, learn to say thanks, but no thanks, but very politely.
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Old 30-09-2007, 18:34   #13 (permalink)
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Re: When does money become top priority?

Well I did contact the editor when i got home and also found another event I could do for them and basically said look this wasnt quite up to it but this one looks much better! lol

I'm afraid I have learnt very quickly that If i stand around allday for £0 everyone will learn thats what I do and will take advantage, they have already started to try and take advantage and I have had to point blank say 'no sorry'.

Les is right If I dont do it now I will end up going back to working for someone else and taking pictures on my days off, I have I hope learnt a lot from having both sides of my family for several generations run thier own business's and having run my own business previously to this, If you give....someone will take and its you at the end of the day who finds themselves out of pocket.

Last edited by Summerleft; 30-09-2007 at 18:50.
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Old 30-09-2007, 19:09   #14 (permalink)
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Re: When does money become top priority?

Aye that's true, and there's also the 'Jam Tomorrow' brigade who will say they can't pay you much but it'll be good for your CV, and of course there's the prospect of something better if only you do this one for nothing......

I still believe that, in the early days, you have to accept some of that in order to gain experience and a track record, but you soon learn to walk away from timewasters.
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Old 30-09-2007, 19:52   #15 (permalink)
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Re: When does money become top priority?

Yes, not heard back from my cheapskate after my email.
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Old 30-09-2007, 21:11   #16 (permalink)
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Re: When does money become top priority?

i think once you have made your name known and started to realyl take off in your business its fine to be able to say no to some...... BUT on the other hand who knows what may come from a little job. whats the expression.. "big oaks from little acorns come".....
I realise that you are starting up on your own etc so every penny counts, BUT i think its far wiser to wait until you are established before being too picky about what jobs you choose to do, after all the bills have to be paid no matter how big or little the jobs are. and i know i would much rather do 10 little jobs in a week and KNOW im being paid something that waiting about and hoping one big job comes in to cover the bills.
at the end of the day however its immaterial as its done and dusted, and its your decision to make

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Old 30-09-2007, 21:35   #17 (permalink)
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Re: When does money become top priority?

Yes, can be true, as I've said, covered a local open time trial earlier this year and now that club has got the chance to host the National Time Trial Championships in 2009, guess who's got the job, the person who was willing to go out and sit at the side of the road on a blustery March morning.
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Old 30-09-2007, 23:56   #18 (permalink)
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Re: When does money become top priority?

What was it that you went off to do that was more productive than staying to do the shoot, and how much did you earn from it, i.e. was it more than the £15 you would've got for shooting the event? (or was it £0 as I suspect )

If what you ended up doing for the afternoon was not another photo job, then I would say you had nothing to lose by staying to do the shoot, since you were already there, and could have got a few shots for both your client and yourself (portfolio), not to mention a bit of practice (unless you don't need practice anymore).

From your earlier posts on your progress as a freelancer, you came across as quite enterprising. I would've thought you'd have equally found some way to make the day productive by looking for prospective clients who were at the event, e.g. horse owners who might've commissioned you for portraits of their horses, either then + there or for future jobs.

I agree that if you did have another photo job to go and do which was going to bring you more money, then you did the right thing. If that wasn't the case (which I don't think it was, otherwise you would've mentioned it) then it means your journey to the event was a waste of time + petrol. If you'd used your time there in the ways suggested in this thread, then it would have been productive in one way or another. As it is, it wasn't, because you left with nothing.

I don't think your experience today had anything to do with "money being top priority", since you didn't make any in any event When the jobs are lining up for you, then you can choose the best paying one. Until then, I wouldn't think you can afford to walk away from any assignment which you have accepted to do, whether big or small; they will all bring you some form of benefit, whether it be money or experience, or making new contacts + getting your face seen everywhere, i.e. getting known in the horsey circles. It will all lead to business for you over time.

Look the part, swan around with your camera, taking shots here + there, look busy, and you will get noticed. Even if only by six people and six horses

Having said all that ... it is Sunday, so I'd have probably done the same as you, and gapped it
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Old 30-09-2007, 23:59   #19 (permalink)
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Re: When does money become top priority?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Les Meehan View Post
Learn the Pareto Principle (the 80/20 rule), 80% of your business will come from only 20% of your total clients. This is often very true and one thing you need to learn is to ask yourself the question "How important is this client to my overall business?".
Whilst I'd in the main agree, I would suggest caution; I've had dealings with individuals/organisations on a very minor level and for them to turn around and put significant business my way (not necessarily photographically). Don't forget that personal recommendation is worth many factors of any other type of marketing/advertising - and people remember you for the oddest things! Act and conduct yourself professionally and your reputation will precede you!
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Old 01-10-2007, 09:28   #20 (permalink)
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Re: When does money become top priority?

Well I spoke to my editor and got more work to cover.

I may be only at the beginnings of a career but I also know by experience and from other Equestrian photographers that 6 horses arent going to make anything.
1 in 30 people might buy a portrait and when an event is so badly attended like that it really isnt going to be a good day.

My choice from today was that I knew for 10 hours standing about I might possibly make £15 if that and that is less than minimum wage

We will see you can all give me a good 'I told you so' if I go down the pan and never make a success but I reserve my right to give a big if it turns out ok

Lastly thier last tog as they put it 'disappeared of the face of the earth' theres always a reason .......
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Old 01-10-2007, 09:56   #21 (permalink)
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Re: When does money become top priority?

I've been self-employed for the last 15 years and one thing I've learned is to expect the unexpected. You never know where the opportunities will come from or what direction you may be heading in in another few weeks/months/years.

When I chucked in my 'proper' job I had a pretty clear idea of where I expected to go from there, but through a series of chance happenings I ended up doing something quite different. Nowadays people occasionally phone up and say I've been recommended by so-and-so and often I can't even recall who so-and-so is or what I may have done for them in the distant past!

Once you set off on your own, life can have may twists and turns, and the thing is to enjoy the ride because that's why you're doing it. At the moment you're taking photos at small-scale horsey events, but someone may get to know you from that and ask if you do weddings / portraits / commercial / etc - who knows?

It's generally reckoned that a new business takes at least 6-12 months to start making any money, so perhaps use this time to gain experience, explore the market and become famous. Sow the seeds and wait to see what grows.
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Old 05-10-2007, 11:28   #22 (permalink)
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Re: When does money become top priority?

From my own personal experience I would have stayed at the show even if for just enough time to get a couple of shots of each competitor. I've also had days like that where I have sold next to nothing but I have also been to what I thought were 'no-hoper' shows where I either ended up selling more prints than I thought i would or I got a couple of portrait commissions. I even did a quiet one a couple of months ago and picked up a wedding booking from it so not a wasted day!

Maybe you are going about this the wrong way. Instead of attending shows on behalf of a magazine (and let's be honest here, they pay crap money) why don't you attend the shows as the official 'tog and sell your images online. That way there is a better chance to make some money whilst still supplying the magazines. Equine photography isn't always easy but I would say that you need to get out there and talk to show organisers etc although the season is now slowing down, maybe you could make up some flyers offering protrait commissions (remember to give a discount for bookings of five or more) and give them to all the livery yards/stables in your area, you'd be surprised at how many there are.

The acorns and oaks analogy is a good one as I came into this by accident, I was fed up with my wife buying images at shows from so-called professional photographers where the quality was pants. From starting with a few shows last summer I am now getting more and more work, with eight confirmed weddings for next year including one in Italy. All this started with me attending my first show which was a very quiet local affair.

I have always tried to concentrate on quality over quantity and i think that has helped with regards to reputation and recommendations. I have also found that customers are becoming more discerning, to give you an example I was at a show a few weeks ago as a spectator and the official 'tog was there selling on site. I went in to have a look at what was on offer and they were obviously printed straight from camera (only thumbnails on view), whilst I was in the tent four customers returned their images asking for their money back as the quality was not good enough.

I answered some questions about this subject some time back and there were a couple threads merged by Dave, you might find some of my experiences useful.

Equestrian Photography Business Start Up

Hope this helps and good luck.
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Old 05-10-2007, 12:04   #23 (permalink)
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Re: When does money become top priority?

Just read that thread Colin, some useful advice, which would work for any event tog. I usually leave cards at race HQ's, but next year I will make up a board with examples of my work on it. Some of the cycling togs are the same as you've found with equestrian togs, the stuff on the web is just straight from camera, with no thought to composition or quality. I'm glad you go to small events as well, it proves they can be worth it.
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Old 05-10-2007, 15:39   #24 (permalink)
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Re: When does money become top priority?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hacker View Post
From my own personal experience I would have stayed at the show even if for just enough time to get a couple of shots of each competitor. I've also had days like that where I have sold next to nothing but I have also been to what I thought were 'no-hoper' shows where I either ended up selling more prints than I thought i would or I got a couple of portrait commissions. I even did a quiet one a couple of months ago and picked up a wedding booking from it so not a wasted day!

Maybe you are going about this the wrong way. Instead of attending shows on behalf of a magazine (and let's be honest here, they pay crap money) why don't you attend the shows as the official 'tog and sell your images online. That way there is a better chance to make some money whilst still supplying the magazines. Equine photography isn't always easy but I would say that you need to get out there and talk to show organisers etc although the season is now slowing down, maybe you could make up some flyers offering protrait commissions (remember to give a discount for bookings of five or more) and give them to all the livery yards/stables in your area, you'd be surprised at how many there are.

The acorns and oaks analogy is a good one as I came into this by accident, I was fed up with my wife buying images at shows from so-called professional photographers where the quality was pants. From starting with a few shows last summer I am now getting more and more work, with eight confirmed weddings for next year including one in Italy. All this started with me attending my first show which was a very quiet local affair.

I have always tried to concentrate on quality over quantity and i think that has helped with regards to reputation and recommendations. I have also found that customers are becoming more discerning, to give you an example I was at a show a few weeks ago as a spectator and the official 'tog was there selling on site. I went in to have a look at what was on offer and they were obviously printed straight from camera (only thumbnails on view), whilst I was in the tent four customers returned their images asking for their money back as the quality was not good enough.

I answered some questions about this subject some time back and there were a couple threads merged by Dave, you might find some of my experiences useful.

Equestrian Photography Business Start Up

Hope this helps and good luck.
Thanks for that very useful,

I am the official for the western society midlands and because of that I got the mag work but as you say pay is poor and Im still waiting for pay from the job i did 16th september lol I started off by asking societys and clubs if they wanted pics doing then approached the mag to see if they were interested which they were. Funnily enough i did some flyers for portraits and they are all being sent off for a Christmas promo

The other sunday I still think should I have stayed however I took OH as i was under the impression that the 110acre XC course was going to have lots of competitors to sell prints and the mag was a second however when I got there most had competed and there were literally a handful ambling around doing nothing, no one was helpful and organisers werent that interested either which made it an uncomfortable day.

OH didnt want to stay and that was my lift so maybe I was wrong but a bit late for retrospect
and Im not going to dwell on it any further. Also really 7 or 8 pics of people who werent competing really doesnt warrant a folder of its own as surely it makes it look worse than no coverage at all.

Anyway thats it from me lol

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