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  1. #1
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    The "Ugly" Business of Photography

    Since the "pro" vs "amateur" discussion has reared its ugly head, I wanted to address it here briefly.

    There is only one difference between pro and amateur: one runs a business and the other does not. Nothing to do with quality, knowledge, or expertise in photography.

    One of the most rapidly evolving and most controversial areas in the pro photography world is copyright and licensing. I'm posting a link to an excellent discussion about this topic that anyone who sells or wants to sell their images needs to listen to. And if you find the content dry and boring, it's probably a good indicator that you should not go into the business part of it, or hire yourself someone to do the business part.

    Two quotes rose to the surface for me:

    1. a more creative society is a more sane society.

    2. I'm not just a photographer. I'm also a business person. And if I don't put the black ink to paper, then all I have is an expensive hobby.

    Keeping Our Rights and Sharing Our Work


    See More: The "Ugly" Business of Photography
    Helene of OHK Photography and here's what I do with my images: Vivacini


    There are always possibilities.
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  2. #2
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    Re: The "Ugly" Business of Photography

    Interesting video...I was watching it this afternoon as well. Chase Jarvis is awesome, and is one of the "good guys" in my book when it comes to working pros. I mention him in a blog post I'm writing, which is very relevant to this topic as well.
    Image Protection 101 - What you need to know about copyrights and licensing

  3. #3
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    Re: The "Ugly" Business of Photography

    I found this very interesting, and thanks for the link, Helene. A huge amount of poignant and valid points. I forget the lady's name that was on the panel, but she was all over the place with her comments! Hard to follow her reasoning on many points. Anyway, besides what she was trying to say, I found the rest of it most interesting. None of it applies to me personally, because I don't plan on making money with what I do, but nonetheless, a most interesting discussion.
    Jack

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  4. #4
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    Re: The "Ugly" Business of Photography

    My blog post is here, if anyone cares to read and weigh in on it. Comments are always welcome.
    Image Protection 101 - What you need to know about copyrights and licensing

  5. #5
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    Re: The "Ugly" Business of Photography

    I enjoyed reading your blog Anthony, very interesting. I really like the subscription concept, a photographer on retainer essentially, I would think there is alot of potential if marketed correctly. Also liked the website you have your blog on, your business one seems kinda dry (just an observation, not to be critical). It is ashame traditional film photography has gone by the wayside (although there is still a small nitche market for this art form), but it's survival of the fitest now and the old ways must yield. I'm raising my wedding rates to three cases now!
    Rick

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  6. #6
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    Re: The "Ugly" Business of Photography

    I certainly appreciate the comments. And yes, the business site still needs some attention. I designed them both, but the personal site is much more "me".

    I agree on the subscription pricing model. It will be interesting to see if time share pricing leaks into the photography market.
    Image Protection 101 - What you need to know about copyrights and licensing

  7. #7
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    Re: The "Ugly" Business of Photography

    Quote Originally Posted by ohkphoto View Post
    Since the "pro" vs "amateur" discussion has reared its ugly head, I wanted to address it here briefly.

    There is only one difference between pro and amateur: one runs a business and the other does not. Nothing to do with quality, knowledge, or expertise in photography.

    One of the most rapidly evolving and most controversial areas in the pro photography world is copyright and licensing. I'm posting a link to an excellent discussion about this topic that anyone who sells or wants to sell their images needs to listen to. And if you find the content dry and boring, it's probably a good indicator that you should not go into the business part of it, or hire yourself someone to do the business part.

    Two quotes rose to the surface for me:

    1. a more creative society is a more sane society.

    2. I'm not just a photographer. I'm also a business person. And if I don't put the black ink to paper, then all I have is an expensive hobby.

    Keeping Our Rights and Sharing Our Work
    I think you hit it right on the head! There is no quality or expertise standard in the photography trade for one labeling themselves a "pro". The "pro" that did my wedding, although highly recommended, did a terrible job. I think some type of industry accreditation would go a long way in weeding out the pro-wannabies. Perhaps if an organization of professionals established quality standards, someone labeled a "pro" would have credibility and be held to a base level of quality by the organization accrediting them. A degree or expensive equipement (like my wedding photograher) creates an image of professionalism, but it is no guarantee of professional results.
    Last edited by Rick M; 03-10-2011 at 04:05 AM.
    Rick

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  8. #8
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    Re: The "Ugly" Business of Photography

    Quote Originally Posted by cnyram View Post
    There is no quality or expertise standard in the photography trade for one labeling themselves a "pro".
    I believe that is one of the issues this industry faces. There are several organizations out there (ASMP comes to mind) who have their own criteria for judging quality. Some are fairly stringent, others simply require a membership dues to obtain their "certification". There is little protection for the consumer, and there is no unifying badge of honor. They're all just about equally worthless to the general public.

    The auto industry was faced with this problem in the late 80's. As you can imagine the number of suppliers to the auto industry is immense, yet there was no standard. Enter ISO 9000. I'll spare everyone the details of ISO (International Standards Organization), but basically this certification is a true, unbiased standard of quality and business practices. Different industries custom tailored this standard to their own applications (the auto industry uses QS 9000). I don't see any reason why photography couldn't do the same.
    Image Protection 101 - What you need to know about copyrights and licensing

  9. #9
    Captain Grammar
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    Re: The "Ugly" Business of Photography

    Cynram (although I don't believe that could possibly be your real name ). I can agree with you 100% on the standards aspect, although what you said later on in your post poses another conundrum.
    "Perhaps if an organization of professionals established quality standards...". My question would be............who would determine who these professionals would be? See what I mean here? Even if an organization sprang up and called themselves the International Organization of Professional Photographers, who decided that? One guy? A group of photographers? What made them professionals in the first place? And how would they decide who and how to certify? What would the criteria be? Would anyone care?
    I don't think it's going to be an easy task to solve this problem of who's a pro and who's not. Should be interesting to see how this all plays out.
    Jack

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  10. #10
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    Re: The "Ugly" Business of Photography

    Therein lies the trick in all of this, Jack. And largely why this industry finds itself in such a mess right now. Everyone wants to be the top dog. It happens in all industries...let's look to the NFL for example:

    In 1920 representatives of several professional American football leagues and independent teams founded the American Professional Football Conference, soon renamed the National Football League.
    While currently united under one banner, it wasn't always so. At one time, there were several different professional football leagues in America. I can name at least a dozen very different markets where this very thing was an issue at one time. The major difference is, they united and became better for it. The photography industry seems to be content with maintaining a rift for whatever reason. Until the powers that be can get over themselves and realize the damage they're causing as a whole, the mess continues.
    Image Protection 101 - What you need to know about copyrights and licensing





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