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Photography and fastlane

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Hi all,

I know that "do what you love" is usually hard way to create successful business, but I thought about it as a side business (or something to do in a free time) which can add some cents to my pocket.
I am mostly into candid photography and street art (I am not a pro, just doing it for fun).
So do you have any advice how can I use my photography skills to make a fastlane business?

I saw similar thread about drawing skills, but I think that there are some differences between drawing and photography.

Thanks,
 

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kelvinfernandezm

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Hi all,

I know that "do what you love" is usually hard way to create successful business, but I thought about it as a side business (or something to do in a free time) which can add some cents to my pocket.
I am mostly into candid photography and street art (I am not a pro, just doing it for fun).
So do you have any advice how can I use my photography skills to make a fastlane business?

I saw similar thread about drawing skills, but I think that there are some differences between drawing and photography.

Thanks,
I've gotten into photography lately and there's definitely a big market out there.

Business:

Product Photography agency to take pictures for products that will go online.

Real Estate Photography

Social Media Photographer

Special Events Photographer

The most important aspect of having a photography business is knowing how to edit the photos to make them stand out.
 

DHZ

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When it comes to art or photography, your advertising and promotional skills are just as important as your artistic skills, and more important in some cases. For example, the most simple of modern art can be capable of having such high perceived value.
 

mike24601

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I've lots of photography experience, not only as a once serious hobbyist but also at one time I did photojournalism work. I knew many people who have tried making a living behind a camera in weddings, in the news business, and such. Photographers offering services today are a dime a dozen on social media, and all are eager to undercut one another for business, which causes problems down the road as many clients are less willing to pay more for quality products. In their mind, you're just clicking a button and little thought is given to the hours of editing, thousands of dollars in gear, and other costs associated with running a photography business. What used to require a large investment in equipment can now be done with an iPhone in many cases, which begs the consumer to question why they need to hire someone in the first place.

IMO today it is still possible to make a good living but you have GOT to put out exceptional work that clients can easily differentiate from some hack with a used Nikon. Most people don't have an eye for this. You should also be multitalented (that means doing senior portraits one day and a real estate shoot the next) to avoid painting yourself into a corner.

Taking this Fastlane would have to involve an element of scale.. If only you could clone yourself 50 times and open up shop nationwide. You could possibly create a real-estate photography franchise, or a school photography franchise, or an app to connect customers with potential clients where all photographers listed would be vetted and credentialed. This has been done already but there's always room for improvement.
 

Xeon

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There are some photographers who also provide drone photography/videography as added services nowadays.

E.g: beach photography, taking shots of the scenery and beach lifestyle, then using drones to take additional aerial shots and videos of the area to cover all angles and make it all-rounded.
 

RazorCut

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I would love to know other people’s thoughts on this.

I have some background in photography. I have been paid for images used in newspapers, taken thousands and thousands of stock pictures that returned millions in sales revenue and been commissioned to take pictures at the world’s largest Horticultural show at Hampton Court Palace. With that experience behind me I am now starting up a new business and photography wouldn’t even make the brainstorming page let alone the shortlist.

My main issue with Photography as a business these days is that the barrier to entry is just not there anymore. You once had to have a high end SLR or medium format camera (MFC) and know how to use them, as film was expensive, and you didn’t get immediate results. Now that was a barrier to entry.

Scroll forward to the early digital days and product shots for small businesses selling on eBay and their own websites were now obtainable but the images were nowhere near pro level.

As technology increased and the first digital backs came out things began to shift. Stock photographers could create vast numbers of pics via a digital back on a MFC and it was possible, (especially with a ballooning web that was hungry for images) to make a good living from a catalogue of say 10,000+ pictures. Back then photo libraries would not even consider an image taken on an SLR. It was medium format or larger. The price of a Hasselblad and Digital back was eye watering. A serious barrier to entry.

Now with the proliferation of stock sites and the lowering of image standards it is practically impossible to make a full time living in stock photography.

Today a modern camera or mobile phone takes remarkable images even by the most inexperienced user. Often I will be truly stunned by the quality of a picture taken from an iPhone.

I have a friend who used to make her living doing wedding photography. Now the number of people wanting a pro photographer has reduced to a trickle and the prices she once could command are nowhere near realistic any more.

Drones were once high priced and difficult to operate. Businesses sprang up provide aerial video and stills. Now drones are cheap and easy to use and it didn’t take that long for the transition to happen.

Unless you can connect to a niche that allows you to exclude others via say relationship, a unique and identifiable skill that will enable you to stand out from the crowd, or a patentable technology then I can’t see how you can make a Fastlane business that fulfils the criteria of barrier to entry which is so important and has been the downfall of the traditional photographer.
 

Andreas Thiel

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Maybe worth considering ... but I am not sure:

initially I got extremely excited when I saw the difference between stereoscopic photography and regular 2D 180 degree scenes in Virtual Reality. Why 180 degree? The resolution takes a huge hit for 360 degree images and videos. Plus, it eliminates FOMO.

I personally would probably pay a lot to have a 180 degree stereoscopic slideshow of my wedding (if I ever had a wedding).

I would say there might be some opportunities for taking a not-so-crowded route there, while the stereoscopic gear is still expensive.
However, I would look for conclusive soft proof first. Unfortunately too few people seem to share my personal inclination (for this to be a safe bet).
There seems to be some sensory syndrome where people do not see the difference between stereoscopic and non-stereoscopic footage the way I see it.

The success of 180 degree stereoscopic ... well ... adult entertainment could be an indication that this is worth looking into, though. People might go for a spontaneous upsell to get something that sets them apart.

It could scale to some degree as a premium service where photographers take footage based on a best practices training and editors create a premium product based on the footage later.

Maybe a "cheap" consumer device like the LucidCam https://www.lucidcam.com can be used to bootstrap such a business by shining in the recording and editing department, but the quality is probably not stellar.

I have the device, but my Rift lets me down these days. Could not testdrive it yet.

[EDIT]
Hope it is obvious that this could work for other clients ... not just weddings.
Travel Agencies. With a Casey Neistat style Youtube channel plus Patreon ...
whatever it is that you mean when you say Street Art (I think Candid Photography might have a negative connotation ...).

There are also people selling accessoires: vente d accessoire pour camera stéréoscipoque lucidcam 3d. Maybe you could create a product and combine promoting the product with example photography (would probably be a bigger business than you have in mind, though).
[/EDIT]
 
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mike24601

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I would love to know other people’s thoughts on this.

As technology increased and the first digital backs came out things began to shift. Stock photographers could create vast numbers of pics via a digital back on a MFC and it was possible, (especially with a ballooning web that was hungry for images) to make a good living from a catalogue of say 10,000+ pictures. Back then photo libraries would not even consider an image taken on an SLR. It was medium format or larger. The price of a Hasselblad and Digital back was eye watering. A serious barrier to entry.
It's crazy how much image quality you can get for your money today. My MF studio camera, albeit I'm still shooting with film backs and Fujichrome, ran me about $500 USD with accessories and a lens on eBay a few years back. Brand new, it cost more than a car and the lenses were additional massive investments. Cameras like these were reserved for people like Annie Leibovitz to shoot covers at Vanity Fair.

Today, one can learn all they need to know about photography through cheap or free online courses, library books, and trial + error. Then they can go on eBay and get some serious professional level tools and start putting out excellent technical work right away. So while the barrier to entry is eroding fast, it still takes a lot of talent to create good work. Nevertheless, in such a saturated market, you have to ask yourself "am I filling any needs here?" and "what value am I creating?"

Now I love photography, but thinking back to the time when I had tight deadlines to meet and had to put out good, consistent work in order to keep my job, it wasn't so fun anymore. "Do what you love" often ends up turning sour when the money starts drying up. It's a bad idea in the same sense that entering a business partnership with your best friend is a bad idea..when money is involved things can go south and often you end up losing a friend.
 

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