The VALUE of photography... please learn about it before you make a mistake

Joined
Mar 31, 2017
Messages
211
Reaction score
171
Age
65
Location
Atlanta, GA
I am a professional photographer with 35 years of experience shooting nothing but architecture.

Bought a Phantom 4 Pro+ 2 weeks ago and passed my 107 exam on 3/28 with a 97%. BTW, one of the missed questions was really an 'opinion' question...

Enough about me. What I really want to bring up is the value of photography. I just read a thread where some were feeling pretty good about getting paid less than 20 bucks to drive to a house and take some photos of it for, presumably, real estate purposes. While I cannot tell anyone what to do with their time, or encourage them to think of the RISKS they take on when they choose to take on such low paying work - I CAN tell people about the value of good photography in hopes that the prevalence of aerial photo platforms does not devalue the market too terribly.

I hired out for a guy to shoot some stills and video of a high end roof installation about 4 years ago. I shot everything from the ground and the other guy did the work from the air with a quadcopter. He charged me 1200.00 for the hour and I marked that up to 1500.00 and added it to my fees. My client paid about 3000.00 for the photography and, here is where most people have NO clue... the RIGHTS to use them.

Photography is not a parts and labor kind of business. It is, in every practical and LEGAL respect, a form of creative intellectual property. Even when you semi-mindlessly fly over a house or a nice landscape and accidentally depress the shutter button, you have created something which is uniquely yours. And, there MAY be significant value in what you have.

After I had taken my 107 Knowledge Exam, the administrator congratulated me on my 97%. I told him that I had something of an advantage because for more than 25 years I regularly shot from a helicopter and had racked up probably over 1000 hours of flight time, during which I asked questions about air space, radio protocols, and VFR rules regarding weather. In those 1000+ hours I would often shoot things that I just happened to 'see' as we passed something interesting on the ground. Once we flew over a small pond that was completely covered in pond scum and algae. I took that image and uploaded it to a stock photo site. That image alone has sold multiple times with one of those being for 900.00 to Herman Miller Corporation. As an aside, I would often fly with both a flight instructor AND a student pilot, always an advanced flyer. Twice, that student was Sonny Perdue, now the Secretary of Agriculture for the U.S. He was governor of GA at the time and it felt really odd as a barked my orders at him for where to turn and when and how much.

I digress.

Is everything I point my camera at going to be worth, or going to generate a 900.00 bill? No. But, I guarantee you that if I make a habit of valuing my work for 19.00 for a SET of images, it will NEVER happen.

In the mid 2000's, the 'penny stock' (not stock market... stock photos) concept did immeasurable harm as everyone with a digital camera suddenly became a photographer and thought getting 5 dollars for a photograph was a great deal for them. No. It was a great deal for the businesses that now had nearly free photography 'on tap'. At least at that point in time aerial photography still required a significant investment in a helicopter or plane charter so my aerial photos still sold pretty well, and sometimes still do.

Please do some research and consider the value of your photography, if that is what you are mostly doing with your flying. And don't be happy with having earned enough money in 12 hours of your time to be able to get a spare battery for your P4 Pro.

I know I have sounded like I am just tooting my own horn, and for a first post that is probably pretty bad form. But let me put the icing on the cake. I spent 8 days photographing a large industrial facility during the summer of 2016. After I photographed this project I had about 180 photographs that, in addition to the owner of the facility that contracted me, had a solid half dozen other firms that were interested in LICENSING the images from me. If I had asked 10 dollars per image for each of the other interested parties I could have made an extra 2,150.00 based up the number of images I licensed. That would have been enough to buy a Phantom 4 Pro+ and the DJI care package. WOW!

Instead, I asked what I KNEW the images were worth and ended up with sales adequate to buy more than 20 Phantom 4 Pros. And that included a lot of 'quantity' discounting.

Not bragging. Just illustrating a point from a real world experience.

If you get good photographs you should be able to get GOOD money for them. But you most certainly will NOT if you do not ask for it. What might just be serendipitous spending money to you - could have cost a professional photographer his next mortgage payment.
 
Joined
Jul 26, 2016
Messages
1,539
Reaction score
480
I worked in a camera store long ago and this has been going on for decades between amateurs who undercut the pros.

Today there is a bigger problem in that people expect to pay almost nothing for photography or video anymore since the digital era. Film cost money, so did the chemicals to process it, as well as prints too. Most all of that was left to labs like Kodak and their workforce. Retouching was basically an artist and then the expensive framing. Less of that expense today too.

Digital is on the web for free. No wonder Nikon is having financial trouble as others like Kodak. Everyone has a camera phone that can do a good enough job for nothing and post free to the web to the world. One wedding I went to had no pro photographer hired, just everyone was using their cellphones and uploading to the couples Instagram site. Explains why a lot of Photographer's shops have also closed up. Ones still here have a sideline job like their apartments inherited from decades ago or their spouse with a job. I used to get maybe $500 for a magazine article with photos, and even that is expected for free now for the promise of "See your name in print" or paid-to-publish journals - if the print magazine even exits anymore.
 
Joined
Apr 10, 2015
Messages
95
Reaction score
36
Age
61
I totally agree, and like you I have been making a living as a professional photographer for a long time, since 1973, and like you I did most of my work in architecture shooting mostly 4x5. I love having technology catch up to the point where we can take a phantom and make incredible images and video from the air. I used to try and make my own quadcopters years back but never really succeeded but always had the dream of getting creative stuff from the air. I also see technology as being a 2 edged sword, on one hand it lets a creative person explore new worlds, but it also lets everybody else think they can do the same thing because they have access to the tools. If you are a bad photographer on the ground you will probably be even worse in the air. The world is flooded now with so many images and spread all over due to the internet, and 99% of them are junk. With so much "noise" out there it makes it much harder to make a truly professional shot stand out. I also think in large part to the internet many clients expect images for free or super cheap...but they will give me credit! Yeah sure, that speech only works for the first few years of any photographers career.
 

alokbhargava

Premium Pilot
Joined
Sep 28, 2015
Messages
6,943
Reaction score
2,325
Location
San Francisco, CA
Technology has changed with the time and will keep on changing. Unless we keep pace with it, no one would come to us just because we have grey hairs. Expectations are growing. It's definitely a challenge for everyone to move continuously with the new surprises everyday. I had seen people getting PhD on creating fonts to display ABCD on screens. No one even thinks today how letters are written on screen.

I had friends in other countries and exchanging mails used to take a month, it takes just few Milli seconds today.

We are talking about drones flying up in the sky whereas teams are working on ways to fly standing on a drone. Driverless cars are in the market.

It's wrong to say that value of photography is going down with time, if you are on top of the current technology and have manual skills, you are still on top of the world. We should be happy to see so many changes in our lifestyles.
 
Joined
Nov 7, 2016
Messages
159
Reaction score
63
Age
65
I am a professional photographer with 35 years of experience shooting nothing but architecture.

Bought a Phantom 4 Pro+ 2 weeks ago and passed my 107 exam on 3/28 with a 97%. BTW, one of the missed questions was really an 'opinion' question...

Enough about me. What I really want to bring up is the value of photography. I just read a thread where some were feeling pretty good about getting paid less than 20 bucks to drive to a house and take some photos of it for, presumably, real estate purposes. While I cannot tell anyone what to do with their time, or encourage them to think of the RISKS they take on when they choose to take on such low paying work - I CAN tell people about the value of good photography in hopes that the prevalence of aerial photo platforms does not devalue the market too terribly.

I hired out for a guy to shoot some stills and video of a high end roof installation about 4 years ago. I shot everything from the ground and the other guy did the work from the air with a quadcopter. He charged me 1200.00 for the hour and I marked that up to 1500.00 and added it to my fees. My client paid about 3000.00 for the photography and, here is where most people have NO clue... the RIGHTS to use them.

Photography is not a parts and labor kind of business. It is, in every practical and LEGAL respect, a form of creative intellectual property. Even when you semi-mindlessly fly over a house or a nice landscape and accidentally depress the shutter button, you have created something which is uniquely yours. And, there MAY be significant value in what you have.

After I had taken my 107 Knowledge Exam, the administrator congratulated me on my 97%. I told him that I had something of an advantage because for more than 25 years I regularly shot from a helicopter and had racked up probably over 1000 hours of flight time, during which I asked questions about air space, radio protocols, and VFR rules regarding weather. In those 1000+ hours I would often shoot things that I just happened to 'see' as we passed something interesting on the ground. Once we flew over a small pond that was completely covered in pond scum and algae. I took that image and uploaded it to a stock photo site. That image alone has sold multiple times with one of those being for 900.00 to Herman Miller Corporation. As an aside, I would often fly with both a flight instructor AND a student pilot, always an advanced flyer. Twice, that student was Sonny Perdue, now the Secretary of Agriculture for the U.S. He was governor of GA at the time and it felt really odd as a barked my orders at him for where to turn and when and how much.

I digress.

Is everything I point my camera at going to be worth, or going to generate a 900.00 bill? No. But, I guarantee you that if I make a habit of valuing my work for 19.00 for a SET of images, it will NEVER happen.

In the mid 2000's, the 'penny stock' (not stock market... stock photos) concept did immeasurable harm as everyone with a digital camera suddenly became a photographer and thought getting 5 dollars for a photograph was a great deal for them. No. It was a great deal for the businesses that now had nearly free photography 'on tap'. At least at that point in time aerial photography still required a significant investment in a helicopter or plane charter so my aerial photos still sold pretty well, and sometimes still do.

Please do some research and consider the value of your photography, if that is what you are mostly doing with your flying. And don't be happy with having earned enough money in 12 hours of your time to be able to get a spare battery for your P4 Pro.

I know I have sounded like I am just tooting my own horn, and for a first post that is probably pretty bad form. But let me put the icing on the cake. I spent 8 days photographing a large industrial facility during the summer of 2016. After I photographed this project I had about 180 photographs that, in addition to the owner of the facility that contracted me, had a solid half dozen other firms that were interested in LICENSING the images from me. If I had asked 10 dollars per image for each of the other interested parties I could have made an extra 2,150.00 based up the number of images I licensed. That would have been enough to buy a Phantom 4 Pro+ and the DJI care package. WOW!

Instead, I asked what I KNEW the images were worth and ended up with sales adequate to buy more than 20 Phantom 4 Pros. And that included a lot of 'quantity' discounting.

Not bragging. Just illustrating a point from a real world experience.

If you get good photographs you should be able to get GOOD money for them. But you most certainly will NOT if you do not ask for it. What might just be serendipitous spending money to you - could have cost a professional photographer his next mortgage payment.
There's a bit more to it. Much of the photographs I see are snapshots, loaded with technical flaws. I still enjoy looking at the work of others, but hey, that's just me. Soft, blown exposure, tilted horizons, uninteresting composition, over-sharpened, poor color balance, over-processed, noisy. If you're asking top dollar for your photographs, the photographs must be worth the price that's being asked.

Satisfying the expectations of a picky client or creative director is never easy. It's real work. Me, I would be reluctant asking a that a client pay the going rate for images shot with a small-sensor camera. You're a pro, there is no doubt in my mind that you can see the difference between an image shot with a nice DSLR with good glass, and a similar image shot with a small-sensor camera (like what's hanging under the belly of any phantom). And if you can see the difference, you can bet your arse that client you're shooting for can also see the difference.

Simply put, the stills that my P4 shoots aren't good enough to satisfy the needs of any of my clients.

What makes the phantom cameras good is that they fly. It's possible that a client will be so delighted with the unique composition of a well-taken P4 aerial photograph that they're willing to overlook the technical flaws of the image, but make no mistake about it, that photograph must be well composed, and technically as flawless as can be. Spot-on exposure, color balance, sharpness and well handled noise are a must.

Then there's interpolation for resizing, providing the file to the client in the format they require, clipping paths, masks, etc.

Simply interacting with a client requires a certain professionalism that can only be attained with years of experience.

Asking a hobbyist to pull this off is seems a bit unrealistic.

Cheers

rc
 
Last edited:
Joined
Mar 31, 2017
Messages
211
Reaction score
171
Age
65
Location
Atlanta, GA
I worked in a camera store long ago and this has been going on for decades between amateurs who undercut the pros.

Today there is a bigger problem in that people expect to pay almost nothing for photography or video anymore since the digital era. Film cost money, so did the chemicals to process it, as well as prints too. Most all of that was left to labs like Kodak and their workforce. Retouching was basically an artist and then the expensive framing. Less of that expense today too.

Digital is on the web for free. No wonder Nikon is having financial trouble as others like Kodak. Everyone has a camera phone that can do a good enough job for nothing and post free to the web to the world. One wedding I went to had no pro photographer hired, just everyone was using their cellphones and uploading to the couples Instagram site. Explains why a lot of Photographer's shops have also closed up. Ones still here have a sideline job like their apartments inherited from decades ago or their spouse with a job. I used to get maybe $500 for a magazine article with photos, and even that is expected for free now for the promise of "See your name in print" or paid-to-publish journals - if the print magazine even exits anymore.

I still have many clients who pay good money for good photography. They know that in a veritable sea of mediocrity, good work makes them stand out. I just wanted to encourage the enthusiasts here to learn more about the market that they may be impacting with their business decisions.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Falcon900
Joined
Jan 18, 2017
Messages
416
Reaction score
192
Age
35
While I want to agree, I think the days of highly paid photography are over and drones have nothing to do with it. People simply lost the desire to pay for it. Why? Because in the digital age all I need is a decent cell phone and a couple youtube videos worth of Lightroom training or any of the plethora of filtering apps and I (or anyone) can turn out photography that will be impressive to 95% of the population and certainly be perfectly sufficient for any real estate usage.

Professional photographers wanted THOUSANDS of dollars to shoot my wedding. I found a local girl that had great scenery and portrait photos on Instagram and asked if she'd be willing to do it for $500. There's no reduction in quality that made me wish I paid 4-6x more.

When speaking about drone photography specifically, the market supply is beyond flooded. I'm getting under-bid on jobs by people bidding FREE "to build their portfolios". No one is printing money with their drone and making hundreds an hour on a shoot unless they're an established production company using heavy-lift drones for large, commercial clients with video editing work included. The sweet spot in my area seems to be $50 for basic residential stills, which takes me less than 15 minutes to complete - my drive time and travel expenses aren't the client's problem. Sites like Droners and Skypixel show upfront exactly what a client's total budget is and I can tell you right now it doesn't exceed $100/hr in most cases. The average real estate client is NOT a pixel peeper and no one but a pixel peeper is going to see the difference between a shot from a cell phone and a shot from a $1500 camera once they're both edited and uploaded to a 720p block on a real estate website.

All this is further complicated by how easy it is to actually fly a drone and how little commitment/expense it takes to get a Part 107 license. The price the market will bear is capped VERY low because for more than that very low amount, what would be repeat commercial clients will simply go get their own license and equipment and shoot their own jobs - and that's happening left and right already.
 
Joined
Mar 31, 2017
Messages
211
Reaction score
171
Age
65
Location
Atlanta, GA
There's a bit more to it. Much of the photographs I see are snapshots. Soft, blown exposure, tilted horizons, uninteresting composition, over-sharpened, over-processed, noisy. If you're asking top dollar for your photographs, the photographs must be worth the price that's being asked.

Satisfying the expectations of a picky client or creative director is never easy. It's real work. Me, I would be reluctant asking a that a client pay the going rate for images shot with a small-sensor camera. You're a pro, there is no doubt in my mind that you can see the difference between an image shot with a nice DSLR with good glass, and a similar image shot with a small-sensor camera (like what's hanging under the belly of any phantom). And if you can see the difference, you can bet your arse that client you're shooting for can also see the difference.

Simply put, the stills that my P4 shoots aren't good enough to satisfy the needs of any of my clients.

What makes the phantom cameras good is that they fly. It's possible that a client will be so delighted with the unique composition of a well-taken P4 aerial photograph that they're willing to overlook the technical flaws of the image, but make no mistake about it, that photograph must be well composed, and technically as flawless as can be. Spot-on exposure, color balance, sharpness and well handled noise are a must.

Asking a hobbyist to pull this off is seems a bit unrealistic.

Cheers

rc

Let me push back slightly on one thing that you said.

First, thank you for recognizing that the most important thing in photography is the person behind the camera. I know that I am good at what I do and that it took a long time to get there. But... I also know that my gear is not the whole story.

This next statement is coming from my 'gearhead' nature. I shoot Canon 5Ds cameras (50 megapixels) and have the best glass available for them. I just ran some tests on the P4 Pro's imaging and I think the images I am getting from this little tiny camera are as good as what I would expect from a Canon 5DIII and an L series wide angle lens. There is a little more noise, but overall, I am thrilled with the quality of the image in the P4 Pro model.

Most surprising of all, the lens actually renders an image that has very little distortion. There might be a very small degree of barrel distortion, but it is negligible. With careful focusing, hitting the sweet spot with the aperture, and thoughtful processing of the DNG files, I feel no apologies need to be made for the P4 Pro's image output. It's not a 5Ds, but it is exceptional quality for the total cost of the camera and platform.
 
Joined
Mar 31, 2017
Messages
211
Reaction score
171
Age
65
Location
Atlanta, GA
While I want to agree, I think the days of highly paid photography are over and drones have nothing to do with it. People simply lost the desire to pay for it. Why? Because in the digital age all I need is a decent cell phone and a couple youtube videos worth of Lightroom training or any of the plethora of filtering apps and I (or anyone) can turn out photography that will be impressive to 95% of the population and certainly be perfectly sufficient for any real estate usage.

Professional photographers wanted THOUSANDS of dollars to shoot my wedding. I found a local girl that had great scenery and portrait photos on Instagram and asked if she'd be willing to do it for $500. There's no reduction in quality that made me wish I paid 4-6x more.

When speaking about drone photography specifically, the market supply is beyond flooded. I'm getting under-bid on jobs by people bidding FREE "to build their portfolios". No one is printing money with their drone and making hundreds an hour on a shoot unless they're an established production company using heavy-lift drones for large, commercial clients with video editing work included. The sweet spot in my area seems to be $50 for basic residential stills, which takes me less than 15 minutes to complete - my drive time and travel expenses aren't the client's problem. Sites like Droners and Skypixel show upfront exactly what a client's total budget is and I can tell you right now it doesn't exceed $100/hr in most cases. The average real estate client is NOT a pixel peeper and no one but a pixel peeper is going to see the difference between a shot from a cell phone and a shot from a $1500 camera once they're both edited and uploaded to a 720p block on a real estate website.

All this is further complicated by how easy it is to actually fly a drone and how little commitment/expense it takes to get a Part 107 license. The price the market will bear is capped VERY low because for more than that very low amount, what would be repeat commercial clients will simply go get their own license and equipment and shoot their own jobs - and that's happening left and right already.

Sort of sounds like one of the five 'bad attitudes'. Resignation. Don't get angry.

Digital cameras have had a negative impact on my area. So, I decided the answer was to shoot things in a manner that indicated I had actually learned something over the last 35 years.

In the 1980's I remember a camera store that I would visit every weekend. They had a floor space with about a half dozen 4x5 view cameras, considered at the time an essential for anyone shooting buildings and interiors. Every month or so one of these would be gone from the floor and my heart would sink... someone else was getting into large format photography and they will probably end up being a competitor. I was wrong. The most important thing back then was the same thing it is 30 years later - the person behind the camera.

When the economy tanked around 2008 many of my clients did resort to shooting their own work. Guess what? They are back in touch with me.

There will certainly be an economic impact of affordable aerial photography platforms. But that does not mean that the people who use them are going to rise above commodity status to be an actual competitor against those whose work is top notch. I just want to encourage people to look for more. They should research things before selling something for so cheap. I have a selfish motive in doing so, but if they DO listen they will also be better off for having done so.
 
Joined
Nov 7, 2016
Messages
159
Reaction score
63
Age
65
Let me push back slightly on one thing that you said.

First, thank you for recognizing that the most important thing in photography is the person behind the camera. I know that I am good at what I do and that it took a long time to get there. But... I also know that my gear is not the whole story.

This next statement is coming from my 'gearhead' nature. I shoot Canon 5Ds cameras (50 megapixels) and have the best glass available for them. I just ran some tests on the P4 Pro's imaging and I think the images I am getting from this little tiny camera are as good as what I would expect from a Canon 5DIII and an L series wide angle lens. There is a little more noise, but overall, I am thrilled with the quality of the image in the P4 Pro model.

Most surprising of all, the lens actually renders an image that has very little distortion. There might be a very small degree of barrel distortion, but it is negligible. With careful focusing, hitting the sweet spot with the aperture, and thoughtful processing of the DNG files, I feel no apologies need to be made for the P4 Pro's image output. It's not a 5Ds, but it is exceptional quality for the total cost of the camera and platform.
Hmmm...

If I could afford the aerial platform required to lift my DSLR with a nice chunk of glass I would do it. But maybe I wouldn't... Sending $30,000 worth of gear up in the air... I don't think I have the stones to do it...

Cheers
 
Joined
Jul 26, 2016
Messages
1,539
Reaction score
480
While I want to agree, I think the days of highly paid photography are over and drones have nothing to do with it....

I think drones have cut into the professional helicopter photography business, and by a lot.

I knew a pro who had to shoot for BNSF railroad on a track wipe-out and derailment. Had to get the stuff out fast so it was all immediate darkroom work so the railroad could analyze it to get the equipment out there fast to fix it. It was a very high-dollar job, but the photographer got airsick when the copter jockey threw it in reverse for him to shoot and he passed out so I got called to do the processing as I processed a lot of C-41 then and had a darkroom for large color prints up to 30x40 inches.

Now BNSF has their own drone crew and no more multi-thousand dollar jobs paid out to hire photographers and helicopter pilots. BNSF Railway also sat on the FAA's drone 107 committee too. It's like the drone has become the new cellphone of millennials in the air who shoot for free.
 
Joined
Jan 18, 2017
Messages
416
Reaction score
192
Age
35
Sort of sounds like one of the five 'bad attitudes'. Resignation. Don't get angry.

I'm not angry or resigned. I'm speaking from experience. Talking about real estate specifically, if you think you're going to pick up new business at multiple hundreds of dollars per hour, you better be in an amazingly low-supply market or you're in for a rude awakening. It didn't take long for it to become apparent that real estate (especially residential) is not where the money is at when it comes to commercial UAV use. That ship sailed already and sailed quickly, because it takes very little skill or knowledge to take acceptable aerial shots of homes and even commercial properties.

As someone else said, it's about adapting to the market. Part of that is recognizing the realities of the market. As others have brought up, film photography was complex, time consuming, and expensive for professionals. That reality changed decades ago, but professionals have continued to offer clients more than they need for more than they really wanted to spend - not unlike the guys that show up to a real estate shoot with an eight rotor heavy lifter to shoot simple still photos, then demand a half day rate for 10 minutes of work. Photographers that cling to that mindset and business strategy are going to get their lunches eaten by new businesses working on a quick, efficient, and cost-effective model. If client quality demand is 7/10 and you insist on providing 10/10 at premium price, you won't last long against new competitors offering 7/10 for a fraction of the cost. Since the recession, consumer have become incredibly price conscious. Business has been about keeping costs down, running rock-bottom lean, and putting out an affordable product exactly matched to client demand... which is how your clients are likely operating, which forces you to do the same. That applies to nearly all business, not just photography or UAVs. Never forget that businesses see UAVs as a way to REDUCE costs, not as a fad way to keep costs the same.
 
Joined
Mar 31, 2017
Messages
211
Reaction score
171
Age
65
Location
Atlanta, GA
I'm not angry or resigned. I'm speaking from experience. Talking about real estate specifically, if you think you're going to pick up new business at multiple hundreds of dollars per hour, you better be in an amazingly low-supply market or you're in for a rude awakening. It didn't take long for it to become apparent that real estate (especially residential) is not where the money is at when it comes to commercial UAV use. That ship sailed already and sailed quickly, because it takes very little skill or knowledge to take acceptable aerial shots of homes and even commercial properties.

As someone else said, it's about adapting to the market. Part of that is recognizing the realities of the market. As others have brought up, film photography was complex, time consuming, and expensive for professionals. That reality changed decades ago, but professionals have continued to offer clients more than they need for more than they really wanted to spend - not unlike the guys that show up to a real estate shoot with an eight rotor heavy lifter to shoot simple still photos, then demand a half day rate for 10 minutes of work. Photographers that cling to that mindset and business strategy are going to get their lunches eaten by new businesses working on a quick, efficient, and cost-effective model. If client quality demand is 7/10 and you insist on providing 10/10 at premium price, you won't last long against new competitors offering 7/10 for a fraction of the cost. Since the recession, consumer have become incredibly price conscious. Business has been about keeping costs down, running rock-bottom lean, and putting out an affordable product exactly matched to client demand... which is how your clients are likely operating, which forces you to do the same. That applies to nearly all business, not just photography or UAVs. Never forget that businesses see UAVs as a way to REDUCE costs, not as a fad way to keep costs the same.

I agree 100% with the residential real estate market. There was NEVER anything there for me and others like me. Never.

There will always be those that try the DIY route. And they rarely get the results from their marketing that they hope for. For more investigative or documentary assignments then just buy a camera and learn how to use it. But if you are looking for something that stands out among the crowd, that will be an exercise in futility at best and potentially resulting in photos that do more harm than good.

Here is my web site - www.jimroofcreative.net

Anyone who really wants to can do what I do. That's the way I feel. But it amazes me at how few seem to motivated to make that happen.
 
Joined
Nov 7, 2016
Messages
159
Reaction score
63
Age
65
I think drones have cut into the professional helicopter photography business, and by a lot.

I knew a pro who had to shoot for BNSF railroad on a track wipe-out and derailment. Had to get the stuff out fast so it was all immediate darkroom work so the railroad could analyze it to get the equipment out there fast to fix it. It was a very high-dollar job, but the photographer got airsick when the copter jockey threw it in reverse for him to shoot and he passed out so I got called to do the processing as I processed a lot of C-41 then and had a darkroom for large color prints up to 30x40 inches.

Now BNSF has their own drone crew and no more multi-thousand dollar jobs paid out to hire photographers and helicopter pilots. BNSF Railway also sat on the FAA's drone 107 committee too. It's like the drone has become the new cellphone of millennials in the air who shoot for free.
Agree. A $25,000 drone would be a bargain to a film crew that routinely rents copter time at $500-$1000 an hour.

Drone video is everywhere on television. Outdoor reality shows like Gold Rush incorporate drone video in virtually all of their outdoor work. With a drone it's easy and cost effective to get aerial video. I have seen the drones used for filming movies. I watched them do it at Lake Tahoe. They were using an enormous hexcopter to lift a 5D3 and some nice class. A pair of operators, the pilot and the guy working the camera. I asked them about it. $20,000 for the bird without the camera. You couldn't get a helicopter do do what these guys were doing with their drone. It was amazing to see.
 
Joined
Jan 18, 2017
Messages
416
Reaction score
192
Age
35
I agree 100% with the residential real estate market. There was NEVER anything there for me and others like me. Never.

There will always be those that try the DIY route. And they rarely get the results from their marketing that they hope for. For more investigative or documentary assignments then just buy a camera and learn how to use it. But if you are looking for something that stands out among the crowd, that will be an exercise in futility at best and potentially resulting in photos that do more harm than good.

Here is my web site - www.jimroofcreative.net

Anyone who really wants to can do what I do. That's the way I feel. But it amazes me at how few seem to motivated to make that happen.


I don't think anyone is questioning your photography and I think it's obvious from the work you do that we're talking about totally different clientele in totally different markets, as well as the difference between operating a start-up and operating an established business with an existing client base.

Off-topic, but what's done to the photos to make them look more like 3D renders than actual photos?
 
Joined
Oct 14, 2016
Messages
178
Reaction score
173
Location
Green Bay, Wisconsin, U.S.A.
....If you get good photographs you should be able to get GOOD money for them...

Jim - with all due respect, I dont want to. I want to be a better photographer and videographer but I have zero interest in becoming a professinoal.

Based on your age, you must remember encyclopedias. If I told you 20 years ago that tens of thousands of people are going to volunteer and colobrate to make a free online encyclopedia and it will put every enclopedia company out of business you may have laughed at me.

The days of profitable newspapers and magazines paying top dollar for photojournalists are over. Magazines can't pay top dollar for photos because they are behind in their own rent. Becides, low cost options exist for them now.

Wedding photographers? OMG, WEDDING Photographers? After television evangelists, insurance annuity sales people, and carnies, they are the worst people on the planet. They play off of a naïve young couples inexperienc and emotions, filling them with nonsince like this, "Six months after the wedding the photos will be the only thing you will have to remember your special day." OMG - I'll punch a photographer square in the nose if they tell one of my kids that in front of me. Reality is six months after the wedding the couple will be in couples therapy discussing how they are arguing because of how deep in debt they are due to how much they spent on their wedding.

Here is what they really need...one great photo of just the two of them right after the wedding. Thats it. All the bologna of wheeling over grandma so we have "proof" she had not kicked the bucket yet, or pulling uncle Jim with his clip-on tie into a church photo before he gets to the reception hall and passes out from taking advantage of drinking too much free beer, all those photos will be looked at once when the couple gets them back from the photographer then never again.

The rest of the photos that matter will be taken by family and friends and shared on social media websites like Instagram..... yes, INSTAGRAM where you can't upload a photo from your Cannon Mark IV unless.......(insert a snicker here) you first transfer the photo to your smartphone then do it through a app. Imagine that, the MOST POLULAR photo website in the world blocks photos from cameras. I'm laughing as I'm typing this.

Although I do not agree with everything Tony and Chelsea Northrop discuss in this video, its brutally honest.

My suggestion is if you enjoy photography and videography then make it a hobby. If you want to make money, find something else that gives you the chance to succeed.


 
Last edited:
Joined
Jan 18, 2017
Messages
416
Reaction score
192
Age
35
My suggestion is if you enjoy photography and videography then make it a hobby. If you want to make money, find something else that gives you the chance to succeed.

After viewing his website I can see where he's coming from. I think it's a misidentification of what clients are willing to pay for though. If you look at his photos, it's clear that what his clients are paying top dollar for is 10% straight photography and 90% master level Photoshop/editing skills. Those are skills that aren't easily learned and are in themselves an art. There is absolutely still a demand for them and until Photoshop is as easy to use as a DJI drone is to fly, those skills at that level will continue to command top dollar.

I guess it could be argued that skill in post-process programs is the modern equivalent of darkroom skills and therefore all part of "photography" - but we're down to semantics at that point. I think if you take the OP in this context, then he's spot on. But when it comes to typical real estate work (i.e. not for major commercial property firms), it's more work and content than 99% of customers are willing to pay for - and that was my point in my posts. Of course people are paying hundreds of dollars for his photos, because he probably has hours of post-process work into each of them. Of course Joe Part 107 is selling unedited home photos to real estate agents for $40 because it took him 3 seconds and a click of his finger to make them.
 
Joined
Mar 31, 2017
Messages
211
Reaction score
171
Age
65
Location
Atlanta, GA
After viewing his website I can see where he's coming from. I think it's a misidentification of what clients are willing to pay for though. If you look at his photos, it's clear that what his clients are paying top dollar for is 10% straight photography and 90% master level Photoshop/editing skills. Those are skills that aren't easily learned and are in themselves an art. There is absolutely still a demand for them and until Photoshop is as easy to use as a DJI drone is to fly, those skills at that level will continue to command top dollar.

I guess it could be argued that skill in post-process programs is the modern equivalent of darkroom skills and therefore all part of "photography" - but we're down to semantics at that point. I think if you take the OP in this context, then he's spot on. But when it comes to typical real estate work (i.e. not for major commercial property firms), it's more work and content than 99% of customers are willing to pay for - and that was my point in my posts. Of course people are paying hundreds of dollars for his photos, because he probably has hours of post-process work into each of them. Of course Joe Part 107 is selling unedited home photos to real estate agents for $40 because it took him 3 seconds and a click of his finger to make them.

I mostly just want people to be aware. There is a real 'danger' that some hobbyists could earn significantly more for their photography than they might think. People should get paid for their talents, but photography is a field that is loaded with both people who do not understand the business and, regretfully, as many or more buyers who would take advantage of them in a heartbeat.

BTW, I do a good bit of retouching, but 80% of what you see is what I shot. I do a lot of lighting.

I just took my P4 Pro up a few minutes ago and shot my subdivision from about 120 feet. I am telling you, given enough light and shooting around f/7, the image I am looking at from this little tiny camera is every bit as good as what I was getting from my 1DsMark III 5 years ago. That was an 8000.00 camera body and my favorite lens was Canon's new 24mm TS-E lens (tilt shift).

This little camera impresses me.
 
Joined
May 21, 2016
Messages
76
Reaction score
40
Age
42
I wouldn't bank on the momentum of this shifting back towards the days you once cherished. It's happened to a lot of industries that were once very successful. I remember fondly going to record and video stores, but you basically can't find them any more. Those record store owners, passionate about music and art and the ability to bring that to the world, if even in some small capacity, wanted nothing more than the digital age to go back under the rock from which it crawled, but it did not (and will not). Those that innovated, embraced the new landscape and came up with creative ways to continue their passion survived. Everyone else died off. Wishing things to be different is certainly one of the stages of grief and we all go through it, but, no matter what you're doing, if you're in a situation where you're up against changing tides and times and you don't get to a place where you accept the way things are and decide to change what YOU'RE doing, you too will die off. It's the flow of progress, and there are always casualties. The price of photography is only going to get cheaper and the market more saturated. You're going to have to come up with different unique ways of making good money. Doing things that most others can't do is a good start. Hope there was no offense taken to this - there was none meant.
 
Joined
Mar 31, 2017
Messages
211
Reaction score
171
Age
65
Location
Atlanta, GA
I don't think anyone is questioning your photography and I think it's obvious from the work you do that we're talking about totally different clientele in totally different markets, as well as the difference between operating a start-up and operating an established business with an existing client base.

Off-topic, but what's done to the photos to make them look more like 3D renders than actual photos?

I light the images in 'zones'. The interiors in particular are often comprised of many layers in which individual elements have been lit separately from anything else in the view. Also, some of my clients want walls and ceilings to be devoid of anything that clutters them. To my eye, it is the removal of fire pulls, sprinkler heads, outlets and such that tends to make things look a bit like a rendering.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Jsb CA and AyeYo

New Threads

Members online

Forum statistics

Threads
141,953
Messages
1,459,518
Members
103,731
Latest member
Palan Images