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Photography Question 
Alicia McMahill
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/19/2005

Is it all about the compitition?

I have started my photography business as a part time thing. At this point I am getting work from referals and interested parents at games ( that I cover for the paper to get my name out there) and there is one other part time pro in my town ( it is a small town) and one of the first questions or statements I get from people is 'so you are going to be giving joe schmoe some compitition hu?' to which I reply no it is something I love to do and am good at soooo. I don't think I am at his level...years on the job and that sort of thing but at the same time I am not going to turn down a job because he might be interested in it too. My prices are a bit lower than his, but my years of experience are no where near his either. And don't get me wrong I do get the well the town is only so big thing but I am tired of seeing families go out of town to other pro's because of this or that I am not saying I am going to get their work either but I am going to give it a shot! I had even asked him at one point if I could apprintice him.... he shrugged me off and so ok.
And when I see Joe Schmoe at events ... games, community events and what have you, we are always friendly - now I can't say it is sincer on his half but it is on mine. I like the guy I know his kids...
So is it just the general public that doesn't get it or is it all about the compitition?

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9/1/2006 8:13:39 PM

Samuel Smith
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/21/2004
  ya got it right,but ya spelled competition wrong.
I would say confidence would be the answer,eh...

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9/1/2006 8:51:05 PM

Alicia McMahill
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/19/2005
  yea well sorry for the spelling I just spent three hours in -60 degree rain wind and high schoolers at the towns first football game...either my fingers are not warmed up or my brain...or both;]
and maybe the above is the reason I don't get 'confidence' what about my work his work....sorry it has been a long day and maybe I just am not getting it:l

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9/1/2006 8:55:22 PM

Irene Troy
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/27/2004
  Alicia – my first piece of advice is to relax! I certainly understand what you are experiencing – I mostly do nature and travel photography, but even in this area I encounter all sorts of people who seem intent on derailing my budding career before it is even off and running. I also live in a small town, albeit one that is close to a large city (Boston) and know that in small towns it can be tough to get going without having people perpetually asking you if you are trying to out-do so and so. The way I started in nature photography was by doing volunteer work for local nature/conservation groups. The way I started in travel photography was because I am a writer and wanted to accompany my articles with images. In both cases I encountered more than my full share of jerks. Like you, I have no idea if it is me or them and at this point I’ve given up trying to understand. I just do my thing and let my work speak for itself.

The other photographer may or may not be worried that you are going to “steal” business from him; but, this is not something you need to worry about. You have no control over how he thinks or react or, for that matter, how anyone thinks. I have begun to get business from people who previously used another photographer. Just this week I received a really good offer to do some work for a regional conservation/adventure travel group. In the midst of the negotiation I actually asked the client why he was considering using me when there are other, more experienced and probably better photographers, available. He told me that (A) he had heard good things about my work and liked what he had seen; and (B) that he had also heard that I am easy to work with; I don’t put down the competition and I strive to do more than I have been asked to do and deliver on time. His words made me really happy since this is how I want to be seen. I respect the work that other photographers do and admit that I may not be on their level – yet – but I always try to deliver as good a result as possible. If someone is worried about my taking work from them, well, that’s their problem, not mine. Frankly, the entire idea makes me laugh since it seems so ridiculous!

Just do your thing, learn and grow as you continue to develop your skill and don’t worry about what others are saying. Grow a thick skin and ignore the negative remarks as much as you can. Finally, have fun at what you do, or why do it at all?


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9/2/2006 8:46:47 AM

Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/17/2005
  Instead of guessing, speculating, nearly moaning and groaning about your competition, why don't you just call the guy, ask him out to lunch or dinner, MEET him and TALK to him. Become acquainted with him and let him get to know you, what you're trying to accomplish and offer a plan as to how you can both successfully work in the same small town without putting one or the other out of biz.

Then, instead of undercutting his prices, (which is clearly what you're doing no matter what you call it), work out pricing that's in line with his and make arrangements to refer jobs back and forth. Beyond the obvious reasons for this, one of these days, you're going to get offered a gig that you need significant help on. It sounds like this fellow is the only guy around with the experience and probably the equipment you could count on and without knowing him in advance, you'd likely, for good reason, get turned down flat when you ask for his help. That's the way small towns are.

Get the picture? ;>)

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9/2/2006 9:05:37 AM

Alicia McMahill
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/19/2005
  Irene and Mark thanks for the thoughts. I think you both have great points. I get all of my work from referals right now and for where I am right now that is all I want to do. And I have refered work to him that I know in good faith that I can not handle I don't know if he knows I sent the work his way or if he took the job but I guess I look at it as I do know the guy...we work together at my 'day job', and I like him. I have not come right out and talked to him like you said Mark but I think I will.
Well the weekend has started without me and I have to get some things going...thanks again for the thought and ideas..

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9/2/2006 9:26:34 AM

Samuel Smith
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/21/2004
  don't apoligize alicia.
-60 rain and wind huh.just wait till it gets cold.
I said the same thing,i just didn't elaborate.
well yea I took a shot at your spelling,and that wasn't the only word you mispelled,and publications do look for that.
and,hey mark,who said you were intentionally undercutting his prices,and you didn't take offense,but you ,like you said,don't feel your on his level of expertise,actually set your prices lower because of that fact.
which is it?
irene,who writes so well,and I really don't,mentioned a thick mention of spelling and you take offense,got to get a handle on that.or use spell check.
ok,before you went to cover the football game did you check weather conditions and dress appropriately?
backup camera?
know the AD?
there is no whining in competition,maybe a 1st or 2nd,which is why I mentioned make the choice.just do it and see what happens.

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9/2/2006 7:28:06 PM

Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/11/2003
  Where is it -60 degrees at the end of August?

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9/2/2006 9:35:24 PM

Samuel Smith
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/21/2004
  i think it is when I make a comment.

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9/3/2006 8:58:53 AM

Rebecca A. Steed
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/6/2005
  Competition is not bad. No matter what your 'subject-matter' is, there will always be competition, and you can always learn from it. My personal experience: there is a professional photographer in my community who has a studio and her prices are much higher than mine. However, we are friends and I ask her where she got her props, how she came up with her prices, any suggestions for this or that, etc. She has also helped my get more business. She doesn't photograph weddings, so when someone is seeking a wedding photographer, she puts the information out to all us photographers in the area.
By the way, I hear the southern hemisphere is pretty cold in June, July and August. Isn't that, like, their winter or something?? (trouble with internet is you can't notably see someone's sarcasm.) I too enjoy being a smartie pants. ;)

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9/4/2006 7:48:02 AM

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