Expensive Photos - Rant

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by Lowflynjack, Dec 4, 2017.

  1. Lowflynjack

    Lowflynjack Cleared for Takeoff

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2014
    Messages:
    1,305
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Jack Fleetwood
    So this weekend, a guy with a good looking King Air 350 asked me how much for some air-to-air photos. This wasn't a new plane, but really nice. I'm assuming somewhere in the $4M-$5M range to buy it. He had specific requirements to get photos over a city about a two hour flight from me in a Bonanza, which I would need for this shoot. I told him I would do it for $1K because I really want to do it. I don't have photos of a King Air. His response, "$1,000, are you kidding me? That's a lot of money."

    Doing the math:
    • 5 hours of flying in the Bonanza. $700 for plane and pilot. (Fuel alone would cost $400)
    • Now I'm down to $300 in my pocket for my time taking and editing the photos.
    I understand this is a business and I'm offering a service, so you can take or leave it. You can think it's a bargain (especially after you call other photographers) or you can think I'm too high. It's okay with me, I don't need photos of your plane.

    The kick in the teeth came next though. "There's a guy who does A2A photos for $200." Yes, there is. Why are you talking to me then? If you like the photos the guy does for $200, call him. Don't tell me you like my photos, but like his price. I will give you my undivided attention when doing a photo shoot. We'll shoot in the correct light. The guy I know who does it for $200 will only do it at that price if he gets 5 airplanes for one shoot. That's not my style. I don't even want to try to organize 5 pilots, one can be a challenge! I'm not knocking that photographer, just saying if you want his work, call him.

    Good thing I don't do this for a living. Seriously I think if I don't raise my rates soon and stop doing free shoots, the other photographers are going to have me bumped off!

    Rant over. I feel better! Don't bash me too much.
     
  2. mscard88

    mscard88 Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2015
    Messages:
    16,812
    Location:
    Alabama
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Mark
    People expect too much Jack. I've had the experience instructing. One guy, a DJ, was whining once after a lesson because of my fee ($20/hr in 1988) and that I charged for pre & post flight. So I said well, you don't have to use me, other CFIs here, have at it. That shut him up and we continued. He was a whiner though.

    You'll get more of it Jack. If they want quality work, they'll have to pay your fee. If not, see ya.
     
    Matthew K, Norman and Lowflynjack like this.
  3. Lindberg

    Lindberg Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    Messages:
    2,097
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Lindberg
    Your product, your price. Frankly, if you didn't have people balking at the price and turning you down, it'd signal you were charging to little.
     
  4. AWACSEng

    AWACSEng Cleared for Takeoff

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2007
    Messages:
    1,032
    Location:
    Maryland
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Bill
    I feel your pain. I dabbled in part-time real estate photography a few years ago. I had a fairly robust portfolio, and was building a decent client list. I had a RE agent approach me about shooting a ~$900 listing. I'm not sure what his listing agreement was regarding commission, but he stood to make a decent amount. When I gave him my price (based on square footage and products delivered, not list price), I got a similar response as you did, "there's an agency doing this for $50". I politely told him that quality does not come cheap, and he agreed. He chose to shoot the property himself with a cell phone. The listing was active for several months and several price reductions with a contract. Fast forward 6months, and he called again. We agreed on a price, and I shot the listing. He had a contract less than a week earlier (for closer to the original list price).

    This has happened to me a few times over the years, but once they wasted money, time, or both doing it cheap, the agents that elected to use my services were glad they did in the end. My day job has taken most of my spare time, but I still do shoots for a few agents that truly understand the value of quality. Don't waste your time on the ones that don't see that value!
     
    Lowflynjack likes this.
  5. Timbeck2

    Timbeck2 En-Route

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2015
    Messages:
    3,594
    Location:
    Vail, Arizona
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Timbeck2
    Years ago I had someone come to my door at home with aerial photos that they'd taken of my property. They asked if I would like to buy one and I said sure. "Eighty dollars, one hundred if you want it framed." He said. "I'll give you twenty." I told him. "That's not enough to cover my costs." He said. "I didn't ask you to take pictures of my property. If you want twenty dollars, I have it right now, otherwise have yourself a faboo day."

    He took the $20.

    The difference is that he asked you, you gave him your price and he wanted to low ball you. I don't blame you Jack, stick to your guns.
     
  6. SkyDog58

    SkyDog58 Final Approach

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2015
    Messages:
    7,619
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    SkyDog58
    He didn’t get rich by paying other people what they are worth. :cool:
     
    Matthew K, 172andyou and Lowflynjack like this.
  7. jordane93

    jordane93 Final Approach PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2013
    Messages:
    7,922
    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Jordan
    “$1000 is a lot of money!!!”

    Says the guy with a “$3 million dollar plane:confused:
     
    Flocker likes this.
  8. Lowflynjack

    Lowflynjack Cleared for Takeoff

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2014
    Messages:
    1,305
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Jack Fleetwood
    Thanks everyone. This has happened more than once and it's the second time someone has mentioned the other guy. I have no ego when it comes to photography or flying, I'm always learning. That's part of the reason I've been doing free pics, so I can improve. There is a lot of pressure to get it right even when it's free. For example when Brent flew down from Dallas. He spends quite a bit of money on fuel, not to mention his time. Even though the service is free, it's not free to him.

    There's a very good and famous photographer who does A2A work and I'm reaching out to him to take his workshop to learn more about the industry. I will go into it as a blank slate. I won't be there to teach him anything, I'll be there to learn. You can see his work on the cover of Sport Aviation when he took pics of Doc at Oshkosh.
     
    denverpilot likes this.
  9. Lowflynjack

    Lowflynjack Cleared for Takeoff

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2014
    Messages:
    1,305
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Jack Fleetwood
    And according to AOPA, an average of $4200/hour to operate including crew, hangar, insurance, etc. Maybe he was adding that cost into my price!
     
    jordane93 likes this.
  10. skier

    skier Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2007
    Messages:
    261
    Location:
    CT
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Skier
    People discuss this all the time over on the Photography-on-the.net forum. It's a complicated question that there is no one answer to. However, much of it probably comes down to supply and demand. In 2010 camera manufacturers were selling >100 million cameras/year. As of 2016 that dropped to 23 million, but pretty much everyone in the US, Canada, Europe, and much of the rest of the world now has a cell phone with a camera on it. With those cameras, people add approximately 1.8 billion images to the internet each day. That's a heck of a lot of supply.

    Add to the mix that quick Google search turns up a photo for any subject you can think of. I posted my photos of NYC at night on here the other day. For my abilities they came out pretty good and I enjoy looking at them, but go onto Google and you can find almost an infinite number that are as good and thousands (if not more) that are better.

    Now the aerial photography that you do is beautiful, but lets face it, most individuals that want photos are just going to post a small photo to Facebook. To many of them, a photo out the windshield of a friends plane with an iPhone camera will probably make them just as happy as one of your photos. Not a knock on your photos at all. They are great. But it's just what people value. And right now it doesn't seem like most people tend to value photography.

    Heck, I can't even seem to get people interested in free air-to-air photos of their aircraft. They say, "but I already have photos".
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2017
    denverpilot likes this.
  11. SkyDog58

    SkyDog58 Final Approach

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2015
    Messages:
    7,619
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    SkyDog58
    Tell him to buy a very long selfie stick.
     
    N747JB, GRG55, ironnerd and 3 others like this.
  12. Zeldman

    Zeldman Final Approach

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2014
    Messages:
    7,154
    Location:
    NM or AK
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Billy

    Hey..... you might have something there..!!!
     
  13. Tom-D

    Tom-D Ejection Handle Pulled

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2005
    Messages:
    26,631
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Tom-D
    That's funny !
     
  14. danhagan

    danhagan Cleared for Takeoff

    Joined:
    May 7, 2009
    Messages:
    1,314
    Location:
    El Paso, TX
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    danhagan
    I think you need to explain better, this is BS (their part). Ask them how much would you pay for your daughters wedding pictures? I have to travel to your stupid location, shoot it, and do post processing> I believe the 1% failed to figure on the Bonanza costs, and travel. All in, the wedding would be easier:confused:
     
  15. rwellner98

    rwellner98 Line Up and Wait

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2009
    Messages:
    664
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    rw2
    Don't knock it...

    [​IMG]
     
  16. midwestpa24

    midwestpa24 Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2016
    Messages:
    321
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    midwestpa24
    I think this is something all professional photographers have run into. Used to be you had to have a lot of money invested to be a professional, studio, high end camera, printing equipment, etc. Today you see a lot of stay-at-home moms with a $500 Nikon DSLR peddling themselves as professional photography, and doing it for little or nothing since they have no overhead costs. With the advent of digital equipment it is easier to ensure you "got the shot", easier to edit, and the camera's are able to make even a mediocre photographer look like a champ.
     
  17. AWACSEng

    AWACSEng Cleared for Takeoff

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2007
    Messages:
    1,032
    Location:
    Maryland
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Bill
    This is the blessing and the curse to photography. Not having a lot (or any) overhead can make it possible for anyone with the talent and desire to find their niche market/customer, whereas if there was a significant monetary investment needed, those individuals may be otherwise deterred. The cure is just as you stated, and we have all encountered, there are more "photographers" than there are customers. The result is anyone who can point n' shoot can charge $100 for a session and be on their merry way, which undercuts the market for those trying to make a living in the business. The only way to survive is to specialize in something, let your work and customer service do the talking, and not waste your time on low ballers and tire kickers. The portfolio and client list will come with time.
     
    keen9 likes this.
  18. Lowflynjack

    Lowflynjack Cleared for Takeoff

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2014
    Messages:
    1,305
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Jack Fleetwood
    Yeah, it's funny to me when people don't think it takes a lot of money to become a photographer. I've got thousands and thousands of dollars invested and people still think they can get as-good of a shot with their phone. I don't do any of my own printing since that has become way too cheap for me to invest in my own equipment, however. Things change and we have to adapt. Ask a helicopter pilot what they think of drones... then stand back!

    I showed up with my camera in my truck and planned to snap a few shots, but bride had made it clear I was only a guest and she had hired a photographer. When I saw the photographer walking around with nothing but a point-and-shoot camera, I asked if it would be okay if I took some photos during the wedding. My photos were the only ones they could print.

    At another friend's wedding I was taking a few photos before the wedding and the "professional" saw me. He asked my friend to tell me to stop taking photos. It was his wedding, so I said okay and put the camera away. The photographer skipped town with their money and never gave them one photo. The only pics they have are the ones I took before and that wasn't many.
     
    nrpetersen likes this.
  19. ktup-flyer

    ktup-flyer Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2012
    Messages:
    1,824
    Location:
    Tupelo, MS
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    ktup-flyer
    That's more than fair. People don't understand how long it takes to edit and make pictures look good, how much cameras/glass/etc. costs, and the skill needed to get shots like yours.
     
    CC268, N659HB and Lowflynjack like this.
  20. midwestpa24

    midwestpa24 Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2016
    Messages:
    321
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    midwestpa24
    You can also draw the similarities to the flying profession. It is something that is a hobby for many, and a lot of people would do for free just to be able to fly. The only thing that has created enough of a hurdle to drive up wages is regulation.
     
    denverpilot likes this.
  21. Lowflynjack

    Lowflynjack Cleared for Takeoff

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2014
    Messages:
    1,305
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Jack Fleetwood
    I think the cheaper equipment, especially the DSLR cameras, are great. Some of the lower end cameras amaze me with their quality and it gives people a chance to learn how to use them, and learn the magic of using different lenses.

    However, in the aviation world, not knowing what you're doing can kill you. There a group on FB where someone wants to have an air-to-air fly-in and everyone takes photos of everyone else. That scares me! It's photography, formation flying, trying to get good scenery, etc. I've had pilots who take to it easily and pilots who are sweating when we're done with a shoot.
     
  22. eman1200

    eman1200 Final Approach

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2013
    Messages:
    7,654
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    eman1200
    Jeez, the 5 hours of billable flying sounds like a perfectly logical explanation of the total fee. Fook ‘em.
     
  23. Lowflynjack

    Lowflynjack Cleared for Takeoff

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2014
    Messages:
    1,305
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Jack Fleetwood
    LOL, I agree... fook 'em!
     
    mscard88 likes this.
  24. PilotRPI

    PilotRPI Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2012
    Messages:
    450
    Location:
    MA - 1B9
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    PilotRPI
    Don’t get upset. Too many cheapskates like that to worry about. Stick to the people that appreciate your work. From the stuff youve shown on here, it seems to be warranted.
     
    Lowflynjack likes this.
  25. RudyP

    RudyP Line Up and Wait

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2008
    Messages:
    565
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    RudyP
    For what it is worth, I’d happily pay your fee for pics of my airplane if it weren’t for the distance!
     
    Lowflynjack likes this.
  26. Ken Ibold

    Ken Ibold Final Approach

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2005
    Messages:
    5,360
    Location:
    Jacksonville, Florida
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Ken Ibold
    I got a call from someone whose boss had written a book, asking if I would edit it. I figured I could do it for $1200. She said, "Why so much? The book is already written. All you need to do is put in some adjectives and stuff." I wanted to say, "OK, for $300 I'll send you a bunch of adjectives and you can put them wherever you like."

    Idiot.
     
  27. steingar

    steingar Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2007
    Messages:
    23,796
    Location:
    Land of Savages
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    steingar
    Jack, I hope to get down there to get some photos of my ship. I have to admit, I've gotten sticker shock form quotes before. I do try and analyze where costs are coming from, though. I don't know the airplane you can fly for less than a hundred dollars an hour, and you do have to cover your costs.

    I wouldn't want to be a pro photographer for any money. Everyone thinks they're Odin's gift to art because they have a cell phone camera. At least everyone doesn't think they can fly a damn airplane.
     
  28. CC268

    CC268 En-Route

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2015
    Messages:
    2,918
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    CC268
    Sounds like auto/aircraft detailing. "I want a professional grade detail for $20-$100". LOL.
     
    rwellner98 likes this.
  29. idahoflier

    idahoflier Pre-Flight

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2017
    Messages:
    37
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    idahoflier
    I think you're taking this too personally.

    You're providing a fairly niche service. I know I had no idea (before this thread) what to expect as a reasonable price and probably most others don't either. To me anything that cost $1,000 is a lot of money, even if it may be a cheap price for whatever good or service. But if I'm educated and understand why it's $1,000.00 it makes it much more palatable. If the prospective customer did a little research and/or been told there's a guy that does A2A photos for $200 I can understand his sticker shock at your quote. I also understand how you arrived at your fee and it seems easily justifiable and reasonable.

    What was the prospective customer's response when you explained your fee?
     
  30. brian]

    brian] Cleared for Takeoff

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2014
    Messages:
    1,454
    Location:
    Arkansas
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    brian]
    Stick to your guns.

    The guy that owned the A35 before I did has some really nice PROFESSIONAL A2A photos done at Oshkosh one year. (The year he won an award for the A35.) Let's just say that I've seen a lot of hack jobs with nice cameras. Then there is the photo shoot they did.

    Those pics of the polished Bonanza on XYZ website - yep, that is the A35.

    I'm basically in a service industry too: IT. Everyone has "programmed" an Excel macro at this point. When I get some hard head saying he (usually he) can do it himself, I say "have fun". They usually come back later ...
     
    denverpilot likes this.
  31. Anymouse

    Anymouse Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2007
    Messages:
    2,342
    Location:
    Clinton, AR (Sometimes)
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Total Stud Bush Pilot
    I've been telling folks that see the pictures Jack took of my Tango that something like this would have normally been about $5k. I have no idea how close I am to the real figure.
     
    GlennAB1 likes this.
  32. Scott@KTYR

    Scott@KTYR Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2013
    Messages:
    1,526
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Scott@KTYR
    Jack,
    Next time something like this comes up just present it to the client like you did to us.

    The shoot and editing the photos will cost $300 plus the cost of a plane and pilot approx $300 and fuel approx $400.

    I feel if you break it down into smaller bits it is easier to swallow.
     
  33. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis Administrator Management Council Member

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2007
    Messages:
    21,782
    Location:
    Paola, KS
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    iBanYou
    Jack, my wife recently quit doing photography largely for what you've observed. It was especially hard when she was doing family photos due to the number of moms with a DSLR who did terrible work, but charged basically nothing. Meanwhile my wife actually took excellent pictures and spent time in Lightroom and Photoshop to make them really shine.

    It goes for any other service. People significantly undervalue time of those who do a good job. I don't do much instruction or commercial piloting, but if I do I'm by no means the cheapest (nor the most expensive). But for what I do, I'm experienced and highly qualified.

    Lowest cost doesn't mean best value.
     
    Pilawt and N747JB like this.
  34. kayoh190

    kayoh190 Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    May 29, 2014
    Messages:
    1,824
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Kayoh@190
    This, this, and effing' this.

    Keep on keepin' on, Jack. I'd pay your rate all day long.
     
    Ted DuPuis and Lowflynjack like this.
  35. Lowflynjack

    Lowflynjack Cleared for Takeoff

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2014
    Messages:
    1,305
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Jack Fleetwood
    I like your style!!
     
  36. iamtheari

    iamtheari Line Up and Wait

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2016
    Messages:
    881
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Ari
    Art comes from the artist, not from the tools.

    Here's the difference between gear and chops:


    Or if you don't like trumpets:


    A good photographer can take great pictures with an iPhone. A wealthy fool can take terrible pictures with a Canon 1DX. And a fool is born every minute, so that wealthy fool can even make a little money selling terrible pictures taken with an expensive camera. But that doesn't mean the value of the good photographer's artwork is any lower.

    It does, however, mean that the good photographer has to deal with a more obnoxious marketing situation than existed back when you had to buy 100 rolls of film to take 1,000 bad photographs. I think you should point out to customers like that the old adage: Do it right, or do it twice. When you're burning Jet-A to pose for a photograph, do you really want to risk having to do it twice to get a good result?
     
    Pilawt likes this.
  37. GRG55

    GRG55 En-Route

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2015
    Messages:
    3,594
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Aztec Flyer
    Another way to lower the number. Tell it'll cost one...AMU.
     
  38. N747JB

    N747JB Final Approach

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2011
    Messages:
    5,813
    Location:
    Atlanta
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    John
    My wife loves to take pictures and is my no means a professional photographer, she has a pretty good digital camera and takes her time making sure she gets good pictures. We went to a wedding a couple years ago on New Year's Eve. It was a smallish affair, maybe 50-60 people total. She brought her camera and then found out they hadn't hired a photographer for the wedding!! Of course, she sprung into action and took a lot of great pictures, were they as good as the ones we paid $$$$$ for at our daughter's wedding, no, but they bride and groom were thrilled at the cost! LOL $1000 to take A2A pictures seems like a decent price to me!
     
    Lowflynjack likes this.
  39. JGoodish

    JGoodish Cleared for Takeoff

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2006
    Messages:
    1,238
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    JGoodish
    I will look at this purely from a customer perspective. If I want to purchase a product or service, I quite frankly don't care what your costs are. If the market is competitive, you have to compete either on price OR one or more other elements which customers value if you want to grow and sustain your business. In my experience, photography is oversaturated with suppliers virtually everywhere.

    Most folks (including employers) don't seem to value high-quality work, so the market for those who are willing to pay for it is going to be much smaller than the market for those who want to pay less and tolerate lower quality. On the other hand, I'm sick and tired of small business folks who act like I owe them something despite their higher price for the same or lesser product or service. If you're going to sell into a market, you have to be willing to compete in that market as well.


    JKG
     
  40. denverpilot

    denverpilot Taxi to Parking

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2009
    Messages:
    42,665
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    DenverPilot
    Let the cheapskates have their $200 shoots Jack, stick with those who understand your costs without you having to explain it to them. Better customers to have.

    @iamtheari , the damned 60 Hz hum on that Fender was driving me nuts trying to listen to him play.