Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Show a newbie the ropes.
This is Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo. An amazing place at any time of the day, but to see it at its best you need to be there at the crack of dawn for the giant tuna auctions. Why this picture today?
It kind of ties in with my post on Monday about how to earn a fortune in travel photography. Up-and-coming photographers need to know this stuff. They need to know about proper business practices so they don't make all the same mistakes that we made.
My cousin lives in Tokyo and is a photographer. Not a professional one at this stage but he's working on it! Laurence was born in LA and his Mum is my wife's mum's sister. So he's half Japanese and technically my wife's cousin not mine. Neither here nor there. He's a great guy and a really keen photographer. You can see his website here. Anyway he sent me a long email the other day asking for some advice on how to move his career forward and I penned a big, long reply with a whole bunch of tips.
More importantly I put him in touch with a mate of mine who's a well-established photojournalist there in Tokyo as well, somebody I know will give him some sage advice about working as a foreigner photographer in that amazing part of the world.
If you're already established as a professional it's really important to show a newbie the ropes if they come looking for answers. Showing them how to price themselves properly, license their images and keep their copyright, and why they need to do so to survive in the industry, will help them stop undercutting you. Look what happened with stock. Digital created a whole bunch of eager photographers who wanted to license their images the traditional way. The big agencies wouldn't let them in and Microstock was born - and look where that's got us!
It's not about price fixing. It's about giving people the knowledge to make good business decisions based on more than just the fact that they have a passion to take pictures. I'm about to head off to have coffee with a local real estate and architectural photographer who's graciously agreed to meet me to give me a few pointers. Hopefully I can give him a few on travel photography.
It's all about passing it forward and trying to make sure that we all end up competing on skill level and style, as opposed to the current method of seeing who can charge the least amount possible and still eat more than a single meal a day!
So if you're an established pro in any art form I would encourage you to reach out to aspiring professionals. Take them under your wing a bit and show them what a great, long-term career this can be if you play your business cards right.