Author Topic: What's the biggest challenge you've faced in the last year?  (Read 391 times)

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Offline Todd Muskopf

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What's the biggest challenge you've faced in the last year?
« on: April 18, 2017, 07:24:29 AM »
What's the biggest problem you've had to overcome in your business or otherwise?

Offline Jeff Behm

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Re: What's the biggest challenge you've faced in the last year?
« Reply #1 on: April 18, 2017, 08:41:45 AM »
Relocation to another state after 27 years in the same town.  But you knew that.  :D

Offline Duck

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Re: What's the biggest challenge you've faced in the last year?
« Reply #2 on: April 18, 2017, 10:29:06 AM »
I'm currently facing my biggest challenge; Stepping away from a solid 22 year career as a full time tattoo artist to move into commercial photography. Yes, everyone I tell this to thinks I am nuts, but I am a believer in following your dreams.

Right now I have to relocate my tattoo shop because a tree fell across the building's roof and we have a leak in the back of the shop that becomes a waterfall during heavy rains. The landlord hasn't done anything with it yet and it's been two months. Frustrating isn't the word I'd use at this point.
Moving is going to drain both money and time, two things that are quickly slipping from me. While those two things are going down I am happy to report that stress and aggravation are quickly on the rise.  ???

Hey, I have to find something good in all this, right?
My name is Charles Unitas but friends call me Duck

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Offline Todd Muskopf

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Re: What's the biggest challenge you've faced in the last year?
« Reply #3 on: April 18, 2017, 04:03:08 PM »
My challenges:

1.  Take control of my schedule.  In the last year, I've consistently booked between 5 and 10 sessions per week, and would get a fraction of the people actually show up.  I'm hoping my reservation fee will fix that.  I appear to be getting a slightly higher percentage of bookings paying the fee than I used to get actually show up, so I'm hoping I'm ahead of the game.

2.  Raise $/client:  I discontinued some "compromise items" where people would get a good amount of poses and web images for a modest amount of money.  I've expanded my offerings (experience side as well as product side), and plan to raise prices soon, so I hope this will continue to grow.

3.  Take back my weekends: I've declared every other Friday and the first and third Saturdays as "days off" to spend those with my wife.  It's nice to be able to plan something in advance.

4.  Not be chained to social media/forums/email/etc.: I've begun batching my internet activity more, so I can be more efficient. I'm trying to check about every 4 hours.

5.  Physical:  I've been injured a few times in the last few years (whiplash, frozen shoulder, etc.), so exercise has been spotty.  I'm now on an upswing again.  Two weeks ago, I managed to get in 5 workouts in a week, which was great.  Last week, I had to prepare for a colonoscopy, which interrupted my eating schedule, then I actually didn't eat at all on Wednesday or Thursday, then the procedure was on Friday, so my schedule went out the window.  I figure if I get in 2-3 workouts a week, it's a win.  More is better, because habits are gold.




Offline Sbuchanan

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Re: What's the biggest challenge you've faced in the last year?
« Reply #4 on: April 18, 2017, 07:37:50 PM »
Biggest financial challenge - dealing with a deadbeat renter, fixing the damage etc.  Savings?  Not any more.
Biggest personal challenge - Mom's fall diagnosis with Stage 3 lung cancer (don't smoke kids)  She's in remission now, thanks to University of MD and the fact that she's the strongest person on the planet!
Biggest professional challenge - staying visually relevant when I'm 10 years older than most of my clients. 

Oh yeah, and Trump.

Offline Todd Muskopf

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Re: What's the biggest challenge you've faced in the last year?
« Reply #5 on: April 18, 2017, 07:49:22 PM »

Biggest professional challenge - staying visually relevant when I'm 10 years older than most of my clients. 


My wife asked me how long I'd be shooting high school seniors seeing as how I just turned 50 and I'm not the young, cool guy anymore.  I think that's one reason I'm happy to move towards being the old master of my black and white stuff. :)

PLUS-- I think the high school senior market is dwindling into oblivion.  I think it's fading slowly into a sunset swarm of shoot-and-burn good-enough hacks.

Offline Jeff Behm

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Re: What's the biggest challenge you've faced in the last year?
« Reply #6 on: April 19, 2017, 08:47:32 AM »
PLUS-- I think the high school senior market is dwindling into oblivion.  I think it's fading slowly into a sunset swarm of shoot-and-burn good-enough hacks.

I completely agree, Todd, with the caveat that it's both cultural and regionally variable;  but on the whole, on a major decline.  In the 80's, 90's and up to about 2005 or 6, I or my studio manger shot bunches of seniors, and it was both great cash flow and profitability.  Now I watch and listen as those who specialized in seniors like you and others have to move into other areas.  Youthful, inexperienced, inexpensive shoot-and-burns seem to be where it's at now, often by hobbyist classmates of the seniors.

Offline Darren Cassese

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Re: What's the biggest challenge you've faced in the last year?
« Reply #7 on: April 19, 2017, 05:48:54 PM »
Steve, sorry about your mom. Glad to hear U of M helped her! Hope she remains in remission.
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Offline Jeff Behm

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Re: What's the biggest challenge you've faced in the last year?
« Reply #8 on: April 27, 2017, 11:45:41 AM »
A couple of posts in this thread about whether the niche for seniors is dwindling made me more aware of that niche when I see articles or mentions of seniors.  With that in mind, this email ad from Creative Live caught my eye today.  Made me wonder whether the instructor is A) moving from actually shooting seniors to teaching those who want to do so, and  B) if so, why?
« Last Edit: April 27, 2017, 11:47:30 AM by Jeff Behm »

Offline Todd Muskopf

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Re: What's the biggest challenge you've faced in the last year?
« Reply #9 on: April 27, 2017, 06:06:13 PM »
They probably focused on seniors because it's what newbies want to learn. 

That's really what's hurting the senior market, the overwhelming hordes of "I can do those for you for free" people.  It could be a relative, or a friend, or a guy at their church, I've heard it all. 

Offline Jeff Behm

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Re: What's the biggest challenge you've faced in the last year?
« Reply #10 on: April 27, 2017, 09:04:20 PM »
so wannabes are this ad's focus. No surprise

Offline Darren Cassese

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Re: What's the biggest challenge you've faced in the last year?
« Reply #11 on: May 04, 2017, 07:21:34 PM »
Yeah, I think those who want killer senior photos will still seek out the best, but yeah - another watered down genre... Dammit.

That said, my sister just got my niece a nice package from a good photographer and it paid off. So I think the value is still there. Just need to weed through all the trash like everything else.
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Offline Jeff Behm

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Re: What's the biggest challenge you've faced in the last year?
« Reply #12 on: May 04, 2017, 08:34:19 PM »
What's the name of the hot shot senior photographer from southern Louisiana?  The guy who shot seniors under water with trumpets, etc.?  I'd like to know how he's doing. This area (central MD) has no tradition of senior portraits like western PA did when I was there.  So I have little by which to judge how the genre is doing, beyond Todd's reports.  But it seems he's reporting a trend.

Offline Todd Muskopf

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Re: What's the biggest challenge you've faced in the last year?
« Reply #13 on: May 04, 2017, 09:24:08 PM »
What's the name of the hot shot senior photographer from southern Louisiana?  The guy who shot seniors under water with trumpets, etc.?  I'd like to know how he's doing. This area (central MD) has no tradition of senior portraits like western PA did when I was there.  So I have little by which to judge how the genre is doing, beyond Todd's reports.  But it seems he's reporting a trend.

You're thinking of Kirk Voclain.

Last I saw, he was getting his pilot's license so he could do commercial drone work.

Offline Jeff Behm

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Re: What's the biggest challenge you've faced in the last year?
« Reply #14 on: May 05, 2017, 09:34:00 AM »
Thanks, Todd.  Just visited his site, and unlike 5 years ago, he's much more of a generalist now.  Still good at what he's doing, still over-retouching then over-sharpening for my tastes, but now real estate, food and business head shots are in the mix as well.  I think Houma, LA. was economically devastated by the Deepwater Horizon disaster, so I can completely understand the need to adapt.

Offline Darren Cassese

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Re: What's the biggest challenge you've faced in the last year?
« Reply #15 on: May 05, 2017, 12:28:48 PM »
I wonder how Blair Phillips is doing?
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