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Race to the bottom

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1 hour ago, newfoundmass said:

This is such a weird mentality. The quality of work should always be what's most important. If those that have hired me and been pleased with the results consider my work to be "professional" then that's really all that matters. 

It's not a mentality, it's the definition of the word.

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While I occasionally do some video and photo work, I've given up on it as a profession. 

I do drywall work for a living, it pays extremely well, is always in demand, and is a skill that changes very little over time. My stress and happiness is better for it. You don't have to constantly keep up with the latest and greatest tech.

Though I will say a big factor for me is that I realized I don't enjoy editing video, I'm such a perfectionist that I would have constant stress during the edit. Pretty much killed film projects for me unless I'm working as part of a team.
 

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3 hours ago, UncleBobsPhotography said:

It's not a mentality, it's the definition of the word.

It IS a mentality, because of what definition one chooses to use when using the word. 

Merriam-Webster:

participating for gain or livelihood in an activity or field of endeavor often engaged in by amateurs 

Google:

a person competent or skilled in a particular activity.

Using your strict definition tons of people that are professionals, from bands/musicians, to actors, to athletes, etc. wouldn't be considered "professional." It's silly. 

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On 4/5/2019 at 2:49 AM, Thpriest said:

We do corporate, events and weddings etc. Lots of competition on price everywhere and very difficult to compete. An example would be a wedding we quoted for and the couple ended up with someone they found on Instagram who did all the fotos for 160€ including 20 prints. I have no idea how they make a living out of that.

Because it's their side gig.

With YouTube and the internet and cheaper and cheaper cameras the cost of entry is low for people that like to do this stuff on the side or as a hobby. I own my own business but I really love videography as a hobby and I''ll sure as hell taking $300 to $500 for a weekends worth of work here and there to pay for my gear or to make a few extra bucks on the side. Would I do corporate work? Nah, that shits stressful.

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The difference is that some of us are trying to make a living out of it and have invest great amount of money on education, gear and years of our life.

For every non-professional that take our jobs and income, our kids starve!

It is illegal for me to sell shoes and other products and services, why it is different for you? Because you can buy a camera kit for 500$ and can sell for 1/10th of my price?

The jobs are specific, if no-low and mid budget jobs are made by video-pirates, they squeeze all the pros at the top, but the top is only a small precent of the paid video productions, so what is happening right now is the demise of the middle class, like in all socio-economic aspects of this decade, and anyone that has read 5 lines of a history book, when you do not have a middle class, then bad things happen!

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I do want to say even though it's mainly a hobby for me, I do ask to be properly compensated when I'm working for others. . I do value my time and experience, and don't want to undercut others or myself.  

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11 years ago, I missed the boat by 6 months. I bought the XH-A1 in March of 2008. The 5dmkii came out about 6 months later. My career never really recovered as I ended up doing ENG work since 2010. Broadcast is great and rewarding. It too has been a race to the bottom depending on organization. I still do freelance work on the side, but dang is it so competitive. I've been dumping money and energy into catching up with the DSLR revolution/Youtube/Instagram folk within the last two years. The days of using the letus/redrockmicro/ etc with camcorders was short lived. The people who end surviving are those who continue to invest into becoming a better visual storyteller. Knowing and getting the shot still matters above gear. Those who care will compensate you dearly too. EOSHD is definitely a step up from my dvxuser days. Thanks to everyone for their knowledge and candor! Keep up the good work Andrew!

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21 hours ago, newfoundmass said:

What truly differentiates amateurs from professionals? The ability to make a living or the quality of work? 

I was writing a joke :-P

Anywho... to answer, it should be the latter but in reality that isn't always so and just means the former

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6 hours ago, Kisaha said:

The difference is that some of us are trying to make a living out of it and have invest great amount of money on education, gear and years of our life.

For every non-professional that take our jobs and income, our kids starve!

It is illegal for me to sell shoes and other products and services, why it is different for you? Because you can buy a camera kit for 500$ and can sell for 1/10th of my price?

The jobs are specific, if no-low and mid budget jobs are made by video-pirates, they squeeze all the pros at the top, but the top is only a small precent of the paid video productions, so what is happening right now is the demise of the middle class, like in all socio-economic aspects of this decade, and anyone that has read 5 lines of a history book, when you do not have a middle class, then bad things happen!

I think you're overestimating how many people are taking work away from you after buying a $500 kit. 

People that are good at their craft and keep clients happy will always have work. We all have financial obligations and desires, some larger than others. I live cheaply. I own a small home (paid off in large part thanks to my supposed "amateur" video work), I own somewhere in the neighborhood of $20,000 worth of video equipment, all paid off thanks to my "amateur" video work, and I've found a way to live comfortably on $25,000 to $30,000 a year. I've done all that by the age of 34. If someone comes to me and says they can only afford $500 for a gig that others would charge three times for, and I can fit it in to my schedule, I have no hesitation taking it. Some wish to frame that as undercutting "real professionals" whereas I look at it as paying my phone, electric, internet, and grocery bills for the month with one gig. Besides, those type of clients weren't going to pay those "real professionals" what they would ask for anyway.

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11 hours ago, Kisaha said:

The difference is that some of us are trying to make a living out of it and have invest great amount of money on education, gear and years of our life.

For every non-professional that take our jobs and income, our kids starve!

It is illegal for me to sell shoes and other products and services, why it is different for you? Because you can buy a camera kit for 500$ and can sell for 1/10th of my price?

The jobs are specific, if no-low and mid budget jobs are made by video-pirates, they squeeze all the pros at the top, but the top is only a small precent of the paid video productions, so what is happening right now is the demise of the middle class, like in all socio-economic aspects of this decade, and anyone that has read 5 lines of a history book, when you do not have a middle class, then bad things happen!

I am sorry but I don't get this.     No one OWES you (or me or anyone) a living.      What if there are dozens of people in your area who have more training, spent more on equipment and time? Are THEY then MORE entitled than you?    Do you need a licence to work in photography/video?    I don't want to see anyone not being able to live doing what they want but if someone wants to offer to work for less than someone else and they produce stuff acceptable to the people paying, so be it.

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Whenever I'm low on work, I step back and spend that time thinking up bigger, bolder projects to up my game, and suddenly I find myself working with higher-paying clients. Frustration is good. A lot of what we do is equal parts business and creative. If the numbers aren't supporting it, you have to make changes for the better---or worse.

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@newfoundmass @noone

Do you pay taxes for your income as a photographer/videographer? Do you have license for it?

If not, then you are certainly illegal in your country and you can undercut my pricing because taxes here are close to 50-55%, and I have to have a physical space for my trade, which adds 300-400€ for my "shop" per month - which I never visit, but I have to have.

If I get 50 pair of shoes from ebay, went downtown and try to sell them, I will be immediately arrested, and the fines are severe.

However you see it, however it fits you, in every sense you are criminals. 

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4 hours ago, Kisaha said:

@newfoundmass @noone

Do you pay taxes for your income as a photographer/videographer? Do you have license for it?

If not, then you are certainly illegal in your country and you can undercut my pricing because taxes here are close to 50-55%, and I have to have a physical space for my trade, which adds 300-400€ for my "shop" per month - which I never visit, but I have to have.

If I get 50 pair of shoes from ebay, went downtown and try to sell them, I will be immediately arrested, and the fines are severe.

However you see it, however it fits you, in every sense you are criminals. 

You need a license to be a photographer in some countries? That's insane. I live in a nanny state, but even here you can earn up to €1000 tax free legally as a hobby photographer, and up to €5000 before you have to start paying VAT. Above that you start paying VAT as well, but there is still not any kind of licenses. And you have to have a physical space as well? Where is this? It's perfectly legal to run a business from your home in Norway (where I'm from).

Photography is not exactly bridge building or heart surgery.

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42 minutes ago, UncleBobsPhotography said:

You need a license to be a photographer in some countries? That's insane. I live in a nanny state, but even here you can earn up to €1000 tax free legally as a hobby photographer, and up to €5000 before you have to start paying VAT. Above that you start paying VAT as well, but there is still not any kind of licenses. And you have to have a physical space as well? Where is this? It's perfectly legal to run a business from your home in Norway (where I'm from).

Photography is not exactly bridge building or heart surgery.

I know. I am exaggerating to make my point, also I make the bulk of my income from TV stations and big production companies but still the shrinking of the "pro" market affects me greatly.

To be self employed as I am, you have to have a physical space, and specific (taxable) codes of what you do. Also, in the office, everything has to be legal (software and hardware), while "amateurs" have everything hacked or from b- markets e.t.c

Here, if you are SELF EMPLOYED you been taxed since the first euro. 1 euro of income is taxable. Also, you have to pay a series of extra taxes, and a new thing is that we have to pay for P.O.S, which in my case has to be wireless, so I paied 250€+24% VAT for the machine and 12-15€ per month for the service, regardless of using it or not. I am not going to use it.

Also VAT is not the tax, VAT is additional to the tax. VAT is 24% for every product and service, by the way, so if I charge 1000€ for something, I have to get 240€ also. So someone that do not pay taxes and VAT, can easily charge 450-500€ for something I charge 1240€ and he will make the same money as me. The customer doesn't care about my taxes and VAT anyway, and if the other person can do 80% of what I do, for 40% of the money, then..you get the point..

Also, when I employ other people, I pay them legal money+taxes+VAT, the other person, usually takes 1-2 friends, or their wives (this is another recent trend, especially in weddings!) so they can go easily to 20% of what I should ask. So I have to earn just a silly percentage, just to be competitive with those, and that is why I can't compete for low budget jobs like: events, weddings, small corporates, social media content. Literally they do these jobs from 50euros, they are young people charging 50 euros for an event, or corporate. 

The state is getting 60% of what we earn, because they are unable to stop illegal activities and can not tax them. In reality they punish the people -like me - that follow the laws and try to do things right, while been self employed.

Working for the state, which is the 25-30% of the workforce, has different rules and it is the best, but you have to deal with the corrupted political system to do so.

Whoever is from western/advanced countries, try to watch this film

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Graduation_(2016_film)

It will help you understand a very big part of the world and/or Europe (eastern/Mediterranean countries).

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36 minutes ago, Kisaha said:

I know. I am exaggerating to make my point, also I make the bulk of my income from TV stations and big production companies but still the shrinking of the "pro" market affects me greatly.

To be self employed as I am, you have to have a physical space, and specific (taxable) codes of what you do. Also, in the office, everything has to be legal (software and hardware), while "amateurs" have everything hacked or from b- markets e.t.c

Here, if you are SELF EMPLOYED you been taxed since the first euro. 1 euro of income is taxable. Also, you have to pay a series of extra taxes, and a new thing is that we have to pay for P.O.S, which in my case has to be wireless, so I paied 250€+24% VAT for the machine and 12-15€ per month for the service, regardless of using it or not. I am not going to use it.

Also VAT is not the tax, VAT is additional to the tax. VAT is 24% for every product and service, by the way, so if I charge 1000€ for something, I have to get 240€ also. So someone that do not pay taxes and VAT, can easily charge 450-500€ for something I charge 1240€ and he will make the same money as me. The customer doesn't care about my taxes and VAT anyway, and if the other person can do 80% of what I do, for 40% of the money, then..you get the point..

Also, when I employ other people, I pay them legal money+taxes+VAT, the other person, usually takes 1-2 friends, or their wives (this is another recent trend, especially in weddings!) so they can go easily to 20% of what I should ask. So I have to earn just a silly percentage, just to be competitive with those, and that is why I can't compete for low budget jobs like: events, weddings, small corporates, social media content. Literally they do these jobs from 50euros, they are young people charging 50 euros for an event, or corporate. 

The state is getting 60% of what we earn, because they are unable to stop illegal activities and can not tax them. In reality they punish the people -like me - that follow the laws and try to do things right, while been self employed.

Working for the state, which is the 25-30% of the workforce, has different rules and it is the best, but you have to deal with the corrupted political system to do so.

Whoever is from western/advanced countries, try to watch this film

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Graduation_(2016_film)

It will help you understand a very big part of the world and/or Europe (eastern/Mediterranean countries).

Yeah I agree with Kisaha and im not even a professional, but this is also one of the reasons holding me back to become a professional video/filmmaker. (only official sidejob for me, but I often see low priced budget projects coming along, and I just deny them as Geoff stated I do ask to be properly compensated when I'm working for others. . I do value my time and experience, and don't want to undercut others or myself.  )

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8 hours ago, Kisaha said:

@newfoundmass @noone

Do you pay taxes for your income as a photographer/videographer? Do you have license for it?

If not, then you are certainly illegal in your country and you can undercut my pricing because taxes here are close to 50-55%, and I have to have a physical space for my trade, which adds 300-400€ for my "shop" per month - which I never visit, but I have to have.

If I get 50 pair of shoes from ebay, went downtown and try to sell them, I will be immediately arrested, and the fines are severe.

However you see it, however it fits you, in every sense you are criminals. 

Yes, I pay taxes. You don't need a license in the United States to sell video production services (or shoes, for that matter!) I've never even heard of such a thing! 

What country do you live in?! 

😂

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39 minutes ago, newfoundmass said:

Yes, I pay taxes. You don't need a license in the United States to sell video production services (or shoes, for that matter!) I've never even heard of such a thing! 

What country do you live in?! 

😂

Do you buy shoes from the "hood" then? With no receipt?

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As long as you aren’t required to carry a license to do the professional work you do then what’s the difference? Anybody can “take” your job if they are smart and motivated enough. Wether that is photography or videography or selling shoes or they are a painter, landscaper, etc...

Now if someone setup shop next door to your PT office and offered PT work and they didn’t have a license then that’s different and against the law.

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I'm surprised at the incredulity about requiring some degree and combination of registration/licensing to work legally or effectively as a professional photographer/videographer.

I couldn't get access to events without being registered as a professional with the organiser's media control operations, I can't get that registration without being a member of a recognised professional media union or association, I can't get that registration without proof of professional publication, which I can't do without invoicing to accompany the publication and I can't invoice without registering my trade with the tax authorities.

To actually then go and do these events, I can't do it without proof of public liability insurance which, again, is linked to the specific profession.

I also can't insure the equipment without that specific association to its use and my status in using it.

And thats before we get into things like licensing content such as music and/or stock into your productions where proof of amateur/professional status is a requirement in granting the correct license or even when we are dealing with the more sensitive assignments for public bodies that require background checks by the authorities. 

To be honest, there is so much proof of status required to do it professionally that this whole bootlegging of shoes thing in downtown Athens sounds like a pretty tempting gig to me ;) 

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