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The cost of living... and shooting...
Old 03-04-2006, 09:53 PM   #1 (permalink)
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I recently received an announcement for a 3 day workshop. I was interested, until I saw the price. $1000. No exotic location and few models. That was only the workshop fee and did not include anything else such as lodging.

I've seen ads for workshops on the coasts that were several thousand dollars for 4 or 5 days.

I corresponded with a model who will be traveling through the area, things were going along well till I asked her rates. $275/hour for implied...

As a pro, you might be able to write off some or all of the expense of workshops as a business or educational expense. You might also justify the cost of expensive models if you are selling images to magazines, running a pay-per-view website, etc.

Is it just me or are things getting too expensive for the average hobbyist shooter?

Don't misunderstand me, I've been to workshops and shot with some expensive models, but the price escalation just seems to be accelerating out of control.

Anybody else noticed this or am I just getting cheap in my waning years?

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Re: The cost of living... and shooting... all is relative!
Old 03-04-2006, 11:47 PM   #2 (permalink)
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In about 1978 or so, I took a 4 day workshop in NYC with Lucien Clergue, sponsored by the ICP (International Center of Photography). The cost was about 400 bucks, probably close to a grand in todays cash, but it changed my photographic life, the way I 'see' and the way I shoot. I've never been to a net workshop, so I can't and won't comment on them at all. But back then and probably still, there were (are) a number of teaching workshops being led by world class (non internet) photographers which are worth their weight in gold. I've seen them advertised being led by photographers such as Dianne Arbus, Lucien Clergue and others who are at the top of the mainstream photography food chain. At the time, my fee of $400 was as painful as $1000 fee would be today, a very major expense. And by the way, a portfolio review was required before acceptance into the workshop. But those four days changed my entire approach to photography and especially to photography of the nude.

I've no idea of the nature of the workshop you described and certainly no idea whether or not that price is reasonable, but if it is a true teaching workshop and is being taught by a name (non internet name) photograper, then the price might be reasonable. Name photogs in the mainstream industry do not come cheap!

If it was a net workshop, then look for one at a bettter price! Workshops are like everything else in life, some things are overpriced and offer little of value, whice others are excellent values and highly educational at a fraction of the price. Research is the key. Who is leading the workshop? Is it someone you can learn from? What is the curiculum? Who are and what are the models like? It's easy to get beautiful shot sof 20 year old babes with great figures, but if you really want to 'learn', how about learning to photograph the women who are 40 pounds overweight with a huge mole on the side of their nose. Yeah, it's possible to make them look great! That can be where the money in photography is!

When you see a workshop which seems overpriced for what they offer, just keep on looking. Those workshops priced in the "thousand of dollars" frankly are usually intended or working mainstream pros and a non pro would more than likely not be accepted, but I would not bet the mortgage money on that.

As for models quoting the rate you mentioned, the answer to that is easy. Just move on to the next model! More than likely she is a noivice with absolutely no idea what she is doing and with a boyfriend as a 'manager'. When you see a model with a ridiculous price, again, keep on looking! There are others out there with far more realistic rates. Is experience in a model really all that important? In the attached photo, that was the first shot in a session with a lady who had never posed before, nude or otherwise. There are others out there. when you see a model with a ridiculous price, again, keep on looking! There are others out there with far more realistic rates. Is experience in a model really all that important? The attached photo is the first shot and the first and only session with a lady who had never posed before, nude or otherwise. There are others out there. when you see a model with a ridiculous price, again, keep on looking! There are others out there with far more realistic rates. Is experience in a model really all that impoprtant? In the attached photo, that was the first shot in a session with a lady who had never posed before, nude or otherwise. There are others out there. when you see a model with a ridiculous price, again, keep on looking! There are others out there with far more realistic rates.
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Re: The cost of living... and shooting... all is relative!
Old 03-05-2006, 12:11 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Hello Mr Lester! How are you doing?
What would you consider a "realistic" rate for models?
What would you consider a "realistic" rate for workshops?
When it comes to prices, people get vague rather quickly.
Just curious.

Greg.
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Re: The cost of living... and shooting... all is relative!
Old 03-05-2006, 12:22 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Doug

I appreciate your comments. My point was not to complain about the prices of the specific items I mentioned, but to note the general rapid rise in the prices.

Everyone has to evaluate opportunities based on what they hope to benefit from the experience. Given the opportunity to spend 3 days with some photographers (my personal choices -- Antoine Verglas, Marco Glaviano, Patrick DeMarchilier) I probably wouldn't quibble over the $1000.

But I am in a position where I have some disposable cash... a situation not necessary applicable to all amateur shooters. I just wonder if the escalating costs are closing out opportunities for the majority of amateurs. Just how many workshops are available with under at least a $500 commitment. I know of very few...

As for the model, nope... she's an experienced professional but from a totally different market area. I have no idea if she actually can get what she asks in her market... maybe so. Her rates are just not realistic in my area.

Caveat emptor, buyer beware, ya get's what ya pays for, ya pays yer money and ya takes yer choice, etc., etc.

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[b]Amber Fox














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Re: The cost of living... and shooting...
Old 03-05-2006, 12:42 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I guess it all depends upon your reference point. $1000/3 days seems a little steep, but it all depends upon where the event is. You can get into some smaller cities and conference rates can be high because they don't have the number of hotels competing for the conference dollars and can therefore demand higher rates. I'm always amazed how inexpensive it is to go on cruises and carribean vacations compared to US or European locales. It also seems that there are more and more people getting into, or wanting to get into, glamour shooting, so I would guess that drives the price up, too. IT training classes are on the rise, too. 500-1000/day is pretty common for some of the hotter technologies.

If the model traveling through is getting $275/hr for implied, good for her. It makes it sound like the industry is doing well for itself (assuming she is getting takers).

I can sympathize with you, I just can't justify the cost of a lot of those types of thinks. Thank goodness for GG. There are a lot of good posters (and speakers) that contribute here making it quite the bang for your buck. $99 ($32.49 in 1978 dollars) for Lifetime is quite the bargain.

Mark Oehler
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Re: The cost of living... and shooting...
Old 03-05-2006, 12:58 AM   #6 (permalink)
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On top of the high cost of the workshop, depending on where you live (Minneapolis here), there is the high cost of travel involved!

I took Jeff Black's bootcamp in the fall and, I will tell you what, it did change my outlook and gave me a better road to travel down. What I learned with Jeff has given me the base to try new things and the confidence that I have some idea of what I am doing. Since then, Jeff has raised his rates, but I still believe that his bootcamp is well worth it.

Unfortunately, that is the only time I have been involved with anything similar to a workshop (although, it was not a workshop at all). Most workshops that I hear or read about are nowhere near me and, being that I own another business (the one that actually pays the bills), I can't afford to take the time off or spend the money for travel (let alone the ever increasing costs of the workshop itself). If there were to be a workshop here in Minneapolis, I might consider it. If I happen to be in Florida during the time that one of the multitudes of workshops are going on there, I might go. However, I can't afford it. I already spend every extra cent on equipment and new "toys." That reminds me...I need a new roll of seemless...Monday.
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Re: The cost of living... and shooting... all is relative!
Old 03-05-2006, 01:09 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I've no doubt at all that the escalating costs are prohibitive to many, if not most of those out there wishing to attend a tgeaching or other workshop. But we are in a era of rising prices. I know that in the downtown Atlanta area, a plain hotel conference room suitable for a workshop location runs $1000 and upwards, per day. So it is not just greed on the part of workshop producers.

For example, in recent months another photographer and I checked into the possibility of holding a figurative art photpograhy workshop in the Atlanta area. We came to the conclusion that with reental space and model payment, we would have to have 15 participants paying $400 to o$500 each in order to break even. We considered that prohibitive and abandoned the idea.

As for the moidel you described, I would venture to say her rates are not reasonable in any area! I know I would certainly not consider anything like that.
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Re: The cost of living... and shooting... all is relative!
Old 03-05-2006, 01:36 AM   #8 (permalink)
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First off, what's with this "Mr" [censored]?

I'll have to say I'll have to continue with the vagueness. Personally and for many reasons, I never discuss arrangements with models who work with me. I'll just note that I do figurative art and art carries little to no budget or profit. Remember, Ansel Adams and Wynn Bulloch taught photography and did portraits to make a living!

For example, if I held a two day workshop in Atlanta in a hotel conference room at $1000 per day, with four models at $300 per day, what price would I have to charge to break even? Could the workshop be small enough for individual instruction or would I have to load it with as many attendees as possible to make a profit?

As for workshops, it all depends on who is running it and what they have to offer. Is it a teaching workshop? Is the 'teacher' someone you can learn from, who does something you want to learn to do? Does he/she have a net reputation or a mainstream reputation? Is he/she pubhlished any place other than on the net? Is it someone with a specialty which interests you and someone you can learn from? Is the workshop an actual 'teaching' workshop or a gang shoot with little or no instruction? Personally I would consider, in today's dollars, a fee of $1000 to spend four days with someone like Lucien Clergue, Diane Arbus or Ruth Bernhard, if they were still active, to be a great investment.

Workshops are expensive to put on, location fees are exorbitant and fees for multiple models can be substantial. It's difficult to convince a workshop model to actualy show up for two to four days for a minimal fee, their time is worth something. then let;s add to that the cost of renting lighting set ups for three to four shooting spots and whatever other material needed to be rented or purchased. The question has to be, is a specific workshop worth the price to the individual. Will the individual learn enough to make the expense worthwhile? Nothing else really matters.
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Re: The cost of living... and shooting...
Old 03-05-2006, 06:22 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Yes, everything is getting more expensive. That makes it more important than ever to keep searching for bargains. I took one of Rolando's PA workshops for two days and thought it was great value for the money. I'd love to go to the Hit The Lodge this year but my budget can't take that hit right now, next year hopefully. The Virgin Islands workshops are probably out of my range for the foreseeable future.

The model rate you quoted seems very high to me, and I would just look for another. Everyone has a right to set their own prices just as we all have the right to accept or decline them. You might try a counter offer.

If you think photography is an expensive hobby, you should look into motorsports racing, kind of puts things into a different perspective.
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Add the 7, carry the 2, and don\'t forget...
Old 03-05-2006, 01:30 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Al I can only tell you about a dozen key words that may make you change your mind, and at the top is one very important word - liability - which is followed with insurance, makeup artists, equipment, models, location, website, bandwidth, advertising, wardrobe, accessories, backdrops, lighting equipment, airfare, lodging, food... and so on. Oh, and doing this isn't tax free either you know.

Down below Doug Lester used a phrase, "break even," which is impossible to do. Anyone who thinks in this day and age we are sharing information, teaching, and plan on "breaking even" doing it is stuck in a time warp - or bankruptcy. Everyone wants to be paid now days, everyone. It is funny you mention paying a model's requested fees for her work, do you think models attend my workshops for free? Good experienced models cost the most, they deserve to be paid. Some promoters get away with not paying models, they can get "free" models, but you never know what you are going to have show up - inexperience, inability, bad attitudes, etc. - some don't show up at all. I will not ask my attending photographers to pay money on the whim that the advertised models are a "maybe." I pay my models and cover their expenses... it is heavy overhead.

In addition I spend hundreds of hours months in advance of a workshop date just working on putting the program together. And if I were to do it for a couple hundred bucks per attendee, I might as well invite everyone to my studio, teach them some photography, have them all shoot the models I paid for, write them a check for five hundred or so, and tell them all thank you for attending my event... now go out and reap the rewards, enjoy what I paid you to learn.

I would be far more concerned with a workshop not costing [cheap] good money rather than attending one that costs considerably more, put on by experienced photographers who know their craft... why? Because you get what you pay for. If you want a workshop that is just a photo-day session where you show up and shoot a bunch of models, stand in line, no real working knowledge taught, then you are not talking about a workshop... you're talking about a shootout. Those of us who put on great educations, really concentrate on improved lighting technique, advanced methods in quality control, and how to work with models, we are the promoters who care. Our product (a great workshop) costs us a lot so it naturally will have to cost the attendee a lot.

Life in general is much more expensive... photography is trying to find its new value.

Robert

p.s.; Something [free] that cost little to nothing is actually "worthless"... something that appears expensive and is difficult to afford is usually most valuable... and something almost impossible to obtain, is priceless.
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