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Thread: The business of Photography

  1. #1
    Member wuffstuff's Avatar
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    The business of Photography

    I have rarely seen so many high quality and inspiring images on any forum and it's left me wondering if they are taken, in some cases, by professional Leica photographers.

    Is there anyone here who makes a living entirely from the use of Leica cameras?

    I realise that making a living in photography require the tools for the job and an M9 may not be the perfect tool for many scenarios.

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    Subscriber Member jaapv's Avatar
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    Re: The business of Photography

    The question has been asked before - both this forum and LUF have is strong presence of professionals, RFF somewhat less.
    I think -and I believe that is a consensus, that there is little quality difference on this forum between the better amateurs and professionals - obviously professionals can invest more time and effort in their craft than amateurs, but on the other hand if one has to make a living out of photography one is more restricted in one's art than an amateur.
    In these forums, however, the distinction is rarely made. We are amateurs in the sense of lovers of photography all.
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    Member wuffstuff's Avatar
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    Re: The business of Photography

    I understand that there is little difference in output between pros and amateurs on this, and other, sites. I was, and still am, interested purely out of noseyness/nosiness (are those real words?). Call it widening my photographic knowledge.

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    Re: The business of Photography

    Hi There
    You aren't doing so badly yourself (that lovely picture of the incoming storm).
    I think that lots of the amateurs around here put huge (and successful) amount of effort into their work (Jaap is a perfect example).
    Somebody (could it have been Tim Ashley?) coined the phrase 'gentleman photographer': something like a gentleman cricketer - who was right up there with the best, but didn't make money from it.

    all the best

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    Re: The business of Photography

    Who was it that said: "Let us be serious, let us be amateurs"...

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    Subscriber Member Jorgen Udvang's Avatar
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    Re: The business of Photography

    The biggest difference between a pfrofessional and an amateur photographer is that, when the pro is still waiting out in the rain for whatever to happen with his old, beaten up Nikon, the amateur has left for the warm coziness of his home to work on his new MacBook Retina computer with his spouse and a good cup of coffee by his side, listening to a Beethoven sonata while making some "real" work, earning "real" money which will eventually enable him to buy that new Summilux that he's craving for

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    Re: The business of Photography

    I think one of the criteria for being a professional photographer is one who can consistently produce compelling images on a regular basis - even on a daily basis, as assignments demand. Camera technology has become so sophisticated and forgiving that most anyone who puts some effort into it can occasionally produce good images. But, that is very different from someone who can produce excellent images consistently on demand.

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    Re: The business of Photography

    Quote Originally Posted by wuffstuff View Post
    I have rarely seen so many high quality and inspiring images on any forum and it's left me wondering if they are taken, in some cases, by professional Leica photographers.

    Is there anyone here who makes a living entirely from the use of Leica cameras?

    I realise that making a living in photography require the tools for the job and an M9 may not be the perfect tool for many scenarios.
    making a living in photography is really more about the business side and relationships and maintaining good clients. Of course you have to make good pictures consistently but if you can't find work its not of much use.

    so to turn the question on its head if you are successful at getting work the camera is irrelevant.

    I tried with the M8 when it came out as did others on this forum to use it for most of my work and it was not really the best, but then I was using it in ways it was never designed for. Ultimately the rangefinder is the biggest limitation which is what history decided long ago, the SLR is the solution.

    that said its still the most enjoyable camera I own. Except when i hate it

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    Member wuffstuff's Avatar
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    Re: The business of Photography

    Many of you have commented here on the status of amateurs and i wholeheartedly agree. There are some of the finest photographers worldwide on this very site. I am constantly enthused and motivated by pictures I've seen here and it must be the same for others.

    My inquiry really was - does anybody here make a living with their M cameras alone?. Is it possible to do this without resort to the canon/nikon systems.

    Like most of you I enjoy the amateur status and, having been a pro a lifetime or two ago, enjoy the ability to play, and display, with the pros.

    Just wondered.

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    Re: The business of Photography

    Why does it matter? And more specifically, what kind of pro? Are full-time artists pros? Or are you just thinking the stereotypical documentary/editorial photographer (a genre that has taking a massive beating since its Leica centered heyday)? If you have any cameras other than Leicas, does that disqualify you? I think you would not find many photographers who make their sole living with Leicas, though there are surely some out there. But it's kind of like asking if there are any taxi or limousine drivers who ONLY have a stretch limo and no other cars. Or an F1 driver who only has an F1 car. It's not that Leicas are so incredibly specialized, but more that if you earn your living taking pictures, you probably have a number of different tools, even if one or two are favorites. Same thing...if you earn your living driving, you probably have more than one car. And of course, the quality of the final image has only some relation to the camera and lens used...it is possible to make incredible photos with almost any system, as long as you properly manage its strengths and weaknesses.

    Personally, I use only Leica for my digital cameras -- I have the S2 and M9, and I use them both in work and in a personal capacity. The S2 is great for art or landscape photography, and also in things like artwork reproduction, photographic "scanning" (for example of contact sheets or 8x10 film), and various studio work. In terms of sale of prints, most of my older work was shot on film, often on a Mamiya 7II or Hasselblad, but also on Leicas (including the newer digital ones). My work with the cameras is more as a sideline to my main business as a printer and lab owner, but I do consider a part of my profession, and at times those sales can make a huge difference in a month's business.
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    Member wuffstuff's Avatar
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    Re: The business of Photography

    Quote Originally Posted by Stuart Richardson View Post
    Why does it matter?
    It doesn't matter at all. I was just curious as the photos on this site seem much more professional than those on equivalent sites.

    Perhaps I'm being too inquiring, but traditionally forums have provided answers to questions similar to this particular query.

    Leave it if it's an issue.

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    Re: The business of Photography

    The question was meant to be more rhetorical than accusatory, so if I offended you, I am sorry. It was really in reference to two issues...one being the idea of "professional" photography, and what if any meaning that has an aesthetic judgement, and if so, why would Leicas specifically would make a difference. It's not that I don't see a difference in their cameras to others, more that the biggest difference between systems always seems to be the individual user experience. In that sense it is such a personal question, that I am not sure how the experience of others would have much relevance. One chooses a Leica or a Nikon or a Hasselblad because it suits ones budget, ergonomic preference and style of work. But, of course, that's my take, not anyone else's. On the notion of "professional". Well, flat out, most professionals don't take spectacular photos. They take good photos that cater to their market. Most of the best photography is not "professional", even if it is taken by someone who earns their living as a photographer. Professional usually means catering to the tastes of others...clients, art directors, editors etc. The best photography is invariably when the photographer does what THEY want...either for their own love of the work, or when their interests and their clients line up perfectly. So I guess that is what I was getting at when I asked why it mattered.
    My photos are here: http://www.stuartrichardson.com and more recent work here: http://stuartrichardson.tumblr.com/ Please have a look at my book!
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    Senior Member Jason Muelver's Avatar
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    Re: The business of Photography

    Interesting timing of this post.

    I make my living as a photographer. I haven't picked up my Leica in months.

    I bought an M8 as a rangefinder experiment. Always loved them, thought I'd give it a whirl. If it's photographic equipment and it just sits on a shelf, well, then it's not making me money. So I've been thinking of selling it.

    Then I picked it up yesterday. To upgrade the system to one that I can use exclusively, or as much as my Nikon gear, it will cost between $20-30K. So now I'm thinking of selling it again.

    And here lies the rub. If you have been in this system for awhile and have invested in great glass before prices went from high to astronomical, good on ya. But you are a working professional and want to make a move to Leica, it's extremely difficult to do so financially.

    Now that mini rant is over, there's nothing in the world like it. This is 1/10th of a sec hand held. Could never do this with my Nikon gear.



    Thanks for letting me vent!
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    Re: The business of Photography

    As a fan of the Kansas City Chiefs, I can tell you from bitter experience, that just because someone is a "paid professional" it in no way means they're good at what they do.

    Sigh.

    That said, when I was a paid PJ, I shot with either a Nikon F3 or the paper's OM-2s. Never worked in a digital shop as a photographer, but it made being an editor (web producer, actually, but same sort of job) a lot easier. I would have loved an M8 or M9 to shoot with, but I doubt I could have convinced accounting that they were worth the investment.

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    Re: The business of Photography

    Spent almost 20 years as a freelance PJist with a combination of Leicas, Nikons and Hasselblad equipment. But that was during the peak of film, shooting Kodachrome 64 and Tri-X.
    Now that I am back to amateur status I use only an M9.

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