I love “Weekend Warriors”

Monday, Jun 20th, 2011 in The IPWS Blog by Alan Murphy | 10 Comments

Now that I have your attention let me say that I HATE the term “weekend warrior”.

I’m not even sure I know what the term means but I do know a lot of photographers are blaming “weekend warriors” for ruining their business. Without taking a serious look at their own marketing plan and business model they see every other photographer who doesn’t think and shoot like them as a “weekend warrior”. But then I speak with other photographers who are busy, working hard and producing excellent work. They love to network with clients and any photographer they come into contact with. Rather than cutting out a competitor or someone starting out they actively engage with them, meet them for coffee and discuss how business is going. They take the feedback from clients and insights from their peers and adjust their business if appropriate.

So ask yourself honestly which are you – one who will put all the blame on others or one who will look at the market, engage and adapt your offering to meet modern consumers needs and wants.

People don’t have careers for life – that is a fact of modern life.

Many photographers have made career changes to be at the top of their game in photography. Without thinking too hard I can come up with at least 10 of Ireland’s “most awarded photographers” who were electricians, postmen and surveyors. As long as those shooting part time pay their taxes and have appropriate insurance we should engage and encourage rather than shun and blame them for all our woes.

And for those shooting part time or looking to break into a full-time career in photography I say “good luck”. But be fair to your clients and your competitors. Charge a fee that is realistic, consider second shooting to gain experience and have appropriate insurance and pay your taxes. Photography can be a rewarding career, creatively and financially, but it is hard work.

If you want to network with other professional photographers log into photographers.ie where you can exchange views with your peers and even form you own networks to discuss issues important to you. Check it out now

 

If you are a client looking to hire a photographer then check our post on Things to consider when hiring a photographer.

10 Comments:

  1. Posted June 20, 2011 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

    It’s important to define a “weekend warrior” before loving or hating them.

    “Weekend Warrior: A part-time photographer who illogically undercuts generally accepted pricing for the provision of photographic services in an uninsured fashion with the goal of taking cash payments and the subsequent avoidance of any tax liabilities.”

    If that’s the definition then they should of course be outed, they’re parasites. Alas, this happens in most professional services and particularly here in Ireland.

    I had this question. If I print, frame and sell my work competing against, for example, professional landscape photographers and I declare that income for tax purposes but do not have insurance (in the classic sense of photography insurance), am I a warrior also?

  2. Posted June 20, 2011 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

    Of course, countless photographers make their wares available on RedBubble/SmugMug for sale and I’ve no doubt many of them aren’t insured in the “photographic” sense. I see no real issue with this as long as taxes are paid. Mileage on that sentiment may vary with others.

  3. Posted June 20, 2011 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

    Further to my question, I asked over on twitter (@nonsequitir) as to the reason for having a pro-photographer title in the first place. We don’t tend to have Pro-artists or Pro-knitter. In my job (product manager) I don’t refer to myself as a Pro Product Manager. Clearly, there’s a root issue here that I suspect is related to fear, fear of differentiation and an element of inflated self-importance, but I’d love to hear from you folks on this.

    • Posted June 20, 2011 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

      Stephen – there are of course professional artists, football players, golfers etc. They do it for the money. Not sure what your point is – but maybe you are trying to provoke a reaction.

  4. Posted June 20, 2011 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

    Exactly that. Along with defining a “weekend warrior” I’d like to define and discuss “pro photographer”. Is it, as you’ve said “for the money” or is it something more like “consistently better photography than I could hope to produce because I’m not a pro”?

  5. Posted June 20, 2011 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

    As long as you’re declaring taxes on your income you’re not doing anything wrong and no, you wouldn’t be a warrior if we take your previous definition of warrior as somebody who will take cash “… and the subsequent avoidance of any tax liabilities”.

    Now, doing weddings for instance and not being insured for public liability and insurance would be plain and simply stupidity of the highest order (even if you pay taxes on your profit – as you should). :-)

  6. Posted June 20, 2011 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

    The word Pro implies – Main source of income which in turn implies there is an accompanying service, a high standard of workmanship, a sense of reliability, quality guaranteed, experience, images which are so beautiful that you want them all but finally making a selection you will be proud to display and pass on to the next generation and of course a feeling of value for money.

    Whereas Weekend Warrior or Amateur implies Keep Your Fingers Crossed as it could be many of the following:-
    Badly dressed photographer, missed opportunities, loads & loads of happy snaps but struggling to find one for the wall due to “the artists” odd composition. Images with a strange colour cast, awful exposure, shitty looking colour. Then comes that guilty sense of “We should have known Cheap would equal Nasty”. Followed by a tail between the legs visit to the nearest Pro with your CD of 1500 JPEG’s to request “Is there anything can be done to rescue this? Money is no object”!

    • Posted July 1, 2011 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

      Dominic; First of all, I think implying that contracting the services of a ‘Pro’ means you get a certain level of quality or standard of workmanship is rubbish. Just because a person makes the bulk of their income from photography doesn’t make them a good photographer. It means a couple have a higher possibility that the photographer will turn up at the venue on time, hopefully well presented and be friendly toward the wedding party but certainly makes no assertions that the final product will be anything better than what a so called ‘weekend warrior’ could produce.

      I think you’re confusing the term ‘weekend warrior’ with the notion of an uncle that bought a basic DSLR for Christmas and thinks he can take wedding photos. Does it automatically mean that if I take wedding photos for a friend or relation and I’m not a full-time pro that the finished product will be of a lesser quality than if they’d paid a pro? I’m certain that even a moderately experienced amateur can produce well composed images with no trace of ‘shitty looking colour’ that couples would be delighted to hang on their wall, show to their families and whatever else.

      As for badly dressed, I think that’s very much up to the individual, dont you? I’ve witnessed experienced pro’s turn up to venues in combat trousers and tatty waistcoats. Similarly, I’ve seen amateurs turn up in pressed suits.

      High price does not always equal high quality. Woe unto the couple that does not extensively review the portfolio of a photographer, be that photographer amateur, weekend warrior or seasoned pro.

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