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ASMP — American Society of Media Photographers

The Problem with Hybrids and the New Business Model

By September 15, 2009May 25th, 2016Strictly Business Blog

I can’t tell you how many phone calls I have received in the last month from photographers complaining that their clients are asking if they shoot video and their frustration in having to say “no.” A sign of the times as the demand for video increases.

But what’s most disturbing to me are the still photographers who tell me that they’re going to buy one of the “hybrid” cameras that shoot video to be able to accommodate their client’s video needs.  And worse yet, the common thought process is to “throw in” the “video clips” that they shot with the same camera they create the stills with instead of establishing the value in that video footage and pricing it accordingly. Add to this the fact that there are currently no pricing or usage standards for video in terms of the still photographic industry.  So while we have a “convergence” taking place with the “tools,” too many are not considering  how to make this viable in business.

It reminds me of when photographers first went digital – throwing in the postproduction and setting the “new standard”.  Dumb move but a precedent was set. The problem is when you do that with video; you are missing the opportunity to create value with a new skill set that also includes the pre and postproduction. And with video – it’s the postproduction end of things that can either be costly for you or an area you can make additional revenue. If you just hand over the “clips,” you’ll be leaving dollars on the table.

I see a poorly thought out business model of shooting “video” being driven by the tool and the still camera manufacturers and I see it as a quick way to the poor house. The manufacturers are playing to the prosumer market, but as a professional you cannot afford to do this. Right now you may think – it’s no big deal – I’ll just throw the camera in “video” mode and shoot a few seconds.  But what will happen when your client expects you to then do something with that footage – like edit it?  Be prepared to hire an editor or invest in expensive editing software and a learning curve to go with it.

So, don’t be a short-term thinker and “just” throw in or discount the video clips – because you will soon be replaced by the next latest greatest technology instead of adding a new skill set and real value to your business. Keep a keen eye on the future and create a new business model along with buying your new camera.