Assistants rates are a very touchy subject
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Brooks Ayola
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 08, 2006 7:15 am    Post subject: Assistants rates are a very touchy subject Reply with quote

I don't know if any of you saw the thread about assistant's rates over at PDN, but it got ugly. Of course, I never felt like I was being hostile, but I got personally attacked by two people over there, to the point of being told to "Shut the fluck up." and (I'm paraphrasing here) "...how someone does business in Canada is of no concern to me." The usual suspects supported some of my opinions and I appreciate that. I know some of the people here read both forums, and I would really appreciate it if you told me here if you felt I crossed the line while arguing my points over there. I completely lost respect for two members over there even though I've always had friendly discourse with them in the past. Maybe I was wrong.

http://www.pdngallery.com/cgi-bin/ubb/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=5;t=002174
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Last edited by Brooks Ayola on Tue Aug 08, 2006 7:24 pm; edited 1 time in total
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mark lindsey
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 08, 2006 6:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

No, you didn't cross the line at all.

I thought the whole thing really turned silly when the "$150" point of view was suddenly justified by the "different rates in this country as opposed to yours" and how it was no ones business what rates were paid in Canada. Last minute desperation if you ask me.

If you don't want people to know what you pay assistants then don't post it on an online forum for crying out loud!

It seems to me to be a backward way of thinking, it's not the job that makes the assistant worth more or less, it's the assistant themselves! I would want the best assistant on the job regardless of what I am getting paid.
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Brooks Ayola
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 08, 2006 7:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Mark. I sometimes read through these types of threads with my wife and she'll definitely tell me if I'm being a dick. She (although not a photographer) was dumbfounded by some of the arguments made. My problem is that I often get quite passionate about a subject and cross the line. I'm sure that some people thought I was crossing it.
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mark lindsey
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 08, 2006 9:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Brooks wrote:
I sometimes read through these types of threads with my wife and she'll definitely tell me if I'm being a dick.


that's funny, I don't have to do anything for my wife to call me a dick.... Very Happy
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Ivan P Simeon
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 08, 2006 9:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Brooks, I am following the PDN Forum since years and writting now for about a month on it. Strange things happen since a few weeks on the PDN Forum. Never read so many (how do you say in English ?) "bad" intentioned posts (hope this sentence is not to wrong). Seems that some people are in really bad mood and want to make pay everybody for this. They are often over reacting and are aggressive.

Finally everybody, inclusive themselves, will pay as the credibility of the forum will vanish more and more. Do they realise that people who are not Photographers are also surfing this forum ? Probably other creatives and also Buyers ? What will they think about our community ? As written in some posts, people are getting fedup. I don't like moderators to intervene, but here it's seems really necessary to calm down.

I agree with Mark, you didn't cross the line at all. Keep posting ! I (we) read with pleasure your posts.

By the way if I may take the opportunity to say this, I can feel you being passionate on looking at your website and blogs, and I think it's a good thing. In my opinion, your pictures are not good because they are well lighted or well retouched or anything else. They are good because they bring over a feeling of passion to the people looking at them.

I don't remember who said that :

You don't take a picture of somebody, you take a picture of you mirrored by somebody. The people you take a picture of, reflect exactly who and how you are. To sum up, you are taking pictures of yourself !

It's translated from French, hope it's sounds right in English.

Cheers.
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davegilo
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 09, 2006 2:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

After looking at that, and some of the other crap on that board, I now know why I never go to that discussion group. I did participate in the RG forums, but once those sold out, I started coming over here, yea I wish there was more going on here, but at least it's quality here..
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K.C.
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 09, 2006 8:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Add me to the list of people who find the PDN board a sad story these days.

I check it daily but don't participate much because there's little of real value there.

And Brooks, you weren't out of line in that thread.
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Brooks Ayola
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 09, 2006 5:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just want to say that although the thread in question did get heated. I still think that the information there is important. Frank seemed to be under the impression that I hijacked the thread and changed the subject, but at least it stayed closer to the original subject than many many threads I've been involved with over there. I mean the original question was about beginning assistants rates and it turned into an editorial vs. advertising assistant rates. At least it was still about assistants rates.

And sorry to any of you that I may offend by my general distaste for anonymous negative posters. They really bug me.
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jcw
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 10, 2006 6:29 pm    Post subject: I liked Leslie's point Reply with quote

The most important piece of information I learned as an assistant was not the technical, the procedures, or where to buy good coffee. It was the fact that I was my 'own' business. ( a gut-wrenching observation coming from a staff position) I needed to begin the business side of being a sole proprietor. That meant marketing, invoicing, and accounting. It meant setting my rates, juggling schedules and 'finding' work.

Honestly I can not read through long threads like that and my hat goes off to you Brooks for staying in there - ADD sets in & I remember that I'm procrastinating something important.

What I would like to add (my opinion) is how important it is for the older more established photographers to teach proper business skills to the assistants. As I'm in the middle of walking away from a client that wants unlimited rights and we don't seem to be making any headway. I am reminded of an editorial shooter who called me up to assist him at the last minute, I changed personal plans to help him out, but told him my rate - he told me he paid this # for editorial - I told him MY rate! We worked together that day but never again and I'm sure he bad mouthed me to other ASMP photographers for being so rigid. Now I'm up against photographers that seem to be letting National manufactures walk over their rate and the assistant's rate thread brings it back full circle.

I'll shut up now as I realize I'm procrastinating again.
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Ivan P Simeon
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 10, 2006 7:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You are right jcw : business as a sole proprietor is challenging. But it is also very rewarding due to its complexity. Some people are afraid of it and stay always employees. Others take the challenge and have fun.

What I learned several years ago, and perhaps it's the best thing I can tell future photographers, is to positivitize (to be positive). Each hurdle can be expressed negatively or positively. By expressing it positively you did 90% of the work to overcome it. It's amazing how counterparties answers to positive people. I discovered a whole new world and my friends and also my client base totally changed. People I never noticed came to me for great business.

Speaking about business skills, it's right that we photographer should probably teach more to better the future of our community. It's a good point to remember us this sometimes.

Speaking about the story of the editorial shooter : don't care about what he perhaps is saying or said. It's not your business. If you care about what he is saying to others, you play he's game and you are hurting yourself. If he feels he cannot harm you, he won't do it. In my opinion it's good that you know what you are worth and ask to be paid accordingly. Stay with your rates as low balling is not the solution.

Hope that I wasn't too long !

Cheers.
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Gregman
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2006 12:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Brooks - that thread got stupid and lots of stupid info tossed around.

It all started with kelly asking a simple question on a starting pay for here in Chicago and I immediately answered him with the proper answer.

It started to get ugly right at that point - as if I was offending people across N. America because I said he should get a min of $200 here in Chicago where he is currently assisting and I just happen to be working - so I think I know a thing or two about the market here.

I didn't give one sh!t about what the market will pay anywhere else in the entire world except for here in Chicago where Kelly is trying to get established as an assistant.

I also find it really friggn annoying when people refuse to list some form of link for other to see just exactly who is posting - I am to the point of refusing to respond to any thread unless there is a real name being used or an actual website link to see just what caliber of a photographer is on the other end - especially is I am going to get into a pissing match about the industry I would really like to make sure that I am crossing swords with some one who can actually relate to the same end of the industry that I deal with.

So in the end - I read that thread like a hawk and learned a few things about some people that will be hard to forget.

I have also lost all respect for people that just post in threads cause they think they are funny - yeah they might be but then why the hell are they posting this crap in a photo forum????
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Mike
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 16, 2006 4:59 am    Post subject: PDN forum is getting weird Reply with quote

That assistant thread was really an odd one, but there is another one going on now about women in the stock photo bizness. It's like the worst of DPReview and the old Galbraith forums have taken over while the moderators are spending August in the Hamptons.

I wish this place would get a little more action...
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K.C.
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 16, 2006 5:38 am    Post subject: Re: PDN forum is getting weird Reply with quote

Mike wrote:
. It's like the worst of DPReview and the old Galbraith forums have taken over while the moderators are spending August in the Hamptons.

I wish this place would get a little more action...


Ol' RG went over the top moderating and then there's none to be found on PDN when it could really use it. It's unfortunate to say the least.

And yes, it would be nice if this place had a little life in it. I've put up a couple of topics hoping they might spur some interest but I guess it's not that easy.
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Daniel_Bergeron
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 07, 2007 4:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just read all 3 pages of that thread. Assinine. Sgt Hudec in particular. As an ex-navy PH, I think that he is an embarrassment to the rate. I also get the distinct feeling that this guy is just trolling. The ComCam community and the commercial community operate under completely different paradigms. Apples and oranges. WTF is he even doing on a commercial oriented forum?

As for me, I don't do "editorial rates". Now, do I charge everyone the same rate? Not really. Some of my better clients get a break here and there, but that is at my sole discretion. I know what my bottom line is, and I'm not going to take it in the shorts because some photographer took a bad deal.

IMO- This is a moot argument for photographers. Just as they need to say no to lowball jobs, so do assistants. If a photographer is being a cheap-ass, he/she isn't going to have some grinch-like epiphany, and shower you with well deserved cash. No. They begrudgingly change their ways when they can't find anyone to work with them. What motivation to get with the times do they have when a desperate assistant says "yes"?

I would say to a fellow assistant, "If you can't hold your ground with one photographer, how are you going to deal with an agency?"
Good business starts now.

edited by Brooks... I changed a "can" to "can't" so no one would be confused. Smile
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K.C.
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 08, 2007 4:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Every online board seems to have a few regulars who want to be the guru, tell everyone they're wrong or just be heard in every thread. You can usually spot those guys right off. I think that was a definite factor in that thread going downhill.

I've always paid everyone who works with me as much as I could. I don't throw money around but I try to put together a team and treat people with respect. If they know how to work with a team they get called back.

The amount people get paid is what the market will bear. If the team goes over the top I buy dinner or something.

When you start the day treating people right the results at the end of the day are usually pretty damned good.
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GeneraLee
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 11, 2007 1:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I read the postings as well. I am currently making all my income as an assistant. I found nothing wrong with your tone or line of thought.

It is not my fault as an assistant if you are getting paid less than you would desire. My rates are my rates. If you want my help, then you pay my rates. They are reasonable. I am in Atlanta. I have a specific policy that I will take 150 for a shoot provided that we are 5 hours or less from the time I arrive on site. If we go over 5, I go to my full rate of 200. If we go past 10 hours, I go to 25/hr for overtime - no pro-rated hours. This policy seems to reasonable and fair. It is my choice not dictated by any photographer.

Some people want to get so bent out of shape. Unfortunatley the web has given people something to hide behind for their lack of civility. If we had to talk to these people face to face we would surely be more careful of our choice of words. Of course though, youth may be the exception.

Brooks, I do appreciate the participation you provide and the leadership as well. It is sad that others are not able to participate in meanigful dialogue. It is possible to disagree and still be respectul.

Thanks!
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dDavid
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 11, 2007 1:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If I remember correctly, didn't somebody get all bent out of shape because some photographers paid the assistants their rates and then marked it up on the invoice to the client? I think they felt that photographers should "share the love" and give them something extra. I think it was assistantNY who was most indignant and really didn't get the whole markup concept.

I thought the whole dialog spiraled out of control pretty early on and tuned out after the 20th reply... It got a little tedious and boring.

edit:
This is my first post. Hello everybody Smile
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Brooks Ayola
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2007 4:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think the markup debate was more intense over at photoassistants.net. There was some crossover though.

The markup question is one of those things that has no right answer. It's like politics, Mac vs. PC, or Canon vs. Nikon. People on both side are very passionate about how they feel. I think the decision to markup assistants fees along with everything else is up to the photographer, but I also see the other side of the argument.
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TimothyHughes
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 09, 2007 6:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As an photographer as well as an assistant, I can truly say, "you're only worth as much as you negotiate for". I know that's sort of a cliche, but if you're offered $150 per day you can either take it or leave it. That's my 2.
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Carl Sanders
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 13, 2009 9:53 pm    Post subject: the link does not work Brooks, it has disappeared. Reply with quote

Hi there, the link goes to another page and then lost in a list of headings.

Brooks Ayola wrote:
I just want to say that although the thread in question did get heated. I still think that the information there is important. Frank seemed to be under the impression that I hijacked the thread and changed the subject, but at least it stayed closer to the original subject than many many threads I've been involved with over there. I mean the original question was about beginning assistants rates and it turned into an editorial vs. advertising assistant rates. At least it was still about assistants rates.

And sorry to any of you that I may offend by my general distaste for anonymous negative posters. They really bug me.
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