Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The magazine business..........

"Condé Nast is to close four magazines: Gourmet, Elegant Bride, Modern Bride and Cookie."

Conde Nast

Metropolitan Home has gone under too!

Work is booming but cash flow stinks.

Commercial photographers and artists-where we are at......?

The market for stock and assignment photography is shrinking rapidly. I have had to cut fees to assignment magazine clients and more and more stock clients are looking for virtual freebees. With some magazines that have been my bread and butter, I don't mind cutting fees (many as much as a 1/2 cut).....if they stay in business it is an investment in future business, but it is disheartening after thirty one years in this business, at almost 60 years of age, to have to revert to an income level of 15+ years ago. That 1/2 cut is all profit as expenses have not gone down-virtually halving my real income from these sources for the same amount of work.

Fortunately, the architectural market (after a serious first half slump) has rebounded well in the third quarter, largely making up for the first half slump, but payment is very slow. Diversifying, I have won some public art commissions but the paperwork is so slow I may not be still kicking before I see a dime from them.

My son's business (who is the head web guy for a large national ad agency) is booming and they are hiring for next year, while my daughter-in-law's custom wedding accessory business (75 outlets nationwide) is just starting to feel the pinch this quarter after expanded sales in the first two quarters. The magazines she advertises in have all cut their page rate with the exception of Martha Stuart Weddings which has raised theirs.

According to the American Institute of Architects, next year will be worse than this year. Fortunately some of my best clients are the only architects who are booming in the state and perhaps that will save me next year.

What is happening with you guys?

John Sartin replies:

I am distressed to hear that someone as established as you is also struggling in these bleak times. I am a small time local freelancer and I am really feeling the pressure. Every niche I used to count on is way off. High end real estate and building is almost non-existent. Artists that I used to do portfolio work for are not selling so they are not shooting new work. I used to get regular work from my local university but their funding has been slashed. It is definitely tough out here right now.

Photographers are reeling from the double whammy. Not only are we experiencing the effects of the recession but the industry in general has been undergoing a transformation that is redefining how images are captured, delivered, marketed and (de)valued. Wow my head is spinning just thinking about it. We certainly are living through interesting times.

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