Myth: Open Ropers / High numbered ropers do not buy pictures.
Just about every team roping producer tries to be comforting or helpful or something by repeating some crap that someone either told them or they conjectured by themselves. “You know Olie, these Open ropers don’t buy photos, but you can shoot their photo anyways if you want to. But, if you don’t want to waste your time, you don’t have to.” Or, something similar to that. I’m sure that plenty of other photographers have said the same thing and that might be the truth for them. However, that hasn’t been my experience. Quite the opposite actually. It appears to me that they simply prefer a different type of photo than the rest. I’m constantly experimenting although it might not look like it to the casual observer. I’ve found that not only do the open ropers themselves buy at about the same rate as any other number roper, but they have the added benefit of being sponsored and often those sponsors need photos of them as well. Myth debunked, right?
Myth: The only way to make money with your camera is to sell it.
It has been five years now and I’ve found the opposite to be true. I’ve only purchased new cameras and true, I’ve sold all except the ones I’m currently using. Each time I sold a camera however, I lost money on the sale. So, unless you own a camera store, then selling your camera isn’t a good way to profit. However, I have found that selling the photos that I create with my cameras has been quite profitable. I currently own approximately $80k in camera gear, own a $120K 5th Wheel Toy Hauler, and pull it with an $80k truck. The camera gear was all paid for in cash. The truck and trailer are nearly paid off. My only source of income is photography. I’m able to use my $80k in camera gear to bring in a multiple six figure income. If I would have sold my first camera (it was a gift) then I would have made $750.00. LOL That’s about how much my trailer payment is. LOL. Myth debunked, right?
Myth: Test firing strobes is practice for me.
NO!! Why is this even a thing? I really don’t understand this. Listen, the strobes you see around the arena are just tools and it is possible that they malfunction. So, when I set them up for the first time, I pop them to ensure they are working. I test them by pushing the test button on the back. I also test them using the remotes test button. I test them by taking a picture to make sure they are syncing with the camera. This isn’t practice because its not a skill. They pop because of a radio frequency from the trigger mounted on top of the camera. That trigger ensures that the strobes fire at the same time I take a picture otherwise they are useless. I like to make sure everything is working throughout the day. If/when a strobe malfunctions I send someone over there to fix it or replace it with another unit. Otherwise the photos do not look good anymore. Myth debunked right?
Myth: I drive or fly “home” after every event.
Actually, I take my home with me. I live in a 45’ 5th wheel toy hauler full time. It is a 2019 Grand Design Momentum 397TH. This is my 3rd RV since starting Olie’s Images five years ago but it is my 4th one overall. You can see a video tour that I did of my home on wheels on Facebook and I’ve written blog posts about it as well. If I had to go to a ‘home’ base somewhere I would dramatically increase my expenses. So, I travel from event to event with a week or two off between some of them. Sometimes, I take several months off in a row. It is a really nice way to live actually. The grass is always mowed when I get there. The scenery out my windows changes constantly. The climate is generally pretty nice since I try to schedule events that occur during nice weather. But, every night when I shut the door behind me, I’m home. Myth debunked, right?
Myth: A robot is taking the photos and everything is automated.
I’m taking this one as a compliment (I guess). People often say things like “that thing down there sure takes great pictures” or “technology sure is amazing, you guys don’t even have to do anything anymore” or “how does that thing know when to take pics?”. UGH!! I’m not sure why people think that I’m a robot. LOL I guess I’m consistent? Anyways, there isn’t some magic robot with excellent timing. There is just me, Olie, pushing the button one shot at a time. Generally my timing is spot on but I’m not perfect 100% though I try. I wish I had a robot that could take my place. That would be cool but for now, I’ll just keep doing it. Besides, will a robot be able to tell when its a good time to take the candid shots? What about when emotions run high and we need those shots? Myth debunked or need I say more? LOL
Myth: Photos are deleted after a short time.
I know that some photographers do delete photos after a week, or a month, or a year, or whatever. But, I’ve decided to keep them forever. Barring some fatal accident where my main hard drives and backup hard drives fail, I’ll have every photo since the beginning of time. I’m sure that those other photographers think they are doing the right thing. But, what about when someone’s horse dies? What about when a person dies? What if some people procrastinate?? There are plenty of times that I get an order from way back, all the way to my first hard drive. I typically fill up 1-2 a year now at 4TB each. I can see where that would have been expensive a decade ago. Now, 4TB is about $99. LOL Who cares? I’ll use the small portable ones as my main hard drives and the big tower hard drives with 8TB for the backups. It doesn’t take very many orders to pay for the storage. If you go to oliesimages.com you can find over 2.5 million photos and counting. My website host is gracious enough to allow me unlimited photos. Myth debunked, right?
Myth: I expect you to buy every photo!!
Ummm.... NO. That would be cool, my accountant and banker would be impressed. However, I don’t expect you to buy anything. I’m not saying I want you to steal my photos, or that I’ll give them out for free. I’m saying, if you don’t like what you see, then no worries. I’ll try again. If you do like what you see, please don’t screenshot or otherwise steal from me. I understand if you don’t buy a photo even if you love it, but you don’t have the right to steal it. I won’t get mad, or though a fit. I won’t block you from social media. I will continue to take your photo because I don’t dwell on the past. Myth debunked, right?
Myth: Discounts are given if I skip the tedious process of editing your photos.
FALSE. LOL It takes less time to edit your photos than it did for you to pick them out. We are wicked fast. We edit hundreds of photos every week. It doesn’t take but a few seconds to edit each photo. I’m not allowing unedited photos to circulate. That makes me look bad. Plus, we add the event logo and my logo to each photo at the end of the editing process. So, no discounts are given because no photos leave without being edited first. :) Myth debunked, right?
Myth: It’s totally ok for you to park your horse right in front of me and watch the next team rope.
Why does this even make sense? Did you know that you make a better door than a window? I do have the best camera gear out there, but it can’t see though you. Please keep moving. Maybe you don’t want a photo of your run, fine. But, try to be considerate of others. Even your buddy might secretly buy photos without you knowing it. LOL Is this even a myth?
Thanks for reading! Hopefully we can crush these myths!!