Question...in question?

As it stood, I think it wasn't quite the best question. But, I think there is the making there for a good-subjective question by going down one of two roads.

Path 1: We set the question more towards: what are the technical and/or artistic requirements to run a photography business and, based on my sample set, do you believe me to have those qualifications?

Path 2: I'm ready to start my photography biz, because I'm le'awesome, but I'm sure I haven't thought of everything. What are some key things that you wish you would have known before opening shop?

For those who want this site to be more about photography, why didn't we try to help OP go down path 1? Most people might disagree with Path 2, it just happens to be near and dear to me, but I get it if business gets ruled off topic.

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    "... the business of photography..." is language that is included in our charter. Just because it's about the business side of photography should not eliminate any question as being off topic. – Michael Clark Oct 6 at 6:51
  • I'm not sure that this question is really about the business side per se, though. See alternate meta question.... – mattdm Oct 8 at 18:36
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    @mattdm I partially agree with you. I wasn't sure if OP wanted to expand on his photo skills or get more into business. I really wish the community would have guided more in this case so that we could have boiled the question down into something good. – Hueco Oct 9 at 15:32

I see two big issues here that are difficult to address. First, without the OP's input we can't really coral the question in to either of these questions as we don't know the OP's intent. Second, both of these questions, even as put, would be pretty broad. Probably too broad to cover well in this context. The total needs for starting a business are extremely broad and can't really be covered well in a single answer I don't think. Similarly, looking for key things to have known is rather unbounded and could cover a very wide range. I think both would probably need some more work to bring them within the bounds of a well formed question for the site.

Too broad? Maybe.

Primarily opinion based? Hardly.

The principles of marketing are not "primarily opinion based." Like any of the social sciences, they are not "hard" science, but they can be proven and demonstrated by observation and repeatability.

Nor is the proposition that running a successful photography business is mostly about using good business practices only based on opinion. It is demonstrable using empirical data.

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    Neither of the questions mentioned are really what the question was initially asking though. The original question is primarily too broad but also just asks if they are ready for the "next level" which is really opinion based as we have no way to know if they are ready, but too broad is still a better categorization of the original question I think. If re-closing wouldn't reset the votes, I would probably do so. – AJ Henderson Oct 6 at 3:18
  • @AJHenderson They're not directly addressed by the OP, but they are certainly the primary concerns to be considered by anyone contemplating opening a photography business. So while they are not explicit in the question, per se, they are what the OP needs to be able to look at "to see if I’m ready to start photography as my own business." – Michael Clark Oct 6 at 8:17
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    There's a ton of other questions too though. Are my photos good enough? Do I have the financial stability/resources needed? It's the market good in my area? Will it fit me as a person? Do I understand the relevant laws in my area? Etc, etc. Those are probably two of the bigger points but we have no way to know what the op was really getting at, these are just your primary two take aways for how you feel the question should be approached. Others may have a different view. That's the problem with such a major change without the op giving input. – AJ Henderson Oct 6 at 13:52
  • This is also doubly true when the resulting question is still borderline too broad. – AJ Henderson Oct 6 at 13:54
  • @AJHenderson I'm not arguing the question is not too broad. But the basic issue of "Am I ready to start my own business?" covers all of those things you list. – Michael Clark Oct 6 at 19:25
  • Agreed, I was just pointing out the difficulty in trying to narrow the question as a potential answerer since there are so many possible options that are equally valid. – AJ Henderson Oct 6 at 20:30
  • @AJHenderson my point in asking this meta was simply: could we have done better? The question was given limited time for anyone to help OP start to narrow it down. I know what "On Hold" is - but I also see this as the place that new-comers go to die. This OP seemed really engaged with the feedback. Maybe I should buy a lottery ticket. – Hueco Oct 9 at 15:36
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    @Hueco - keeping them engaged in comments is the way to try to go for narrowing it down. We can always re-open if it gets narrowed down, but keeping wild guesses in answers that may end up becoming irrelevant is key to saving the question, so getting a quick On Hold is key to making sure things work out. Explaining this in comments about placing the question on hold may be helpful for keeping the user engaged. – AJ Henderson Oct 9 at 16:16

The problem here for me was the large set of "portfolio" photos. This made it both very hard to respond based on any individual photo, and also mostly useless for anyone else thinking the same thing but with a different set of photos. Commentary or critique on any single photo is clearly beside the point, and wouldn't be a comprehensive answer anyway.

There's several general questions, like "Is my portfolio of the quality one might expect to launch a professional career", and "Does my high-quality portfolio mean I'm ready to start a business?"

And each individual photo could easily support questions about that image's particular successes and misses.

But all together... hard to answer. And hard to adjust without making the questionner go through a lot of thinking about the site differently.

  • Path 1, based on the sample set, is approaching the realm of photo critique, which we shy away from here. And also possibly opinion based, based on whether the supplied examples meet the definition(s) defined by responders in the first part. That is: "define X. Do my samples satisfy X?". Ontologically, I can't decide if that's too broad, or opinion-based.

  • Path 2 is a list-oriented question, which Stack Exchange generally avoids (after having walked away from the whole community wiki -style questions).

  • Why do we shy away from critique? I agree that general critique isn't a great use of the site, but wouldn't helping an op to create something like the "Composition after the fact" question end up being the best solution of all? We don't get a choice how something starts, but we can guide it to a better end, no? – Hueco Oct 9 at 15:34
  • @Hueco I apologize, when I said "we shy away from [critiques] here", that was a bit of lazy shorthand. Well-framed critique questions aren't necessarily off-topic (although many of us (including myself at various times) tend to treat them as so). But I am very guarded and skeptical about critiquing portfolios (or large numbers of photos, as in this referenced question on main). Portfolios / large numbers is just in the realm of "too broad". Unless, perhaps, the question was specifically crafted about I am trying to convey [X] with this photo series / portfolio. I am having trouble [Y]. How.. – scottbb Oct 9 at 17:27
  • @Hueco ... how can I do that? Or something along those lines. But the issue about to what degree critique is on/off topic at Photo.SE is a whole other beast, and can't be covered in just this comment thread. These Meta questions exist, and should probably be expanded on: How can we do photo critiques? and Can we re-open the door to something a little like photo critique? – scottbb Oct 9 at 17:32

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