Enthusiast Photography Events Discussion

Discuss all things 'aviation' that do not fit into a more appropriate forum
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Tommy
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Enthusiast Photography Events Discussion

Post by Tommy »

I wonder if this is the correct way to address this, but it's a question I keep finding that I ask myself.

I got in some hot water over a criticism of Threshold.aero's pricing for a nightshoot with a Duxford Hurricane for, iirc, around £35 plus £9.50 for museum access. I criticised the price because, for £35.00 + £9.50, that's the price of a decent airshow. To shoot two or three very common UK-based airshow-going machines.

I really want to add that I still think that, for what was on offer, to me it was an eye-watering price for that event. I also still think that Threshold.aero are the best in this business, and I don't doubt that they make efforts to be as cheap as possible, and if they did a reasonably priced event that I'd be interested in, I'd part money with them. Those two opinions of mine aren't mutually exclusive, even if one of the owners told me to F-off on Twitter. I've heaped praise on Threshold since their inception, but my first and only criticism was met with a pretty dramatic results.

There are plenty of other outfits; I think TLE are doing events for £60 - £65. I think I'm correct in recalling that TLE have not taken too kindly when questions of their pricing have previously been raised.

Just seen that Darren Harbar has an event on with just Hurricane P3717, for the king's ransom of £165: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/hurrican ... ?aff=ebapi

I just want to know why events like this are £165.00, yet £25.00 will get you to the Shuttleworth Season Premiere where you've a good chance of seeing/photographing the very same machine, and much more.

Speaking of the reaction I got from Threshold, and recalling the TLE reaction to their shoots, it seems that whenever questioned over pricing (which anyone is open to if they're asking for anyone's money in return for a particular service), some of these outfits/offerings/organisations don't really deal with it professionally.

So I guess the topic I'd like to see discussed is two things; are these events worth it, and why? Secondly, is it a benefit that these events are run by enthusiasts with a less-professional air than airshows etc, or is it a negative? Or are there elements of both?

I make no secret of my own opinions, nor should I, and I'd really want to see and hear some opinions that are different to my own. Floor is especially open to anyone who attends these events, or indeed anyone part of these outfits to lay out some facts and background knowledge.

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Re: Enthusiast Photography Events Discussion

Post by psquiddy »

Way too expensive for me - but I could afford it if I want to.

There are plenty of other things to point your camera at - most of which are free.

It is up to the individual - if you don't want to pay that money don't go - if no one wants to pay that money then those events will fail and the price will come down.

Supply and demand.

Same as football - go to premier league matches for £35 minimum or go to your local non league for about £10 - personally I prefer non league as it is more like the game I played and it seems to me to be more honest.

Personally I think Phils Northolt shoots are pretty good value, but then most seaside displays are even better value that that.

On a slightly different tack - why are you taking photos - what do you want from the hobby - do you "Need" to go to that event? - sure it would be nice but could you do something better (photographically) with the time and money and come up with something unique rather than something that 20/30/40 others are going to post the same images of?
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Abbo46
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Re: Enthusiast Photography Events Discussion

Post by Abbo46 »

psquiddy wrote:Personally I think Phils Northolt shoots are pretty good value, but then most seaside displays are even better value that that.

Have to disagree with the latter comment.

One thing that has become apparent with seaside shows is that the majority of them, aside from maybe Ayr have samey line ups, with very little variety across the board. Whilst of course they're free, they're rarely worth the cost of accomodation/fuel to attend.

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Re: Enthusiast Photography Events Discussion

Post by Marathon Milkshake »

Must admit I've done a couple of these things, the Lightnings as Brunty and JJ at East Kirkby, both years ago, both were the first events of the type, both were very good indeed, well organised and well priced. Unfortunately greed has taken over, and all of these events (if thats what they are) are very much not worth the money involved.
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Jakesplanes
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Re: Enthusiast Photography Events Discussion

Post by Jakesplanes »

I’ve never run a photoshoot so I don’t know: but I’m assuming that having 30,000 people come to look at 20 planes can be ticketed far cheaper than 100 people coming to see 1 or 2. Airfield hire, security, lighting, insurance have got to be fitted into those 100 tickets.
Is it worth it? Well, if no-one goes because it’s too expensive then they will either stop these events or try to find a way to make them cheaper. So I guess they have no problem finding punters.
Just because to most of us it’s a hobby, doesn’t mean it’s a charity. If people have figured out a way to make some cash from their love of aviation, good on them.
In a nutshell, pay up or put up. Both will affect the outcome. Or organize your own where you make 0 profit and tell us what the minimum cost has to be to break even. That would be a fascinating thread!
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mindy_monster
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Re: Enthusiast Photography Events Discussion

Post by mindy_monster »

I've yet to attend one of these types of event, for a couple of reasons; until fairly recently I wouldn't have had enough confidence in my photography skills to make the most of them, also I feel like a bit too much of a beginner at the aviation enthusiast role. However, the main problem for me has been the pricing.

I get that photography is not a cheap hobby, but anything that has been organised as a shoot (with tuition or without) seems to be very overpriced, IMO. I recently saw the listing for the Shuttleworth shoots with Darren Harber, and feel sorry to say that the price for those is about 3 times what I'd happily pay for what seems to be on offer.

As with others, I think Threshold probably do the most interesting, and most reasonably priced events. I didn't do their Cosford shoot last year simply because I'd already forked out for enclosure tickets for the show day and couldn't justify the additional expense. This year, I can't make the Sunday for the actual show due to other commitments, so if Threshold happen to do a preview shoot this time around, and it's similar pricing to last year, I'd very much hope to be there.

My other photography interests are mainly astrophotography and wildlife, and it has to be said that any organised events for these things are in a similar range of pricing to the Darren Harber's of the aviation world. So, whilst I personally feel that for me the cost is too great for what I would get out of it, I don't feel that aviation photography experiences are being priced all that different to other similar events in other fields.

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Tommy
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Re: Enthusiast Photography Events Discussion

Post by Tommy »

Jakesplanes wrote:Just because to most of us it’s a hobby, doesn’t mean it’s a charity. If people have figured out a way to make some cash from their love of aviation, good on them.


I'm fully on board that if there are people willing to pay £165 for such an event, then I don't blame the person running it for charging that price.

Same with the Threshold event I mentioned. Just because it was too expensive to my tastes, if they sold out, then good on them, I say.

I suppose then the question of whether it's worth it is more to the people who pay £165 for that event.

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Re: Enthusiast Photography Events Discussion

Post by Normannis »

Firstly I will declare my interest in that I attend both TLE and Threshold events. I must confess I’m a bit confused as to the point of this discussion as it seems to rear its head every so often and it inevitably goes round in circles with the same inconclusive outcome. I attend the events because i can afford to and I enjoy them ,it really is that simple.
There are other people who don’t like them or cannot afford to do them.Im sorry about that but with respect that’s life we all have to make decisions as to how we spend our money and we all have to respect that. There seems to be a a point of view that these organisations should be ashamed of themselves and charge an appropriate price which seems to be about 50p ! That with the greatest respect is not going to happen and also with the greatest respect you are not going to shame them out of business. I really think we all need to move .
As has already been stated if people don’t want to pay for these events the organisation will, go out of business and that has not happened and seems unlikely to do so.

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Re: Enthusiast Photography Events Discussion

Post by cg_341 »

Tommy/all, if I may be permitted to post a bit of an explanation as to where Threshold.aero's pricing comes from (albeit from when I was involved, almost 12 months ago now)

When we ran events our costs were:

Airfield hire
Fire cover and ATC
Fuel costs for aircraft running (and more if they're coming from off-site)
Public liability insurance per event
Accommodation and transport for aircrew

There's then the ongoing costs:

Lights - they must have a couple of grands worth of lights now
Safety equipment - first aid boxes, first aid training, etc.
Radios - because it's impossible to run an event at an airfield without being able to keep in constant contact
Ticketing system, wrist bands, website hosting, marketing collateral, etc. - all of these might be seen by some as "nice to haves" but without them, we'd never have been able to get off the ground and get our name out there

There's also the cost of the guys' time to actually run the event, though taking a quick look at my bank account whilst I was involved with Threshold (~18 months) I must have spent just over a grand on hotels, and probably around half that again on fuel to get to and from events, not including the time off work in some cases. We never, ever took any money out of Threshold to cover this, it was only ever out of our pockets. We did this to make the events as cheap as we possibly could.

And there's probably loads more than we just paid that I've completely forgotten about now!

Thinking back at some of the events, there's times when we took nothing out of events, we gave everything to the charity or museum we were working with because we'd priced the events as low as we possibly could. In hindsight, maybe we started off pricing things too low and now that the company is at the point where it needs to make some money to survive (i.e. to pay those ongoing costs!) the prices have had to increase a bit.

I know the guys do their best to keep events as cheap as possible. Sometimes there's costs that we just can't avoid or negotiate down, and that pushes prices up for the consumer. However, we agree to the prices because we hope that in time we can work on bringing them down - the more people that go to events, the more successful an event is, the more evidence we have to go to the venue and ask for their support in reducing some of the costs they put up before the event can happen.

I hope that helps explain why the prices are as they are, and why sometimes events that have fewer aircraft end up with higher ticket prices than some others. The general rule of thumb is that if it's got live, flyable aircraft then it's more expensive than if it's in a museum with no moving parts.

Happy to answer any questions.

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Tommy
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Re: Enthusiast Photography Events Discussion

Post by Tommy »

Really good post, Chris. Was hoping you or someone with similar knowledge would come along and put some structure to it.

Normannis wrote: There seems to be a a point of view that these organisations should be ashamed of themselves and charge an appropriate price which seems to be about 50p ! That with the greatest respect is not going to happen and also with the greatest respect you are not going to shame them out of business. I really think we all need to move .


No-one is saying these events should be ashamed, nor trying to shame them. And no-one is, has, nor ever will argue that these events should be 50p.

I've been to a Threshold event. It was one of my favourite events of that year, and I've looked with envy at others that they've held that I haven't been able to attend for whatever reason. I've also attended a COAP event which, though I enjoyed it and learned a lot, I don't think it was worth it on reflection.

I love that these things happen, and I've attended some, but that doesn't mean I'm unable to ask what one gets for £165 that's much better than £25 at a show day?

Why is it that we can talk about airshow pricing till the cows come home in the RIAT or Scampton threads, but can't do so here without flippancy? :dunno:

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Re: Enthusiast Photography Events Discussion

Post by toom317 »

Never been to one and probably never will. I see some of the prices for these things and think, what! However my main gripe with them is when you see pictures from these events, they are all samey, particularly the night shoots, and the pictures all look stage managed.
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Re: Enthusiast Photography Events Discussion

Post by Mike »

Tommy wrote:...£25.00 will get you to the Shuttleworth Season Premiere where you've a good chance of seeing/photographing the very same machine, and much more.


Tommy wrote:...£25 at a show day...


Shuttleworth Sunday airshows have been £30 for some years now, and will be £35 for 2019
Last edited by Mike on Sun 27 Jan 2019, 12:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Enthusiast Photography Events Discussion

Post by King Cobra »

toom317 wrote:Never been to one and probably never will. I see some of the prices for these things and think, what! However my main gripe with them is when you see pictures from these events, they are all samey, particularly the night shoots, and the pictures all look stage managed.


A bit like an airshow then or a day on the end of the runway. To be fair, with everyone pointing their cameras at the same subject, lots of pictures will be "same." That doesn't bother me because I'm after my shot the way I want to take it. If that happens to end up looking like lots of others, I couldn't care less. It's my picture that will hang on the wall, not somebody else's.

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Re: Enthusiast Photography Events Discussion

Post by King Cobra »

Normannis wrote:Firstly I will declare my interest in that I attend both TLE and Threshold events. I must confess I’m a bit confused as to the point of this discussion as it seems to rear its head every so often and it inevitably goes round in circles with the same inconclusive outcome. I attend the events because i can afford to and I enjoy them ,it really is that simple.
There are other people who don’t like them or cannot afford to do them.I'm sorry about that but with respect that’s life we all have to make decisions as to how we spend our money and we all have to respect that. There seems to be a a point of view that these organisations should be ashamed of themselves and charge an appropriate price which seems to be about 50p ! That with the greatest respect is not going to happen and also with the greatest respect you are not going to shame them out of business. I really think we all need to move .
As has already been stated if people don’t want to pay for these events the organisation will, go out of business and that has not happened and seems unlikely to do so.


Good post. I'm attending my first aero photo shoot at Northolt in a few weeks time and think it's a bargain price to get up close and personal with some interesting hardware under floodlights.
I've both organised (for a charitable foundation) and attended shoots on steam railways. For a static nightshoot costs are similar to a Northolt style event but costs are higher for a dynamic shoot where we have a loco and train and the whole railway for the day. Their popularity shows no sign of waning but they have their detractors much the same as aero shoots. One way of reducing costs would be to have more people attend but then it becomes a scrum, particularly where space is at a premium. I accept that such events are not for everybody but all the while people are prepared to pay, they will continue. I does make me laugh though when some photographers who have spent a small fortune on gear complain about the relative small cost by comparison of a photo event.

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Re: Enthusiast Photography Events Discussion

Post by farnboroughrob »

Night shoots seem to be a bit of an obsession at the moment? The enthusiast community is varied, with many not taking photos at all. I tend to take photos to record what I have seen, I am very happy with a side on shot showing the hole aircraft, and that pretty much it. I would love to see more concentration of events that cover a wider audience of the community. For instance would I pay £50 to photograph the three special scheme Tornados at the moment, no but I would for a tour of Marham. I have done tours of the likes of Middle wallop, Benson, Odiham, Yeovilton, Cosford and Shawbury and they are excellent but difficult to get on. Night shoots are fine but lets not get obsessed with them and lets have events for a wider audience. Aere Threshold in particular going to do any more events like the two at Middle wallop?

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Tommy
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Re: Enthusiast Photography Events Discussion

Post by Tommy »

Mike wrote:
Tommy wrote:...£25.00 will get you to the Shuttleworth Season Premiere where you've a good chance of seeing/photographing the very same machine, and much more.


Tommy wrote:...£25 at a show day...


Shuttleworth Sunday airshows have been £30 for some years now, and will be £35 for 2019


I checked last night and it was/is £25. Missed the bit saying "until 9.00 Monday"

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Re: Enthusiast Photography Events Discussion

Post by ostrich74 »

Speaking as a hostee of these kind of events it makes sense for us to use companies such as these for many reasons. the main ones are

No valuable time spent by our volunteers advertising and ticketing an event.
Photographers/enthusiasts requirements on the day are more easily accommodated due to managed numbers.
we provide our aircraft for, and group volunteers to set up and manage the events in conjunction with the company.
we provide food facilities, toilets and lighting all at our own cost.
funds generated cover these costs and go a long way to insurance and fuel costs for a significant part of the following season.

As stated above if these events are too expensive people will stop attending. And i certainly hope that we do enough to provide different settings and photographic options at each event that they will come again next year.

sadly all of these events cost money to run but they go a long way to ensuring that other events (either hosted by us or participated in by us) later in the year are possible.
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cg_341
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Re: Enthusiast Photography Events Discussion

Post by cg_341 »

toom317 wrote:particularly the night shoots, and the pictures all look stage managed.

What would you consider a shot that's not staged, out of interest? Trying to set things up so they didn't look staged was important to us when I was part of Threshold.

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Re: Enthusiast Photography Events Discussion

Post by Brevet Cable »

Tommy wrote:No-one is saying these events should be ashamed, nor trying to shame them. And no-one is, has, nor ever will argue that these events should be 50p.

Except when the event happens to be something organised by VTST.....

Never paid to attend a photo-shoot - aviation-related or otherwise - for stuff that you can see at ordinary shows, for the same reason that I wouldn't pay for something like this year's Friday RIAT showday with the 'Pit Pass' access.
I have, however, paid for events such as 'behind the scenes' access at museums ( such as exhibits/areas which aren't on public display or watching ongoing restoration processes ) or when the photoshoots have involved the use of reenactors.
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Re: Enthusiast Photography Events Discussion

Post by boff180 »

I do think a threshold (no pun intended) has been reached.

I've always taken into account the following when attending a shoot...

- Are all the proceeds going to the aircraft operators (if owned by voluntary groups such as the LPG) or, to charity/good cause if not else.
- The entry fee
- What I'm getting for that money
- The leave I need to take
- The cost of fuel and if I need a hotel.etc.

I have to be honest, the cost of most photoshoots now being organised by third parties means that it is not financially viable for me to attend for what is on offer.

Northolt used to be worth it, yes what turned up was hit and miss but it was serving military aircraft (mostly) running at night for a not-too-high entry fee with the proceeds going to a good cause. That made 1.5 days leave and half a tank of fuel worth it. However now, and this is not Phil's fault, it for me isn't as a static night shoot whilst they're not allowed to run.

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Re: Enthusiast Photography Events Discussion

Post by rob68 »

TLE, not aircraft related but how can they charge £85 to go to a rally school to see 4 cars for the afternoon when you can go the WRC for 4 days for £99?

They say tuition, but I'd want one to one for that price and my photos are thourghly average . With rallying a lot comes down to right place right time and /or a long walk to get the best spot.

As for their aircraft shoots, personally I do not like the reanactors, some do though.

However if TLE and others didn't do the events I would not get to shoot some of the things they offer in a different or clear position so I suppose it comes down to you pay the money or don't.

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Re: Enthusiast Photography Events Discussion

Post by Dan O'Hagan »

I think the truth is that Timeline came in and set the price bar artificially high. I can only think of a handful of these shoots that I even remotely considered, or that I’ve seen truly worthwhile images from. The East Kirkby Lancaster runs spring to mind.

As for Darren Harbar’s £165 shoots, you know what they say about fools and their money. It’s embarrassing to see how he has Shuttleworth in his claws - and how he has to have his name plastered over everything there. Might as well rename the shop the Darren Harbar Megastore. Still, if soulless air-to-air by numbers is your thing, that’s fine. I’d prefer to look at and learn from the work of proper creative aviation photographers like Dibbs, Hunter, Vissers and Tokunaga.

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Re: Enthusiast Photography Events Discussion

Post by HeyfordDave111 »

Personally, i think there's an element of 'jumping on the bandwagon' regarding pricing for these events.

a year or so ago i did Conningsby for a fair price, and i'm going to Newark, for the same reason.

I did the last run of the Jags at Cosford which was excellent, and at a stretch i was, after the earlier last year debacle, willing to give Marham a second and last chance for last weeks Tornado event (but didnt get in).

But other than that, prices have gone sky high, and the longer we all collectively pay for these events at those silly prices the more they will milk it. And lets face it, once we accept high prices, they aint going to go down.

Would i ever give the RAF 2 days off work, 2 nights hotel and £50 for 3 aircraft again? Nope, but would i give Newark their price for a greater selection, shot at night again? yes i would, especially as i know there is no way i can shoot their whole collection at night, and would need to revisit a few times to be safe.....and then if they put a smoke machine in, i would have further reason to revisit as they are being fair with their prices.

Now i know others are fair too, but there does seem a growing band of associations that do want to 'fleece' (and i dont use that word too lightly here) the enthusiast photographer.
But as long as we keep paying for it, we are giving them tacit approval to keep charging what they want!
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Re: Enthusiast Photography Events Discussion

Post by jalfrezi »

I believe a tipping point has been reached regarding night shoots. With only a finite number of opportunities and a finite number of night photographers - particularly in the aviation field - we're now starting to see less aviation night shoots, particularly from the likes of TLE. I guess this was inevitable, as most photographers won't want to re-shoot the same airframes over and over again.

While I agree that the prices are expensive for some shoots, as Chris has pointed out, there are overheads that have to be taken into account when running these shoots, and with a small group of photographers these costs need to be spread out. As for TLE, they're a business that caters for aviation photographers, but ultimately they're there to make a profit.

The Shuttleworth shoots are a rip off IMO, but no-one is forcing you to attend.

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Re: Enthusiast Photography Events Discussion

Post by AMB »

Brevet Cable wrote:Never paid to attend a photo-shoot - aviation-related or otherwise - for stuff that you can see at ordinary shows, for the same reason that I wouldn't pay for something like this year's Friday RIAT showday with the 'Pit Pass' access.

boff180 wrote:I have to be honest, the cost of most photoshoots now being organised by third parties means that it is not financially viable for me to attend for what is on offer.

Paying to shoot 'common' aircraft just because they are at night is not for me either and ending up with the same shots that all the others have is not very rewarding.
I guess it's all about 'supply and demand' and if there are enough people that want to do it, fair play to them.
Getting very rare aircraft that have hardly ever been seen is another matter! In 1986, I paid the Science Museum £125 to get the Shorts SC.1 brought outside their store facility at Hayes for a photoshoot. At the time, this had never been seen outside since its last appearance at the Farnborough Air Show in 1961. I advertised the photoshoot in Aviation News magazine, suggesting the more that attended would dilute the cost. In the end there were just three of us turned up, the SC.1 was wheeled out in bright sunshine for the first time and so it was pretty rare and exclusive and I recovered my share of the costs by publishing my pics in the mags. Not at night, I admit, so no special facilities to pay for, just the Science Museum's staff costs. Now in my opinion, THAT was worthwhile!
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