Photographers Can Do CwF+RtB Experiments, Too

from the n00bs-need-not-apply dept

Michiel Rhoen writes in to tell us about photography instructor and author, Thom Hogan, who has embraced the CwF+RtB philosophy by offering a limited edition deal (only 25 spots available with 4 already taken at the time of writing this) where Mr. Hogan will sit down one-on-one with each buyer for 3 hours. During those 3 hours, Hogan is game for almost any kind of photography consulting, giving his professional advice on camera equipment, portfolio reviews, help with post processing work or just a long chat over a meal together. But that’s not all… The complete Thom Hogan Limited Edition package (US$849) includes:

  • A full normal package for the book, Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 (CD and To Go Guide), a US$49.99 value
  • A full printed version of the main book in black and white, a US$29.99 value
  • A full printed, signed, numbered version of the main book in color, a US$99.99 value
  • All of the above shipped to you via Priority Mail
  • All future updates of the book, if any, delivered free, a likely US$14.99 value or more
  • Three hours of personal, one-on-one time with Thom, a US$750 value

So this deal is aimed directly at folks who own a very specific camera and who happen to be able to travel to see Hogan when he’s available for the one-on-one time. It’s not exactly going to make Hogan a millionaire (at best, it’s going to make him $21,225 gross). But it’s a great example of how an author can take advantage of actual scarcities (Hogan’s time and expertise) as part of a business. I do find it interesting that Hogan’s limited edition offer is an experiment that might demonstrate the advantages of selling an author’s time over selling content that is already created. I imagine if this package sells out, that Hogan will expand this limited offer to other specific cameras. And I’d bet he’d even be able to crowdfund a new book if enough amateur photographers ask him to create his next “complete guide” for a camera he might not otherwise have reviewed.

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Comments on “Photographers Can Do CwF+RtB Experiments, Too”

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Anonymous Coward says:

It seems very, very difficult to accomplish CwF+RtB experiments on a photographer level.

I’m a Canon person myself (coming from my use in video) and found Nikon’s use of f-stops and aperture usage real uneasy to move to. Now if Nikon was involved in video, it’s quite possible that I could more easily move over. But until then, it seems easier to stick with what I know.

I’m not saying Nikon is a worse platform, but it’s like Windows vs. Mac in a way, and you don’t want to get involved in that.

But as Mike mentioned, if Mr. Hogan had experience in both Canon and Nikon, and could just get people behind him because he understood and could teach to both, well, everything may work out better.

His experience is very, very valuable, but by limiting to a particular platform or camera body seems, too thinly.

I use a Chinon 35mm myself, and have adapters for both Canon and Nikon lenses, but that’s beside the point. I’m just not in a position to drop a few thousand into a decent body, hope for the best, and fly out blindly for a meeting with Thom. However, some people may find the experience much more useful than I.

I like Thom’s idea, however, it’s definitely something that someone else will appreciate much better than I will ever be able to do.

Sheinen says:

My business model for portrait photography is pretty simple and not far off.

The actual photo session costs nothing, and in fact there’s no guarantee I’ll get paid at all. We’ll spend an hour or two shooting in a few locations, I’ll take the afternoon to do some basic/rough editing and post watermarked online copies for them to view.

If they want a decent printed version, or full size, unwatermarked copy they pay for it.

It forces me to maintain really high standards, but makes it so much easier to get people to give it a go!

Thom Hogan (user link) says:


As posited by the article writer, this is as much an experiment as anything else. I make an adequate living doing what I do, so it isn’t really about money. I actually kept this experiment low in potential time commitment as my work schedule is pretty full up for the next year as it is.

Without revealing anything specific that I’ve learned, I will say that what you don’t see (all the emails between my customers and me behind the scenes) has already uncovered several things that I need to address with my customer base in the future. So regardless of whether I make any money off this–which again, was not the goal–I’m learning valuable things about my customers.

Experiments are just that: experiments. You come up with a hypothesis and test it. In collecting data, you often don’t prove your hypothesis but discover new things that alter it, so you test that next. That’s exactly what seems to be happening here.

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