Work or Whine

Posted: February 8, 2012 in Uncategorized

Yesterday I was reading David duChemin’s blog post called Work or Whine
This got me fired up, as I’ve been saying this same thing for a couple years, that it gets old hearing photographers whine about the microstock sites and the way it use to be.

When the business that you are making a good living in changes and you can’t make a living at it anymore, then you get off your ass and go to work at making money in another way. Whining won’t make it go away, when industry makes the changes you can’t stop it.

I learned this lesson many years ago when my families business was making wood windows in the 1940s and 1950s for contractors building homes in the Detroit area for the housing explosion after world war two. The business was great and the thought was that my grandfather and father would have jobs for the rest of their lives as my grandfather said, they will always need windows for homes.

My grandfather was right that they will always need windows for homes, but he didn’t account for new technology that would change the course of the window business at that time.  One day a man came into the shop and explained to my grandfather that companies were building windows made of aluminum and would he be interested in being part of this new trend in windows.  My grandfather being a wood man all his life thought the aluminum windows were junk and not of the quailty of a wood window.  So he passed on this opportunity.  Soon as the word got out to the contractors that they could buy a window made of aluminum at less cost and the fact that the aluminum window never had to be painted was a no brainer to the contractor and the homeowner.

It wasn’t to long after that the wood window business was out of business.  Now those contractors and homeowners learned  years later that the aluminum windows were not of the quality of the wood windows as they were not as energy efficient as wood windows which did make a come back at a  later date when people started to become more concerned about saving on energy bills as utilities costs went up.

So had my grandfather made the switch to become invoked in the new technology the window business would have been able to survive during that time period. He chose not to change and that killed the business.

The new technology of today has changed the business of photography and those who adapt to the changes survive, and those who whine and sit on their butt, fail.  We have more opportunities as photographers as they ever have since the internet has evolved.

Use to be if you wanted to write a how-to book about photography you had to be lucky enough to have a publisher put your book on a book store shelf.  Now we can self publish our own e-books for basically nothing but some time, and sell it to people all over the world.

I teach and sell out workshops all over the country and could never have accomplished this without this new technology, the internet.

You can teach photography courses online, teach through webinars, sell your images online.

Marketing is free because of the internet, you have free blogs, free facebook, free twitter, my website at only costs $23 a year.  Photographers have all these great new tools to make money and photographers sit and whine about the way is use to be.  Sorry, maybe the past was great but you’re not living in the past anymore.

There are lots of ways to make money in the photography business other then selling stock photography, open your eyes to the opportunities.

The internet that has killed your stock business offers other ways to make money, use them.

There is a new sheriff in town, and new laws,

change or die,

it’s up to you,

but please stop whining.

last time I checked my mortgage lender doesn’t accept whines for payment, just cash from hard work.

  1. Excellent advice and illustration of how it works! I agree 100%!

  2. vickie liptak says:

    once again Mike Thanks…your words of wisdom are priceless….unlike the majority of information out there!! teach on Mike teach on

  3. I couldn’t have said it better. Working in the oil industry in Canada I’ve been dealing with change for almost 40 years. A former shift superintendent I worked for in the late 70’s said change is coming and you can either get on the train or you can throw yourselves under the wheels but regardless it’s coming. So make up your mind. You will not survive if you cannot deal with change in this day and age.

  4. gloria says:

    This is another reason you make a wonderful instructor. Great examples and it is even great advice for life in general – things are always changing to make new opportunities in photography and in other areas.

  5. Kenneth Henke says:

    I believe the real issue with “those” photographers that don’t embrace change well is primarily because they are great photographers but not great businessmen. Mike’s comes from a background that required him to be a businessman first to promote himself. This real life experience and the ability to be flexible has resulted in his success. So, the bottom line in todays world, you can eat someone else’s dust or be in front creating it.

  6. Dave Carr says:

    You are right on Mike. Another example is Kodak. They failed to embrace the new technology that they invented. Mean while Fuji made good use of the technology that was used in their film to move into other products.

  7. hector gerena says:

    Excelent, just one word Kodak

    • Mike Moats says:

      Yes Hector, Kodak had the golden goose in their hands by developing the digital camera, and totally blew it.

  8. Stacey says:

    Hey Mike,
    They all need to take a minute and read “Who Moved My Cheese?”

  9. Isoterica says:

    Evolve or become extinct.. very well written Mike. Using your grandfather as an example illustrates very clearly why one needs to keep adapting. Maybe he could have kept the wood windows as a specialty item riding out the storm by offering aluminum as well, kinda like keeping our old film cameras when there is now digital available. You don’t have to abandon what you like, you can always keep it on the side as a specialty [or personal interest].. but you need to step up and meet the demands of the present if you are going to market yourself.

    • Mike Moats says:

      Kristen, I’m afraid all the builders at the time went with the cheaper maintenance free aluminum windows, and there was not enough business for wood windows to keep it going at the time.

  10. Mike, you’ve nailed it. One thing is inevitable: life brings change, whether it’s work-related or just the everyday peaks and valleys of living. You’ve raised excellent points, and I agree–with today’s technology, there’s no room for excuses. Do whatever you do best, discover ways to market and promote it, and get going. Time stands still for no one. Besides, cranky people are not easy to be around. Might as well count your blessings, get acquainted with all possible avenues in which to use technology, and dive in. Thanks for laying it all out there frankly. Really enjoyed this post.

    • Mike Moats says:

      Thanks Bonnie, it would be nice if when things are going great, it would stay that way for ever, but it doesn’t work that way, so we have to always be up to date with the latest trends, and change accordingly. Thanks glad you liked it.

  11. cblayloc says:

    love your attitude mike.

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