The Importance of Pricing in Photography
It’s the new RAGE! Everyone wants to be a Photographer and everyone thinks they can! All you need is a decent camera, some nifty filters, and a Facebook fan page and BAM you’ve made it.
Fortunately for those who have been working for years in the industry, it’s not that simple. I’ve spent almost a decade honing my craft, leaning the ins and out about pricing, taxes, insurance, equipment, and customer relations. I’ve made mistakes and had success, but it’s taken a lot of hard work and determination to get there.
One of the most common misconceptions for newbies is that the job is all fun and no work, and they think they don’t have to put any skin in the game. This way of thinking leads to charging such low prices (like $50 for a session with a CD of the images), which ultimately does nothing but hurt the industry as a whole. When low prices become “the new standard” and mediocre work is considered the new norm, it’s a sad sad day for both photographer and client.
What most people don’t realize about these “newbies” is that they have devoted little to no time into learning what actually goes into being a professional photographer (e.g. training, licenses, and insurance) and instead invest neither money nor commitment towards improving their craft or continuing to produce quality work.
Know Your Value
As a professional Boudoir and Wedding photographer who makes my full-time living in this tumultuous industry, it’s difficult for me to swallow part time photographers who use their “free time” to steal work from professionals, charge so little, and give so much that this pricing standard and sub-par work becomes the norm. So much so that it’s sometimes difficult to explain to my clients the value and lifelong investment of paying premium prices for photography and prints.
Photography is an investment and if you want a professional that has dedicated their life to it, continues to do workshops and seminars every year to evolve as an artist, and is 100% commited to quality, you have to understand although it may not be “cheap,” it will be worth it. It goes without saying, in all things, you get exactly what you pay for.
Sadly, many people don’t realize why the process is so expensive and why we can’t just hand over files so they can go make 4×6’s for $1 at their local target. The photo is everything! It’s what we created, that is our art. We can’t just give it away.
If I only got paid for the sessions I did and not for the prints, I would starve. I realize that ultimately you can’t go around making everyone your client, nor do I expect everyone to understand. This is why I go the extra mile for my clients who appreciate the value and the level of detail that I love to give.
So, if you are an aspiring professional photographer, my advice to you, especially if you are a part timer, is to know the cost of doing business.
Know your numbers! If you don’t know how to get started, join groups like PPA and learn about how price yourself and structure your business.
This time spent at the outset will save you a great deal of time and frustration down the road, and you’ll be able to gain respect from other members in the industry, as opposed to fostering resentment.
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