I am still amazed that people really think they should be able to come to a professional photographer and get better prices than they would going to places like the mall or other established retail photography sources.
Where do I start? How can I explain to the customer what it takes to be very good at what most people think anybody can do? With the advent of camera phones, pocket cameras; both which provides the takers of the photo instant satisfaction of seeing what they have captured…
I am equally amazed at how creative I can and am when it comes to photography; for more than 35 years I have considered myself more of an intellectual (geared more to the reading, leaning and teaching side of life). I love to read but only inspirational, motivational and non –fictional sources. I look for things that add to the quality of my life and the lives of those around me.
I started photography out of a love for the formation of clouds; the sky is what turned me on… it still has my attention. After learning how to repair a jet engine for the Navy, I thought to myself one day… “If I can repair a jet engine I should be able to build a computer.” So I learned how and started building my own personal computers. Years later I got certified to diagnose, repair, built PC’s.
Then I started learning more about computer programs from the standpoint of how to use them. While serving as a Navy Career Counselor I had to produce reports for the Commanding Officer, Department Heads, Chiefs, and Leading Petty Officers. Harvard Graphics was a very popular program with the Navy as well as Word Perfect and later Office Word. I had some of the best reports because I made it easy for the reader.
In any case years later this would allow me the skill set to be of help to a photographer, who is responsible for me being a full time photographer now.
So now I am a fulltime photographer and because I have developed my portfolio I very rarely have to shoot for free (TF – Time For I.E. PHOTO, CD, PRINTS) for the purpose of developing my portfolio. Yet as photographer there are times when I see someone that I want to photograph… but that is my choice.
So how do you put a price on years of experience and keeping up with new technologies? The hours of training, reading and testing out processes and theory? I am typing this blog entry and watching a photography training video – multitasking at it best.
So here is the punch line… when you contact a photographer telling him or her about how much you like their work, and ask for the price of a photo shoot, event, or headshots; do not insult them by telling them how over priced their rates are. “You will do better to say I cannot afford that at this time”, or “That is more than I am able to pay.” The COST is based on a lot of other factors…