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Thread: Are 'we' just a little bit precious?

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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    Are 'we' just a little bit precious?

    In the past I started a thread about 'stay-at-home-mum's (and others) who join up on forums, or create a facebook page, where they have purchased (or been given) a DSLR and they announce the next week they are setting up a business, and what made them think photography was an easy career path. It created an interesting debate.

    So now, here I go again.

    Why is it that we feel so precious that we have to 'protect' this photography industry? After all, photography doesn't require a person to be registered with a government body, we don't need a university degree to practice. If someone gets a $300.00 photographer for their wedding and are happy with the photos, why should we care? After all, if they think $300.00 is a good price, they are never going to pay $1500 or more to a full-time professional, and were never likely to. So we are not missing out on income, cause we would not have got the client, no matter what.

    So why should we be concerned about 'start-ups' via facebook etc, who market to the lower end of the consumer market? After all, if the photographer and client are happy, why should we give a rats? If your photography business plan is to charge $1500 for a wedding, why are you threatened by the $300.00 photographer down the road? After all, aren't your clients from a differing socio-economic group? You do know who your clients are, don't you? and you do know what sort of client you don't want, also?
    Last edited by ricktas; 08-04-2012 at 7:00pm.
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    http://steveaxford.smugmug.com/ Steve Axford's Avatar
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    I agree, Rick. There's nothing we can do about the "bad" photographer making lots of money by luck, or the gift of the gab. But then that happens in most fields now, and perhaps always did. There's no value in always being jealous of what the other guy is getting away with. We just need to focus on what we can do and how we can achieve our own goals.

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    no, if youre delivering crap to the public, you deserve to have shreds torn off you
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    http://steveaxford.smugmug.com/ Steve Axford's Avatar
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    I doubt that any customer will notice those shreds you tear off.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kiwi View Post
    no, if youre delivering crap to the public, you deserve to have shreds torn off you
    But if you and your client are happy, why should anyone else care?

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    Way Down Yonder in the Paw Paw Patch jim's Avatar
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    It's like prostitutes in the '60s who bitterly resented the sexual revolution. Giving it away for free, undercutting our business...

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    I think this happens in a lot of industries. I am a hairdresser, I charge $65 for a haircut, honestly I don't even think about others around me charging less. Like Rick said, it's about knowing who your target client is. There are people, most intact in my area charging around about $20 for a haircut I am grateful they take all the clients I don't want.

    I don't want a client that I have to justify or explain why they are paying me three times as much for my services. The client looking to pay $20 for a haircut is not going to pay another $200 for hair coloring a then another $100 for take home haircare.

    I would say it is the same in the photography business, the person paying $300 for a wedding will probably want the images on a disk that they can get printed at Harvey Normans next 10 cents a print sale, they are not interested in shelling out for anything you are trying to offer in the way of prints or photo books etc.

    And really they probably can't see the really difference between a $300 or $3000.
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    I would probably fit in the category you speak of. To a degree, I dont claim to be a professional, nor do I claim that I can or may be able to deliver exactly what a "professional" photographer would be able to deliver. I do what I do as a passion, a hobby. As has been said above, if who I'm working for it happy with what I've done, what is the problem? Am I not entitled to charge someone with the use of my time / product?

    The one thing I would offer is that if there was an obviously unhappy client, I would offer them some form of refund, etc. The main reason why I would charge someone is purely based on the use of my time.

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    Please don't take what I said to mean that price reflects professional ism, it is purely a target market thing, something I should have said...... At the end of the day if the client is satisfied then that is really all that matters!

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    My post wasnt directed at anyone in particular, more of a general statement.

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    Maybe people just feel a little protective of this pastime of ours? Maybe we like feeling special, being assigned the 'photographer' tag by family and friends? If every Tom, Dick and Harry take up photography, it becomes harder to stand out from the crowd...although I doubt this is restricted only to the photography field.

    Just my rambling, half considered opinion.
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    First of all I disagree with the collective "we" in the question. I have no problem with a $299 dollar photographer. If they can make it work, happy days.
    I sometimes do a wedding here and there. I offer packages, that vary in price, depending on the features. Therefore, customers come to me if they like what I offer at the price I offer it. Therefore, there is no direct correlation between me and the aforementioned photographer down the road. I guess I feel that the question is a bit irrelevant.
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    Was just thinking about this today...

    I am a bit sick of always explaining (to "professionals", family members, friends who complain that "there are already so many people in the business and how am I going to ever make a name for myself in the crowd?"... etc) why I want to have photography in my life as a hobby and possible future business. I get a bit precious about it myself I guess from the other side, as someone enjoying photography and has a bit of work to do to get into the "Professional" crowd.

    My point is, creating images, learning about photography and bettering my photography skills has made me happy since I was 8 years old and will continue to do so. I may not ever be the best, but I work hard (I know it's not easy) and enjoy what I do and no one can ever take that away from me.

    A good thread, thanks Ricktas
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    Maybe we should start campaigning against camera manufacturers for building more affordable quality cameras?
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    Quote Originally Posted by ricktas View Post
    But if you and your client are happy, why should anyone else care?
    I think this is what it all comes down to - when we are talking about private portrait sessions, weddings etc. Private affairs with the end product solely for the client and not for the public. So yes, if that client is happy - who really cares what everyone else thinks honestly.

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    Short and simple... there is a market for the $299 photographers and there is a market for the $20,000 photographers. If I can fit somewhere in between that at some time in the future, I'm happy.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Erin View Post
    Short and simple... there is a market for the $299 photographers and there is a market for the $20,000 photographers. If I can fit somewhere in between that at some time in the future, I'm happy.
    But should the $20K photographer be lamenting, degrading or calling the $299 photographer out, for the fact they charge $299?

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    There have to be photographers around for the people that won't ever be able to afford the truly expert professional photographers.
    Some of the best are so booked up for so far ahead, they'd not have the time to fit in a cheap wedding even if they were prepared to do one really cheaply, so I guess that photographer isn't going to be hurt by the cheap one, and if you're on a really tight budget, it's better a cheap photographer than no-one at all, or start married life in debt to the wahzoo or something just to pay for a true pro. As rick says, if "everyone is happy" then why worry.

    But pretty much all of us hate seeing people hurt, and my concern would be those who could be hurt when convinced to go with a cheap tog for whatever reason, then get incredibly bad results, or none. The sort that end up a story on ACA chasing some fly by night who never delivered. Those are the ones that I would be worried about. I would be pained at the thought of those who now have no record of such a big event as their wedding, because someone without a clue took the shots but didn't back them up, or worthless photos of the event because someone took the shots with totally the wrong gear and ended up with dark, blurred, unrecogniseable images. But those would be a case where NOT everyone is happy, and those aren't the ones this thread is aimed at. If a cheap tog gives results the customer is happy with, no one really loses.
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    http://steveaxford.smugmug.com/ Steve Axford's Avatar
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    I think the point here is (correct me if I'm wrong, Rick) that we often deride people for charging inappropriate amounts (our judgement) - either too much, or in some cases too little, eg nothing. It's as if we have the right to say what others should be charging. The impression is often that we are being very precious.

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    Does a $2000 a night hooker lose sleep over a $10 hooker?


    Photography isn't a regulated industry and never will be. If you want a protected career, don't choose photography. If you do decide to take the plunge, don't whine on about start ups charging what ever they want to, you went into the "industry" with your eyes wide open.

    I wonder if this is how "professional" lawn mowing guys feel when they see some kid putting up an ad on the local supermarket notice board advertising to cut lawns for 1/2 what they charge?

    If you can only do a lawn as good as a 15 year old kid, you should only be charging what a 15 year old kid charges.
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