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Thread: The Value of Photography

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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    The Value of Photography

    Let's have an interesting discussion on the "Value of Photography".

    Digital photography has made access to photos much easier. Camera's are now everywhere, from inside mobile phones, CCTV, even in our cars. Yet, we as people, still see value in high quality photography for weddings, special occasions and records of all aspects of our lives. Along with digital cameras, the internet has allowed us to share those photos with far more speed and much further reach than ever before. A photo taken can be online and around the world within seconds of being taken.

    We see professional photographers lamenting the decline in the value of their work. Customers are wanting it for cheaper all the time.

    So there are a few possible scenarios here:

    1. Photography, in the past, was to expensive, and the events now are a correction
    2. Photography, in the past, was more valued, and now it is just another commodity
    3. The proliferation of cameras in the digital age, means more supply, same demand, thus cheaper prices
    4. Quality is not as valued as it used to be.

    Professional photography is going through a mighty upheaval, where do you think it will it be in say 10 years time?

    There are probably quite a few other thoughts and ideas about photography today, please feel free to bring up your opinions and views.
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    Sir Rattus79 - The Proclaimant
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    There is a difference between a good photo and a great photo.

    A good photo will have appeal. A great photo will have universal appeal and universal appeal is worth good money in my opinion.

    The difference between an ameture and a consumate professional photographer is the hit to miss ratio. A professional photog will have a far higher keeper ratio and a much lower chance of missing the "moment"
    In my opinion this is what gets brides to part with their hard earned.
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    Ausphotography Regular MissionMan's Avatar
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    I think the affordability of professional photography gear has made it easier for amateurs and families to have access to good photos (not necessarily great). When you compare pricing now to the first DSLRs that were released, it's amazing how affordable this has become.

    I think one of the major reasons this was an issue in the past was the problem with film vs digital. If you had a film SLR, you couldn't afford to take 200 photos on the odd chance one or two were really good because you had to get all 200 developed and this was costly. These days you can fire away and if only 10% are good, there are no cost implications so amateur and family users can afford to learn how to take better photos with minimal cost implications.

    I've said it before and I'll say it again, if professional photography is to survive, professional photographers need to find a way to differentiate themselves from the amateurs. I'm not 100% sure how, but there has to be ways to provide enough of a differential that users can see the value in the cost difference. In it's current state, if you compare a $100 photo package to a $1000, it's easy to tell the difference but most consumers don't see the value difference between a good photo and a great photo and that's where the problem lies. You can complain all you want about how amateurs are spoiling the market but that problem isn't going to go away.

    As an example, when people talked about cheap wedding photographers, my response was how many of the pros had offered to shoot pro-bona. If they believe their work is as good as they say, and it's a once off occasion, surely the bride and groom will find a way to afford the more expensive package when they see the results compared to their cheap photographer? Of course, this may not be the solution to the problem, but ultimately something has to change because the market is changing.
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    Affordability has made a huge difference for sure. As you say, a DSLR is very affordable these days, and even bottom of the range ones, used completely on Auto will take "good" photos.

    I think perhaps the fact of not needing to use film and the subsequent ability to take thousands of photos in a bid to get a few good ones is probably the biggest factor. Sure a professional can deliver a higher ratio of Great photos, but in our current economy, the fact that a complete amateur can buy a DSLR and shoot away, and create some fabulous family memories, definately takes away a chunk of the professional market.

    Where I see photography headed is more into an art form than it has previously been. People who are prepared to pay for professional shots, I guess largely portrait style, are demanding now,and will even more so in the future, something different. Not just the old standard family in a group kind of stuff. There will always be a place for the professional I think, but yes, a lot of thought needs to now be put into selling your point of difference

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    Ausphotography Regular MissionMan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nazz View Post
    Affordability has made a huge difference for sure. As you say, a DSLR is very affordable these days, and even bottom of the range ones, used completely on Auto will take "good" photos.

    I think perhaps the fact of not needing to use film and the subsequent ability to take thousands of photos in a bid to get a few good ones is probably the biggest factor. Sure a professional can deliver a higher ratio of Great photos, but in our current economy, the fact that a complete amateur can buy a DSLR and shoot away, and create some fabulous family memories, definately takes away a chunk of the professional market.

    Where I see photography headed is more into an art form than it has previously been. People who are prepared to pay for professional shots, I guess largely portrait style, are demanding now,and will even more so in the future, something different. Not just the old standard family in a group kind of stuff. There will always be a place for the professional I think, but yes, a lot of thought needs to now be put into selling your point of difference
    I think the other consideration is about the technology itself. The base range lenses these days produce better photos than they did years ago. The base range sensors offer better ISO than previous generations. The auto settings are far better than they used to be. Its easier for people to take good photos where in the old days, your knowledge of photography had to be that much better.

    Looking back at my old Minolta SLR, taking good photos was extremely hard work. Getting the focus right was hard work. These days, the autofocus engines are amazing.

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    Drifter, Racer and Picture Taker
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    The WOW factor is what pros have to nail today.
    Just a bunch of good photos is not enough.
    They have to produce a great DVD and good slide shows and use their knowledge of technology to make a difference.

    While I don't do a lot of professional work right now, I go out of my way to give the customer something that they just can't do themselves.
    Hundreds of good shots of an event, with some good video in it, and make up an enjoyable DVD they can share with their families and friends, as well as good slideshows they can use on their phones and also e-mail out to guests, as well as crisp low res images that will look great on Facebook or sent with an e-mail.

    It has to be pointed out to customers that they can't expect guests to wander aorund a service or party all night takling shots, so if they do the photography themselves, they will miss out on a lot of good shots, and that a good pro will be able to get people to pose well for the photos.
    I've found that guests at parties don't engage with the subjects as well as a good pro does and so their shots are just ordinary, where pros can get people to have fun having their photos taken.

    Getting this across to people is the difficult part however.
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    Ausphotography Regular MissionMan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bennymiata View Post
    The WOW factor is what pros have to nail today.
    Just a bunch of good photos is not enough.
    They have to produce a great DVD and good slide shows and use their knowledge of technology to make a difference.
    100% agree. I've seem some wedding photographers that just give the client a box of photos. These days thats definitely not enough. If I look at the standards for wedding photography in other countries, the ones I've lived in supply a wedding album by default along with multiple add ons in terms of what was actually in the album. Its difficult to explain but I'll try post a picture of it tonight to show what I mean.

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    That's a really important factor Bennymiata. We hired a professional photographer for our Down Syndrome get together last year. She did an amazing job of being basically insignificant, and just weaving her way around our group. The quality and emotion that she was able to capture was definately far superior to what we could have taken ourselves, especially if we were wanting to enjoy the event and socialise at the same time.

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    Ausphotography irregular Mark L's Avatar
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    Some valid points already.
    The value of photography for me has always been to try and attempt to capture images that mean something to me. It was nice to print something and give it as a gift (Christmas or birthday) to family or friend.
    Then digital happened. So now I can afford to take more photos (more of which are of no value to me!) and e-mail them to family and friends. Enough of me.
    While it's good that more people can now take photos, I'm thinking that there are now so many photos floating around that the generally public is now prepared to accept a sub-standard produced. Think I read recently that something like 25 million photos per day get posted on FBook. Like, like, like!!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark L View Post
    Some valid points already.
    The value of photography for me has always been to try and attempt to capture images that mean something to me. It was nice to print something and give it as a gift (Christmas or birthday) to family or friend.
    Then digital happened. So now I can afford to take more photos (more of which are of no value to me!) and e-mail them to family and friends. Enough of me.
    While it's good that more people can now take photos, I'm thinking that there are now so many photos floating around that the generally public is now prepared to accept a sub-standard produced. Think I read recently that something like 25 million photos per day get posted on FBook. Like, like, like!!!!
    My thoghts indeed with the value being far from being a Proffesional but for capturing that moment in time, for having a pasiion that never lets life get "Boring" .Seeing a scene and capturing it how i see or want to see it even if it has to be photoshopped to get it to that stage..
    My camera is mostly an extension of my arm if i have it with me and my eyes.
    The value being in a passion you can share, and opportunity to meet others with the same interest . No one person should be bored with life today if theyhave the interest to pick up a Cmera and participate in landscape, Macro ,Portrature or Street Photgraphy , its all out there for them with the cost comming down daily allowing one to do so more easily..
    My other passion has been recreasional Fishing and dread the thoughtof ever doing it commercailly or professionlay as then i think the passion would be lost from wanting to do it to "Having to Do it" !!!.....
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