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Thread: Ethics in Professional Portrait Photography

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    Ethics in Professional Portrait Photography

    Not sure if this is the right place for this query, so Mods, please move it if it's in the wrong place.

    My daughter and her best friend went and had some photos taken at a rather well-known photo studio yesterday. This was supposed to be a "free" session that she got for visiting their stand at the Royal Show.

    The got made up and had a rather lengthy session and all-in-all had a fabulous time, however, they were each charged a bond of $95 to make sure that they would turn up to a viewing of the photos when they are completed. If they don't attend, they forfeit their money (so much for being free). Yes, they were silly and agreed to this, though in fairness, the $95 was probably well spent on the makeup artist who did an excellent job. The girls did look gorgeous when they got home.

    Anyway, daughter came home with a price list... the cheapest option a 5" x 4" unedited print for $200. Packages start at $1200 for 2 x 10" x 8" + an album of small photos and go to nearly $6,500 for the top package.

    Would have loved a 30" x 40" photo of her, but the asking price is $3,750.

    Personally I'm overwhelmed and completely shocked at what they're charging, but am I the only one who think this?
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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    Wooo..those prices do seem very steep.
    "It is one thing to make a picture of what a person looks like, it is another thing to make a portrait of who they are" - Paul Caponigro

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    I'm not sure that anything unethical has occurred, after reading your brief outline, so the thread title is a little confusing.

    It seems that perhaps your daughter and her friend were either not given a decent explanation of the studio's workflow. That's probably the only area you could fault the studio.

    I assume the girls received their deposits back upon honoring their end of the bargain by turning up for the scheduled photo viewing?

    Ultimately, everyone has the right to price their work at whatever level they deem to be necessary to achieve their own unique business goals.

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    My partner had a shop in a shopping centre quite regularly had a kids photograph stall work near her, the add was similar $9.00 a sitting then a few weeks later they would come back with the photos to sell from the sitting not as expensive as that but were not cheap and not that great one day saw one of the "photographers" practicing on a teddy as she hadn`t done it before although all the settings on the camera were taped down. 1/125 f8
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    Other than being extremely overpriced I don't think they did much wrong.
    Free sitting and make-up, but I guess they should publish their prices up front.

    Maybe you should haggle to a more realistic price anyway?
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    this isnt really commercial photography..........this is a professional portrait and marketing business

    just like Studio 2000 and NuoVogue in Adelaide, same deal, same pricings as you wrote earlier.

    and there are ppl dumb enough out there to fork out 5k for those stupid packages!

    Studio 2000 appeared on Today Tonight a few times in the past for their aggressive marketing and call ups to customers asking when will u come in to see the photos? Coming in is where they pull the hard sell on u and try to make u cough up that amount, even on installment plans!

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    <--says it all

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    Quote Originally Posted by JM Tran View Post
    Studio 2000 appeared on Today Tonight a few times in the past for their aggressive marketing and call ups to customers asking when will u come in to see the photos? Coming in is where they pull the hard sell on u and try to make u cough up that amount, even on installment plans!
    Surprise, surprise. I didn't want to mention names, but...

    Zeke, they haven't got there yet, but my husband will be in attendance in an official capacity when they view their photos on the 16th as I'm rather worried that they will try to con and manipulate my girl who is still rather naive in the ways of the outside world, even though she's 21.

    I think what I found unethical in this whole affair, was that word "free" when it actually wasn't. One of the other things mentioned at the show stand was that part of the bargain of the "free" shoot was that they'd be able to enter her photo in a in some competition. Unfortunately I have no actual details of the verbal agreement, just what my daughter said had transpired. Until the shoot however, she hadn't signed anything which is good.

    ...and the prices!!! There's no framing involved there, just a straight print.

    Kym, I'll mention the haggle option to Graeme, but something tells me they won't come to the party.

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    they have simply paid a refundable deposit, it was a free session they just want to make sure they go back so they have another chance at selling you something.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Helen S View Post
    I think what I found unethical in this whole affair, was that word "free" when it actually wasn't.
    I still think it's free.

    If the girls go in, don't purchase anything and get their deposits back - the whole experience was ... free.

    My studio workflow is similar, except I don't offer free portrait sessions. We shoot one day, then meet another day to present the images and offer prints for purchase. The whole process is totally transparent, though. Everyone has the opportunity to go through our comprehensive pricing before booking a session.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Helen S View Post
    Kym, I'll mention the haggle option to Graeme, but something tells me they won't come to the party.
    Well, take your calendar - tell em your a 'tog.
    Mum & Dad means they can't talk you kid into it.
    Suggest a realistic price - the worst is thay say no and make no money.
    If they are smart they say yes and get something. Its not like you could not do better yourself.

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    Sorry but this is unethical and may well be a breach of the trade practices act. At least it would be if it was in NSW. There have been a number of presedent cases fought in NSW on this issue and the tog lost every time. I can't for the life of me remember the company but they went down badly - it was somebody photographic Studios.

    Unless it was clearly stated that a photographic session did NOT include provision of free photos to the client then this is a clear breach.

    This is like buying a car. When you buy a car you buy the whole lot. You don't have to pay extra just to get the tyres and if registration is not included - a usual term at an auction - then this is clearly discosed prior to the act of agreement.

    I know the laws differ from state to state but this is still a scum bag act designed to entrap the niave.

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    Helen, I agree what most have said here. It is hard to say if it is unethical but it certainly isn't up front and honest. I'd be turning up, looking at the photos, taking my $95 and going home.

    Now what you need to do is organise an AP meetup, bring the girls along, plenty of people can take photos for nothing, and in return got hold of the ones they like and get them printed! Win win!
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    Re: Ethics in Commercial Photography

    The way it was described here, it seems that they may be targeting a certain client profile who may not understand how things work. I'd also go along, get the money back and take my business elsewhere
    Living the dream...

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    A work mate's girlfriend used to work for the one with 2000 in the name. Her job was to make sure that people didn't leave without purchasing something. She quit because it became way too stressful for her, as there was a very high expectation that every shoot would result in a sale.

    Expect them to try every damn trick in the book when they go back for the viewing. They are very aggressive.

    As for unethical, possibly by the letter of the law, no. But morally, yes

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    Some of the comments in this thread are a prime example is why talking business on a public forum is useless.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zeke View Post
    Some of the comments in this thread are a prime example is why talking business on a public forum is useless.
    hmmm. But isn't everyone entitled to express their views? Just cause some might differ from your own, doesn't make them wrong and you right!
    Last edited by ricktas; 03-12-2009 at 8:48am.

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    There's no such thing as a free lunch........

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    Thats true - but as many find out the its not really free if there is a compulsory $95 charge. On that point alone I'd be checking with your states Fair Trading policy. Doesnt matter if its a refundable charge either.

    I would ask that someone changes the title though - this is not Commercial Photography, but Portrait Photography, as JMTran has already pointed out - and its an important point.
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    I bet it was Studio 2000; they have been on ACA type programs serveral time for the wrong reasons

    don't pay it; LOL I'll do your portrait photography for $480 and no more to pay

    Sadly there are too many 'professional" photographers/studios ripping off the public. And it has to stop!!!

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