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Thread: Just a rant...

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    Member jasevk's Avatar
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    Just a rant...

    I'm actually rather cheesed off right now... At a few things! After going through a fairly lengthy process of identifying my fixed costs, sale costs, allowance for expenditure etc etc, I'm finding that I'm far more comfortable in quoting people my standard prices, even people I know... But I'm also finding myself increasingly frustrated when potential clients suggest what they consider a fair price!

    For example, I had a plus sized model approach me for a shoot to supply images for a piece in an online magazine... In lead up to a talk she's been asked to deliver in the US. Her reply to my quote was that it was much higher than she expected. So I ask what her budget was, to which she replied "around $50". I asked her to reconsider her budget, and she came back with $200, which was to include hair and makeup, with unrestricted use of 50 high res images.

    Another was a request for a quote from a friend of my brothers, for their wedding. After sending a formal quote detailing apotheosis particulars, including a modest discount, I received a reply stating that they were shocked that they weren't getting mates rates since they know my brother...

    Another recent one was a query which was referred to me via another 'photographer' whom I know, asking how much I would charge for a portrait session with her family, and supply of all images on disc. After replying with my price, the client went back to the other 'photographer' and booked a session for $80, and was supplied with 200 images on CD a week after the shoot...

    I know it's been discussed time and time again, and it comes down to the fact that most people cant see the value in photography these days, but I just wanted to rant and vent my frustration! I accept that some people won't believe my services aren't worth what I'm asking for, this seems to be a common theme among many photographers I speak to... but seriously, to be asked to work for peanuts, even after you explain that you actually have costs is just plain rude IMO.

    So how do you handle these types of queries?
    Living the dream...

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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    Recommend someone dearer than you to them. Say, give xxxx a call and get a second quote.. Hehe
    "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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    Quote Originally Posted by jasevk View Post
    detailing apotheosis particulars,
    Oops, I phone auto correct. This should say "all the particulars"!

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    Quote Originally Posted by ricktas View Post
    Recommend someone dearer than you to them. Say, give xxxx a call and get a second quote.. Hehe
    Hehe, maybe that's what the other 'photographer' pulled to secure her $80 job!!

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    Ausphotography Site Sponsor/Advertiser OzzieTraveller's Avatar
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    G'day jase

    I find this all the time mate - people who off-the-cuff reckon that my price is too high
    My weekend workshops fee is $295 for 15hrs over Fri nite + Sat + Sun [& discounts are available for 'mates rates'] and there's a max of 10 to give people a fair go

    People often say to me "that's a lot for a camera course" ... so I refer them to several other internet & magazine published adverts for apparantly-similar workshops
    Another 'tog in QLD is also doing 'country photo workshops', asks $250pp with 12-people minimum - dunno whether he gets his numbers
    Here in Canberra a local pro is offering a 5hr 'intro' workshop for $250, in Sydney another is offering a weekend away for $2295, accommodation not included

    So asking prices are all over the place ... I ask what I consider a 'fair' price and I guess that you do also.
    Each of us then will sleep soundly knowing that "we're doing the right thing by our own professional standards"

    Hope this helps a bit
    Regards, Phil
    Of all the stuff in a busy photographers kitbag, the ability to see photographically is the most important
    google me at Travelling School of Photography
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    But all you are doing is pressing the shutter button a few times, and copying a few files....

    Seriously, stick to your pricing - you have worked it out, and you are not a charity.

    I think a lot of Australians are cheap, and are constantly being told by advertising and the government to demand lower prices. They do not want to pay what something is worth, or even what it costs - unfortunately, you either have to put up with their complaints or not sell to them.

    Perhaps ask the objectors what they do for a living/how much they earn on a daily basis and see if they want to come and give you x hours of free/discounted service.

    I don't think your issues are limited to photography - selling any service (e.g. plumbing, electrical work, irrigation work, pump repairs - all areas I have been involved with in the recent past) result in people saying "oh, that's too expensive - all you did was y". People fail to acknowledge the cost of equipment, vehicle expensives, training... and don't value time. Perhaps it is because so many people are salaried employees who don't have to bear responsibility for a business succeeding or failing.

    BTW, I reckon the $80 photographer won't be photographing in 5 years time - but that doesn't make it any easier for you.
    Regards, Rob

    D600, AF-S 35mm f1.8G DX, AF-S 50mm f1.8G, AF-S 24-85mm f3.5-4.5G ED VR, AF-S 70-300mm F4.5-5.6G VR, Sigma 10-20mm F4-5.6 EX DC HSM
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    Account Closed Wayne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jasevk View Post
    So how do you handle these types of queries?
    With the greatest respect;
    I am tired of hearing the professional fraternity sook about how they can no longer extort, or charge premium prices for their services.
    Get used to it, because it won't be getting any better before it gets worse.
    I have said it countless times before, things in the photography industry have changed, people can do much more with digital than they could with film, ease of access to cheaper technology, free Youtube training vids for PP applications etc etc. Many people no longer consider it necessary to pay the sometimes extortionate prices photographers charged in days long gone, and they certainly don't see it worth buying photog priced prints when places like HN, BigW etc will print 8x10/12 for less than the cost of a coffee.

    Many people don't feel that they should pay licensing fees, or suffer limited use licences for images they have paid someone to take, I agree with them. If I pay someone to take images, then in my opinion they belong to me and I would never pay someone who would not provide copyright to me.

    I feel for you because your chosen profession is a difficult one in which to make money, and I would dare say most pro's who make a liveable income do so from commercial clients who need to pay royalties or for limited licenses to use images (that is also changing rapidly - they too are demanding all rights), because I find it hard to believe many pro's if any at all, can make a liveable income from the general publics demand.

    Again, I have to ask, are photographers any different to the tight, unrealistic clients they complain about? When was the last time you went into a pro camera supplier here in Australia and paid the full Australian retail asking price of a pro piece of glass or camera body? Do those same pro's who are crying about customer expectations ever pay HN, DSE, Ted's whichever retailer, the marked price for gear or, do they too seek a discount not only for camera gear, but for their lounge, new car, 60" LCD TV etc which I'm sure the retailer is often thinking is ridiculous.

    The pot often calls the kettle black, hypocrisy at it's finest in alot of cases I think, and it seems some get very defensive and teary when the shoe is on the other foot, but that isn't often something pro's who cry about tight clients like to talk about......

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wayne View Post
    With the greatest respect;
    I am tired of hearing the professional fraternity sook about how they can no longer extort, or charge premium prices for their services.
    Im not a full time photographer, but all I'm asking from my clients is that my costs are covered and I make some money for my time and effort on top of that... No different to what you would want I suspect...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wayne View Post
    With the greatest respect;
    I am tired of hearing the professional fraternity sook about how they can no longer extort, or charge premium prices for their services.
    Get used to it, because it won't be getting any better before it gets worse.
    ...
    There is a difference between premium pricing and making a living wage. I think "extort" is emotive and misguided. At the same time, basic economics suggest you charge what the market can bear - if the market bears high prices, good and well for those that can charge it.

    However, the financial structure of the photography industry is changing, like any other area with low barriers to entry. The market can no longer bear the high prices - but unless it can bear charging a rate that makes a living wage, there won't be a photography industry (or at least a consumer portrait photography industry.) What is significant is that technological change has rapidly reduced the barriers to entry in photography, where it has been much slower in other industries.

    ...
    Many people don't feel that they should pay licensing fees, or suffer limited use licences for images they have paid someone to take, I agree with them. If I pay someone to take images, then in my opinion they belong to me and I would never pay someone who would not provide copyright to me.
    That is a negotiating issue - the supplier (photographer) needs to decide what he can afford to sell and at what price; and the buyer has a set of requirements and a price he buys at. If copyright is important, either the deal is done at a price or not done at all. It is up to the individuals involved to decide - not one-size-fits-all.

    [
    ...
    I feel for you because your chosen profession is a difficult one in which to make money, and I would dare say most pro's who make a liveable income do so from commercial clients who need to pay royalties or for limited licenses to use images (that is also changing rapidly - they too are demanding all rights), because I find it hard to believe many pro's if any at all, can make a liveable income from the general publics demand.

    Again, I have to ask, are photographers any different to the tight, unrealistic clients they complain about? When was the last time you went into a pro camera supplier here in Australia and paid the full Australian retail asking price of a pro piece of glass or camera body? Do those same pro's who are crying about customer expectations ever pay HN, DSE, Ted's whichever retailer, the marked price for gear or, do they too seek a discount not only for camera gear, but for their lounge, new car, 60" LCD TV etc which I'm sure the retailer is often thinking is ridiculous.

    The pot often calls the kettle black, hypocrisy at it's finest in alot of cases I think, and it seems some get very defensive and teary when the shoe is on the other foot, but that isn't often something pro's who cry about tight clients like to talk about......
    If you can't have a whinge here, where else can you go?

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    Quote Originally Posted by OzzieTraveller View Post
    G'day jase

    I find this all the time mate - people who off-the-cuff reckon that my price is too high
    My weekend workshops fee is $295 for 15hrs over Fri nite + Sat + Sun [& discounts are available for 'mates rates'] and there's a max of 10 to give people a fair go

    Regards, Phil
    I think it's more annoying with the fact that I've gone to the effort to analyze my costs, to make sure I'm not charging too little or too much... I'm sure these types of clients must think I've plucked a number from nowhere and quoted it!

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    Quote Originally Posted by farmer_rob View Post

    Seriously, stick to your pricing - you have worked it out, and you are not a charity.
    Agreed, perhaps it will have the natural effect of restricting my workload down to how much I can take on as a part timer... Hehe

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    Account Closed Wayne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jasevk View Post
    but all I'm asking from my clients is that my costs are covered and I make some money for my time and effort on top of that... No different to what you would want I suspect...
    Exactly, and that is why I left the NSW Police Service and became a miner. I no longer get spat at, assaulted, put up with intoxicated idiots, have to prepare hours worth of pointless brief material, conform to the rules, suffer cancelled rest to attend court days for $65K/yr. I didn't feel the reward was worth the effort and risks. I now work 50% of the year in trying conditions (for different reasons - heat/dust/noise etc) and I earn more than double what I did at the cops!

    I would love to be a pro photographer (my lack of skills aside) but I know that what I feel is a good return for my effort, costs, etc is simply not achievable in the current (or foreseeable) future market.

    It is in no way unreasonable to expect to make a living, but reality is that photography is certainly one difficult sector in which to do it, and that is just the way it is, like it or not. I still adduce that your retail camera guy or retailer of anything is no different, he/she wants to make a living too, but we often ask for what they would feel are ridiculous discounts....
    Last edited by Wayne; 07-01-2011 at 9:17am.

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    The reality is that you compete every day with photographers that aren't trying to run a profitable business, don't care about costs, market rates, the profession or anything else than

    1/ they got some more practice
    2/ they would do that portrait shoot for fun if they had to
    3/ the $80 goes straight into the back pocket. Awesome
    4/ everyone else is doing it
    5/ I have a well paid mon- fri job that subsidizes my camera gear etc

    Now, I'll be bold here and suggest none of this will change and that's how exactly 99% of hobbyists approach charging and that it's only going to increase based on the number of $2000 dslrs getting sold in 2010 compared to 2001
    Darren
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    Quote Originally Posted by kiwi View Post
    The reality is that you compete every day with photographers that aren't trying to run a profitable business, don't care about costs, market rates, the profession or anything else than

    1/ they got some more practice
    2/ they would do that portrait shoot for fun if they had to
    3/ the $80 goes straight into the back pocket. Awesome
    4/ everyone else is doing it
    5/ I have a well paid mon- fri job that subsidizes my camera gear etc

    Now, I'll be bold here and suggest none of this will change and that's how exactly 99% of hobbyists approach charging and that it's only going to increase based on the number of $2000 dslrs getting sold in 2010 compared to 2001
    Yes I tend to agree with that Darren, I still need to have my sook though... hehehe

    I just find it somewhat insulting for someone to effectively say "I like your work, but I think you should do it for me at your cost"

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    It's ok to sook, I empathize totally. You know what, I've simply given up worrying about it. If I feel like doing a free, $80 shoot I will, if I feel like charging full rates I will. Depends on how free I am.

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    Jase, you are looking at this from the perspective of someone who wants to act professionally and (possibly) turn this into a fulltime gig. Based upon your research and costings, you would be the type of business that would not fail because you know what it costs you to stay in business. As Kiwi has said, you will not be able to compete with someone who never intends to go F/T and just wants to do it for fun / a little pocket money.

    In reference to your examples and how to respond some simple questions would suffice. To the model, I would be asking her how much she is being paid to do something that she does everyday for free - talk.

    To the friends of your brother's I would ask them if you were going to be invited to the wedding as a guest. If not then you are a vendor not a real friend. If they were going to invite you to the wedding, how much would they expect you to spend on a present. If they answer with a realistic figure $100 for eg. then offer to shoot the weeding for your normal cost and give them a discount to the amount they would expect as a present.

    The portrait shoot, you will never be able to compete with someone who is effectively giving the client money to do the shoot for them.

    Stick to your guns and you will find that there are some people out there who value your skills and pay what you are worth.
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    A. P's Culinary Indiscriminant mongo's Avatar
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    Mongo known nothing about professional photography but thinks the following from his experiences and observations.

    The days of digital cameras for all; computer programs that do it all for you etc etc, makes everyone think they can be their own photographer or that anyone can be a photographer. There is no longer the art and exclusive mystery there once was in the film days where only a good photographer could achieve the result. Yet, today (as in yesterday) very good skills are still needed to produce those special images only a good professional can produce. The fact is, that in a sea of mediocrity produced by everyone having a little camera these days (even children), people forget that there is a huge gap between those results and those of a good professional. Some can take a good picture but how many can take a really great picture ??? That is the effective difference we are talking about.

    It seems these days that unless you are a well known photographer to the “stars” you do not get the respect and acknowledgement you deserve from the general public but you do from your peers. Unfortunately, your peers are almost never your clients - so you cannot make a living from them. In difficult environments like this, competition further breaks down what a photographer can reasonably ask and hope to get.

    Like any other business, the pro photographer must place value on their skill and ability and charge reasonably for it. The very least that has to be covered are all outgoings and expenses, allowing something for their care , skill and responsibility and then to show some sort of profit. Anything less than this is just not realistic or viable either from the photographer’s point of view or the client’s (if the client is being fair dinkum)

    The sad fact is that most people want something special for that special event . They then contact a professional photographer for that purpose but then want to pay as little as possible so that it may no longer reflect the original importance they placed on getting a pro to achieve that purpose.

    Mongo’s, last thought is that pros who have not performed well or done the wrong thing by the client (and there have been some from time to time) have not help the industry at all.

    Mongo understands your frustration but has no answers – only theories, observations and understanding.
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    wayne i'm tired of retailers whinging about how unfair the internet, high aussie dollar, and overseas orders are cutting into their multi million dollar profits. since you seem to be the anti whinge authority, please write hardlynormal a letter too. thank you. p.s. as a full time photographer (very tough on my gear), i do pay local retail prices minus any discounts that the retailer offers me for having an account with them. I think you'll find many other full time photographers do too. Its probably more the part timer/hobbyist who would wait for orders from overseas - so in my opinion you may just be barking up the wrong tree.

    in my opinion too - jasevk part of your problem may be the perception you are generating of yourself as a part timer etc. When people walk into a fully set up studio, they already know that a 50 dollar budget is not going to suffice. so they dont, and thats fine.
    an alternative and successful musician (Badly Drawn Boy) in England did an interesting social experiment on this - he usually packs out a medium sized theatre/venue for $100 a ticket to perform his songs for 2 hours - yet - he went busking for a whole day, in the London subway, playing exactly the same songs he does in concert, and apart from the few fans who recognised him, no one thought anything of it. Best (worst) of all, he made 15 quid for the whole day. (reference for this story is ABC radio TripleJ) apply this scenario to Photography, very similar!
    Successful People Make Adjustments - Evander Holyfield

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    Fishy bricat's Avatar
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    Now I am an Ameteur with a capital A. Over the Xmas dinner with extended familly neices and nephews I took along my trusty Canon 7d and 420 ex flash. I fired off plenty of shots and found a couple of good ones that I printed on A4 and gave to the appropriate people. Word got back to me that they didn't realise I was a proffessional photog. Well if that's all it takes then I'm joining the ranks. Oh wait a minute I didn't get paid. Damn I must still be an ameteur.
    And with your rant; the industry is going through tremendous change and those that adapt will survive. The banking sector,the car industry, hardware stores, corner shops have all been through upheaval. You need to develop a niche market or go very very big to survive. Like Wayne I was a member in Vic for many years and changed to the car industry. Out of the frying pan and into the fire. At least I won't be attacked with a knife or have a gun pointed at me, spat on kicked, punched and called a dog for doing my everyday job. My body is still recovering from shift work. So it appears every part of life has it good and not so good points and some you can grin and bear and some you can't so you move on. What about these pro's going around places like eating houses. They would only get a couple of clients actually buying the prints. They must be making some money? It really is all about enjoying life no matter which job you do. And really we still have a roof over our heads and can eat 3 squares a day. cheers Brian

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    Account Closed Wayne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zollo View Post
    wayne i'm tired of retailers whinging about how unfair the internet, high aussie dollar, and overseas orders are cutting into their multi million dollar profits. since you seem to be the anti whinge authority, please write hardlynormal a letter too. thank you.
    I'm tired of them too, but are they not the same as the whingeing photographers? The high AUD, lower retail/wholesale margins and access to OS sellers via the global shopping portal known as the internet means they can no longer achieve their extortionate and premium prices just like many photographers are finding, and they, like the photographers come out crying about it. When local resellers can compete, I will shop locally. I do my bit to send the message to the profiteering wholesalers/retailers/manufacturers that if they want local business they need to start competing in the global market.

    No whinge police here, I am probably the biggest proponent on this site of voting with your $$ and getting the best deal you can by buying your gear overseas, rather than support local robbers. Evidenced by the fact that the only piece of photography gear (I'll call it photography gear as it is exclusively used for that) I own that was purchased from Australia is..........several sets of 'AA' Imedion rechargeable batteries and their charger for my speedlights.

    Every single piece of gear I own otherwise (the list is extensive) was sourced from overseas suppliers simply based upon price and/or availability.

    What I am tired of is the whingeing about something you can do very little to change within the photographic industry. If you can't make enough $$ as a professional photographer, then change your occupation or deal with the fact that and be happy, instead of crying that everyone else is doing things at lower prices and taking your work away, or that cheap DSLR's are leading people to do it themselves.....
    Last edited by Wayne; 07-01-2011 at 12:05pm.

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