Photographers: How to price your work
Photographers, I want to introduce you to a resource that can help you navigate the confusions you will encounter in building your photography business.
A little introduction: In an era where it seems literally anyone can buy a cheap DSLR (you know, the one with the fully automatic setting, plus the portrait, landscape, etc modes that supposedly save you the pain of actually learning how to work your camera), throw the camera on automatic, get a few lucky shots, throw them up on a free website and start making a lot of noise on social media about his/her professional photography services. a very confusing landscape has been created for both professional photographers and buyers alike.
Buyer and photographer both can feel overwhelmed by the level of “noise” this has created and it has led many into a feeling of negativity. Many photographers have come to feel they can’t get a fair price for their work because one of these “wannabes” will simply come in and bid the same job at a loss. This isn’t true. The professional client knows the low bidder doesn’t have the professional experience to be able to deliver work to the standards they demand. And they know it is cheaper to do right in the first place than it is to shoot it twice. (note: this is not a slur on beginning photographers, we all started that way. It is how to get on the right path to make that dream come true)
The truth is the market hasn’t really changed all that much… there is simply a lot more “noise.” And with that noise, the need for the truly professional imagery to stand out and cut through that noise is greater than ever.
The product of giving everyone a voice appears to be mass confusion. For photographers, the solution to that confusion is to find something to guide you. I have found that in the creative consultant, Selina Maitreya. Selina recently produced a fabulous successful webinar called Clarion Call where top industry pros spoke about how to be successful photographers. This was followed by a five day free video course entitled: “How to increase your value without lowering your prices” and she is currently working on Clarion Call II which focuses on how to price and market your work in a changing marketplace.
From the titles alone, I think you can see how Selina is bringing order and a path to success through the confusion of noise that currently surrounds us.
Stephen Best, the National CEO of American Photographic Artists recently interviewed Selina and this is an article you will want to read if you intend to be a successful photographer. Here are a couple of excerpts from the interview:
Regarding why she developed the Clarion Call Telesummits, Selina had this to say:
“In 2009-2010 I traveled extensively throughout the U.S. and into Canada lecturing and was continually asked if our industry was dead. I was reading industry blogs and watching online chat groups and the tone was dark and negative.
As I work with photographers throughout the U. S., into Canada and across the pond, I know that photographers are working and that healthy fees are possible…”
Regarding the lowball pricing many have come to fear:
“Low ballers are not focusing on value of any kind, trust me. They are fixated on giving their work away at the lowest price just to get the assignment. While there are clients for those photographers, there are also clients for the photographer who develops value in their work, in their business and who know how to price based on that value. I work with photographers every day who are doing this.”
Please read the full interview! If the future of photography has come to seem negative to you, I believe the problem is who you have chosen to listen to. I know photographers who are extremely successful in their careers, beyond the wildest dreams of many. I also know photographers who devote the majority of time to telling all who will listen just “how bad it is”. The first are those who adopted professional standards and business practices, the second are those who decided the professional community had nothing to contribute and now simply offer up excuses as to why they failed.
While it can seem difficult to find the professional resources you need, they are out there. I have three I recommend you latch on to right now:
Read APA’s Interview with Selina Maitreya
Join American Photographic Artists to get the professional resources you need to succeed.
Then run, don’t walk, down the path to seeing your career dreams become a reality. The picture of the photographic industry is only dark and gloomy to those who do not have the professional resources they need to succeed.