Shooting for peanuts

One of the major problems confronting photographers today is the increasing difficulty in making a living from it. This is brought about partly by these recessionary times when money is tight, and the market for photography is shrinking with the closure of newspapers and magazines all over the world.

The other factor in play is the improvement in imaging technology which means more and more people are able to take competent shots and who, to get a foot in the door of the professional photographic world, are prepared to sell their pictures cheaply. It would be easy to dismiss them if they were all untalented and produced poor pictures, but I know several who are turning out very good work at a price so low they cannot possibly be even covering the costs of their expensive equipment.

You can’t altogether blame people for trying to make a career out the pursuit they love but, as Don Gianatti pointed out in a recent post on his Lighting Essentials blog, working too cheaply is not only bad for the industry in general, but for the person concerned as well. He reckons that it would be better for photographers to shoot a job for free, to get a job they want, rather than to establish in the client’s mind that they’re cheap.

As Don says, the client is not going to take kindly to it when the next job comes along and the photographer quotes a rate much higher than for the first job; the client will simply not believe that the job is worth that much.

By the way, Don’s blog is a great resource for information of lighting, in particular, and on the business of being a photographer. There are some great lighting videos to be found on the site.


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