The cost of staying in Business
It seems I get the same type of e-mail every couple of weeks from families, brides, and models asking what my rates are. I kindly tell them what to expect in terms of both finished product and money and 9 times out of 10 I never hear from them again. On this one occasion recently, however, I had some one ask me if they thought that my rate was too steep for what they wanted. I thought about it for awhile, and I came to the conclusion that I wasn’t effectively conveying the value of both my time, my investment, and my talent. It’s difficult to overcome the mindset that “all you do is click a button and the picture happens” in the digital age to people who aren’t all that familiar with the process. What a lot of people fail to realize is that its taken a multitude of lighting tests, compositional knowledge, color theory classes, technical know-how on how to get the most out of an exposure, etc., etc. Not to mention the monetary investment in all of the necessary equipment to be able to produce the image in the first place. Add to this your time in scout location, preproduction, post production, color management, scheduling, correspondence, and time spent learning new techniques in order to make even more interesting and creative images, and you have a sizable chunk of your time and money out the door. But how do you convey all of this info to a potential client without sounding pretentious? I like to explain it as such: with my potential at creating your image, you will have a unique finished product that will utilize all of my knowledge, creativity, and technical ability. As such, in order for me to stay ahead of the curve with these traits, I need to be able to purchase new equipment, learn new techniques, etc.- hence the reason for my rates. I think if people can attach a tangible value to your photography, the battle is already half way there in your favor.