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No one cares how hard your job is as a photographer

I’ve just come across yet another “Why do professional photos cost so much” post written by a photographer.

It’s a decent piece really.  Well written with great photos that illustrate how talented the shooter is, and some good points.  But here’s the thing…guess who cares about why professional photos are sooooooooooo expensive?

Photographers. And if that’s who you are marketing to, cool.  (Hey, right there with ya).  If you’re selling workshops, e books, whatever,then you go with your bad self.

Guess who doesn’t care?

Everyone else.

When I got the estimate from my dentist for a root canal I need he didn’t point to his degrees, talk to me about his overhead and his staffing expenses, his estimated taxes or his educational seminars he attends yearly to justify why the root canal would cost me a cool 2K.  I know that’s what I am paying for.  And I know that if I go down the street to the Dental School I’ll pay a lot less, and I’ll take a lot more chances that it will turn out okay.

So why do we think explaining things like “why our 8×10’s cost $65”  is important?  Answer? It’s not.  The clients who you are trying to explain that to are not your clients.  They never will be, no matter how much you blog.  It could be that they don’t value photography the way your clients do. It could be they can’t afford your prices. (Pro photographs are a luxury item, folks) It could even (gasp!) be that they don’t see the difference between your work and a $99 shoot and sharer.

If I walk into a Coach Purse store ranting and raving about how stupid it is to pay $300 for a purse when I could get one at Target for $30 do you think they are going to sit me down and educate me as to why their bag is so much more than a Target purse?  They might.  And maybe when they do that I’ll be the 1 out of 100 that changes my mind and pulls out a credit card and buys it.

However the time they would have wasted educating the other 99 before me who didn’t buy is not worth my sale. Their careful branding takes care that they appeal to people who want to pay $300 for a bag.  And their branding does not include justification on why they are worth it. 

Preaching to choir is just that.  Move on and work on something else you’ve been putting off that will bring you clients.



  1. I agree completely. As I work to build my business I have re-evaluated my pricing and I’m sticking with it! It makes me sad that my new pricing has put me in a category that some of my friends can’t afford to hire me as often as they would like, but I trust that if they really love & value my work and support me, they will save up and still use me for special occasions! :-)

  2. oh sweet baby jesus THANK YOU. If I see another justification of pricing my head WILL explode.

  3. Yes and no. I agree that breaking out pricing spreadsheets for potential clients to justify costs is a waist of time (and even counter productive), however, psychologically building the value of your product’s pricing through talking about and showing your unique factors is a huge “HELL YES.” The thing is, you’re really working on the same task, but in a manner that demonstrates good salesmanship and actually accomplishes the desired results (I’m not talking about force, trickery, etc). The problem is, it takes a lot of practice and education to hone these skills, and that’s hard and takes time (and 99 out of 100 people attempting to be a photographer will fail before they acquire these skills). But hey, if it was easy, everyone would be making a living at this…and we know that only a select few really are 😉

  4. Excellent point and, when you put it like that, I suddenly feel very foolish for thinking those people needed to be educated. I’ll get off my soap box now…

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