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Low balling togs cost us in the end

edited September 2013 in home
I was approached to shoot a large event in Cincinnati with 20+ corporate sponsors. It would be about 8 hours work: 2 for the drive, 3 hours of shooting, a bit of editing, uploading and corresponding with the client. They wanted to pay $300 since that is what they paid last year for 2 hours of shooting. I am starting to dislike cheap photographers....they have till the 4th of October to find a cheap shooter....ugh

rc

Comments

  • I don't have a horse in this race -- photography is not my job. That said, here's how I see things. You can compete on price, quality (in which case you charge a premium), or some combination of the two. If you're not willing to lower your price, then you must demonstrate superior quality to the potential customer. I'd get real specific here and show how your portfolio is (hopefully) superior to the low-cost portfolio. Point out the differences because many non-photographers simply won't see a difference in quality. Only if they see a marked difference will the customer consider paying higher fees. Just my two cents.

    Justin
  • ZenonZenon Member
    edited September 2013
    Yeah. Sorry, I'm kinda guilty of that as well. A member from a local camera approached me to shoot a grad in 2012. 11 families. I did the math and basically told him I would have to charge my wedding rate. I'm not a high end guy like others here but that came out to about $130 per family. Well apparently the chit hit the fan at their meeting with that pricing. They said they would hire me for 1.5 hours and pay appropriately for that time slot. The fellow pointed out that is 8 minutes per family, not including time between them. So that leaves about 2 minutes per family for shooting if you can organize them in 6 which is impossible. This did not include location changes.

    He was embarrassed to say that after checking my pricing it was well within reason but they never got back to me. He probably never bothered telling the parents about price comparisons. Good luck to whomever they found as I would have not budged from my pricing .

    I just shot my goddaughters grad in June for free. It was a gift. I wound up shooting all her friends and families. That took about 5 hours but lunch was free :) It was pretty funny as she kept telling everyone she had personal pro photographer. I was tired by the time I got home.
  • jcgoodson,

    the problem is that they WON'T see the difference in quality, they only see price. If you are out shopping for a $500 TV, that is what you will buy. Regardless of how bad the photos will be in the end, they will love the shots. Same happens when it comes to weddings. Was contacted by some friends to shoot their wedding, cost was too high and they went the cheap route. Photos are, overall, pretty bad but they are raving over the shots to the point where you'd think all ten of the top ten weddings shooters contributed. Everything from out of focus to harsh on camera flash...only thing missing was selective coloring.

    It is what it is but I won't work for free.
  • Two events have occurred. Digital photography which produces instant feedback and has made everyone braver (including myself) and an economic crash. This is not the first time I have read about this. I read one where some guy said wedding pros should charge about $200 because all they do is press a button.

    It surprising how much saving money will put blinders on. Some people can live with almost anything. However if you placed high end images taken by an experienced photographer next to a budget ones I'll bet they could tell the difference. Near Kissimmee, Florida at a place called Celebration there was a fair. Multiple photogs had displays. I walked up to a lady who had a 8 by 10 field camera and Ansel Adam quality B&W prints. I looked at several and told her nice detail in the shadows and highlights. She responded by saying "You knew what you are looking for". I think some customer knowledge makes a difference as well.

    Then you read about high end photogs going to court because he made the brides nose look too big.

    All in all I would not work for free either and I'm not a full time pro. Just have to adapt to the times I guess.
  • Zenon,

    "you placed high end images taken by an experienced photographer next to a budget ones I'll bet they could tell the difference"

    I only agree partially with this. You and I and others involved in photography can, but the average person? Not so sure about that. Seen to much that proves otherwise...

    People that know they want quality will seek out quality photographers, the rest looks at $ only. And the rest is a larger portion of the population.

    I am not a full time shooter but will not charge less to take away from someone that does. I don't really think we disagree on the matter all that much...

    I did receive an e-mail from her thanking me for my time. Someone somewhere will take the $300 and run with it...hope it is a working photographer.

    rc
  • HowieHowie Member
    edited September 2013
    I shot some frames at an event a few weeks ago for my own purposes. An acquaintance happened to have a connection to the organizers and, after seeing my shots, he said they might want me to shoot next year's affair. When I mentioned my rate, he said, "Oh, we're non-profit," to which I replied, "I'm not." That was pretty much the end of the conversation.

    Regarding people's ability to recognize quality, I was at another event in July when the promoter walked past me and happened to mention to someone that he'd not been able to hire a photographer; I promptly negotiated a deal. When I delivered the images he booked me on the spot for next July saying that what I gave him was far better than anything he'd gotten before.

    People who shop with price as their main determinant aren't likely to be my customers. I'd steal bread before I'd give my work away. Both are crimes but only one lets me eat.
  • TrevTrev Moderator
    You only have to look at some FaceBook crud and see the 'raves' over some of the 'professional' photos done there to get your answer.

    The trouble is, people for the past 10+ years have been **so** used to seeing shitty work, it's now become the norm.

    When they see a professional photo, lighting, color, composition and SHARP, they know they like it immensely but cannot put their finger on it why.

    I used to think a loonnnng time back when people raved over paintings, Rembrandt, etc. what are they on about, but now when I see one I 'see' what they are seeing. The light, color, etc. Masters for sure.

    But quality will shine through in the end, just takes some people a while to get it.
  • I would agree with you travel. This can't be a blanket statement.

    "you placed high end images taken by an experienced photographer next to a budget ones I'll bet they could tell the difference"

    I only agree partially with this. You and I and others involved in photography can, but the average person? Not so sure about that. Seen to much that proves otherwise...
  • Hi Rc
    1st thing I learned in this, you have to make a personal decision on weather the Job is worth it to you.

    I don't always make my going rate , but often times jobs like the one you describe can lead to other Jobs.

    Example: I did a Product Photos for a jewellery company of some clearance item they had a small budget $450 for a day shoot and Post.

    That job leaded to

    Shooting an annual meeting and that lead to Shooting an anniversary party.

    and now we are working on a date to shoot an entire catalog of jewellery.

    Ive also learned not to worry about other people's "low quality" Its an energy waster. There are a lot more of them then there are of you.


    I worry about the quality of my own work and that what keep my clients coming back.

    Lou Recine
    Owner Matrix Photography

  • Matrixphoto said: 1st thing I learned in this, you have to make a personal decision on weather the Job is worth it to you.

    I don't always make my going rate , but often times jobs like the one you describe can lead to other Jobs.

    Example: I did a Product Photos for a jewellery company of some clearance item they had a small budget $450 for a day shoot and Post.

    That job leaded to

    Shooting an annual meeting and that lead to Shooting an anniversary party.

    and now we are
    working on a date to shoot an entire catalog of jewellery.

    Ive also learned not to worry about other people's "low quality" Its an energy waster. There are a lot more of them then there are of you.


    I worry about the quality of my own work and that what keep my clients coming back.
    Totally agree with your take on this issue Lou. We can't worry about what others are charging, or aren't charging for their work. We must rely on our own work, which should speak for itself. No one likes to get low balled out of work, but it's something we can not prevent. Just my take and 2 cents worth...

  • Of course you have to worry about what others are charging. Dismissing any competition, either based on price or quality, makes no sense.

    And yes, we each have to decide if a job is worth it. My first wedding was because of a session I shot for free....but, as in this case, when each corporate sponsor is dropping $20,000 per donation, they can fork out the $600.

    And Trev, your point is excellent. It boils down to this "We see what we know" On camera flash looked great when I shot film in High School in the late 80's...now I know and it does not look so good.


    rc
  • Perhaps reading the article Neil posted helps: Here is a quote:

    "I think we’re going to see more and more part-timers in the industry simply because they either can’t make it as a full-timer or because they aren’t willing to get serious about pricing or business and aren’t ready to really do what it takes to charge what they need to charge to do this full-time.

    And because there are more people doing it part time, where they don’t need to make much of a profit in order to pay their bills, it’s going to be harder and harder for people in the industry who do rely upon photography to pay their bills to do so."

    You can't ignore the competition gents...
  • edited September 2013
    travelintrevor said: Of course you have to worry about what others are charging. Dismissing any competition, either based on price or quality, makes no sense.
    Not really ignoring competitors, they just aren't important...at all. Let me clarify Trev. I do to an extent worry somewhat about what others are charging. Say I bid on an event and I know another competitor low balled the price just to get the job. I am NOT gonna low ball the low ball offer simply to get the job. Since I do not do this for a living, I DO NOT worry about getting the gig or not, so I do see the problem. Granted, jobs I bid on are pretty much all very small events. Nothing like many of you all do, just for clarification. In this case, I am not worrying about getting the job because I do know it is not worth my time and energy. I am one of the PART TIMERS you speak of. I have no desire to become a full time pro. I make a very good salary in my field for 22 years now, and honestly, it's more of a hobby then anything. The money I make as a part time photographer is simply to keep me in gear and pay for incidentals. I really do love seeing the looks on people's faces when they see the final product. My humble website is a simple Photography Portfolio, nothing like some of the sites I see that you all have and maintain, this site included, thanks Neil! NEVER want it to feel like a job. EVER! Please do not take this as a sign of disrespect or trying to be confrontational. The day I feel photography is no long enjoyable, I'll stop doing paid events, and simply shoot for the sole pleasure of it. You all have helped me immensely since I joined this site, and I hope you will all continue to do so, regardless of our degrees of expertise or how much money we make. Your point is valid and well received. Not sure many here will admit to it as I have. Just my take on the whole issue. Thank you.


    Ron


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