|Shadow Catcher - Stallion Springs, California|
Anyone with a camera can be a photographer, right?
After all, this person told me, a professional photographer doesn't take pictures that are all that much better than what other people take. This person told me of a time that they used a cheap point-and-shoot and a fabric backdrop to create professional-style portraits, and "they turned out good." How can photographers possible justify the amount that they charge?
|GQ Groom - Tehachapi, California|
This is from the most recent wedding I photographed.
Besides all of that, no matter how confident this person may be in their snapshot abilities, they cannot create the photographs that a good professional can. It's not possible. Yes, a blind squirrel finds a nut every once in awhile, but there will be a significantly noticeable difference in image quality between the pro and the non-pro. Simply put, a good photographer can read the light and a novice cannot, and photography is about light.
If you want my style of photographs, then you have to pay me the price that my work demands. I've spent many years learning the art of photography. I've developed my eye and my style through college classes and tons of experience--lots of trial-and-error and also lots of success. One cannot simply pick up a camera and hope to capture what I create. Until you've gone down that long road of learning you cannot do it.
|Airport Lobby - McKinney, Texas|
A print from my days in college, when I was first began to learn the art of photography.
I told the person that you get what you pay for. That didn't go over too well. But it's the truth (sometimes the truth is not what people want to hear). There is a big difference between someone who is inexperienced and discounted and someone who is experienced and can justify a steep price tag. This is not to say that one should always go for the most expensive option, but that one should consider there's a reason why the cheap photographer is cheap. You get what you pay for.
|Sunset At Morro Rock - Morro Bay, California|
As many times as this rock has been photographed, I've never seen one quite like this.
Perhaps novices don't even understand what a good picture is. Yes, it's all subjective, but I think the more one studies the art of photography the more one can discern a good image from a bad one. How can one who has never studied photography even begin to comprehend the value of a photograph?
I think a photographer's worth--the cost of their work--comes down to how much someone is willing to pay for it. The quality of the images have to transcend the novice's ignorance of art and compel the person to part with their hard-earned cash. It has to be easily recognized as great photography.
So the price that a photographer's work is worth depends on the buyer just as much as the photographer. The photographs have to be great in order to demand big bucks, but they have to be easily recognized as great by those who may not know what a great photograph is.
As convoluted as that all sounds, it's actually more complicated than that. Branding and marketing are just as important as a photographer's abilities with a camera. The better you are at selling yourself the more you can charge for your work. That's why some photographers can be successful with mediocre photography and some are dirt poor with great photography.
|Red Chairs - Cambria, California|
I contacted the hotel that these chairs sit in front of, hoping that they'd buy this image.
But if one disagrees, then by all means find the photographer who's work justifies the price that's been set. You can find those photographers out there. Uncle Jim might even do it for free. Just remember, you get what you pay for.