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HEY YOU! You are devaluing our trade!

There are people that want to pay $500 for photography and there are people that want to pay $5000 for photography.  What it all boils down to is that it is our job as service providers to find our client and trade our services for their money.

1412644_75137726-1024x723Ever since someone started doing stuff for money there were always those that wanted to do it for cheaper.  There are even more that wanted to do it for nothing…just the love.  It is our job as photographers and service providers to find each level of service and provide for that level regardless of what the circumstances.

I’ll be the first to admit that when I started charging higher rates I got pissed each time someone charged $25 or $100 or even $150 for a shoot where they gave away tons of photos.  I would sit there and get HEATED!  I mean $150 for something I’m charging $500 for?!  What the…

Such a hypocrite I was.  I say this because I did the SAME thing when I started.  First session?  $25.  First senior session?  $150.  First ever wedding?  $500.  I worked for 16 hours on that $500 wedding.  I even split it with a second photographer AND an assistant and gave them a disk of images of their wedding.  I think it was something around 1200 images.  $500.

While I wouldn’t dream of doing that now, there are those starting out or those that love what they do enough to help people out and do it for that price.  It all comes down to one thing that no one thinks about…finding your client.

If YOUR client spends an average of $500 for a shoot with you, awesome!  If your average client is spending $1000, GREAT!  If your client is spending $5000 for you on their wedding or shoot with video, AMAZING!  Someone else’s client wants to spend $50.  Perfect.  Good for them.  They are investing the amount of money that they feel is required to get what they believe is “acceptable” photography services for their needs.  There is nothing wrong with that.

I challenge each photographer that complains about someone charging such little money to think about this…

Where do you go shopping for groceries?  Wal-Mart?  Kroger?  Meijers?  Any number of other grocery stores?  I’ll bet it’s the store you feel has the best product for the amount of money that you feel is acceptable.

Where do you go shopping for clothes?  The mall?  Where you spend 30%-40% MORE than an outlet store where you can get it for much cheaper?  Or wal-mart where you can get the same style (or close to the same) of clothing for much cheaper?

Where did you go to school?  I’ll bet it was the place that you found the most amount of education for the dollar that you or your parents found acceptable.

1226006_97105217-1024x768So where are the people pointing at you and saying “hey…you made my clothing store’s value go down!” or the people that scream “you made my grocery value fall!”?  Answer…they’re selling to their clients.

They found a client base that is willing to pay $XX for their products and love it.  Each of them did.  Every one of them did.  And you know what?  They go to the bank every day when someone spends money on them and they deposit tons of money that YOU, the photographer griping about people spending less money on services, spend on their clothes, groceries, and/or other services and products.

So I say to each and every one of you complaining about these service providers charging a fraction of your cost to someone else, that wasn’t your client.  Forget about it.  Find your client, market to them, and have them spend money on what they want.  In the meantime, leave the people that started at the bottom (like you and I did) alone and let them help provide services to those who cannot spend what it is you charge.  Keep your professionalism high and your standards up there.  In the end, you will all be happy.

“But what happens when they try to take my client?”

That wasn’t your client.  Let them go.

Good luck to all and happy clicking! 🙂

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This has been a Gustavo Alfaro Photography PSA.  Now you know and knowing is half the battle.  The other half is red and blue lasers.

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