Being in the industry for years, this has always been something that I come across. Maybe not outwardly with clients saying, “gosh I wish I could get paid $100+ an hour”, or “I just cant see paying that much for photo booths melbourne pictures”, but it is very clear and evident when the first thing they ask for is, “What do you charge?” or the first page they are looking for when they go to your website is the Pricing page. Remember the old adage, “You get what you pay for” this is never more truthful then when it comes to photography.
I found an article on the web written by a professional photographer, which puts it all into such great perspective and I think anyone that is browsing around my website needs to read this. One of the problems that is occurring these days is the technology. You can run down to your local Wal-Mart or Best Buy and for around 400-500 dollars you can purchase a decent Canon or Nikon DSLR camera that will take pretty good pictures. Then you run around taking pictures of your children, family, friends or pets and you find out that you really love what you are doing and so many people say “wow you take such great pictures!” and before you know it, one of your friends is getting married and they asked you if you wanted to take pictures of their wedding, when in reality they just cannot afford a “real” photographer.
So after shooting your first wedding, and with your new found confidence, you start to call your self a “photographer”. Lets not down play your ability to see a great picture or pose and capture it and you may very well have the “EYE” for great photographs. However, what is it that you are doing differently than a professional photographer? A lot! For one, you did not go to school to learn about, Aperture, Shutter Speed, Focal Length, Reciprocal Values, Depth of Field, White Balance, Tonal Range a Histogram, Bracketing and sooo many more things that you NEED to know to really take GREAT pictures. Secondly, if you were given an off camera flash or a studio set up, you would not know how to set it up or the first thing about how to use a light meter.
Now there is nothing wrong with this, everyone, even myself had to start out somewhere. For me it started when I was 16 and I made the transition from art on drawings or canvas to art in photography, but I never started calling myself a photographer until I had professional training and schooling to back it up. But lets face it… You are only using the auto features on your camera, because of the wonderful technology these days you can flip a switch and the camera does the rest, however, there still is a difference and being a professional myself, I can look at a photograph and tell if it was shot on auto or if it was done manually.
The problem with all of this, is that there are so many “photographers” out there that decide that they are going to get paid for taking pictures, that they have now made it hard for the budget crunching consumer to justify paying a professional when they can get mediocre pictures for much less because the “photographer” cannot charge as much as a professional studio photographer.
Now this also works in reverse, if the so called “photographer” gets the gall to charge as much as a professional studio photographer, now the “budget crunching” consumer decides to look deeper and now does not see the value in their “photography”. The problem with so many consumers now-a-days is that they do not want to spend a lot, whether they just cannot afford it or they are just cheap. There are however some consumers that are willing to pay the money to get great quality pictures from a professional photographer, but there are few of them and more of the other. So this has forced professional photographers to have to lower their prices and “compete” with the hobbyist. To me, this is just a slap in the face. Just like any career professional, We Professional Photographers had to go to college to receive the proper training, we had to put in years of field experience, apprenticeships, continually joining workshops and certification courses to keep up with technology, not to mention thousands of dollars invested in professional equipment, retail space and over head. If we do not get paid to take great pictures we do not eat, pay our bills or survive.
Would you pay a hobbyist construction worker to build your house? Would you pay a hobbyist mechanic to fix your car? Would you pay a hobbyist web designer to build your companies website? Would you pay a hobbyist Dentist to fix your teeth?? But yet, you will pay a hobbyist “photographer” to capture the most important day of your life, your wedding which you can never re-do.