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Cooperation….

One thing most people do not realise about the photography is that it can actually be quite a lonely profession. Not only do most photographers work for themselves, but most work from their homes or a small studio. Though a lot of people think that working from home sounds great, it can be quite isolating as well.

In addition, for new photographer starting out, it can be quite daunting for them to understand the ins and out of quoting for jobs or generating new business. In most other businesses, these skills are learned by working with more experienced people to guide them. Some new photographers are lucky enough to get that experience through working as assistants to photographers, but with the way the industry is slashing budgets more and more photographers are shooting jobs on their own to keep production costs down. Also since the market is becoming more and more competitive, experienced photographers are becoming more and more reluctant to give advice to new photographers on pricing and business matters. Thinking this will prevent the new photographers from stealing away clients, but in fact it actually does the opposite.

In general, the new photographs under value their work and therefor win the jobs that are based on price and therefore creates an expectation from those clients that is what photography services costs and forces the “more”experienced photographers to either lower their rates or loose those clients. Sure loosing one or two clients is not a major deal for most photographers, but the more people who hire photographers that are used to dealing with below market value costs associated with photo shoots, the harder it becomes to be a photographer. It is what is happening with editorial photography and photojournalists, with photographers letting magazines use images for free or extremely low costs just to see their images in print or to bolster their portfolio and it is starting to creep into the advertising industry as well.

Not all is lost though, the best way to stop the downward slide is to cooperate with other photographers. I know a lot people claim that sharing pricing with other photographers is considered price fixing, which is illegal. I am not advocating that, but I am saying that we as image makers should team together to help educate both emerging photographers and clients about the real costs involved with creating powerful photographs. The two best ways to do that are to join a photography association (and be involved with it) and also to network with other local photographers to bounce ideas off of and share notes/experiences with each other.

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