I am failing as a photographer! Photographers and Photography Experts have been surprisingly passionate saying, I am doing it all wrong!
I have been told, “you are not charging enough”, “you are devaluing your art”, “you have to have printing packages”, “you have to charge a sitting fee”, “You can’t include digital files in your fees that is a extra charge!”, “your photos have to have a watermark” and even “you can’t give your high resolution photos to the customers without charging them”!
I explained, how I charge an hourly fee of $250.00 and this fee includes: all the photos I was able to take during the time I was with my customers (minus ones that did not turn out), a gallery of high resolution photos as well as a gallery formatted for easy sharing online, digitally dark room editing for all photos, printing rights, and if they need help or suggestions with printing then I give help.
It was explained to me; that I needed to follow the standard photography business model. First, I would need to sit down with the customer at a initial meeting to discuss their needs. Then, schedule a photography shoot and charge a non-refundable sitting fee at the time of scheduling the appointment. After the shoot, I should set up an appointment about two weeks to sit down with them again. At that appointment, I would allow them to pick out 3 to 5 of their favorite images and help them to decide what photo printing collection worked best for them. During this meeting I would be up-selling products like gifts, cards, albums and digital copies of only the photos they selected. Then, I would set up a time for them to meet with me to pick up their completed prints and gifts a month later.
To be successful, the average photo shoot should be around $500.00 to $1000.00, adding a 50% to 80% mark up on all prints and photo products. It was admittedly expressed that any photos the customer received had to have watermarks on them. All of them! If you, my customer, want to have the watermarks removed that I needed charge $$.
How could I do this to other people it just does not feel right! How do I tell a mother that she has to choose between photos of her child? How do I tell a family you can have this photo or that photo, but you can’t have them both? How do I tell them if you want all of your photos it will cost you a arm, leg, and half of your savings? Oh, the thought of it! I just can’t bring myself to do it! It is their photos after all shouldn’t I give them everything? Why should I control how and when they share them? Or sell them things that they do not want or need!
I would not be unable to live with myself! Even now, as I tell you about it what I have to do to be successful and imagining sitting across from you telling you all of this… It is making me feel like I have been gut punched with guilt that is so overwhelming that I want to cry. I just can’t bring myself to do it!
When someone used this same process with me, while trying to buy Christmas photos for grandparents of all of the cousins, I hated the feeling it gave me! When they asked me to choose which photos I wanted; it felt horrible! I hated the feeling it gave me! It was like I was trying to choose which child was my favorite. Then you have this package and that package and comparing them; I felt dizzy! Isn’t having your photos taken supposed to be fun and exciting. It should never make you feel like this!
The guiding principle is to “do unto others as I would have them do unto me.” I can bring my self to start denying my customers what is theirs, up-selling, and convincing people they need something they don’t want!
What I would like to do for you is…
- Provide you with a stress free photo shoot where you are able to relax and have fun being yourself!
- Allow you to receive all of the pictures of you, your family or your business that were taken during the photography shoot.
- Provide you with High Resolution photos from your shoot so when you do print your photos you can get the best quality results from the image.
- Give you full printing rights to your photos so you can print them when and how you would like.
- Allow you to share the photos with others for printing or through social media.
- Provide you with photos formatted to be a smaller size to make uploading them to share on social media easier for you!
- Keep costs your photography shoot reasonable by not charging unnecessary extra fees.
- Respect your time by NOT filling up your busy schedule with unnecessary appointments and meetings.
- Allow you to be a part of the creative process to give you a personalized photo shoots that meets your needs.
- Provide you with guidance and help as you need throughout the process.
DO YOU THINK MY WAY WILL FAIL???