My town is exactly the same! There is a facebook group someone created here for local buying/selling (it’s a very useful online rummage sale) and people, myself included, often advertise business on there too. Every time someone posts “I’m looking for an affordable photographer to do my family pics this fall” tons of people comment and suggest “photographers.” I often click through all of the suggestions. Yes, there are a few that pop up that truly are good, sometimes a few that are well-established businesses or freelancers who’ve been doing it for awhile and are great. But 80% of what’s posted is HORRIBLE. I wrote in another forum topic on here about a few of them, but a couple stick out in my mind. One has no clue about how light or composition works in photography. I mean complete disregard. She posted photos where the people were sitting down and clearly bright sunlight was filtering through trees and giving them spots of orange on their faces. Another one takes nothing but out-of-focus photos, and has no idea how to pose people (several had trees growing out of their heads, and there were several of a very overweight girl laying down exposing her armpit with deoderant residue and her huge double chin front and center) And another one also had countless blurry photos (well, the background elements were somewhat in focus, but the people were not). A person commented on a horrible photo and asked to have it in an 8×10 and the fauxtographer commented “I’m sorry but an image that size will be pixelated.” All of these look like they’re using a point-and-shoot camera, honestly though I could take a better photo with my cell phone. I’m soooo tempted to knock their work when others suggest them, or to comment on their page “So, what is your favorite lens and f-stop, what RAW conversion program do you use, and what ISO would you use on a cloudy day?” but I’ve had to bite my tongue and remain professional and hope that people see my work and realize I’m actually good. I think some people are blind, or have extremely low IQs to think some of that work is good. Oh, but they’re “super cheap” as others suggest, and “they give you the full copyright for free!” aduhvuaigfiuabskjvabkdjf! You don’t ever give away your copyright! I sell print rights for those who want it. I have a 2-page contract and a separate print release form. I back up my images on an external hard drive and SmugMug for safety (hey, my hard drive almost failed on my computer this fall and I had to send it in to get a new one right in the middle of all my sessions, and I hardly missed a beat other than being delayed a few days on editing) I think I charge a little too less but am waiting til I can get a 5D Mark II before I raise my prices up.
If anyone is curious, here’s some of my work: http://www.flickr.com/photos/roxanne_elise_photography/