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#4233
IHF
Participant

MBC you have stated things so eloquently, that I’m embarrassed to even give my 2 cents at this point.  But I wanted in on this conversation.

I’m going to try to simplify a by far more complicated subject, so bare with me.
This is also taking into consideration that the photographer has the knowledge and skill behind them to take technically sound photographs.  I’m not talking faux vs pro or fraud vs. beginner, or even going there.

2 popular successful business models:

Custom portraiture.  It is a luxury.  Something we save for, and pay more for.  Why?  Because we are paying not only for our portraiture, but the artist’s vision, extra time and effort, expertise, pampering, exceptional service from booking and beyond, boutique packaging, and prints and properly finished products that will last years beyond years.

Then there is the higher volume family photographer.  A more affordable option because there are no bells and whistles.  Just straight forward good service, with more affordable packaging options due to the fact that they work at a more high volume pace and spend less time with the customer and on the finished product (but make no mistake, the time spent, and the end product will be of quality)

Now, keep in mind that neither will work without good technically correct photographs taken consistently and reliably.  When I say technically correct I mean, exposed properly, lit properly, focused properly, and composed properly.  Custom photography goes steps further and becomes a work of art as you say, but this can’t happen without a technically correct photograph to start with.

Now what I see happening is, people are trying to give the custom portraiture experience along with the affordable packaging.  In a perfect world this would work, but in reality the photographer is putting in way more than they are receiving, and their business will fail, and they wont make it past the 4 year mark, no matter how talented or passionate they are.  (Off Topic but,  they sure do buy a lot of stuff from people who say they can do just that. Back to my statement I made way early on here.  Sometimes the biggest victim of fauxtography is the aspiring photographers themselves)

No matter how you mix these 2 models, it won’t work successfully.  Just as a full service salon cannot be a walk in only, high volume salon, and a walk in only high volume salon cannot be full service.  Even though that’s what people want.  A full service experience on a walk in basis.
It certainly won’t work when you aren’t successfully accomplishing what you are trying to emulate no matter the business model used.

I challenge you to show me a photographer in business legitimately for at least 5 years that has successfully mixed these 2 business models and has made a profit from it.  PLEASE make me eat my words!  I would love to hear a success story like that and be completely wrong about this.  Because how wonderful to be able to offer the best to everyone without going in the hole, like so many think can be done.