Typical consumers don’t see the value.
Exactly, fauxtography clients don’t see the value. They just know that the experience is more personal, more fun, and more convenient for them to purchase over Sears or walmart studios like in the past. Even smarter consumers like the OP and hundreds of thousands of others come to the realization that DIY is even better. Some Fauxtographers even hold portrait parties and the like to take pictures of each other. Kind of like Tupperware or pampered chef, or avon, only the top of the pyramid isn’t a company like the above mentioned. Instead it’s the companies that sell the dream, and all the wares to fauxtographers to “help” run their “businesses”.
Eye doc, I don’t think you understand that the OP (and those like her) are NOT making money. She’s losing money, while pretending to be in business. They price like walmart or sears, but aren’t in a financial position to do so successfully, and offer so much more than a chain studio can. The only reason they are able is because they are supported by a spouse or another full time income. They work more, pay more (if they are legit. That’s a big ol IF) all for WAY less money. A part time job at mc Donald’s pays more. They (fauxtography businesses) competed so hard against these chains that they put them out of business. How? They either don’t care, or are unable to understand that they do not make a profit working the way they do. No business can compete with people who work for nothing or next to nothing and don’t see the value in what they do, and since they market to the same demographic blammo! Out of business they go.
Custom portraiture and/or event photography are a luxury item. Always has been, always will be. This is what small businesses like the fauxtographers are pretending to be while mistakenly being priced like chains. There is overhead, a lot of time, work, and effort go into these businesses (I’m not going to take the time to list).
An independent portrait tog starting a LEGIT profitable part time business with your average overhead and average expenses (yes, it varies from tog to tog, but not wildly) needs to charge aprox $200 per session plus product sales just to cover minimum wage. Minimum wage, part time! These are just start up prices, with the hopes of one day having a good full time business that can actually support them very modestly. Can color selection, bad vingnettes, unfocused, technically incorrect, badly lit, badly posed, kit lens garbage pull in $200 or more a session?! Even IF it’s what the customer wants (which is so freakin highly unlikely. Just ex walmart studio patrons are willing to put up with that crap)
Fauxtographers come and go they happily lose money or maybe even break even for their time spent away from their family. I don’t know why this is, but they do it even when family arguments ensue. Some wake up and smell the coffee and either quit altogether, or they take a break to learn and hone so they can come back legitimately and give it a better go.
It’s a tough tough over saturated market that ONLY the best of the best will make it in, and even then it is iffy.
You may think “what the hell!? Let her go at it. Why bother telling her otherwise, she won’t make it anyway”, but I can’t do that. Like I said before, she came here and asked, and if I can help her or someone reading, get a better understanding and help them out of fauxville so they have the best shot possible at this, it’s worth my time. You see eye doc, I give a shit about this industry, I have respect for it and I want to give the OP the advice she needs to have a chance to succeed, not continue to fail.