Home Forums Main YANAP Discussion Forum Some things just can't be taught

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    I was reading a post online somewhere. It doesn’t really matter where or who, because this scenario plays over and over again. It’s like a dead horse I’m beating over here.
    The photographer was having a hard time with pricing. She said her “clients” felt she was too expensive even though she’s barely breaking even. $125 session fee, plus $175 for CD of images. She said her “clients” cringe when they hear her prices and they end up using a $25 faux. She said she just opened in April of this year, has been shooting for 3 years, and her blog goes back to over a year ago talking business, and sessions, and whatnot. Forget about the fudging about not being in business as long as she says, to try to… Well, I don’t know the reason for it. Lie to herself?
    Her solution? Lower her prices. Lmbo but, she knows she’ll have to go back to her regular prices if she wants to “make it”.  Not even a mention of skill, or quality, or self improvement.

    Yes, I get it. It’d be nice if everyone starting out priced legitimately, and created an even playing field of sorts, I MORE than get it, but if you are offering nothing more than the cheaper fauxs down the street, well… What do you expect exactly?
    No one answered her post, including me. I feel I shouldn’t have to say “hey! You’ve only been shooting for 3 years. You haven’t learned how to use or manipulate light, your posing needs major work, and you are just creating edited snap shots. Yeah, there’s no blatant in your face horribad editing, and nothing to laugh at, like here at YANAP, but there’s also no “Wow! I want my pictures made by THIS girl!’ either. This all would be just stating what should be obvious already to her given the amount of time, and effort she has given to learning, and by looking at her work. She must already know this. She’s the one behind the camera.
    Of course the thought of her “customers” being right never crossed her mind even though she has very little experience, and her skill level is beginner at best. She called them A-holes! A-holes, for seeing through, and for looking at her photos and thinking that a cheaper faux could do just as good for a fraction of the price.
    I feel her frustration, but I am aware that my photography skills are not up to par. I know that I would not be able to compete with the cheap fauxs because my work and my services would not be so much better or different that lay people could see a vast huge difference between what I can offer and what they can. They can’t see a $200 plus difference between me starting out, and the others who are starting out more cheaply because of their lack of business sense. No, I don’t suck, but I have only been actively learning a very short time. I know more, a lot more than I did years ago, but I still know a fraction of what I’d need to know to offer my services to the public. Knowing what goes into a good portrait photograph and being able to achieve it consistently, are two completely different things. Heck! Maybe I just don’t have what it takes to be a portrait/event tog, and what I need can’t be learned. I’m comfortable with this. I can see that my portrait work is not all that, and I can see where I fail and where I succeed. I can be completely honest with myself and with others, especially when seeking help. No smoke blowing over here, no contradicting myself, or having to back track and change my words for different audiences. I don’t write blog posts talking about the “value” of what I do, or talk of how wonderful the light was for a certain session, when all my subjects have coon eyes. And I would never call the people in my life who have tried to push me into business, assholes when they get silent after me telling them how much I’d have to charge per gig to try to cover minimum wage and make it worth my while, and actually get somewhere financially with my photography. It’s just honesty, and they also don’t know that a tog that charges $30 doesn’t make $30, and when they see so many doing just that, they think they must be doing pretty well. Perhaps they are, if it’s all under the table, uninsured, slapped on a disc, and based on pure volume alone. That’s not how I roll.

    Three cheers for self awareness and honesty!! I had no idea they were such rare traits to have until I got caught up in this photography thing lol


    “Some things just can’t be taught”

    I suspect nothing can be taught, only presented.  However, everything can be learned.

    Some things simply make you wonder, though:

    Did you see Meg Bitton’s pricing:  http://www.megbitton.com/mobile/text_section.php?multi_id=3&active_btn=4 ?  Someone who responded to the post in the other forum participated in her web session!

    Nothing to do with photography, but, I live in Toronto.  If you live on Planet Earth, and pay any attention to news or comedy shows, you have probably heard of our city, and our mayor, Rob Ford.    There was a bit in the news last April, about a video someone was trying to sell for $200,000, which showed our mayor smoking from a crack pipe.  The mayor denied the existence of the video — probably because he had been successful at having it deleted.  Everything died down.  Then, around mid-October, we started to see revelations in the media, again.  Among them, the police announced they had picked up some computers in a raid they performed in the city’s north west.  And, they said they recovered a collection of deleted files, which included a video that appeared to match reports of the video someone had tried to sell, details matched reports in the Toronto Star and on Gawker!  Since the announcement, there have been many news cycles and much has been televised.  We have seen:

    The mayor admitted to “probably smoking crack about a year ago while in a drunken stupor”!

    The mayor admitted to being drunk at Taste of the Danforth, a street party put on by a business community.

    The mayor stood up in council (which was televised) and said he was still tough on drugs, guns and gangs, then in the next breath admitted he had purchased illegal drugs during the last two years!  That is during the time he has been mayor.

    The mayor continued by admitting to TV cameras that he had been drinking and driving.

    Yesterday, everyone was upset because he had used vulgar language while responding to contents of reports of police surveillance of him and what someone had told police!

    So, while the mayor’s brother (also a municipal politician) was calling for the chief of police to step down because he answered a question in a news conference by saying he was “disappointed” and concerned for the city’s reputation, the mayor has no intention of stepping down and is planning on running for re-election a year from now!  This is the same mayor who had an employee fired for being asleep on the job, yet feels apologies for his own actions absolve him and he must continue doing his job!  There are even people who think he could win another election!  It has been said that as much as 30 to 35% of the electorate may still support him!

    So much for self awareness and honesty!



    Kind of expect behavior like this in politics, big business, or even in the entertainment industry, but a small family photography business?!  That’s what really gets me giggling and asking “Why?!”.  I just don’t get it


    OK, I just read the price list. Does anyone actually pay that? For a portrait session?

    Children’s portrait sessions begin with a $975.00 commission fee.

    Commission fee does not include any digital files, prints or products.

    I mean, I love my kids and all, but uh just how good can a picture be to be worth that price? If you want prints, since you get nothing from the “commision fee” the prices are as such.
    8×12 : $175.00
    11×16 : $275.00
    16×20 : $395.00
    20×24 : $475.00
    20×30 : $595.00
    Wow! I guess marketing is everything.

    24×30 : $750.00
    24×36 : $975.00
    30×40 : $1150.00


    I wouldn’t pay that. I could be famous/millionaire and I don’t think I’d pay that price. And Also I feel the pain of pricing. There’s this… clique? of about 4 photographers that share a studio space here, that charge appropriately and deserve to have their prices what they are, but they sort of dominate the market I want to be in. If I go lower I’m competing in the wrong market, plus not making money at all. So I’m trying to sneak in slowly, but it’s taking a bit.


    Adent, there is a market for it. She takes nice photos and she is apparently famous in the child photography world so she probably lives well off it. She does not have to compete with fauxs. I do think her print prices are a little excessive but then that is nothing compared to her purchases of digital files, $750 each or $10k for 20 and there is no option for smaller for web files


    I love her work and would probably pay that if I was MINTED. My current excuse is simply that I cannot afford it. Keeps the riff raff away, I think that’s a fair reason to charge as much as she does   🙂


    Her prices don’t bother me so much. She marketed purposefully to create a higher end demand. The price for “teaching” does though. But, when you have photographers who are willing and able to pay for it… Well it doesn’t make it right, but WTH?! Why not? It DOES make you wonder though, how much of her income is actually from her photography business rather than selling to photographers. Are her photography prices out there for us to drool over and want for ourselves? So we think “Hey! She did it, I can do it too if I follow her and get all I can from her”. Or is her photography business really thriving, growing, and working as is appears to?

    I have a rule that I follow , if the photographer that I admire, or am getting any sort of information from has a “for photographers” tab or a damn store, or their Facebook and social media isn’t geared towards clients, and more geared towards selling to photographers, I’m a little more scrutinizing/careful and take anything they say about the business (creative or otherwise) with a grain of salt. Because what is your business exsactly? Selling to me or selling your photography? If it looks as though all you shoot is at your workshops, and/or set up and stylized for you with models and the whole bit… I’m not interested in your puppetry regardless of how “good” you are.

    No, I wouldn’t pay to learn from Meg Bitton, and I’m not too interested in following her, but at the same time I don’t get a strong in your face vibe that her main business/goal is selling to us like so many others out there, I just question maybe, possibly it is. I question it enough, that I’m not interested.


    And intuition,

    youll get there.  But, the tog I was originally talking about is just clicking the button.  She’ll either price like a faux and continue to pretend, or she’ll soon be done.  I guess she and others like her, might surprise me, and actually start seeing that they need to be photographers first, and start putting more effort into their work, but I doubt it.  I don’t think they see Things that way.  Just too caught up in how much better they are than so and so.


    Maybe those dying hard collector would pay that price, but I personally wouldn’t get that, unless if they lower the price 3 x.

    Ken of http://eatmywords.com/


    So the link below is for a woman who is the sister-in-law of a family friend whom we hired 6, 7, and 8 years ago to take candid shots for us in Central Park with our daughter. At that time, we paid him $500 cash for the FAVOR of a 2.5 hour session and a DVD with all the jpegs.

    He’s a gifted photographer (comes from a whole family of artists) and commands a very high price with clientele who pay in NYC, LA & Hawaii.

    His sis-in-law is no different.


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