Home Forums Let’s Talk Photography What is the Value of a Good Photograph/Photographer?

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    I just got asked if I would shoot my girlfriend’s sister’s wedding. For free obviously… I am going to do it

    Isn’t this deja-vu all over again? Send them a tastefully done contract with an invoice that reads Amount Due: (your normal charge) and under that, Courtesy Discount: (the same amount), Total Due: Zero.


    yes and no, I wouldn’t send them an invoice but I will explain to them why this will be the most valuable wedding present. I will do a contract with them however.

    I now know about sending the £0 invoice for next commercial venture I do for free for whatever reason, I just wish I was clever enough to think of that first!


    I don’t know about you but if I was handed a menu with pictures on it I would walk out of the restaurant.

    Different markets, I suppose.  Certainly different customers.  A lot of the restaurants we frequent have pictures.  In a city with over 200 nationalities, and cuisine from everywhere,  it saves waiters from having to explain what is in a dish.  Even those without photos on their menu tend to have photos on their web pages.


    Most mid-range to high-end restaurants would never put photographs on a menu. However, they all have photos on their websites.


    I find that here, most diner-type places and the restaurants competing with the chains (like Applebee’s, TGI Fridays) and that level want photos on their menus, most of the more expensive places don’t… but most of them do want them on their websites. (I’m a graphic designer – print only, working at a printer). The problem for me is that when I’m designing a new menu, half the time I get “Of course it HAS to have photos on it! Just find a photo of a good burger and a salad!” with no money budgeted whatsoever for stock photos, and only 1-2 days to send them the proof. I often end up using free stock of usually mediocre quality for those reasons.

    The other half of the time? The owner of the restaurant got out his iPhone and snapped a few blurry shots of the food he and his buddies were eating while watching the game and sharing a few beers. I do what I can to salvage them in Photoshop, but they balk at paying for my design time, much less paying an actual photographer to take good photos. I get a lot of “How much? My nephew is good at Photoshop/has Publisher/took a class in high school – I’ll have him do it.” And our prices for art time are by no means unreasonable.

    Every phone has a camera, so some people see no need to pay for photographers, just like almost every computer has Word, Publisher, or Powerpoint (or Paint…) so some people see no need to pay a designer. Some people actually seem unable to see the difference between a good photo and a bad one. Some people are excited about the idea “I took that photo myself!” and want theirs used no matter how bad they are, no matter how it will affect their business.

    I try to encourage hiring professional photographers whenever possible, though I admit doing a lot of photos for my company myself (and I am by no means a pro)! I do those on company time, so at least I’m paid for them in that way. I love our customers who understand the value of a really good photo – they are rare gems! The others… I do my best with what I’m given.


    It must be a cultural thing, the only place here that would consider putting pictures of food on their menu is the low end chinese places, and even then most wouldn’t. Not even the take away places that charge £3 for a chow mein. The two best local restaurants have a grand total of one food shot on their website each.


    in NYC restaurants we don’t routinely see photos on the menus – but if we did, they would be done by this fellow and with a food designer in tow:



    this comedian is a bit garish with his language, and at times downright vulgar, but he gets the point across. Right on the topic of bad photography posted to FB:




    I’m now really happy I agreed to do the wedding. Turns out she [the bride] was about to hire someone that charged a quarter to a fifth of the going rate for a tog in the area. Fauxtography averted!



    Have you considered doing food stock photography? Stocksy just put out a call for artists and are accepted portfolio’s for review. They pay a fair price which was why I submitted my portfolio to them and was rather shocked I got accepted. It could be worth it for you to try to get with them also.



    From me best wishes for you Rise. But I want tell you that a good or expert photographer must have well demand in his/her sector. Although I hope are a good photographer  but my suggestion is that you should incrise your knowledge on it, you can search for photography tips and tricks. I have a G+ community which about  ‘Photo Design and Photography’  (Search us this title on G+) If you want to learn more about photography you can join with us I hope it will be help you.


    Can you please stop spamming your website for traffic, it is getting tedious


    yes, give it a rest.

    Your posts remind me of the youtube comments that start with “i can’t believe i got paid $6,304 from the internet surfing…”


    Not to mention the retouching on that website is quite substandard for claiming to be “professional”.


    Rise, I feel for you and after reading some of the other stories here, you’re not alone.
    I felt the some way with some clients after submitting a quote to them. Sometimes I get that “look” that I must be joking or that I am out of my mind or something or that I am trying to rob them at gunpoint or something to that nature.

    You have to stick to your guns and try to enlighten your clients to the quality of your service and product. Try equating it to that of other professions so that maybe it put’s your price in better perspective. Everybody wants to save money, that’s just human nature, but equating a value to a better service, especially one that they can see, can sometimes smooth it over.

    You will get some clients that do not have that vision, but want it.

    From my own experience, I had a client, who I will not name, that was wanting some good headshots and portraits done for promotional use. He wanted high quality portraits so that he could make promo posters for his entertainment business.
    He was a sort of Frank Sinatra type of lounge singer, from what I gathered.

    I gave him a quote and broke it down so that he could see what everything cost in an itemized format. I had studio rental, [I have no studio at the time], HAMU for the hours that he needed, even catering if he should so need or want it.
    On his end, he wanted several poses, and a few close-ups for use with posters and playbills and some others for his website.
    The quote I gave him even included several sized prints.
    I was going to forgo any licensing for the images for future use, something I usually don’t do much, if at all, Now I do a standard licensing agreement for any “future” usage.
    Well anyway, the quote I gave for a full day of shooting was around $4500, for all that was entailed. My cost, including profit, was about $1800, everything else was what he requested.

    He replied, via email, that I was trying to bankrupt him and that I was crazy for “asking” that price.

    I politely replied, that these were going to be high quality headshots and closeups for promoting his business and that I was not “asking”, but stating a price. I tried to gently school him that this was something that you don’t go down to Sears Photo Studio to have done and that in promoting your business, you need good quality images, especially ones that were to be used for posters.

    Anyway, I did not get the job. After seeing his website some time afterward, I can see that he did not think that he needed “high-quality” images to promote himself. I also see that some time after that, his website was no longer there, I assume his business took the hit.
    In show business, you need to dazzle your clients, I guess he thought his talent was enough.

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