(OK, sorry for the inflammatory title — just trying to get your attention!)
I think the financial model that most photographers adopt is ridiculous. The problem is, they don’t charge for what I do value and they charge a lot for what I don’t value. I have 2 examples to illustrate this.
We went to Smirk for a photo shoot with the kids. It was $100 for the sitting. We went there and there was a nice studio with lights and equipment and the photographer and her assistant did a nice job with the kids. It took about 30 minutes.
Then it came time to buy photos. First of all, they didn’t want to give us any proofs. They wanted us to come to their studio to choose photos. My wife insisted they give us proofs so they gave us crappy inkjet proofs on plain paper.
Then the price list — if we wanted a digital copy of a single image, $125! So to get digital copies of 10 photos would be $1250! Are you fucking kidding me? All of the print prices are like this, too. They act like their prints are original works of art that they own.
Here is my objection: Having a studio with lights and equipment is expensive. Having talent to take pictures is something I’m willing to pay for. Charge me for these things which I value! Copying the image to a CD is not something I value. I also don’t consider photographs I paid you to take to be your property, they are my property. That’s why I paid for your time to take the pictures. If you charge me $100 for the things I value and $1250 for the things I don’t value, I will think you are an idiot.
Here’s my other example — we went to a wedding. The wedding party paid a lot of money for a very good photographer. Said photographer then charged $10 per 4×6 print. Know what Apple charges for a 4×6? $0.12. snapfish charges $0.09. Why in God’s name would this photographer, who was paid very well for their time and expertise, charge 100 times the cost of a normal 4×6?
I highly value the skills of great photographers. I will pay for it. But in the age of digital photography, they have to get over this notion that they make money on the prints. The age of darkrooms and hand-crafted prints is over. Charge for the time and the expertise, do not charge for making me a goddamn CD.