Photographs Are Our Livelihood
***I am writing this for all the photographers that go through this daily…HERE WE GO***
I receive messages everyday from models in my area and around the country requesting shoots. I kindly respond the same way to each and every one if they are local…
“I'd be happy to sit down an discuss a plan for you. My portfolio session is $495 dollars.
If you'd like to meet please let me know when you're available.
This response is usually met with “I will promote you on Instagram” “I can find someone to do it for less” “It will help you build your portfolio” or the newest “I am not willing to pay that much”
I do have to say each one of these responses and many more like them come with a level of courage to even hit send.
Here are a few of my thoughts:
Creating compelling images is the way we make our living. If I give away my images for free, or spend too much time responding to requests for free images, I cannot make a living.
With requests for free work premised on budgetary constraints is often the promise of providing “credit” and “exposure”, in the form of a specific mention on Instagram. I take issue with this one because a “special mention” doesn’t pay the bills. I work hard to make the money required to reinvest in my equipment and to cover related business expenses.
Professional photography services are not a hostage negotiation where we eventually “come to an agreement”
Photography is a business. We have bills; pay taxes, business expenses just like any other place you might frequent. Do you walk into your hairdresser or barber and ask them to work for less than what they are asking for? Do you go to the gas station and haggle over the price? Would you go to work and expect your boss to say, “I really like the work you’re doing, but I’m not willing to pay you. However, I am going to tell everyone how good a job you do”? I don’t think anyone would.
You wouldn’t work for free, so why would expect a photographer to do so?
You are not doing us a favor by stealing our time and “telling your friends how good we are.” You will never bring us any business that is worth our time if we give you our time for free.
If you value the work we do, there is only one way to compensate us, pay us.