Why photographers can not take your photos for free

Heres the thing…

…we all like a deal and getting something valuable for less than it’s worth can be celebrated as a big win. But just like other industries, when buying photography for your business “you get what you pay for”.

I tried for years to DIY my business photography, spending hours “removing the background” of my product shots to upload to my DIY website. It’s no wonder my business was struggling. My photos were the wrong size, lit badly, often out of focus because I didn’t know my camera very well, and my product didn’t look appealing at all. After I hired a couple of professional photographers to photograph my products as they were meant to be seen, my sales started to grow.

Suddenly my customers could envision themselves having my products in their lives. My sales have continued to grow, and now that I”m a photographer myself, I understand that DIY isn’t always the best. I still run this company to this day, and how I’ll present the products on the website, in the marketing, and to my wholesale accounts is the first consideration I make after designing the product itself.

Your photographer isn’t just an artist.

We are in business just like you. We pay taxes, we have equipment and location and model fees, and we support our families (and our future) with our income. We also invest in our own marketing costs, and pay the set rates for the services we hire out.

It might feel great to negotiate (and there is a place for that, I’m happy to negotiate with people and companies who align with a desire or need my family has) but our rates are thoughtfully set based on our cost of doing business, and asking to lower the rate simply because you feel we are too expensive for “just a few photos” isn’t going to make us want to work with you. Negotiations often disvalue the service/product, and no one wants to work with cheap clients who we have to chase down to pay an invoice. Harsh reality, but you have to know it’s a pain point for us just as much as it is for you.

A good question to consider:

Why is there such a wide gap between some photographer’s fees? How can one person charge much less than others? The answer is that in most cases, the least expensive photographer is the one who is either still learning, or who hasn’t done their cost of doing business. I can guarantee you that burn out is on their horizon. They may have a ton of passion for their work in the beginning, and take on a lot of work for little pay but eventually they are going to need to buy their kids shoes, or visit a dentist, and the tax man will come around and they will find that photography income just isn’t worth the work.

*if you are a photographer/artist and feel that you’re stuck in a cycle of low rates and you just aren’t clicking with your clients, darling, send me an email and I’ll help you learn how to raise your rates. I’m happy to walk you through figuring out your cost of doing business. There is plenty of room for you in the market to do what you love and make a living at it. I’m not a starving artist, and neither should you be working for less than you need to live. 

You get what you pay for.

Investing in photography is the best way you can do to move your business forward, and going cheap is not what you want to present to the world. You shouldn’t expect your photographer to work within an inadequate budget and deliver above and beyond your set expectations. I do believe in magic and good things can come from being thrifty, however commercial photography is an investment into your business and the first thing your customer sees and ultimately judges you on before they decide to buy…or not.

The best photographer you can hire will give you work that improves with time as they continually work with you and get to know you and your business. Making a lasting relationship with one person is the most economical way to invest in your brand’s images.

Money Saving Tip: a way you can save on photography is to commit to ongoing work. I offer a 3 month commitment for brand photography and keep my client’s pockets full of images for their social media and marketing. I give them a discount for the commitment, and they know that there is always fresh content created just for them.