I’m going to tell you a story. And I’ll do my best to be concise. But there’s a moral to the story and it quickly follows so I hope you’ll bear with me…
My in-laws visit from time to time…from out of state. And when they come they usually bring gifts for my 3 children, which makes my kiddies glow with eager anticipation the second the in-laws step into the house.
Problem is, my in-laws LOVE a great deal! And to be fair, who doesn’t? I myself regularly explore smelly vintage shops, cluttered antique stores, and disorganized garage sales on the hunt for that ever elusive “Great deal.”
But the challenge is this: knowing the difference between a low price and a truly great deal, which I define as a a totally unique, amazing, or high quality thing that’s matched with an attractive price considering what you’re getting.
So, back to the story. At some point in my in-laws’ visit, they’ll break out the tissue wrapped items and dole them out to the jumping beans my children always somehow become at that very moment. Lovely family moment. Warms everyone’s hearts.
Until…sometimes….and kind of often…we find that what’s in the package is already broken. Simply doesn’t work. Or, we’ll pop a gift DVD into the player, make popcorn, and freak out once we realize that the DVD is a compilation of many VERY VERY old cartoons obviously relegated to the back shelves because they contain horrifying, racist depictions of cartoon characters, and very weird, if not outright disturbing plots. (At which point I’ll pinch my lips and glare at hubby until he finds a way to politely turn it off. And then we burn it.)
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that we don’t appreciate the gifts. We certainly appreciate the gesture! It’s just that…and here’s the morale of the story…you can’t lose sight of quality and value when you’re on the hunt for that ever elusive “Great Deal.”
The Value of Photography
Since photography has gone digital anyone can hang a sign and become a “photographer “virtually overnight. And the newer ones usually charge next to nothing for their work…until they figure out that there’s a whole hell of a lot more to being a professional photographer than just snapping pictures using automatic settings. So eventually they get smart. Or they get out.
Even though I had an art background, when I first started shooting I too had an ok, but kinda-crappy-for-a-pro sorta camera. But I fell in love with the field of photography, specifically boudoir. And once I actually got up the nerve to charge for my services, I too charged almost nothing. In fact, I distinctly remember paying attention a couple times and realizing that not only was I not making any money, hey, I was actually paying out of pocket to deliver my stuff to clients. Whoah! Way to go pro!
Many years, formal photography education, and tens of thousands of invested dollars later I’m a whole lot wiser. But holding my ground is tough in a field where there’s always that new batch of newbies charging next to nothing and delivering the best they can with what they have.
I’ve seen so many talented photographers shut their doors. Say forget it. Move on in new directions.
Maybe one day that will be me. But for now, I’m sticking to it. Clinging to my sense of self worth. And educating consumers who come my way about the value I offer…when they’ll chat long enough to hear it.
Truth is, sometimes, and for some people, a low price is the only variable worth considering.
But me? I’m gonna hold onto my preference for delivering the highest quality and value at a fair price because the rest is simply wasted time and energy.
Have a great week!