What is the value of photography?
Have you ever asked yourself that question? I know that I never did until years into being a full-time photographer. I had no idea what my time was worth or how much value people put on my work. I never sat down and thought about the true meaning behind what we do.
Our work has real meaning.
The service we offer is very unique. Eventually, years down the road, our clients won’t remember the day we capture. They won’t remember what they were feeling that morning, what they had for breakfast, who they talked to, what was going on with their schedule, etc. They won’t remember exactly how the felt in those moments.
All they will have is the images that we create. Those images will override their actual memories at some point. They will remember the day only though those frames. The meaning in our work comes from this, we’re creating people’s memories. We’re dictating what they will feel about their future past.
How do you put a price on memories?
I can tell you that I would pay infinite money for almost every single one of my early life memories. If I could have better images from my childhood? Or my parents’ childhood? Priceless. We’re providing those photographs for our clients. The photographs that they’ll cherish their entire life and could end up at their funerals. That is major value. We must realize this.
Don’t be afraid to treat your images as the important objects they are. Don’t think that you have to treat them as a commodity. There is really no reason to bargain with clients on the price of a priceless memory.
Trust in your own value.
Have confidence in yourself. Your photography is worth every penny you ask for. You have no reason to discount. Your clients will value your work for years to come. Don’t worry about the competition. They can charge whatever they want, it doesn’t mean you’re forced to match their price. You have a business to run and you’re going to last longterm. They probably won’t.
Don’t do something because everyone else is.
Think for yourself. If everyone else is selling their digital files, cool, but figure out if it works for you. If everyone else is afraid to give the client their RAW files, cool, but again.. figure out what works best for you. There is no right way to run a business, just your way. Do what keeps your clients happy, makes you money, and keeps your business moving forward.
Never forget. The day you stop moving forward is the day you fall back. Alway be hungry. Don’t let yourself fall into a rhythm. You can always find a way to be a better photographer, market yourself better, make your clients happier, or make more money. Always.
Let’s sum this up.
Our work has incredible meaning, we’re creating peoples’ memories. That meaning is priceless. Charge what you need to in order to stay in business longterm and support yourself. Don’t follow trends blindly. Always keep moving forward! -Cherry