I’ll just go ahead and say it to all the parents out there – STOP BUYING CHEAP PHOTOGRAPHY. In today’s world – we are
all looking for a great deal, I get that. But there is a cancer in the photography industry, and it comes in the form of amateurs picking up a fancy camera and charging a ridiculously low price for photos. Look – I was once one of those ridiculously low-priced photographers and I’m here to tell you, there is a place for that kind of work. But let me tell you, you’re hurting the industry buying from them.
1. The Quality You’re Going to Get
It goes both ways but let me explain to you why paying for photography matters. The biggest barrier I see is quality. When I look at my early work I cringe, it was bad – poor lighting, wrong camera settings, bad posing, you name it. But as photographers start out, we have to go through this in order to get better. The problem is when you pay for this work at a cheap price, you’re encouraging the behavior in young photographers. Those who want to get better (like myself) will work hard to get out of that rut and take classes, work with mentors and be vulnerable with their peers work hard to make great pieces of work. Those who are looking for the volume of cheap work will continue to provide you with over filtered work that won’t age well. The quality is just horrible.
2. You’re Hurting the Industry
The second reason why you should stop buying cheap photography is that you’re hurting those of us working hard to be better
every day and working hard to make this a full-time job (or if they are full time, sustain a living.) I equate it to buying a used car. If we all bought
cheap used cars – there would be no incentive for car makers to make new cars and push the envelope. They’d just keep making cheap cars to satisfy the need. As photographers, if you keep buying the “Wal-Marts” of photographers, your killing the industry of professionals that are consistently making great work. I understand there are budgets and you can always work with a pro on pricing, to an extent. Save up your money and get those heirloom pieces. I promise you won’t be disappointed.
3. You’re Paying for My Many Years, Not My 1 hour.
Lastly, and I hear it all the time from clients, “I got my photos back and I hate them.” Why? Because you followed a photographer
on social media – they only put up their best work, and they don’t have the consistency to provide you a full album every time. I talked with a good friend about their wedding photographer and while the photographer’s social media account was A+, the day of their wedding the photographer missed shots, didn’t provide a consistent style, and left the reception early. While I’m not a wedding photographer, I understand
the point here of consistency. Anyone can put up absolute banger photos on IG but realize it’s a small sub sample of their actual work. When you hire a professional photographer, you aren’t hiring them for the 2-4 hours, you’re hiring them for their years of experience. You’re paying not for 3-4 hero images to put on Instagram, your hiring them for the 40-50+ photos that make up an entire body of work.
Bottom line. You get what you pay for. I’m not out here to knock other photographers, I’m simply educating you on why good
photography matters. As professionals we pay for insurance, contracts, legal fees, website fees, you name it. We pay for it. When you hire a cheap photographer, you’re hurting the industry and discouraging the professionals from making great work.
Oh, and to those new photographers out there. CHARGE. MORE. You’re worth it, trust me. Use that money to invest in education and mentoring sessions. Become better. And stop using all those horrible filters.