snapshot2011 wrote in post #15753446
I appreciate that hobbiests want to take photos and are willing to do it for next to nothing.
If photography is suffering at the hands of these people, what other trades are next?
In my opinion any trade without a barrier to entry suffers from this phenomenon. We deal with the same thing in martial arts. I've done martial arts my whole life... started age 7 now age 31, competed all over the world, etc etc. Every day some guy with less than 2 years of training who needs to make some "extra $" opens a gym. They need $ and think it's a great easy way to strike it rich. Not to mention they quit training at this time so they offer a crappy service, have no business expertise, and worse, dont keep up with their own education. Since there's no barrier to entry, anyone can do it and no one questions it. Nothing stops anyone from saying they are a photographer, pro photographer, just like anyone can buy a black belt off ebay or jump in the cage and be an mma fighter with no training and 1 loss. It is what it is.
I used to worry about such thing, but do not any longer. Our gym membership is by far the most expensive in the area, it might be the most expensive in the state idk, and I have no problem getting my price.
The same is true for photography. while I havent started actively marketing my business outside of a few friends, I know I'll be in the same boat there, as I dont want to be the "underpriced" guy. I think it's fine to take a job or 2 for a lower rate in exchange for a testimonial, or other trade that you can use to your advantage in the future. But it's not a sustainable long term model.
Sure, we have folks come in the gym asking why we are so much sometimes. There's a variety of answers but it amounts to this: I do it full time. This is my life. I'm not some fly by night hobbyist who is trying to make extra $ b/c his job doesnt pay enough and I dont wanna cut people's lawn on the side anymore. I'm not trying to pay for equipment for a hobby. This is my life. For that reason, I devote all my time to it. I am experienced, educated and knowledgeable far beyond these hobbyists. Most importantly, my prices ensure I will stay around and be in business longer. There's no chance of me shutting down or getting evicted b/c I cant pay the bills. Quite simply, not only can the customer count on me for a far superior product, but they can count on me to be around in the future as well, and not just hit the road, take their $ and leave them high and dry. In addition, my prices also ensure I can afford proper insurance and such, as well as afford continued education (things hobbyists do not have).
Ultimately, one person told it to me best (no offense to anyone in MS) but he always said "someone has to be your mississippi". Lowpriced fly by night businesses are good for you, if you use it to your advantage. They make you look really good and professional. The only thing you need is a good sales system to communicate the differences. I dont mind "lowballers" at all....it's proven not to be a sustainable model, and they suck up most all the customers who cant afford me anyway.