Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2001/01/03

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Subject: [Leica] Pricing pictures
From: "Miguel Gil" <>
Date: Wed, 03 Jan 2001 16:23:48 -0800

I think one cheats themselves if they price there work based on how much it 
costs to take the photograph, ex. location fees, printing fees, equipment 
cost, film cost, travel expenses etc.  Not to totally discount these items 
in deciding how much to charge.  The thing is I rather sell one print a 
month for a $1000 than ten prints a month for $100.

My work mostly involves the accounting profession.  They are the tightest 
bunch of people I have ever known, but when you have something of value even 
they are willing to pay top dollar.

Its hard to pass up several hundred dollars or even several thousands of 
dollars per picture or job.  The thing you have to remember is that if they 
come begging for you to do a job for the fee they first thought was 
outrages. Then the thing to do is quote them a higher fee and see them 
gladly pay.  Of course this assumes you have a valuable talent and you don't 
jump up and down like a mad man.  I did this once and it cost me dearly.  
Always be gracious.

I think this strategy is not an unique practice to photography.  Other 
professions practice this all the time. To use an extreme example movie 
stars(we all think we are movie stars)always ask, what most might think is 
outragous amounts of money per picture.  The truth is they have a talent or 
look that's in demand and they ask as much as possible.  Does a Julia 
Roberts put in $20 million worth of acting per picture? Maybe, maybe not, 
but she sees she has a value and asks top dollar for it.

If you think you are more talented than the next photographer why not ask 
for more.  We will always have bottom feeders but there will always be 
people with perceived talents or no talent.  Never sell yourself short.

We should not perceive photography as a way of producing cheap art.  Just 
because a roll of film cost $5 and might yield 24 exposures doesn't mean 
that should be your cost bases.  Charge as much as your talent allows you to 
charge.  If I got a $100 in high school for a 11x14 black & white print, why 
should I continue to ask for the same price today.

As most Leica users know with proper care a Leica M will last a lifetime.  
This could only mean more profit as the equipment gets older.  I wont charge 
less just because I don't have to buy new equipment.

I have friends who bust there humps off for $200 gigs.  Why do they do this, 
its not because they do not have talent, its because they do not have 
confidence in there talent.  I think even non-professional photographers 
should ask for top price.  Lets not be Vincent Van Goghs'.  Newspapers, 
magazines, book publishers are in the business of making money, a lot of 
money for their shareholders, how could they stay in business any other way. 
  Why should you help them make more money off your photography.

I agree with Tina, when she says we should'nt have a middle ground.  I give 
away my photographs but I don't give it away at a cheap price.  Sorry if 
this is to long but what's his face really p---d me off.

Mike Gil

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