Developing Value As A Photographer

I think a great understanding of value is probably one of them most important aspects in order to be successful in the world of photography. There is so much focus on the prices of photography, people get caught undervaluing themselves. You have to understand that there will be people out there that will do an event for free, or shoot a wedding for nothing… I’ve seen cases of people paying to go to events, just so they can have the ability to take pictures.

This is where value comes in - you have to find a way to differentiate yourself from other photographers. You have to make people see a value in your work in order to operate a successful company. Many look at this based on price - “I’m different because I chart 20% less than anyone else” is probably not the best way to convey yourself as a photographer. You’ll be stuck being called upon as the “cheap” photographer to help out at events. Once you start to have that pre-conceived notion about your business, it’s incredibly hard to change that around. Think about this, you don’t want to be the K Mart of photography - how could K Mart ever grow into something like Nordstroms? It couldn’t. People come to expect the same: cheapness.

Here’s where the tricky part comes in, somehow, you have to start a portfolio… you have to get images. And, in the beginning, it’s hard to justify charging equal amounts to someone who has years and years of experience. That’s why I think it helps to look to friends - if you want to get into event photography, find a friend who plays in a band and work with them. That way you’re not showing to a potential, real client, that you’re willing to do something for free. This allows you to build up a portfolio and then go out there and aim for clients. Same thing with action - find a friend who snowboards, skis, rides BMX and develop a portfolio with them & then branch out.

Now this is where you can begin to create value with your photography.
I think Jennifer Dell, in a blog post, summed this up perfectly “The images we make are unique and it’s our vision, it’s the way we saw that moment and chose to record it. This takes knowledge, practice and experience to know just when and how to capture these moments; how to compose them, how to light them and how to extract natural reactions and emotion.”

People cannot pick up the same equipment that your’e using and capture the same images - and you need to sell that to your client. Why go for you when people offer photography for free? It’s because they can’t get what you offer them from anyone else. You need to craft yourself around the thought process that if people want your photographic services, they cannot find it.

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