Wanda Merritt Anthony

Wanda Merritt Anthony

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Stop Selling Yourself Short.....

I wrote this for The Beazler but think It may fit here as well.  

.....and stop expecting something for nothing.  I see both these trends on Craigslist and it's got to change.  There are so many of us out ther competing for the same dollar that pricing has gotten to be ridiculous.  As independent contractors we've got to stop selling ourselves short.  We need to stick together and educate the public about the worth of our craft.

Go to the Services/Creative section on Craigslist and you'll see what I'm railing against. 
With the digital age of photography and the convenience of having my own studio, I'm offering headshots for only $25. Included is one free 8x10 and high resolution digitally edited copies of the shoot on a CD/DVD at no additional cost. No gimmicks, no crazy sales, nada. Just great pictures at a reasonable price. (Mon - Fri only, sorry.)

For an confusion about this, I'll break it down like this. For $25, you set up an appointment for a 30 minute headshot session at my studio. Bring an outfit change or two if you like because we can take A LOT of photos in just 30 minutes. Once done, we review the photos. You pick five that you like, I edit them immediately, and print one 8x10 while I burn a DVD of the photos. You walk out with an 8x10 print, a DVD of all images of the shoot including the chosen (edited) and unchosen images. All photos are in high resolution large enough for a billboard.

Now lets break this down to see how or if this photographer is making any money.  She will spend more than thirty minutes with this client, especially if the client brings two changes of clothes.  Pouring over the photos to choose five will take another five to ten minutes.  Editing five images will take another half hour or so depending on what needs to be done.  Printing the 8 by 10 and burning the CD will take a few minutes too.  Now comes payment and more pleasantries when the client leaves.  This photographer has invested at least ninety minutes in the photoshoot.

Because she decided to print photographs herself she has the added expense of a quality printer and the right inks.  High quality 8 by 10s take a lot of ink.  (I don't print my own photos because of the high cost to get good looking prints at home.  When I did try home printing in years gone by, the ink took a few minutes to dry.)  The cost of photo paper and CD has to be considered.

She had examples of her work on the Craigslist ad and it is quite good.  This lady is selling herself short in price and getting no residual effects.  She is giving away full resolution images so her client can print them at Heaven know where, put them on Facebook and share them with all his friends, and all the photographer got was $25.  

True, pictures of you aren't like stock images and lots of people will want them, but the client wanted them.  Maybe close loved ones of the client will want some.  But she just gave any potential future business from this client away.  I think she should have put the five edited images on an online gallery so he and/or loved ones could order them from her.  You may think the client will look up this photographer when he needs more pictures taken.  He might, but he won't find her.  She'll be out of business by then.

Another trend is to shoot and give the client all the pictures straight out of the camera.  I don't like to do that because some ordinary images can look amazing with a bit of tweaking.  Do you really want your clients to see your test shots, your bracketed shots, the one with Aunt Millie sneezing, or the one where the sun is glaring off Grandpa's glasses?  Everybody and their brother shows pictures straight out of the camera.  Why would a photographer want to show the same kind of thing.  My new camera over exposes by a full stop.  I've adjusted the settings but I wouldn't want clients to see those images in their unedited state.   

Freelancers of all kinds; lets price our work fairly so we all can make a decent living.

There are also posters on Craigslist that want us to work for free.  They place ads for inturns or for TFP work.  These posters like to say they're starting out and want you to work for free or trade.  They say you can use their gig to build your portfolio.  Yeah right.  I build my portfolia on objects and Andrea.  I shop one wedding for my portfolio  but the bride payed me something.  I've got my portfolia, thank you very much.  If there are no clients there is always stock.

I call posts like this ads with audacity.  Look under Gigs/Creative.

We are a label on the southside of Atlanta looking to build a team of up and coming camera operators, directors, producers and photo and video editors. We are a rising label with clients both major and indie who are looking to work with new talent. THIS IS A NON-PAYING INTERNSHIP however, there are ways to make an honest dollar and gain exposure for your works. You will be assigned to projects and partnered with clients that need our services. If you are serious and interested, then please leave your name, contact number and links to your work. Photoshoppers are welcome and so are students. We are looking for the best of the best so be competitive! **Full studio will be provided for your works**

A new web series is launching in Atlanta.
It will take everyday people and transform the way they live, dress and act in relationships.

We are looking for videographers and cinematographers for this project.
If this sounds like something you would be interested in, please send us an email and include your equipment (camera type(s), mic(s), lighting, etc.) and years of experience.

This project is unpaid, but your work will gain exposure and will be a great addition to your portfolio.


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