value-add


This is a photography related rant.

There’s a lot of moaning on the internet about how these days, photographers are devalued and no-one is prepared to pay for good work any more.

I think thats utter bollocks.

The reality is that everyone and his mother has a camera capable of capturing a quality image suitable for online content.  The web and sites like flickr have made it possible for people to upload and share these photos in their countless millions – so the benchmark for average photography has been raised.

Its easy for a company to purchase or even yoink (aka steal) an image for its own uses without anyone really caring.  Indeed, the latest trick is to flatter the photographer with the magic word

“Exposure”

Give me the image for free and millions will see it and give you exposure.

Yeah, whatever..

Thats the bit serious photographers are complaining about.  They have a point, it kinda sucks that companies can get cheap stock or free amateur pictures and no longer pay advertising type rates, but go back to the earlier point – the countless millions of users that hang out on the internet with cameras have changed the market forever.

Get used to it.

There’s still a viable market for photography, you just have to go after it and make yourself deserve the money.  Be creative, be different, be cutting edge and offer things that no-one else, especially the millions of average photographers, can.

Thats the real rub – the whingers just aren’t differentiating themselves enough to make decent money.  The photographers that are cutting edge and offering something that little bit different are doing just fine I think.  Certainly Chase Jarvis – a Seattle based photographer is doing ok – his stuff is cool.  It can’t be done by just anyone.  And Rankin in London – same deal.

Its the same with wedding photography, just because you can get it cheap doesn’t mean it’ll be any good. I’ve been horrified by simply terrible wedding photography recently – hopefully the couples concerned didn’t pay much, cos they didn’t get much.

The really good wedding photographers might charge a premium but its because they are offering things the others simply cant.  Average wedding photography is going the same way as stock photos – if that’s the product you’re selling, it’ll quickly be worth $0 – anyone can buy a DSLR and point and shoot with it.  And once everyone is doing it, its not worth anything.

Take blogging – the early adopters made a fortune out of it, but as soon as it became easy for people like me to say my tuppenth, then who would pay for that?

The premium product is the same as it always has been – photographers, writers, bloggers, musicians etc that offer something unique will succeed, no matter how much the low end of the market is charging.

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