A good photographer wouldn't need to worry about amateurs
I object to that one! Go look at my pictures before you start slagging me off.
This is something that is effecting us all.
Apart from the above comment, there are some great views in response to my original post.
I do charge a sitting fee and include in that a set of mounted, fully finished prints that the customer gets to choose and keep.
If they want extra prints or shots on canvas they pay for them.
To me, this is fair because the one hour sitting fee always goes beyond it, the shots are taken in their own home and they get virtually every shot I take to choose from.
To get clients in I could drop my prices or give "offers" but a friend of mine tried this by doing very low priced "intro" shoots - he then got a lot of backlash from customers wanting to know why his prices has suddenly gone up and from others who were not getting the same deal.
You can get stuck in budget-zone here and it can become very difficult to get your prices back up to a decent level.
I would rather shoot less for more than more for less.
All around us there are people with cameras launching themselves as "Photographers" and it will continue to impact on the photography industry.
The attraction of "Instagram" type photos has taken the professional quality away from our work - as I seen on a recent shoot done by a rival that I thought had been shot on a mobile phone!
anthonyd - I work in the same way as you my friend, I respect your views
This was really aimed at other opinions and methods for combating the pro-beginner as I call them.
For example, two photographers take a clients picture, one professional one pro-beginner.
Both shots are presented to the client - pro's looks amazing, costs $200 pro-beginner, rough $20.
Which print sells?
There are lots of things to say to this whole topic. First off, where do you draw the line between pro, emerging pro, beginner, and uncle bob? Would you concede that most pros got their starts as uncle bob? I mean - at least here in the US there is no formal system for training and certification for photogs. Going to college doesn't do it unless you want to learn how to shoot B&W still lifes - in the US if you want to go the school route it's better to go for classes in small business and economics and just buy a camera and learn that end on your own or find a pro and learn under them. With that said, Im not bashing those who went to college with photography as their major, just saying that the bulk of the pros I know did not go that route.
Even if you train under a master, when you break out on your own your still going to be in the lower price bracket and that does come with it's challenges. To use you last statement, but I will alter it a tad - "For example,
photographers take a clients picture, one high level
professional, one low leve
l professional, pro-beginner. Shots are presented to the client -High level pro are perfect but also came at the extra cost of having assistants present to hold lights and reflectors but total cost of the shoot was closer to $600
pro's looks amazing, costs $200 pro-beginner, rough $20. Which print sells?"
The answer - is ---- it depends! the lowest end client will most likely buy nothing more than what was originally agreed upon, and they will want the RAW files and all of them edited. The mid range will buy that $200 print, but that's that - its not that they don't want more its just all that they can afford. The $600 client will buy a large print mounted to metal or acrylic or a stretched canvas and a small album.
Now with all that said - here in the US we have another factor at play - the big box store portrait studio. the good old JC penny, walmart, sears, etc, etc. These large scale entities will charge less than uncle bob and offer more in product, but less in shooting time. this is where the competition really is because this is where most people go for their portraits (think about it, how many family pictures are taken at big box stores....).
As to prices, I don't see any issues with offering sales. Will it rub some the wrong way? Sure, but this is the way business works - all business's offer sales. If you buy a pair of shoes for $90 then a week later see they are on sale for $60 do you rush into the store and raise hell, or do you sigh and say thats the way the cookie crumbles? I've been a creative live Junkie lately and that's one of the pieces of advice Scott Robert Lim gave - to paraphrase - it's a lot easier to offer a sale than it is raise the cost when it's listed. If your trying to push to the next pricing tier sales are helpful because your referral base will be based on the lower prices. i'm in that stage with my wedding business, and yeah this season is hurting because I've had to turn down so many $1000 brides when I really want $3000 brides, so in the end I get $2000 brides (because of incentives).
Lastly here, and i hope you don't take this the wrong way, but your post here puts you into the amateur column! You are kind of what your complaining about in the eyes of pro's who are ahead of you. That $600 pro may be saying the same thing about you as you are saying about the $20 guy. that's not a dis, just putting it in perspective, that you are emerging and finding your place and you are in a saturated market ---- the best advice I have on that which is the path I am taking is find a way to make your work stand out. Brand yourself, make people want what you do which is as many say here more than just about the photography. Make people feel special, offer great customer service and find ways to make your images stand out. and don't get pissed about the lower end guys, they will always be there and more than not - you don't want that client anyways!