A lot of young photographers share a common frustration:

“It’s difficult to find a proper thing to do as a new photographer that involves taking pictures and getting paid decent money for it.”

As I often say, photography is one of the least valuable things an experienced photographer can offer to a client.

This usually heats photographers up.

Now if you’re a photographer it feels wrong and unfair. Taking photos is something you’ve invested a lot of time in and you probably pour your heart and soul into. It’s an activity from which you derive a genuine sense of mastery.

The hard reality is, the world doesn’t owe you a high paying salary for engaging in your favorite activity.

Let’s step back and change the activity from “taking photos” to something you probably don’t care about:

“It’s difficult to find a thing to do as a consulting offering that involves crocheting and also getting paid for it.”

Would I pay $400 per hour for damn crocheting? Of course not. Why? Because crocheting has literally close to zero value for me. Sorry granny, I do love you.

The fact that I don’t value crocheting probably seems insanely unfair to a crocheter who has devoted their life to the practice and has achieved a level of mastery.

Now let’s turn it back around to photographers:

Would a client pay $400 per hour for planning, producing, shooting and retouching photos? Of course not. Why? Because photos have close to zero value for clients. Clients have no use for them and they don’t care about your art or what excites you the most.

You’re probably thinking, “Wait… WAT? Clients pay me and others for photography all time! Big name photographers’ income starts from 500k yearly.”
Clients aren’t paying for your photography or the hours you put in. They aren’t even paying for the final, perfectly retouched deliverable image that your skills and knowledge produced.

They are paying for the business outcome that they believe the photos will achieve.

The distinction I’m trying to make here is that there is no intrinsic value in a commercial photo, a crocheted row of stitches, or a line of code.

The value is in what the client believes the photos will do to improve their business.

What effective photography does to their brand. How efficiently the campaign you shot converts and most importantly how well you tell or shape the client’s story.
What’s the value of what the right photographer will really bring to the table?

Do your best to bring them maximum value. This is what you charge for.

Show them the OUTCOME of your photography, not the OUTPUT of your photography.

More life,

George Kroustallis – Minorstep

P.S. Thanks to Jonathan Stark for the inspiration for this article