Only Show Clients and Learn what Your Studio can Afford to Sell!

In photographers never ending left brain/right brain battle, a photographers artistic side has always wanted to display unique portraits that they have created even though they couldn’t possibly offer similar portraits to paying clients.  Most photographers give in to this business blunder and then have clients asking why they can’t have a portrait like the one they saw on the display or inside your studio.  This used to only be a problem when a photographer created portraits a distant location (wedding portraits in Hawaii, family on the beach, but your studio is 6 hours away, a location that granted one time special permission to use, etc.), but now photographers have the ability to piss-off their clients sitting in front of them day in and day out, calling out their name to create entirely new worlds for their clients to dribble a basketball in.  That’s right, why create a beautiful portrait “in the camera” with location/setting, lighting, posing and the knowledge of photography we have, let’s create a simple portrait and then spend hours “doctoring it up” in Photoshop.  That’s sound like a great business idea to me!

Even the educators in our Profession are pushing the Manipulate rather than Create form of photography.  In the pursuit to be “Edgy” program line-ups now include fashion and advertising photographers, but not the photographers that are trained in photography, No, they are bring in the fashion shooters that have no background in photography, they simply take simple images and create their “art” in the computer.   If these days of “everyone is a photographer” teaches us anything it is that this isn’t a sustainable business model in a portrait studio.  Look at the number of young photo takers that announce their business and then quit 3 months later.  Photoshop art isn’t sustainable, it simply takes too long to build a portrait in Photoshop and then sell it for what the market will pay.  If you want to make $8 an hour you should become a bag-person at the local market, it is much less stressful!  Jeff Goldblum said it best in Jurasic Park, “we get so caught up it what can be done, we never stop to think if it should be done”.

Educators need to be responsible to selecting speakers and sharing ideas that are feasible in a business sense.  It does us little good to learn to create products that we can not sell for a profit.  Speakers and educators should not only be artistic but successful, there are more than enough broke artists around that can’t make a living in photography.  The days of “you don’t sell many of these, but they sure are fun to take/create” are over.  If it doesn’t sell for a profit, it has no business being in a program or book.  When we learn all this crap, it trickles-down into our studios, which not only has us making a product that can’t be created at a profit, but  is a detriment to our very business.  Not only did you create a sample portrait at a loss, you have now upset the very people that were going to be your client by showing (and learning to create) a product that you can not sell for a profit.


~ by jeffsmithbooks on March 3, 2010.

One Response to “Only Show Clients and Learn what Your Studio can Afford to Sell!”


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