“I think it’s terrible when a photographer holds a person’s images “hostage” for money. I shoot for a fee – $150 for a portrait sitting – and hand over the files. I could never gouge a person and charge high fees for their photos.”
I hear that statement (or something like it) a lot. How about you? Have you ever said it?
The truth is money is simply a tool. It’s a way of receiving value for something you do, and a method of being able to get the things you need. Nothing more. Nothing less.
Yet money has so many connotations to it, books are written and classes are held on it every day. Why is it so mysterious? Why does it have such a hold on us?
What if we flipped it around and talked about your current job in a similar manner. What if your boss came to you and said
“Instead of giving you your normal salary today, I’m going to give you $150 for the day. I feel like I’ve been held hostage for too long, and today I’m only going to give you what I think this job is truly worth.”
Yeah, right. You’d laugh (after you got over the shock).
So with your corporate job, you expect to make a decent living. You expect raises and possibly even bonuses.
Why is that different than photography?
Photography is a business. It is a career. And in some cases it is a job.
If something is a business, a career or a job, you have to be able to make a decent living at it.
Let’s say you make $60,000 at your corporate job. In order to turn a photography business into an equal opportunity, at $150 per person, you would have to photograph 400 people per year.
Yet in your corporate job, your $60,000 salary is an expense. They make millions ( or billions) and have an entire list of expenses they write off each year, including your salary, marketing, rent for their office location, equipment, etc.