Every artist that sells their work needs to determine the value of it.  Customers/Clients may also help you determine the value of your art.  Should your client's opinion be the sole factor on deciding your value? No.

Your client will either see what you see and hold the same opinion or they won't. Not everyone values photography even if they like pictures. When I told a friend of mine that I am no longer "giving" away a CD with my images he was shocked.
He said "So I pay you $100 for nothing? I have to turn around and pay you more for the actual pictures?"

Well, no and yes. A lot of photographers charge for their session or sitting fee. This price is based on their time spent with you, time in editing, education, equipment used, taxes etc... The image is then sold as a final product separately. The final image is a customized piece of art work. It, in itself, is a product of value all it's own.

When I changed my business model this year for portraits, I was nervous because of the response I got from that one friend. When I talked to another friend about my goal of selling prints (to be hung and displayed) she was on the opposite end of the spectrum. She said that she wouldn't consider having portraits done with out buying prints. "That's what having your pictures done is for" she said.  Digital images are great for social media, emailing distant family members, and to use as screen savers on your devices. Prints are framed, sometimes mounted, and incorporated in to your home's decor.  When you buy prints and canvases you are investing in home decor that is not available to the average Joe. It's your family! You chose the photographer who's style you liked. You could have gone with ANY ONE, but you chose that particular one.

There's a saying that goes something like "Good photos aren't cheap and cheap photos aren't good." It's true, most of the time. To have a photographer direct you in a flattering pose, place you in the right light, and take away that zit that grew to the size of a baseball over night, is a service that should not be cheapened because Suzy down the street got a nice camera for Christmas.

Now I said that phrase was true most of the time. There are photographers that are really good yet they don't value their work or time as much as they should. I believe it's out of fear of scaring away clients or it could be they feel they aren't good enough.  Sometimes I feel I'm too low, but most of the time I feel I'm in the right place for my skill level and experience.

I do value my work. I want my clients to hang their photos up on the wall. I don't want my finished product on a disc in the back of a drawer somewhere. So, I changed my business model. I still offer digital images, but I put more of a value on the images themselves.

Value yourself, your work, and your talent. We all have value in what we do. Don't let it be cheapened by mass production, big corporations, or someone that offers something similar cheaper. You are unique there for so is your work.


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