I’ve had this question floating around in my mind for a while now. I know it’s in the minds of many of my clients, collectors and viewers. I also know that I’m not the first person online to ever address the issue, but I wanted to have a little say about how it relates to my practice.
I’m fairly small-time in the scheme of things. I still feel like an emerging artist, but know that I’m a little bit further out than others. I’ve held off on putting a shopping cart up, partially because I’m not sure how many people will really want to buy my work, but also because I don’t want to sell a tonne of images that may be old or average, just to justify the cost of my cart system. (This will come when I can accurately gauge when it will be financially, a good idea, for me to install and make prints and images available, until I know my real demand, I’m hesitant to buy into a bigger competition). I’ve said fairly openly all the time, if you want to purchase a work from me, message me, email me, let’s get talking about what you want. I want to make sure you’re completely satisfied with the image you choose!
No doubt it’s hard enough to make money in Photography these days, with what seems like “everyone’ doing it, it’s getting even harder and harder to make back the true worth of a photo.
I’ve had a number of images hit “The Big Time” recently (“The Big Time” being defined as in-demand from all different walks of life) and this has only become more frequent as I put myself in the right place at the right time. It’s no wonder that as soon as I’m asked how much my Licence Fee on an image is, that I hear crickets, dead silence.
When did art lose its’ value? When did saying “oh, I could take that myself” ever actually eventuate into someone going out and re-doing your photo, have it look exactly the same, ever happen? Answer: NEVER.
And you know what, I know they want it for as cheap as they can get it. I totally sympathize with that. We’re all bargain hunters.
But, knowing it’s one of a kind, why undercut the Photographer?
Let’s take a quick look into what it takes for me to go out and take a photo:
On getting home, it’s even more:
And then, and these are the most important parts:
For example, let’s take one of my most popular Iceland photos, and examine the costs involved in taking that photo:
So, all of a sudden, my print, which is on sale at The Cow’n'Calf in Stanley, Tasmania, for under $500, kind of cheap yeah?
Look at it another way. Your Work expenses. You can claim your laundry, fuel in the car, materials, subscriptions… As an Artist trying to make a living, I roll all of those costs into the price of a Print/Cost of Licence for Full-Res Digital File, plus other factors which may or may not influence the future of the work. It’s complex I know, but I want to be clear — this is what you must consider.
For fellow photographers, and if you’re one yourself, could you have spent all that and still gotten this image? Do you have the skill , the time off required from your dayjob, have a think about all the factors that would put you on location with your camera in hand. Could you have done it cheaper than I? Would you have spent 36 hours in transit to fly to the other side of the world to take the photo?
So please, next time you pass up an amazing image from a Photographer who probably put in as much, if not more, time, effort and skill into taking a photo, please consider it all and if you like the image enough, buy it. You’ll make someone happier -and you’ll have a beautiful work of art to put in your home and enjoy forever.Why Does