One of my daily reads is Mr. Unknown over at A Photo Editor. I am just making a leap in assuming it's a he, so, go with me on this.
I've been seeing an interesting trend in his entries - many of them are tagged "photography business". Which is good. The latest is about the corporate greed that is driving downwards the availability of talent, by way of the photographers' ability to cover their costs of being in business. Earlier this week, I made an editorial portrait, and I do so again tomorrow, and it's a mix of what I do. I've been saying for some time, and often I feel as if I'm on a soap box without a line to step up when I step down, about how it's the bean counters to blame for what's happening, and how there will be a loss of talent because of it, and now, we're seeing evidence of that as APE is reporting on this greed.
My friend and colleague Michael Stewart also recently started a blog - http://foto-tech.com/, and his latest article discusses something called HDR - or, High-Dynamic Range images. He's got an interesting example of a pool and home, and he shows you the images that were used to composite together to make what is otherwise a near impossible image to produce in a single shot. It used to be that it would take thousands of dollars in lighting equipment to make an image like that happen, but it can now be done with available light and a firm tripod, and little else.
These points illustrate that you shouldn't be basing what you do on price, or technical skills. Instead, it should be on vision, and customer service. Is there any difference, really, between this single white t-shirt at Nordstroms for $18, and this pack of 3 fruit-of-the-loom t-shirts at K-Mart for $9.49? Probably not much. But, the service - is it worth it? Nordstrom's has proven that the answer is yes, and photographers who choose to compete on points other than price or rights-give-aways have shown that it works in our field too.
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